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Sometimes comments on answers will be asking follow up questions, that would be best suited to be asked as an entirely separate question. Other times such follow up question may not have been asked, but there be some obvious follow up question, that somebody reading the answer may be likely to ask.

I am not considering situations, where the answer in itself is incomplete. Let's say the answer does answer the original question, and contains sufficient information to resolve the issue. However there is a follow up question, which would provide a deeper understanding into the issue.

What steps should I take when writing such an answer?

  • Should I just wait for somebody to ask the question in the comments, and answer it in the comments?
  • Should I suggest they write the question as a separate question?
  • Should I copy the question from the comments section to a new question myself, and answer it right away?
  • Should I be proactive and write the follow up question along with an answer right after I have written the answer to the original question?
  • Should I just go with any of the above, depending on how much time I want to put into it?

Possibly related, but different question: Should follow-up questions be asked in comments or on their own?

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    When I had this happen I'd ask the OP to post a new question...but I suppose it depends. – Nathan C Jul 10 '14 at 20:33
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Should I just go with any of the above, depending on how much time I want to put into it?

Close, this is going to be extremely dependant on context. There are probably correct situations, for all of the options you suggested. You need to pick the solution that makes the most sense.

The limits of the comment system should be a good guide about which direction you should take.

Comments must be relatively short, and comments have very limited support for formatting. Comments don't really permit paragraph breaks. Also comments aren't really intended to be permanent. Occasionally comments will be removed.

So if a followup question/answer is very closely related to the original question/answers, and short enough to fit as comments, or work as an quick edit to the question, then feel free to go ahead and do that.

If the answer for a followup question won't fit in a comment, and isn't directly related to the original question, it is time to strongly consider creating a new question answer.

If you think the information could be useful for a lot of people in the future, it probably shouldn't be posted as a comment. You don't want that really useful bit of information to get purged at some point in the future.

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In general, if a followup question is really a different question, it should be a new question that links to the previous one.

If it's just clarification, it should be done with comments.

This is something that will be a judgement call, which I think will get made mostly on the part of the asker.

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