I am aware of the temporary nature of comments in phys.SE (and generally in the SE network) and their primary scope to ask for/point out clarifications on a post, or to suggest edits.

However, upon a brief exchange of comments with @BioPhysicist under this answer, they pointed out that anything that doesn't fit into the above two categories, should not be a comment at all, or more precisely, if it's not an edit nor an answer, then it shouldn't be posted at all. I am, thus, left wondering:

Given a question, where I have an interesting thought or comment1, that is not elaborate enough to be an answer, or that does not address all the points in the question, but that I think would benefit the OP and the readers of the question, should I refrain from posting it? Should I go even further as to flag such comments?

Personally, I don't think I should refrain from posting my thoughts as a comment (and then obviously I wouldn't flag other, similar, comments), because despite the temporary nature of comments, hey, someone might have read it while it was there and found it helpful. If they didn't and the comment is now deleted, no big deal.

I'd be interested to hear possible reasons why I should refrain from posting such comments.

By the way, please, do not go into details about the linked question that motivated this one. My question is a general question about the usage of comments in phys.SE and is self-contained in this post, not whether @BioPhysicist or me is right about that particular answer answering the (currently actually closed) question sufficiently or not.

1 comment in the traditional sense of the word, not the technical sense "words in the little 300 character space under a post"

  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure that answers you are uncertain about or haven't fleshed out fully can be posted as a comment. Especially in the case where you want to hear from the rest of the community as to whether you're on the right track. I think there's more to it than that though. I could be wrong, however. I'd be interested to hear what everyone else thinks. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Feb 1, 2023 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, one more thing. I think comments are also good for not-strictly-related follow-up points/questions. I get a number of people asking slightly related questions for further info on my answers. Nothing big enough to be a separate question. Just more info for the curious. It makes a nice addendum that is too unrelated to put in the main body of the answer but I like to leave in for extra edification. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Feb 1, 2023 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim I agree. rob, BioPhysicist and others apparently disagree though $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2023 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim If you have an answer you want evaluated by the community, posting it as an answer is a much better way to do that. Comments on comments quickly stack up in a single comment section, and comments cannot be down voted. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2023 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist I'm pretty sure your comment effectively douses the spirit of my response $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Feb 7, 2023 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


Brief answers, or partial answers, should be posted as answers. For responses which are neither comments nor answers, the internet is a big place with many non-SE websites.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Did you post a partial answer to demonstrate your point? :) $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2023 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ I most certainly did. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Jan 22, 2023 at 21:39

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