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I think there's general agreement that thanking a person for a good answer isn't what comments are for. However, if a user does thank me for an answer, may I acknowledge it with "You're welcome!" or "Glad I could help!", or is this kind of comment frowned upon since it doesn't contribute meaningfully to the discussion?

In the past, I've usually ignored "Thank you" comments for that reason, but every time I did so, I felt it was somewhat impolite of me (especially if my answer was upvoted and accepted).

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24  
If a "thank you" is noise, then answering it is even more noise. –  Joachim Sauer Aug 31 '12 at 14:44
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Best way to acknowledge a "thank you" comment is by flagging it as obsolete ;) –  Yannis Aug 31 '12 at 14:49
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The best would be if the system could catch these comments automatically and explain to the commenter why a "thank you" is neither necessary nor expected. –  Emil Vikström Aug 31 '12 at 15:03
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@YannisRizos (Or too chatty) ;-) –  Gaffi Aug 31 '12 at 15:07
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I for one sometimes (infrequently) acknowledge such comments - only in cases when an apparently inexperienced OP doesn't mark an answer accepted. I reply with something like, "you're welcome, in case if you're interested here's how accepting an answer works at this site". I guess I got whopping 30 or maybe even 60 rep this way –  gnat Aug 31 '12 at 15:11
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@gnat I guess now you can retire and live the good life on all that rep you're raking in. –  Servy Aug 31 '12 at 15:17
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I had this same question!, thank you –  ajax333221 Aug 31 '12 at 15:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I don't think there's any harm in saying you're welcome, especially if a thank you comment is a little more verbose. Both are chatty but they are also courteous, show the camaraderie that we're trying to foster on the site, and further enforce that the accepted answer actually solved the OP's problem (and take away any doubt that the answer was accepted due to the ridiculous peer pressure about accept rate).

I sometimes delete "you're welcome, glad it helped" comments after I know they've been seen, just as I do if I point out an error and it gets fixed. But if the answer is accepted and the question has been answered, I don't think there is much harm at all in those comments staying there. They're not taking away from anything except a few pixels of vertical scrolling for future readers.

I hope we don't get to a point where we're discouraging comments because the noise they create is more important than the courtesy they display. IMHO, nothing could be further from the truth.

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in the long run, my scroll wheel will need to be replaced earlier because those extra pixels :/ –  ajax333221 Aug 31 '12 at 15:30
    
@ajax333221 to be clear, I'm not saying "hey everyone, you should thank people for their answer, and expect a 'you're welcome' too!" I'm saying that when the OP has gone out of their way to thank you for the help, there's no harm in also acknowledging that. Hopefully your scroll wheel isn't so important that you need to force the politeness out of everyone - I don't want to encourage all this chattiness, but it is nice when the OP feels obligated to do so. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 31 '12 at 15:32

The purpose for comments is improve the question in some way (provide constructive feedback, request clarification, etc). See the "comment everywhere" privilege page under "When should I comment?" and "When shouldn't I comment?" for more details about the explicit purpose of comments.

Having lots of useless comments under an answer is distracting (noise), especially for visitors (from Google) that aren't Stack Exchange contributors.

All that being said, two comments under an answer that say "Thank you, that fixed my problem" and "You're welcome, glad I could help!" is not noise. At least, not to a point that's significant enough to detract from the post. I frequently respond this way to people I've helped out on here.

If that's all there is, go ahead and respond (it may be deleted at some point still). If there's already been an extended discussion in the comments, I would just move on (possibly flagging for a mod to clean up all the comments).

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