I seen a question whilst I was browsing (KeyError '/n' in Bio SeqUtils Package ProtParam Script) and guessed the likely issue and thus added a comment advising the user to use .rstrip('\n') to remove the newline character produced by pushing enter on a keyboard (the variable was a user input).

I have just seen my comment has been deleted, on TeX.SE we frequently post answers in comments when the fix is trivial or is fairly common knowledge that the user is not experienced enough to know. What is the protocol on this site for answers in comments or why else was my comment deleted so soon please?

I would like to contribute to this site as I am doing a PhD in de novo enzyme design so this is my kind of place.

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    $\begingroup$ Firstly welcome and thanks for the post. It's no problem, I'm sure the comment will be undeleted. However, the site protocol is provide answers rather than comments. Thus once your answer is in place the comment can be deleted right? Comments on this site are used to request information about the question with a view to providing a better answer. Comments are sometimes used for answers if there's lots downvoting on a site because comments avoid that. This site rarely downvotes, and frequently upvotes. therefore answers are much preferred both for you and the site per se. $\endgroup$
    – M__ Mod
    Jun 19 at 3:32
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    $\begingroup$ Bioinformatics needs biological context and thats often missing in the question. Thats when we use comments. Which phyla is a good question because plants are different to vertebrates are different to bacteria etc .... In the case of my comment: the reason I've commented and not answered is because this a temporary answer and intend to follow with a full post later (or gringer can). @gringer is currently the most active Mod at present and I want to wait for their response. The reason gringer is the most active Mod right now is complicated. Upvoted BTW. $\endgroup$
    – M__ Mod
    Jun 19 at 3:35
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    $\begingroup$ The official STackexchange policy for comment answers BTW is to turn them into wiki's, the idea being that this is believed to discourage comment answers in the future. $\endgroup$
    – M__ Mod
    Jun 19 at 3:48

2 Answers 2


The minimum answer length is 30 characters. That should give you an idea around the minimum amount of effort we are expecting to be put into an answer. If you are answering a question, please just write it as an answer. It will make my job easier, and benefit more people in the community.

I think the amount of formatting and additional discussion around the answer you provided demonstrates the benefit of this approach. Answers improve over time, and that collective improvement is a key strength of the Stack Exchange network.

As mentioned in the Help Center section on comments, comments are for clarification, constructive criticism, and adding relevant but minor or transient information to a post.

Comments are not recommended for any of the following:

  • Suggesting corrections that don't fundamentally change the meaning of the post
  • Answering a question or providing an alternate solution to an existing answer; instead, post an actual answer (or edit to expand an existing one);
  • Compliments which do not add new information
  • Criticisms which do not add anything constructive
  • Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point
  • Discussion of community behavior or site policies

See more information here:


I apply these guidelines when moderating posts, and am particularly insistent on these guidelines applied to the posted question.

Answers as comments are a problem on Stack Exchange for multiple reasons, including the following:

  • it breaks threading
  • paragraph formatting is unavailable (e.g. line breaks, bullet points, scripts, tables)
  • it doesn't give proper credit to the person answering
  • there's no way for moderators to convert a comment into an answer
  • it breaks the "bubble to the top" approach for answers
  • it confuses the question promotion algorithm
  • it makes it hard for potential answerers to tell (from the question browser) when a question has already been answered
  • revision history is not available
  • other people can't update and improve the answer

The general policy is not to answer in comments, no matter how trivial. Comments can’t be edited, can’t be voted on, can’t be accepted, aren’t clear for future visitors to the post and are liable to be deleted at any point.

If it answers the question, just write an answer.


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