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Pursuant to Should we have an etiquette for not stealing answers on reopened questions?, How long should we wait before utilizing a comment by another user to enhance our own answer?

For example, in Can Avada Kedavra by blocked by a Patronus Charm? I edited my answer to include the bit on the Lethifold (Fourth bullet point) after reading a comment from The Dark Lord. I credited The Dark Lord as the original source of the information, although his mention of a Lethifold in his comment is rather off-handed and he does not elaborate in any other comments or in his own answer.

Was I wrong to take the idea of the Lethifold from The Dark Lord and run with it in my own answer?

How long should we wait before going off information found in someone else's comment to enhance our own answer?

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    IMO, however long it took you to read it. Comments aren't for answers, so putting it there is public domain. Now, if someone says "I'll write up a full answer later..." then maybe a delay. – user31178 Apr 24 '16 at 10:16
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    @CreationEdge - I think it's a little more complex than that... – Valorum Apr 24 '16 at 11:14
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    Related: Is it wrong to take someone else's answer from a comment and post it yourself? (note the chain of duplicates) – Loong Apr 24 '16 at 14:48
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    Personally, if I answer a question in the comments, it means that I have an idea of how to answer it, but I'm too lazy to do it myself, so I'm offering the idea to whoever sees it and is less lazy than myself. If I say "I'm going to answer this" in the comment, it means "back off, I'm going to post a real answer when I stop being lazy". :) – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Apr 25 '16 at 4:26
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    Ha, a Slytherin wants to quote the Dark Lord, that's unheard of. – Möoz Apr 26 '16 at 22:28
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    @WadCheber I'm the same there, however, it may not be site-wide. I know of people who stick things into comments quickly, so that they can be assured to have "dibs" on that particular point. Then when they flesh out there answer, they remove the comment. – Möoz Apr 26 '16 at 22:29
  • @Loong Some would say that's a loong chain of duplicates! – Möoz Apr 26 '16 at 22:30
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    I'll just sit over here and try to NOT cause issues.... – Anoplexian - Reinstate Monica Apr 28 '16 at 22:16
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There are two questions here. I'll tackle them both...

Was I wrong to take the idea of the Lethifold from The Dark Lord and run with it in my own answer?

No, absolutely not. Not only has TheDarkLord not included the info in his own answer, but he's actually paraphrasing another answer found elsewhere on the site. As such, his comment is completely fair game.

On top of that, you haven't simply copied what he's said but you've used it as a jumping off point for a fleshed-out argument. Crediting him was a nice touch but largely unnecessary.

At what point are comments fair game?

This is down to the judgement of the individual user. My personal take is that if you think the OP has made a good argument in a comment under their own answer, your first action should probably be to encourage them to add that point into their answer. If they refuse (or simply fail to act after a reasonable period, say a few hours) then the comment can be considered fair game.

If the comment is found under the question (or under your answer), then I'd argue that it's fair game immediately. Crediting the commenter is definitely good form though.

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    Eh. If they put in the time to comment, they should know to use the edit button, if it's relevant. There's nothing stopping them from still doing it afterwards. I'm not looking to make policy here, but if I cite the OP of the comment or other answer, my conscience is clear. – user31178 Apr 24 '16 at 11:21
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    @CreationEdge - Hmm. There have been numerous times when I've been using the comments to work out a point with another user. The idea that someone else could swoop in mid-stream and take what's being said and post it as a new answer (without offering credit) seems slightly off. – Valorum Apr 24 '16 at 11:22
  • Without credit is rude and in poor taste, but considering comments are ephemeral and not for answers... I dunno. Gray area. I always cite fellow members by name and often link, and DV when I think there's "stealing" going on. But how would we enforce such a policy? Tell people to DV? Any answer is only going to be for those who are already planning on being considerate :/ – user31178 Apr 24 '16 at 11:37
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    @CreationEdge - The way to enforce a loose policy is to lead by example and to explain to people that their actions (when they transgress) are boorish. You're right that some people will play the "there's no rule against it" game, but those people never last long on the site. – Valorum Apr 24 '16 at 14:15
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    Personally, I might prefer to follow the same rules for #1 (comment under their own answer) as for #2 (freestanding comment) as far as first encouraging the commenter to create an answer. But that's just a personal preference. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 24 '16 at 15:24
  • +1 and accept. Thanks for a great answer. I have always admired your ability to provide useful solutions to our many questions about protocol. And on the fly, to boot. :) – Slytherincess May 3 '16 at 20:28
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I just stumbled across this question and thought I'd clear up what happened! No, you were absolutely within your rights to use the Lethifold point in your answer and there was no need to credit me at all. I don't mind either way but I was actually a bit surprised when you mentioned me in your answer. If anything, I was copying you, not the other way around!

The only reason I mentioned the Lethifold was because I was looking at other questions to do with Patronuses and ran across this comment - from yourself! - dating from 2012. This was, as far as I can tell, the original mention of the Lethifold reference on this site. My viewpoint in the comments-discussion was influenced by this question by David, also from 2012. So you were (unintentionally, it seems) actually citing yourself!

I only mentioned the Lethifold for completeness's sake because it essentially put a hole in my argument that a Patronus can only interact physically with a Dementor and nothing else. I had to look up what a Lethifold actually was on the Harry Potter wiki and would be quite happy to wager that your Lethifold knowledge outstrips my own.

My reference in the comments to the Lethifold was, as @Richard says, really very fleeting and circumspect anyway so I don't think that I'd be justified in complaining even if my point was original and I did feel hard done by (in reality, neither is the case).

As for the main question, I agree with the principle that if someone feels strongly about a point-of-view then they'll answer as a question rather than a comment anyway. Someone taking up a comment as part of more fleshed-out answer is perfectly entitled to do. Credit can be given at the answerer's discretion but in my view is not strictly necessary.

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    You shall have a +1 for your sensible answer and a thumbs-up for your magnanimity. – Valorum May 2 '16 at 20:47
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    I agree with Richard -- thank you for such a sensible take on things. I laughed at the thought that I might actually be citing myself from one question to another :)) But it is important to me that the person who introduces a certain topic into the conversation in a given question be given some kudos! It's only fair, I think. :) – Slytherincess May 3 '16 at 20:32

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