Please refer to the comments thread in this question: Custom post type single-{custom}.php not working

Visit the permalinks page (which will flush it) and check again. – vancoder 17 hours ago

@vancoder That did it. I just visited the permalinks page, clicked the save button (didnt actually change anything) and it worked... sigh.... – BobbyDank 17 hours ago

@vancoder why put answers in comments? Answers should be posted as answers, so they can be up-voted, and accepted, so that WPSE doesn't continue to be cluttered with unanswered questions. – Chip Bennett 16 hours ago

@ChipBennett Because I don't post answers unless I'll pretty sure they are correct answers - and I wasn't sure. Incorrect comments are better than incorrect answers, in my opinion. – vancoder 15 hours ago

@vancoder "Because I don't post answers unless I'll pretty sure they are correct answers" - posting answers as comments in order to "feel them out" is a misuse of the commenting system. Please just post answers as answers. Even if they do not solve the OP's specific issue, they very well may solve the problem for someone else. Remember: WPSE is a Question and Answer site, not a support forum. – Chip Bennett 12 hours ago

@ChipBennett I'll continue to distinguish between what is a comment and what is an answer as I see fit. I regard unnecessary criticism of other users - completely irrelevant to the question asked - as a misuse of the commenting system. – vancoder 9 hours ago

I thought of just flagging it, but tried the community-moderation approach instead. You can see the response. Rather than continue in the comments, I thought it would be better addressed in Meta.

Posting answers as comments is problematic, does not conform to SE conventions/mechanics, and creates even more unanswered-question clutter for WPSE. Saying "I'll continue to distinguish between what is a comment and what is an answer as I see fit" basically says, "I couldn't care less what community conventions are; I'm going to do whatever I want."

This isn't an isolated incident; several members disregard the distinction between questions, comments, and answers.

5 Answers 5


Whenever you see overly long comment threads – flag. Comments are not the place for answers, long discussions or follow-up questions. Comments should be seen as temporary; moderators can clean them up any time.

That’s what I did with that thread too (someone flagged the last reply as rude and I agreed).

When you have an answer – write an answer. If it is wrong, you can delete it later.


The comment thread is no longer with us...

As for me community moderation worked here, first via community making a point, then by moderator enforcing that point.

It is hard to make clear rule-like distinction on this without stiffing valid uses of comments like clarifying details. However I think deliberately using them for developing answer is clear misuse and... well - the comment thread is no longer with us. :)


In my opinion, one has to distinguish between seeing an answer as

  • an answer to the question,


  • a solution to the problem.

When I'm reading a question that I know the answer to (i.e., I can provide the solution to the problem) I write an answer.

However, when I'm reading a question for that I might have seen/found a/the problem/flaw (i.e., I neither know that for sure nor did I test my idea/feeling) I post a comment.

I don't intend to do whatever I want, as @Chip described it—this is just my personal intuitive way of responding to the question under the given circumstances.

Oftentimes, however, the actual solution is either just a one-line (or even one-word) answer, and when posting this as a comment, one does not yet know this is the answer.

Also, suppose an existing answer does lack only a tiny bit to be complete (i.e., the problem is not yet solved). In that case, I would choose to comment this answer instead of copying the whole code, then add/edit the single missing/wrong line, and provide this (complete) answer. No matter if the particular (incomplete) answer was written just a couple minutes ago or a decade ago, I don't feel right about posting an answer in that case.

Concluding, I don't see a problem with writing a maybe-answer as a comment, and then turn it into an actual answer if it is the answer to the question. But that's just my gut feeling.

// EDIT @Chip You're talking about building up a knowledge base, and I consider writing answers and comments as I explained before doing exactly this. Otherwise you'd build up an assumption base rather than a knowledge base.

I absolutely agree in that comments that turn out to be answers should be added as answers to the question, and thus help building up the Q&A knowledge base.
Posting everything that in any way might have to do with the question as an answer is, in my opinion, neither reasonable nor does it serve the site's aim.
Prohibiting comments (which have less value/impact, as @s_ha_dum stated) consistsing of experiments, assumptions and guesses, on the other hand, and thus forcing users to either write an answer (and live with being down voted) or do not respond at all, might lead to even more unanswered questions.

As for the specific circumstances... I didn't mean the specific circumstances of the user who asked the question. Of course, posting a valid answer, which might not completely solve the original question under its specific circumstances, but in general, should be posted as an answer.
But that's not what I meant (and wrote). It's more these maybe answers that I'm talking about (and, as far as I understood, @s_ha_dum, too). If I'm not sure whether I'm about to post an answer at all (i.e., either solving the specific problem stated in the question, or solving the problem in general) I just provide my thoughts on that as a comment.

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    That's not how WPSE is designed to work. WPSE is not a support forum, where only the specific solution to the OP's specific circumstances is the end goal. Rather, WPSE is a Question and Answer site intended to build a knowledge base. If the answer is valid, then it is valid, even if it doesn't resolve the issue in the OP's very specific circumstances. Regardless, answers and solutions are essentially the same thing, and are intended to be included ass Answers. Apr 23, 2013 at 13:49
  • In a situation where an existing answer is only lacking a tiny bit of information, you should edit the existing answer rather than creating new content. The site is editable, content is CC-licensed, and we're supposed to contribute to the sum total of the work here.
    – EAMann
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:17
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    @ChipBennett I just edited my answer and included my thoughts on your comment.
    – tfrommen
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:17
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    "Otherwise you'd build up an assumption base rather than a knowledge base." -- Agreed. Exactly the point I am trying to make. What good is "WPSE: Best Guesses on the Net!"?
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:21
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    "Otherwise you'd build up an assumption base rather than a knowledge base." - No. That is what community vetting via up/down voting is for. Wrong answers get downvoted, edited, and/or deleted. Comments cannot be improved, and must be cleaned up by moderators. Apr 23, 2013 at 16:00
  • On this website you need to ask a question, not just post a problem. So there is some more work to do for the OP before you should provide an answer. It's good to distinguish between the two as you did, but do not solve problems. Find the duplicates, link the duplciates, close bad worded questions or just problem postings.
    – hakre
    Apr 28, 2013 at 22:02

I agree with vancoder's approach on this one. What Chip Bennett is calling "feeling" out an answer or "vetting" an answer, I would call "debugging". If it is a guess, it is not an answer; it is an experiment intended to gather information. If the comment leads to a solution, or turns out to be a solution, it can be added, perhaps in more detail, to an actual answer and the comment deleted.

I understand the concern about cluttered comments, but the alternative is cluttered answers. Since, it is reasonable, I think, to consider answers as having more of an authority to them than comments, I would say it is better to have extra comments that (rarely) get cleaned up than extra answers that (rarely) get cleaned up.

Clarification: I have no issue with the basic idea that answers should be posted in the answer box. I suggest exactly that very frequently when reviewing items. I dispute Chip Bennett's interpretation of this comment thread and by extension similar threads. I dispute that this sort of comment constitutes an "answer". Furthermore, forcing this kind of thing into the answer box will create more mess than it cleans up.

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    Asking debugging questions is one thing, but that clearly wasn't the intent here. (See the follow-up comments.) It is far better to post an answer, providing the solution, and then explaining why that can resolve the issue. Again, it might not solve the problem in the OP's specific case, but it very well might solve the same issue for someone else - and that is the ultimate objective of a Question-and-Answer Knowledge Base site such as WPSE. Apr 23, 2013 at 13:47
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    @ChipBennett ... "(which will flush it) and check again" -- "and check again" is clearly a debugging move. This is no different from "disable your plugins and see if you can isolate the issue".
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 13:49
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    "but the alternative is cluttered answers" That's what up/down voting is for: wrong answers are voted down, and good answers are voted up; the "clutter" is thus handled by the community. Comments, however, cannot be down-voted, and can only be dealt with by moderators. Answers can be up/down voted and/or edited to be improved. Apr 23, 2013 at 13:51
  • Please read the full comments, to wit: "ecause I don't post answers unless I'll pretty sure they are correct answers - and I wasn't sure. Incorrect comments are better than incorrect answers, in my opinion.". This was a case of posting an answer as a comment, in case the answer proved to be incorrect. That is a blatant disregard for WPSE mechanics. Apr 23, 2013 at 13:52
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    @ChipBennett ... I read the question. Please do not pretend otherwise. I disagree with your interpretation. That does not mean I didn't read. Vancoder clearly states that "I wasn't sure". That is an experiment, not at answer. Down voting doesn't remove answers, and there are bad answers here. Someone will try those answers, down voted or not. (Note: I think but am not sure that there might be a downvote == delete threshold but voting rates do not seem to be high enough to push many answers over it.) "Add your guesses and delete them later" is a poor way to encourage quality answers.
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 14:19
  • "hat is an experiment, not at answer." What prevents that alleged "experiment" from being written as an answer, with an explanation for why it can potentially resolve the problem? Which better conforms to SE mechanics? Which is more likely to help build a "knowledge base" of answers to WordPress-related questions? Apr 23, 2013 at 14:26
  • When you leave an answer, if it proves to be incorrect, you are capable of removing it yourself. You don't have to wait for downvotes or moderator attention to remove your own, potentially inaccurate, answers.
    – EAMann
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:14
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    @EAMann ... agreed, but why add an answer when what you really want is to gather information about the problem? Sure, you can remove your answers. I have remove one or two of mine, but generally bad answers just hang around perpetrating bad information. And again, why "answer" when the point is gathering information?
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:18
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    @s_ha_dum you're arguing a straw man. I am specifically referring to answers posted as comments. You're talking about clarifying questions posted as comments. In the specific instance of my OP, the correct answer was flush your rewrite rules. It was not a clarifying question, nor did the commenter intend it as such. As stated in a follow-up comment, he posted it as a comment because he was unsure if it was the correct answer. That is intentionally by-passing SE site mechanics. Your "clarifying questions" straw man is a separate matter entirely. Apr 23, 2013 at 15:24
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    No, I am not @ChipBennett arguing a straw man. I am responding to the particular example you posted, which I read very differently than you. I am disputing your interpretation of that comment thread-- that particular comment thread-- but by extension similar threads. I have even stated as much at least once before. If you don't know the answer, or expect something might be an answer but aren't sure, or you are guessing at a solution with a relatively low probability (60-70%... that is subjective though) of the guess being the correct answer, you are fishing for information.
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 15:39
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    Not only was the comment intended to be an answer, but it was the correct answer, and when written as an answer, was written almost verbatim from the comment: "Visit the permalinks page (which will flush it) and check again. WordPress probably just needs to be nudged to recognize your addition to the hierarchy." All this (and your interpretation) implies to me is that people are just hesitant to add an answer that may get down-voted. It is perfectly acceptable to post suggestions as answers, even if they don't resolve the issue for the OP's specific circumstances. Apr 23, 2013 at 15:58
  • @ChipBennett ... so you say. That is the issue. I disagree. I won't be responding again unless you can come up with a new point.
    – s_ha_dum
    Apr 23, 2013 at 16:01
  • Yeah, best guess is: OP does not know really what to ask and makes a question in a good sense of a guess. And so opening the guessing club: Try to answer, if you produce anything i can work with which you don't know what I need until I accept yours is really daunting. Do not take part of these guessing clubs. Ban those questions early.
    – hakre
    Apr 28, 2013 at 21:59

Oh my, what did I start?

@s_ha_dum is exactly correct in his reading of my comment. It was an experiment, and one that I certainly was not sure enough of to post as an answer. Believe me, I have posted many wrong answers, so I am clearly not afraid of doing so :) And yes, my eventual fully-fledged answer was indeed almost verbatim from the comment - as @chipbennet points out - not because I was initially 'feeling it out', but rather because he prompted me to set it as an answer, so as not to clutter up WPSE.

My final comment - about doing as I see fit - certainly is not intended to translate as "I couldn't care less what community conventions are; I'm going to do whatever I want.", and I don't appreciate ChipBennett putting words in my mouth. What I in fact meant was - you may have your view on comments vs answers, whereas I have my own, and I will not be hectored by anyone.

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    "What I in fact meant was - you may have your view on comments vs answers, whereas I have my own, and I will not be hectored by anyone." - That is the functional equivalent of, I don't care what the site conventions are; I'm going to do it my own way. StackExchange sites are community-moderated sites, that operate under a set of guiding principles and conventions. If we don't all agree to work within those principles and conventions, then the site simply won't work as intended. And "community moderation" is not "hectoring". Apr 23, 2013 at 19:09
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    You alone are not the community. I am as much the community as you are. Disagreeing with your opinion is not disregarding site conventions.
    – vancoder
    Apr 23, 2013 at 19:14
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    "Disagreeing with your opinion is not disregarding site conventions." Well-played straw-man. Site conventions are not my opinion. Apr 23, 2013 at 19:22
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    Please note that SE as system is opinionated about use of comments and purposely discourages them. Simply put - it's not a form of site engineered for discussion. Answering and otherwise providing solutions is explicitly not recommended in comments. You might disagree where the line goes (which is fine - it's blurry), however taking it too far is trying to go against the system. And as you see it ends up in community attention attracted and spent - productively or sometimes not so much. :)
    – Rarst
    Apr 24, 2013 at 11:19

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