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There have been a number of cases where I would like to thank someone for providing me with a thorough response and give them feedback beyond the vote up. Often I wish people would tell me why they voted me up. Not that the thank you part is necessary but it sets it apart from the other comments related to answering the question itself.

In this type of situation is a "Thank you" acceptable in a comment?

For more information, see "What should I do when someone answers my question?" in the Help Center.

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Just a "thank you" would be discouraged; use an upvote, accept, or bounty. Providing constructive feedback or commentary is fine. – Cody Gray Mar 19 '12 at 22:44
I just had a "thank you" comment deleted, and it felt wrong. It depresses me to think that moderators are actively trying to make stackoverflow more soulless ): I think it's better to error on the side of retaining our humanity. Just my 2¢. – jwd Mar 25 at 18:49
@jwd thank you for your comment, haha... I think the intention is to avoid cluttering stackoverflow with unrelated information. The upvote is intended to be the thank you. – rudolph9 Mar 26 at 15:40
@rudolph9 The trouble is that no one knows who does the upvoting, and you don't know whether you've helped the OP specifically unless he or she accepts it as the answer. I actually don't accept that an OP expressing thanks for a useful answer is adding to "clutter" in any significant way, and in fact it's useful feedback, especially if it's a comment like, "Thanks! if I could accept more than one answer, I'd certainly accept this as well." – Todd Trimble Apr 7 at 1:55

4 Answers 4

up vote 48 down vote accepted

There is nothing inherently wrong with writing "Thank you" in a comment. It would be preferable to thank good answers with an up vote and the best answer by marking it as accepted. If on top of all that you also want to post a "thank you" comment, that's nice (I guess).

However, a comment saying just "thank you" isn't really what comments are for:

When should I comment?

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

When shouldn't I comment?

  • Compliments which do not add new information ("+1, great answer!"); instead, up-vote it and pay it forward;

You have quite a few other ways of being nice, to everyone not just the person who answered your question:

  • Ask helpful questions,
  • Post great answers,
  • Up vote helpful posts,
  • Down vote unhelpful posts,
  • Flag content that doesn't belong,
  • Revise posts,
  • Post comments with relevant feedback,
  • etc.

The list of things you could be doing that are more helpful than a simple "thank you" comment goes on ad infinitum.

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Commenting with a "thank you" and leaving constructive criticism on the answer at the same time is a good thing. This makes the post polite to the person who answered, without wasting any time or space. – Sam Aug 9 '13 at 6:09
@Sam "thank you" wastes space. It's always nice when there are only one or two other comments, but it's pointless noise when there are a ton of other more relevant comments. I don't mind "thank you" comments, unless they are pushing other more useful (i.e. relevant to the answer's topic) comments out of the way. See my answer for a non exhaustive list of things that better show your gratitude and are more polite (imho) than "thank you" comments. – Yannis Aug 9 '13 at 10:18
@Yannis I agree; thank you comments on short comment threads are nice and make things friendlier and more civil. Thank you comments on long comment threads, hiding useful comments, are harmful and need to be flagged and deleted. – Mark Amery Aug 9 '13 at 23:47
related issue: posting "Thank you, I'll try that tomorrow." is always a bad idea, not only because you should post after you tried the answer (with a confirmation that it work -> much nicer than any other explicit gratitude), but also because it degrades your appreciation if you thank already for a possibly useless answer. – Karl Richter Sep 7 '14 at 13:41
It is not clear to me: are we supposed to flag "thankyou-only" comments? – lpapp Dec 28 '14 at 6:36
Unless the "thank you" comments hide other, more useful comments I wouldn't bother flagging them @lpapp. The moderators have far more important things to do with their time... – Yannis Dec 28 '14 at 10:48
@Yannis: fair enough. – lpapp Dec 28 '14 at 13:19
I humbly think both arguments against posting "thank you" are not worth much (contrary to what seems to be the consensus). (1) "It would be preferable to upvote/accept answer".That's irrelevant: writing "thank you" in the comments does not prevent from doing that. (2) "That's not what comments are for". Says who? Saying that an answer solved a question is both nice and informative. – Seub Mar 11 at 9:52

It's perfectly acceptable (at least from the OP). There's nothing wrong with saying thanks. Most people would prefer the upvotes and the check mark, but I enjoy a thank you as well. It gives me that extra kick that I really helped someone who is human.

Sometimes moderators will delete these comments if they get obsessively repetitive and keep the ones that contribute to the post, but only if the number of comments starts getting out of control.

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Actually there is a "rule" against saying thanks, the third item on the "When shouldn't I comment?" list. – Yannis Mar 19 '12 at 22:52
@Yannis: I'm aware of it, although I still feel the OP saying thanks is acceptable, especially if it's the only comment on the post. There's no harm done by it. Getting a bunch of "thanks" messages from random users who ran across it is not something I'd condone, though. – animuson Mar 19 '12 at 22:54
Agreed that there's little or no harm (other than it might push other more helpful comments out of the way), was just noting that strictly speaking there is a rule and "thank you" comments go against it. – Yannis Mar 19 '12 at 22:55
@Yannis In my experience (which is mostly at MathOverflow), if there are other comments more helpful than "thanks!", they will tend to be upvoted and float to the top. A simple "thank you" from the OP is rarely upvoted much and hardly pushes more helpful comments out of the way, in my humble experience. Moreover, it reveals that the answer was helpful to the OP specifically, even if it wasn't the accepted answer, which mere upvoting can't do (as who upvotes is hidden from view). – Todd Trimble Apr 7 at 2:05

Thank-you comments are okay if they provide useful feedback. Just saying "Great answer!" is pointless and redundant; that is exactly what upvotes are for. Comments are for conveying ideas that upvotes are too general for. If you have that kind of praise for someone, then go ahead.

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Votes, acceptance and bounties are the ways to show thanks and appreciation that are built into the system.

While there's nothing to stop you adding "thank you" comments, some people may regard them as noise.

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protected by Robert Harvey Mar 19 '12 at 22:55

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