Please adapt these for the situation at hand, and don't just post them blindly.
Please read the comment editing help page for a list of shortcuts you can use in comments (some of which I use below). Things like [help], [tour], , and shortcuts to other SE sites are very useful.
This is organized into three sections: Questions, Answers, and Useful Links....
Don't cite everything.
In my undergraduate honours degree I came from the other end of the stick and referenced too much; an equally unhelpful filter. I cited almost every sentence and statement with many sources, even if a study simply mentioned an established fact that I was stating, I referenced it. The feed-back, which I now go by, was:
Only cite the ...
My opinion on when is citation needed.
References are always appreciated but are strictly required in certain cases such as:
Answers stating non-obvious facts and recent experimental findings.
Answers related to a popular topic. (health related topics, evolution, wildlife conservation, etc). This is required in order to avoid any misinterpretation by non-...
A lot SE have help templates for both user old and new. I don't think Bio has one yet but I haven't gone through every meta thread either to verify this. As for should you use the same canned comment or liven it up, that is entirely up to you. For a time on TeX.SE, I used to use the canned comments but they didn't always address my sentiment. Therefore, I no ...
Please don't do this. As a general rule, we try to keep comments to a minimum on the SE sites. This type of comment, while polite and all, is just noise. It clutters up the site and gives nothing really useful.
I would instead only leave such a comment if the OP seems to need it. If they need help formatting their question, point them to the formatting ...
If comments are obsolete, just flag them. You don't need to worry about moderator workload on a site as small as this.
I saw the flags and removed most of the comments. This specific question would also have attracted moderator attention anyway as it was automatically flagged for having more than 20 comments in a short time.
When you click on the add comment link, the ghost text in the box says
Use comments to ask for clarification or add more information. Avoid answering questions in comments.
Additionally, the Privileges - comment everywhere page has sections entitled When should I comment? and When shouldn't I comment?:
Comments are not recommended for any of the following:...
In the review queue some verdicts end up with being accompanied by an automated comment, for example a delete vote on an answer. I can't find a good example online (many of mine indeed got deleted :-) but it states:
This does not provide an answer to the question. Once you have
sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post;
I also have felt this many a times. This happens mostly because people(including me) are sometimes not sure whether their answers are "correct" and fear downvoting.
I would suggest that more experienced members and moderators view those comments and encourage the users to modify it and post it as an answer. If an answer is not provided for a long time but ...
There are a few things you can do:
If you felt you have adequately addressed the question, move on,
If you feel the additional questions in the comment are more appropriate for a second question, tell the OP that they should be asking a new question linking to this one, and
If the OP doesn't understand the answer no matter what you do, it may be in your ...
I'm looking through your declined flags and I'll list a few cases and the likely reason why they were declined:
The most recent one is on a post that looks like a comment on first glance, it refers to another answer in the first sentence, but that actually contains something of an answer in the rest of the post.
One flag was cast 20 minutes after the post ...
These are canned messages that are available to mods. They are:
You can see who added it by checking the edit history of your answer. In this case, you will see that a notice was added by @WYSIWIG.
Once you have addressed the issue raised by the notice, you can leave a comment, notifying @WYSIWIG and he can remove it.
I am not sure about this sometimes as well. Depending on the length of my answer and the availibity of references for it, I rather choose to add a comment than an answer. But the idea mentioned by biogirl above to encourage people to expand comments and make them real answers is good.
Sometimes closing for "homework" is confusing to users if they truly are not asking for a homework assignment. More often, the flagged post simply just does not indicate the OP performed any previous research effort. Here's a comment that captures this lack-of-research concern a little more clearly for users confused about "homework" ...
Citations and external material serve two purposes, to support claims and statements made in the post, and to allow easier follow-up reading by the readership. At the end of the day, we should be willing and able to support the validity of any statement we make in an answer, so we should bear that in mind when we write answers. For example, one could say:
FWIW, the deleted answer is below, and this is the Guardian link. The answer was posted by a user who is no longer registered, either of their own choice, or because of bad behavior (spam) elsewhere.
Please note that the Guardian is not a scientific publication by any stretch of the imagination.
Yes, indeed. What's more, if you find such comments posted by others, flag them as obsolete. Comments are supposed to be transient and mods can and will delete them without warning.
Such flags help keep the site free of clutter and give mods a warm fuzzy sense of being useful :)
Post notice is a very docile feature which a moderator can use to mark an answer. There are three types of post-notices:
Current event: Marks the answer as one that may not be useful in future.
Insufficient explanation: Marks the answer to be insufficient in content
These are pretty useless actually (mostly a fancy, templated comment) but ...
IMO, unanswered questions should definitely be properly answered, even if it is based on other's comments. Comments are just comments, they are no answers.
However, comments are often just comments for a reason; there are no references, only wikipedia citations, or only cites to other questionable sources. If you decide to convert comments into a proper ...
Why was the answer converted to comment:
The statement "This is true for most proteins, ignoring things like imprinting and X-inactivation, which is a bit more advanced to grasp", requires explanation.
The first line of the answer is fine for the title "Which of the two chromosomes in a pair is expressed?" but having touched upon imprinting and not ...
You are using the Not an Answer flag correctly. Flags become "disputed" when people treat them differently in review queues. Additionally, flags may get declined outright if the moderator believes the answer isn't even worth converting to a comment.
Regardless, you are on the right track with your flags.
I think there should be some way to vote to convert a comment to an answer, through votes, or by a mod...As biogirl noted sometimes potential answerers are not confident and so put answers in the comments instead of an answer...at this point, other members of the community or a mod should be able to come along and confirm and convert it.
Is there a policy regarding this in biology.stackexchange.com?
Yes. The policy is quite clear. It is the general policy of Stack Exchange that appears in the question comment box of every Stack Exchange site:
Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid answering questions in comments
Although individual Stack Exchange sites ...
I tend to say to users that have hidden answers in the comments that
comments are for comments, answers are for answers
It's a cliche, but it's just what it is. The help center is also quite explicit about (text shortened and markups are mine):
When should I comment?
You should submit a comment if you want to:
Request clarification from the ...
disclaimer: this is just my own opinion as a user and, though it may be reflected in how I currently think about comment flags, this is my own personal answer and not representative of the other mods
Some reasons to discourage partial answers in comments:
Comments cannot be downvoted. Therefore, incorrect comment answers can only spark comment arguments. ...
The answer didn't receive any upvotes, no downvotes and there were no comments placed.
Deleted answers, their comment history and the number of votes on them are, afaik, only visible to the mod team.
Here is the link I have from the deleted answer; I wonder if anyone can view it, barred the mods and possibly the answerer.
See here for a discussion on this from way back.
What are the reasons to withhold answering in the comments?
You already posed a few scenarios. They are all valid in my opinion. Some questions are misguided and have simple yes or no answers, or 'not applicable' answers. I think most answers of this kind should occur in the comments, because the question ...
Questions that are not vague/asking for tutorial but are too broad for the scope of the site.
Your question appears very broad; you can find entire books/reviews dedicated to this topic. Please narrow your question down and add sufficient details such that it is restricted to a specific issue and can be answered in a few paragraphs.