if a question is getting a little old ... a useful comment will be posted and I might not see it a timely fashion.
This becomes very complicated and very noisy very quickly.
What is the use case?
For those users with very few questions which are never resolved, this might make sense. If you're in the middle of the problem, you're already receiving notifications for new answers, and you're checking the question by hand if there's ongoing discussion about a particular answer.
The vast majority of Stack Exchange use, however, is the following:
- I have a problem
- I ask for solutions
- Problem solved
- Move on to next problem
Most people, once the problem is solved, will not be interested in looking at that question again. Sure, you have a few people who like to curate their questions, and change the accepted answer or respond to comments occasionally, but for the vast majority of users, once the problem is solved they don't want to deal with it again.
I have over 100 questions, and in the last week about 40 edits and comments have been made to a few of them. I don't want to see those notifications. I want to see them if they are to my answer, to my question directly, or to me using @adamdavis, but otherwise I'm not that interested in those things.
Now imagine the user with a thousand questions over the last few years - they would never see their normal notifications - direct mentions, comments to their questions and answers, etc - in the huge list of notifications not meant for them, but on answers to their questions. Not to mention every answer edit (since there's no reason to add a comment notification without also adding answer edit notifications). It would be too much.
So we'd then need a way to "follow" questions, and "unfollow" questions. This complicates the user interface further, for very little benefit - those few people who curate their questions over a very long period of time would benefit, but most of the users would merely be annoyed.
So just on the face of things it doesn't sound like a great plan. But let's take a step back and consider the ramifications:
What behavior are we encouraging
A notification would be an in-your-face suggestion that you take action. Yes, we have some notifications that user's have requested which don't require action (like rep increases), but for the most part notifications are a, "Please pay attention to this - you should review it and possibly respond or act on it."
So what is it that we're suggesting users do by telling them an answer to their question has a new comment that wasn't addressed to them? Again, those few users who curate their content will find this useful, but most people will look at the notification and go, "ARGH HOW DO I TURN THIS OFF!" They've already solved their problem.
So do we then provide another checkbox on each page to stop receiving notifications? Does it flash a popup giving you granular control over what notifications to receive?
For those people who want to track everything that changes to their questions, I suggest they employ a browser extension, or use an outside service. A quick search pulls up the following: