I recently asked a question on vi.se (I'm not going to narrow things down any more as I don't want to make this directly personal). I had a good dialogue in the comments with user B, narrowing down a potential answer to an actual answer. I offered that if he wrote it up, I would mark it correct.

Before he could do this, user C wrote an answer to the question (with suspiciously similar wording). His answer is partially correct, but is inconsistent with itself and nowhere near as good as what user B wrote.

I feel like user C (obviously new to the site, most of the rep he gained was through that answer) is being, at best, a little mean.

Is there an appropriate way for me to handle this kind of behaviour as a polite, nice-meaning member of the community? Should I just play the bigger man and ignore it? Or is there a way to report it?

  • In this specific case, the answer was fairly trivial. I think it is entirely conceivable (even likely) that 2 people independently came to the same conclusion at roughly the same time. I also don't quite see how it has "suspiciously similar wording". Apr 30, 2015 at 22:46
  • I'm not sure if you saw the comments that got deleted. But OK, certainly don't want to be make a big deal out of it. Benefit of the doubt is no doubt the best choice. Apr 30, 2015 at 22:59
  • 5
    This meta question is hard to answer because you make it about this specific case, with a detailed description, but you do not provide an objective description (you lead out with the word “stealing”), and you do not let us check the facts by linking to the specific case. If you're asking about general etiquette, don't lead up by attacking one of the parties, and don't mention the specific case at all. If you're asking about the specific case, don't lead up by attacking one of the parties, and link to it. May 1, 2015 at 19:09
  • Gilles, that's utterly fair comment, you're right. I was trying to be objective, but I didn't do a very good job. May 2, 2015 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


Guessing at your specific case, user A posted the comment at 2015-04-28 22:21:42Z. User B posted the answer at 2015-04-28 22:22:51Z. That is a little over a minute. Now, I can (and probably most users can) write that answer in less than a minute. But it seems reasonable (and probable) to me, if you think of delaying factors like a slower net connection or something else, that user B could have started writing that answer before user A posted the comment.

More generally, I think there's nothing you should do.


To OP, you have power over selecting the correct answer. You should have had the person leaving the comments answer the question and select their answer. I've noticed, with how functional Vim is, that people are extending other people's answers and getting credit for them so really its just like the Wild West, do whatever you want.

Before posting a response to a question (that has been up for over a month) with no "answer" I came here to see if anyone has asked this meta question. The answer was super simple, and someone had made a comment to answer rather than make an actual answer that could be selected.

Since the question cannot be considered "answered" without selecting a posted answer it stays open indefinitely. If there are 0 answers many times people will not even look at the question, missing out on the comment. I find it a little annoying that all the SE sites have this occurring. I'm sure I'm reading into it too much but I feel like people seem to want to post in comments as soon as they have the privileges rather than when a comment is actually necessary. You'll see this on new beta sites where everyone has low privilege and then all of the sudden everyone wants to answer in comments rather than answers.

So I did the courteous thing, stated "Per so-and-so's comment..." and answered the question. Now I should restate, the comment had been posted for almost a month so the person leaving a comment should have had enough time to post their answer correctly. I'm not seeking points, I'm just trying to get the answer correctly marked down so that when someone does a search they won't see "0 Answers". If the person leaving the comment decides to answer I'll gladly delete mine to give them credit. I just find it insufferable that people feel like comments are the place to answer a question.

Sort of an aside, I can see cases where people feel its appropriate to answer in a comment. In Vim there are many times when someone asks a question and due to their lack of knowledge do not realize that their question either does not make sense or makes a wrong assumption. I think people need to start using a little better judgement on how a comment would work here. My specific case was someone asking how to apply normal mode commands to ranges, however they didn't know that was what they were asking. The person leaving the comment stated "Oh you are trying to apply normal commands so just use normal". This is a perfect answer and something that a LOT of people will run into. Did they feel it was too simple of an answer? Did they feel like the new "cool" place to answer was in the comments? Did they feel that because OP didn't ask the "correct" question, it didn't deserve a real answer? Doesn't matter, they should just have answered the question.

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