The basis of a Frame Challenge is that a question might be more answerable if portions of it were different. You see this a lot with questions that may be XY problems, among other things.

I've noticed a trend that Frame Challenges are relegated to answers of their own, and have even been removed from comments because they are considered answers, not commentary. This makes no sense to me.

By it's nature, a Frame Challenge exists to improve the question. It seems to me that there are two ways to form a Frame Challenge; one that is also an answer (ie "If you look at the actual problem, you'll see that this would work better") but the other does not inherently have an answer in it (ie "It seems like you want to correct something but there may be a better way than you've suggested, if we knew what it was").

This issue has come up before in a roundabout way, but the accepted answer there's first line seems to be ignored at this point. I'm seeking to formalize a response to Frame Challenges as comments, when they do not actually answer the question, if they do not provide an answer to the altered question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you maybe give an example of a question and comment you see as a valid use of a frame challenge in a comment? Preferably real, but as you can't search comments, I feel even a contrived example might help make things clearer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 17:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'll try. Not being able to search comments was why I resorted to generalizing. I know I've seen it before, though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 19:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's also hard, because the comments have usually gotten deleted either by admin or the user. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


You’re using “frame challenge” to mean something different than what normally gets called a “frame challenge” here. Let’s get our terms on the same page first.

The usual meaning of “frame challenge” is just a shorthand for “an answer that first challenges the accuracy of how the question has framed the problem, then answers the question by reframing the problem more usefully first.” That’s what our FAQ about challenging the frame of questions is about.

What you’re meaning is “you have a problem with how your question is posed and you should fix it like so.”

That’s fine in a comment. That’s just the normal intended use of comments, and doesn’t need to be (further) formalised as allowed.

Generally, the division between comments and answers is:

  • Are you providing information that helps their role playing games problem?

    If yes, that goes only in an answer post. This is the kind of thing called a “frame challenge” here, and yes, they go only in answers.

  • Are you providing suggestions for improving the way the question is asked?

    If yes, that goes only in a comment. This is the kind of thing you’re talking about, and is fine to put in a comment.

If the answer to both questions is no, then it probably shouldn’t be posted anywhere on a question page.

Note too that it’s possible to mix these two things in one post. That should be avoided, because it results in downvoted answers and deleted comments, even if they contain other legitimate material.


Frame challenges are generally about solving problems which is not the job of a comment

I'm not going to say that frame challenges can never be part of a valid comment, but the form of a frame challenge isn't generally something that is useful for a comment.

A frame challenge is where an author answers a question in a wholly different way the querent never asked for, or potentially expressly forbade, but in a way the author feels will actually solve the problem.

A frame challenge is all about solving the problem in a different way than the author intended. But in the end, they are about solving the problem, which is not something that a comment should be doing.

Comments must work towards improving or clarifying the post

As pointed out in the Help Center text for the commenting privilege: if your comment is not making clear suggestion for improving the post or asking clear questions seeking clarification, it generally does not belong as a comment.

The comment you in particular link to (now deleted) responded to a question asking "A spell that let's you travel to another setting. Which level would it be?" with (paraphrasing since I don't have the comment text [mods feel free to edit the actual text in])

"Frame challenge: use the planar travel spell instead."

This is not working towards improving the question, it is suggesting a method for solving the issue — instead of homebrewing your spell, just use one that already exists and has an established spell level already.

If the intent there was to somehow improve the post, it was failing to communicate that and regardless of intent, was interpreted (by me and at least one other person) as attempting to answer the question. So if you are attempting to make a valid comment containing a frame challenge, you must make it clear how you are trying to improve or clarify.

Suggesting changes to questions isn't really a FC, but it is allowed

Your example,

"It seems like you want to correct something but there may be a better way than you've suggested, if we knew what it was"

does not fit what I would view as a traditional frame challenge, but does in fact appear to be attempting to clarify or improve the post. Therefore it is likely fine (though without context and more details it is impossible to say for sure).

Again, I can't think of every possible circumstance, so it might be possible for an answer to contain a frame challenge in some way and still be a valid use of a comment. But on the other hand, this whole thing about categorizing a comment as a frame challenge or not is a red herring.

The bottom line is, comments won't get deleted for frame challenging alone as long as it is a clear attempt to improve or clarify the post.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .