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As a community, we often leave comments under a question/answer in the hope the question/answer will be improved or just to explain why a question/answer is likely to be closed/deleted.

However, even if the people doing this are well-meaning, sometimes, the comment is very not well taken.

So, how can we, as a community, make sure that your comment will be well taken?


Related:


Please, don't hesitate to edit/add stuff if you think one answer can be improved.

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  • I'd post this as a single answer rather than as multiple answers. – gparyani Oct 31 '18 at 3:38
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    @gparyani posting this as separate answers allow people to agree or disagree with a single post which isn't possible if all the answers are in the same post. – Ael Oct 31 '18 at 5:47
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Commenting or not commenting when you are the OP?

As the OP, it's fine to say "this answer helped me a lot" and "I don't understand, why do you suggest I do that?" however, leaving a "moderator" comment when it's your question is less fine. It can be seen as you not respecting the person who took the time to answer you. So, be extra careful when leaving a comment under an answer to your question (or don't leave the comment and wait/ask in chat for someone else to do it instead).

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For answers

Whatever the problem is with the answer, try to be the as precise as possible. If someone doesn't understand what the problem is with their answer and what can be done to fix it, they could resent you for making them feel that their answer isn't good enough and will go into their defensive.

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For (off-topic) questions

Whenever it's possible, try to suggest a way that the question could be fixed to be on-topic. This could be by:

  • Suggesting an alternate way of phrasing the question.

  • Suggesting another place where the question would be on-topic (The Workplace, parenting, etc...).

  • Specifying that OP can try to edit the question to make it on-topic.

Explanation: When someone asks a question, most of the time, they just want an answer and don't really care about the how. If you tell them that they can't ask their question here, they will be upset. However, if you give them a way to ask their question, they will be far less so. That's why suggestion an alternate phrasing or a place where they can ask is important.

In the case where you can't find another phrasing and don't know a place where the question could be asked, you can always tell them that, if they find a way to edit the question to make it on-topic, it won't be close/will be reopened. Since this requires much more work from OP's part, it's (far) less helpful, especially when OP doesn't know how to make their question on-topic. However, it's still better than just telling them that their question is gonna get closed.

Just saying that their question is gonna get closed can sometimes be interpreted as "You can't ask your question here, we don't want to help you".


Editing instead of leaving a comment

If you see a way that an otherwise off-topic question can be salvaged by a non-critical edit (for example changing the phrasing of the question), then go ahead and do that edit yourself. Don't forget to leave a comment explaining what you did and why you did it, and show the OP that they can revert back the edit if they so wish.

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When to "drop it"

If someone isn't interested in editing their post, don't argue/convince them otherwise.

If they need more details feel free to give it to them but if they just want to argue that their post is good as it is, don't argue back. You will just be adding not needed comment who will later need to be cleaned up. So, do yourself and everyone else a favor and drop it. Just downvote, flag and move on.

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Commenting or not commenting when you also have posted an answer?

Leaving a "moderator" comment under an answer when you also have written your own answer can be seen as a "conflict of interest" and, therefore, not be very well received. When doing so, be extra careful and consider the possibility of writing nothing/asking someone else (from chat) to leave the comment.

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