New users: Educate them to not use comments as answers. Send them here. Then flag for deletion.
Users that already know the rules and still do it anyway: Flag for deletion straightaway.
From here, comments should be used for:
- Requesting clarification from the author;
- Leaving constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
Additionally, you can also notify OP of any edits you made if they are substantial.
However, on this site, a lot of high-rep users including some mods are deliberately engaging in this "post (unsourced) answers as comments" practice. One major drawback of this practice is these answer-type comments are heavily upvoted by other users and they show up as the top comment(s) under the post whereas a question seeking clarification from OP or exposing a flaw in their argument appears somewhere down in the list. Also, what is OP supposed to do when people are posting all these answer-type comments? Should they ignore these or engage in a chat in the comments section and ask for sources?
This strange practice on this site has also been pointed in this feedback answer by @RubelliteYakṣī. She writes:
Users are afraid to give answers here. I have never seen so many answers in comments on another SE. I feel it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. This is why our question to answer ratio is low.
It's up to the mods and users to take this advice to heart and discourage this practice going forward. If we continue with this attitude of bending (or exploiting loopholes in) standard SE rules, there is a good chance this site will remain in beta forever.
For reference, current policy, as of 9/13/18:
Cloth, flower along with Kalash falling from the altar during Ganesha Puja - is this a good or bad omen?
Mod is using comments for writing unsourced answers! – sv. Sep 13 at 18:49 declined
User is using comments for writing unsourced answers! – sv. Sep 13 at 18:50 declined