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New users are frequently asked to raise their accept rate, format their code, read the faq, etc. Unfortunately sometimes old timers get frustrated doing this, which results in the comment being quite terse and sometimes rather rude.

How about having a small collection of template comments with easy access that provide a reasonable explanation along with a link to a faq explaining in further detail? This could be limited to standard comments or expanded to allow each user to customise his templates. It might be necessary to limit the standard template answers to ~500 rep users to prevent abuse.

Examples that could be useful:

  • Read how to accept an answer and raise your [ACCEPT_RATE]. You will gain reputation and get better answers.
  • Read how to format code to improve the readability of your post.
  • What [language|operating system|compiler|version] are you using? This information is necessary to help us help you answer your question.
  • Please edit your question to include the code you're using. If possible, post the minimal code snippet that shows the problem. This will help us answer your question.
  • What error do you get? This will help us answer your question.
  • What have you tried so far? If you show you put in effort, then we will put in more of an effort to help you.
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Something like this? (carry on reading below the screenshot for features, or if you're already convinced, head over to StackApps).

enter image description here

Features

1. Read before your post!

Note that the dialog only inserts the text, it doesn't send the comment, nor does it flag anything, this is so that you can check the text before posting!

2. Customize the texts

Simply double click on a comment text or description in order to customize it. Hit the 'reset' button if you screw up. This customization is per-site. Note that the "Welcome to $SITENAME$" text is automagically inserted if the user is 'new' (member for less than a week), so you don't need to add that to your custom text.

3. Quick user info

The dialog also includes a mini-summary of the user's activity (because if they haven't been back in months, there's no point writing them a comment).

4. Automatic notification of new versions

The script will also notify you if a newer version is created (details here).

5. Import/export of custom comments

This helps with transferring custom comments between sites. The export/import 'format' is also conveniently presented as markdown, so you can post it in an answer below, and let others benefit from your words of wisdom.

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If you find you are leaving the same sort of comment over and over, there are any number of text-replacement apps that will do what you want.

Baking it into Stack Overflow doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Who manages the strings? They'd have to be different among the many Stack Exchange sites. Heck, they'd have to be different among tags on Stack Overflow, unless they are limited to a very small number of very generic contents, and then I doubt their utility.

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That doesn't solve the problem: frustrated old timers with enough time to post a (often cryptic to beginners) terse comment. It could be managed by mods, maybe 10k users. All the examples I provide are pretty generic (for SO, that is). –  marcog Jan 6 '11 at 14:19

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