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  1. If a person answers with a follow-up question, and the author of the original question replies with a comment - how will the answerer ever know?

  2. If somebody answers my question, will it move to the top of the questions listing for the tags that the question and the answerer have in common?

  3. Why is there no private message system on Stack Overflow?

Time and time again I find that my questions die out because of 1, 2 and 3. The answerer never gets to know her answer needs more answering—the question is too far down the list to serve as a reminder—and she didn't leave any contact details in her profile so it's impossible for me to contact her and offer her payment to complete the answer.

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You should now have two notifications in the "responses" tab in your profile page here on meta - one for my answer, one for this comment. – Mat Oct 29 '11 at 10:19
You asked questions on Stack Overflow that received answers and comments, so you should know the answer to #1 already. If your comment doesn't receive a reply, the user simply chose to ignore it. – a cat Oct 29 '11 at 10:21
Yeah, #1 shouldn't be a problem. You should receive notifications on all those. #2 is true as well. #3 is essentially because the community doesn't want one, and I for one fully agree with that view. – Pëkka Oct 29 '11 at 10:54
What I miss (as an answerer) is the possibility of telling the questioner that I've updated my post. I have to manually write him a comment. – xanatos Oct 29 '11 at 12:05
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Leaving a comment on a post notifies the person who wrote the post. Posting an answer notifies the person who wrote the question.

These notifications are visible in the StackExchange dropdown in the header of each and every page all over the StackExchange network, and in your profile, under the "Responses" tab on the site the notification was generated.

Stack Overflow is not a social network, private messages are neither supported, necessary, nor, in my opinion, wanted at all.

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Not to mention the fact that any "follow-up questions" posted as answers are subject to flagging and deletion. – Chris Frederick Oct 29 '11 at 16:31

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