I flagged this answer to the question Can someone help identify an old-ish fantasy novel about magicians that have a characteristic animal form? earlier as "not an answer" as I felt that an answer to a (story identification) question which the answerer starts with:

I know it isn't the right books

and then continues on to describe a book which has similar concepts but is (as the answerer admits) not the book that the question is asking after.

Quite clearly fits the definition of:

This was posted as an answer, but it does not answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether.

Am I mistaken?

2 Answers 2


I agree it works better as a comment on the post and I have converted it.

Also, be sure that you're being gentle with new users who show some reasonable potential -- leave lots of comments explaining what they should be doing. Otherwise, we're turning off users and stunting the site's growth.

  • +1 for being gental. Aug 12, 2011 at 16:21

I consider this a borderline case. I hesitated, but decided leaving it as an answer because there hasn't been a plausible answer and the asker might be conflating two books. So in this sense, it's a tentative, partial answer. I'm inclined to be more tolerant of weak answers on identification questions, because far-fetched guesses do sometimes turn out to be right. I can see the case for keeping this in a comment too.

  • This was exactly how I felt. IMO sometimes it's just better to downvote an undesirable question rather than unilaterally convert it to a comment. Because downvotes come from the community at large, while comment conversion can only stem from high-powered users. Aug 12, 2011 at 20:15

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