Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

It's quite common when I ask a question and people put answers, someone else comments on the answers. That's perfectly fine. However, the person that gave the answer would comment, thinking that the person commenting was the person that asked the original question.

That can cause some confusion, because the person answering will comment back and something just doesn't quite fit with the content of my question and the comment from some random third party - this confuses the answerer.

I suggest making it clear when the person commenting is the person that put the question. It could be by putting a certain background color on the name of the commenter, as you see on many blogs.


As BoltClock points out, there is already a background color for comments of the person that posted the question. Neither I nor the answerers that were confused about this noticed it. Now that I know it, I must admit it's strange I didn't notice it - but even so, it could indicate a need to highlight it in some other way. Any suggestions?

share|improve this question
The OP is highlighted in blue in the comments. But I admit that the contrast isn't great. – Mysticial Aug 22 '12 at 6:20
Yup; what Mysticial said. if you leave a comment here now, you'll see the contrast of yours and our comments. It would be the same in comments to answers to this question. I think the effect is clear enough, but most simply don't know it is there. – Andrew Barber Aug 22 '12 at 6:23
It took me by surprise but it's there. :) – Shadow Wizard Aug 22 '12 at 6:44
Leaving a comment to see the highlighting. – Niels Brinch Aug 22 '12 at 7:11
Hmm, I guess my suggestion is no good then - but the problem remains. Can someone think of a better way to highlight it? – Niels Brinch Aug 22 '12 at 7:12
Maybe a bolded name wouldn't be a bad idea. – Toomai Aug 22 '12 at 12:56
up vote 9 down vote accepted

It could be by putting a certain background color on the name of the commenter, as you see on many blogs.

That's exactly what we have in place already. It is the same background color as the one that surrounds your user flair at the bottom right corner of your question. (On the main site, it is blue; on meta, it is gray.)

If people are still getting confused, they're most probably not paying a lot of attention.

share|improve this answer
I think people just don't know it's there and so don't notice. it's easy to see when looking for it, definitely. – Andrew Barber Aug 22 '12 at 6:25
How can people not know it's there? I can't avoid it unless I user-style it away. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 22 '12 at 6:26
Highlighting is not clear for short text such as user name. I only realize that it is highlighted after you mentioned it – nhahtdh Aug 22 '12 at 6:27
I guess they just don't pay enough attention to subtle ui features like that overall. – Andrew Barber Aug 22 '12 at 6:27
It's very hard, when you make an UI, to take the place of the people who will use it. This is a great example of the common problems. – Denys Séguret Aug 22 '12 at 7:17
It would've been more noticeable if it was background for entire block for that comment. – Oleg V. Volkov Aug 22 '12 at 8:22
@OlegV.Volkov, please no -- the highlighted text is already hard enough to read with certain accessibility mods. Obscuring the actual content (rather than just the name, which can be mentally mapped to "OP" with no harm done) would be bad. :-( – Monica Cellio Aug 22 '12 at 14:57

Suggestion: Supplement with a little question mark with a hover text that says "This person asked the question" or something like that. People will see that at one point or another and will understand what the highlighted background color means.

(I don't mean to accept this as an answer, but just thought I would get the ball rolling with other suggestions)

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .