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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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4  
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 '15 at 18:49
2  
@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 '15 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 '15 at 1:55
up vote 52 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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2  
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
5  
@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
2  
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
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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 '15 at 9:52

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

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