Incredibly, I couldn't find a single, consolidated and up-to-date answer for this question. All I found was people complaining about missing notifications, discussions about changes in the notification system, and questions about @replies.

So here is what I think I know:

  • If I ask a question, I get notified about all comments, on the question or on any answer.
  • If I write an answer, I get notified about all comments on my answer.
  • Otherwise, I'm only notified if the comment contains a @reference to me

Is that really how it works? Do I get automatic notifications in any other situation?

  • possible duplicate of How do comment @replies work? – Sathyajith Bhat Mar 10 '12 at 4:03
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    Thanks. I've seen that answer, but I was hoping for a more straightforward answer to "when do I (or you) get automatically notified of a new comment". For example, I'm including @Sathya here because I'm not sure you'll be notified. I know the answer is somewhere on that link, but I'm just too lazy to find it there right now. That's why I'm asking this, I think we need a separate, simple and clear answer to that simple question. – bfavaretto Mar 10 '12 at 4:15
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    @CodyGray I don't think the FAQ answers this specific question too well, because it focuses on @replies and their syntax. My question here is "I know @replies forces a notification, but when else am I auto-notified?". – bfavaretto Mar 11 '12 at 2:12
  • On a question, you will receive notifications automatically for comments on the question only, not the answers.
    • One exception is auto generated comments, like closing as duplicate: you will not get notified of such comments.
  • On an answer, you will receive notifications automatically for comments on your answer.
  • On any question or answer, you will receive notification when you are pinged (@name).

Pings are slightly more complex, as they are potentially ambiguous. @name will match the eligible user with a name beginning with name that most recently acted in the thread. The following actions make one eligible for receiving a ping:

  • Commenting on the post.
  • Editing the post.
  • (♦ moderators and users using the dupehammer only) closing a post.

For the rules on writing a ping, refer to the faq.

There is also an automatic / implied ping:

  • If you are the only user to comment on a post, and its author posts a comment without an @notification, you will be notified.
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    Thanks a lot! I think it's this last "automatic/implied" ping that was confusing me... – bfavaretto Mar 10 '12 at 16:27
  • So if I understand correctly (and this also matches my experience), you do not get notified when someone posts an answer to a question you asked? Is there any way to enable this anyway? Sounds like one of the most useful situations for a notification? – Matthijs Kooijman Jun 25 '14 at 10:56
  • @MatthijsKooijman this question is just about comment notifications. You should get a notification when a question of yours receives an answer. – Kevin Jun 25 '14 at 21:11
  • To clarify; when you say If you are the only user to comment on a post, and its author posts a comment without an @notification, you will be notified., by post, do you mean both questions and answers, or questions only? (I'd have assumed both, but the linked FAQ said however if only you and the author have commented on the post so far, the @name will be automatically removed from the beginning of the comment, and I've used @name in such situation on a question comment before without it being automatically removed) – Aleksi Torhamo Aug 14 '18 at 23:45
  • Both questions and answers. Not sure if removing the @name is still a thing, a lot has happened with comments in the last 6+ years – Kevin Aug 14 '18 at 23:48
  • Do you get notified if the @ mention is added with an edit after the comment was posted? – confused00 Sep 5 '18 at 8:06
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    Let us test it. @confused00 I added the mention in an edit after the comment was posted. Did you get notification? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Sep 5 '18 at 8:14
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    haha nice. I did! – confused00 Sep 5 '18 at 8:16
  • suppose, A question is asked by user1, an answer is made by user2, user3 makes a comment to the answer without referring to anybody. Q1) both user1 and user2 are notified, right ? Q2) Now user4 comes into the scenario and makes a comment to the answer without referring to anybody. WiIl user3 be notified ? Q3) If user5 makes a reference to user4 while making a comment, user1, user2 and user4 will be notified., right ? Will user3 be notified as well ? – Istiaque Ahmed Jan 13 at 17:52
  • @IstiaqueAhmed no, in Q1 and Q2 only user2, the post author, receives an inbox notification. In Q3, only user2 and user4 will receive notifications. – Kevin Jan 13 at 18:08
  • @Kevin, user1, not user2 is the post author i.e: the person who asked the question. Perhaps you misunderstood it. – Istiaque Ahmed Jan 13 at 19:34
  • @IstiaqueAhmed it seems you are a bit confused on the terminology we use around here at StackExchange. The question and answers are each separate “posts,” independent for many purposes, including notifications. – Kevin Jan 13 at 23:14
  • @Kevin, you said : 'in Q1 and Q2 only user2, the post author, receives an inbox notification.'- user1, not user2 is the post author. So for Q1, user1 ( the post author ) and user2 ( the answerer) should get the notification, right ? – Istiaque Ahmed Jan 14 at 7:31
  • @IstiaqueAhmed that’s not the way things work around here. A question is a post, and an answer is a separate post. The user who posted the question does not automatically get notifications about comments on the answers. – Kevin Jan 14 at 7:34
  • @Kevin, shouldn't the asker get notifications for answers and comments to anything ? – Istiaque Ahmed Jan 14 at 8:15

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