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In reply to my answer to this question, three different users noted issues with part of my solution and an excellent alternative. I edited the answer to reflect that information, and wanted to comment to notify those users of that fact.

Because I could only notify one other person per-comment, I used a hackish solution that prompts this question. I posted three comments; one to each user, each with a very short message that would show up in their inbox. I then immediately deleted the comments, so as not to leave the 'noise'.

I guess this is sort of a multi-part question:

  1. Comment 'reply' notifications do not get removed from a user's Global Inbox when the comment itself is deleted. (EDIT: This has been proven to be incorrect) However, does deleting the comment almost immediately after posting defeat this by causing an Inbox notice never to be sent? I have no intention of leaving such comments beyond a few seconds, so if this doesn't "work" as I have done it, I won't do it at all any longer.
  2. Am I potentially creating noise for Moderators by doing this? Since I am deleting the comments immediately, I wouldn't expect it to cause trouble with the view of posts with high comment count (and wouldn't do this on a post I think is likely to be comment-hell, anyway)... but am I wrong in thinking deleted comments don't count toward the 20? Or does self-deletion of a handful of comments cause any Moderator notifications/extra entries?
  3. Is there some other reason it's not desirable to be exploiting the comment reply notification system in this way?

Basically, it's such a small thing that I've only done a handful of times, and I'm only posting this question at all because by the time it occurred to me what a tiny thing it is, I'd already put too much effort into the question to abandon it. If it causes any noise (or any other trouble), I'll gladly stop!

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"Am I potentially creating noise for Moderators by doing this?" Actually, no, you aren't. I misread that part of your question, sorry :P Deleted comments don't create noise, only flagged comments that are still hanging around do ;) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 13 '12 at 13:09
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn Oh, well... nyah! hehe; I wasn't sure about that detail, and the minimal benefit I get from doing it would not be worth it! –  Andrew's a Unitato Jan 13 '12 at 13:10
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Related: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/66770/… –  Yannis Jan 13 '12 at 13:32
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The way you used the hack is quite innocent and I'd be surprised if it was perceived as annoying by the users you ping (but obviously I wouldn't know).

Deleting the comment immediately after writing it will not generate an inbox notification, I'm speculating that the edit grace period is taken into account. But again, I really don't know. There is a noticeable lag, however.

In any case, if (when) I do something similar, I'll probably do the pings via chat, giving the other party the opportunity to mute me, if annoyed. That wouldn't work if they have already muted me, but in that case I probably deserved it...

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You're right, the inbox notification will go away when the comments are deleted. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 13 '12 at 13:16
    
@AndrewBarber Caching does play a role, but I don't think you can count on the users getting the notice... They will go away eventually. And if I remember correctly I only deleted one comment, the other one is still on the question. –  Yannis Jan 13 '12 at 13:44
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The comment made above by @BilltheLizard is correct. The inbox notification re the deleted comment reply here has disappeared. That puts the nail in the proverbial coffin! –  Andrew's a Unitato Jan 13 '12 at 13:48
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@AndrewBarber Always good when pure speculation turns out (very close to) true... Ordinarily, I'd post it as a comment, but went for it, since it's Friday :) –  Yannis Jan 13 '12 at 14:05
    
You're also right that it's the 5-minute edit period that has to elapse before the notification is made. –  Matthew Read Jan 13 '12 at 17:16
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Just to gather everything together from comments and the like:

This does not work as expected, and I won't be doing it any longer.

I was wrong in my statement in point #1; Inbox notifications of comments that have been deleted do, in fact, get deleted from the Inbox, also... just not immediately. Additionally, deleting the comment immediately after posting it causes there to be no inbox notification in the first place.

That reduces the utility of this hack to pretty much nothing.

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