I like answering old, unanswered questions because there aren't many new ones I know enough to answer. In many cases the answers are mostly laid out in the comments. I suspect no one then wants to answer the question because it may look like they are stealing the work of the commenters. So, the question becomes an orphan (sad violin sounds). Is it considered poor form to use the comments to help create a thorough, well-referenced answer as long as credit is given to the commenter or commenter reference?

I've already done that here: Is the wind's intensity on Mars similar to Earth?

and plan to do it here: How are the atomic clocks synchronised between worldwide VLBI telescopes?

and here: What are the analysis steps in taking raw data from Kepler to a planetary system determination

Or does someone raise an objection to doing so?

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    $\begingroup$ You've posted some pretty excellent answers to new questions as well. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ I've asked a similar question on Physics Meta a few months ago, the answer there was yes, it is encouraged $\endgroup$
    – jng224
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


My goodness, the generation of (good) answer posts is what Stack Exchange is all about!

I would say, and I'd expect that most would agree that taking information left in comments and using it to generate an answer to a question is excellent form and is exactly what the commenter had in mind when leaving the information in a comment.

By all means, go for it!

update: Just spotted in Science Fiction SE, not exactly the same question but same sentiment in answering: What is the proper etiquette for answering old questions?

By all means, answer it! Unanswered questions are a blight that needs to be fixed!

(To more be more specific: if a question hasn't been closed, then old questions definitely need love. There are even badges specifically for providing good answers to old questions.) (emphasis added)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for this response. I like having it up here to link to if I end up needing to. $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 2:24
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    $\begingroup$ @ConnorGarcia If it helps, I second what uhoh said. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 15:22

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