I saw some, if not many, in (what seems like) unanswered question from tag, where someone replied with a title that they saw fit the asker's description. Some of it ended with the question resolved in the question's comment: where turned out it's the right answer, asker (being a newbie like me, that doesn't really understand how the site works) said 'thanks! that's it!', and done, leaving the question status itself remained unresolved. And then me, seeing from the list of questions page, opened it thinking it hasn't been answered, only to find that actually it has its answer in comment.

  • Why don't they answer that immediately, back it up with the things they know fit the description?
  • Is it because if it's wrong, it feels futile or what? But if that's so, it feels as if it's degrading other people who had tried to answer, posted it, but turned out their answer not the one OP (Original Poster/Asker) searching for.
  • Or, is this really an encouraged behavior: "confirm it first through comment, then make it an answer is it's certified to be true"? Eventhough it may lead to "answered but not resolved" question?

If so, since I like trying to answer question, when later I wanna try answering a question, I'd just make a comment. More convenient, I can put one-liner and people won't rant about it being one-liner.

This ain't sarcasm (in case someone thinks so), since in this question I was told I don't understand how this site works, thus I tried to see how it works. At first I was kinda so sure that behavior wasn't good since it leads to what I've said above, but then since I saw it's done by high-score users too, so I thought "Oh, maybe it's encouraged, just my not knowing that".

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  • I put discussion tag only because it told me to use one of the tags it mentioned. I don't know whether it's a discussion or not. – user11241 Jul 18 '15 at 6:43
  • If either of the posted answers answered your question, you can accept it by clicking the check mark under the voting buttons. Otherwise, let us know in comments if anything is still confusing or unclear. – Torisuda Jul 21 '15 at 2:09
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    I can't speak for everyone, but when I know the answer but don't have time to write a proper answer, I just write the answer as a one-liner in the comments instead. Additionally, I don't really need any more rep, so a newer user could use this to write a proper answer and gain some rep if they want. – Peter Raeves Jul 31 '15 at 11:27

As Hakase said, putting guesses in comments is sort of a bad habit that some of us have fallen into. I'll confess to doing it too, at least in the past, before I stopped trying to answer id requests. It's quick and easy when you're just taking a stab in the dark and aren't too sure you've got the right answer.

I won't say you should never do this. After all, it is disheartening to put effort into writing a real answer, just to have the OP show up and go "Nope, that's not it." But make sure to write a real answer if your guess turns out to be correct. And, as Hakase said, try to judge whether it was actually reasonable to expect someone to come up with the correct series, given the level of detail in the question. If it wasn't, vote to close.

A while back I asked a meta question about what to do if you find that someone else has answered an id request in comments without posting a real answer. The consensus was that, one way or another, the questions should have real answers. Whether your guess was right or not—heck, even if you didn't have any guess at all and just got the right series from someone else's six-month-old comment—you can be the one to provide that answer. You can get as detailed as you like, but at least put up a template answer with a picture, a plot synopsis (which can be copied from Wikipedia or MAL), and a link to Wikipedia or MAL.

Once your answer is written, you can either:

  • Make it a regular answer. People can upvote it, and you'll get reputation.
  • Make it a community wiki answer. There's a checkbox at the bottom right of the answer entry that says "community wiki". Check that before you submit, and the answer will become a community answer which no one gains reputation for.

Use your own sense of morals to decide. If you feel weird getting rep for a guess you didn't come up with, make it community wiki. But either way, you are doing a service for the community by writing answers for these questions, so don't let the presence of a months-old comment with a correct guess stop you.

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Answering in comments is actively discouraged on SE, but for main site questions. ID requests are not the "main" kind of questions on A&M and so the rules are a bit different. Well, there really aren't any rules regarding that yet, but I suppose if we were to make them, they would allow this sort of guessing in the comments.

Usually these "answers" to IDs in comments are low-effort guesses. A normal answer requires some information about how the answerer knows this is what's going on, but when you don't have a lot to go on (which is also a sign that the question lacks enough detail for staying open), you can only post a comment with a guess. Imagine what it would look like if everybody posted a full-fledged answer and it didn't meet the criteria. These answers would then have to be deleted for not being enough for anything, and that would create clutter on the page and headache for mods.

That said, if the question cannon be properly answered, maybe it should be closed for the custom ID request reason (Off topic > Not enough details). Even so, you may feel like sharing your thoughts in form of a comment, even though it's not the "proper way", but the question might be closed forever and the asker might never find the answer otherwise. And if it has enough details to get a normal answer, then answering in comments is not the correct approach. Just post a normal answer.

Normally, though, I would suggest not to answer bad ID requests in any way, because that would mean that we're okay with low quality questions, and we're really not.

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