I have prompted users (senior/experts users) on questions asked by other users, to have a look at some similar questions or to the question I have asked in the past, but it didn't get enough attention.

I got told off by the senior users (users with a lot of reputation). That it is not a good practice to prompt users to different questions from one question.

I mean, after all, I am prompting them to have a look at another question on Stack Overflow. What could be so wrong with this?

Sometimes I have asked a question and not many users were online at that time so the question didn't get enough attention and then it just got lost among old questions where nobody bothers to go back in history and check for unanswered questions.

Having said all this, I understand we have this system of setting a bounty on a question but then it takes time, you have to wait seven days before you can start a bounty on a question. and again we are not supposed to ask the same question again as it will be a duplicate. Stack Overflow doesn't even allow you to post the question even when the first question didn't have any answers to it.

I just want to know what people out there think about this and if prompting users to different questions is a bad practice and starting a bounty takes seven days. What other way can I get attention drawn to my questions?

  • 8
    Because you're bothering them, and that could be annoying. Also it's 2 days, not 7.
    – Doorknob
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:07
  • This would be the same reason why there is no private messaging system, if the user wants to answer a question they will most likely search for questions to answer. Don't ping them by commenting on other answers asking that they check out your question, it's annoying. Wait the amount of time needed to add a bounty if you want people to find it.
    – Taryn
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:08
  • If somebody is annoyed/bothered by question being asked to them should they really be on SO ???? isnt this what we do here ask question/answer question
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:09
  • @M.Ali IMO, it's annoying when you seek a user out to ask them to answer your question.
    – Taryn
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:10
  • The question is always are you linking to it to help them (they may find the answer there) or to help yourself (to get your question answred there) Jan 2, 2014 at 21:11
  • @bluefeet is it really ? didnt think that someone who's on SO will be annoyed if someone asks a question to them, like I said before isnt this what we do here 99.9% of the time ??
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:12
  • 6
    @M.Ali The problem is that you are trying to get the attention of specific users, that defeats the purpose of SO. You should be posting questions for the community to answer, not specifically asking certain users to check out your question.
    – Taryn
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:13
  • @bluefeet Im sorry I mentioned your name in a pivot table once. but what I am trying to say is when a question is very similar to what you have asked a couple of days ago and it didnt get much attention whoever answer this question if you prompt this user to look at your question aswell that you asked sometime ago will I be wrong in doing so ???
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:17
  • @M.Ali if they're that similar you presumably could answer your own question by reading the answers to this one Jan 2, 2014 at 21:19
  • 1
    @M.Ali The point is that you shouldn't be prompting users to your questions, if they want to answer they will find it.
    – Taryn
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:19
  • 9
  • What @Josh just did is an example of appropriate linking because it is to help you and future readers Jan 2, 2014 at 21:21

3 Answers 3


Your behavior is inappropriate, and the users are correct in complaining about it.

Comments are designed for asking for clarifications or suggestions on the current question or answer. They're not your private messaging system for trying to get people to answer your other questions.

If you want attention to your questions, start by writing good questions. If it doesn't get attention, edit it to improve it or make it more clear.

No one owes anyone else an answer here, and putting unrequested posts in people's inboxes is very annoying. There's a reason we don't have a personal messaging system here. Imagine being one of those "senior users/experts", and what types of clutter and noise they would end up with over the course of just a couple of hours if this behavior was allowed.

  • Never said that anyone owes me an answer. all I am saying is sometimes you see a very similar question to a question that you asked a few days ago but it didnt get enough attention, so if someone answers to this similar question would it be wrong to ask that user to also have a look at your question that you asked a few days ago and didnt get any answers.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:20
  • 7
    @M.Ali yes it is
    – Taryn
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:21
  • 2
    @M.Ali yup. It would be fairly annoying.
    – Zane
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:25
  • 6
    My point about being owed an answer wasn't directed to you personally. The point is that people answer your question because they voluntarily spend their time to help you. Annoying them by filling their inbox with messages isn't the way to get them to want to help you. But to be clear: It is wrong for you to post messages in comments of other questions to someone asking them to look at your question.
    – Ken White
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:28
  • Appreciate your explanation cheers pal.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:38
  • 1
    @M.Ali: Well, if you find an expert's answer to a similar question, would it be wrong for you to try and apply it to your situation first? Then, if your attempts failed, you would have something to add to your question (explanation of what else you tried), and by editing it you would bring it to the top questions again.
    – Andriy M
    Jan 3, 2014 at 8:41

If you had only asked this:

what other way I can get attention drawn to my questions ?

I would have voted to close the question as a duplicate of:

Getting attention for unanswered questions?

...which has plenty of advice for getting attention to unanswered questions (disregard the "old" part in the title).

For the rest of your question, what you are doing is wrong (and I believe you and I have had this very conversation before). Stack Overflow is not a forum or chat room, and there does not exist a way to ping other users to pay special attention to some specific question for that very reason - we don't want to become a forum or chat room, and people don't want to be harassed to death because you have a question you think they can (never mind should) answer.

If somebody is annoyed/bothered by question being asked to them should they really be on SO ????

Yes. Are you really saying I shouldn't have the right to choose which questions I should even look at, never mind answer? How would you like it if I pinged you every five minutes pointing out a question I think you should answer?

You get attention to your questions not by tugging on people's shirt sleeves but by asking good questions, tagging appropriately, etc. Stack Overflow is a busy enough site where you can't simply blame the time of day for "not many users" being online. If your question doesn't get enough attention, you can see the answers above but primarily you can get more attention and new eyeballs through a bounty. If a bounty and other means aren't fast enough, you can always pay for quicker assistance (e.g. hire a consultant). If you're not willing to pay for help, then you'll have to accept that the site works in a certain way, and you can either live within those rules or seek help elsewhere.

Bluefeet kindly reminded me that if you have a particular user in mind, you can check their user profile, and see if they have publicly exposed contact information. That is usually an indication that they are open to receiving direct requests from the community (it's also quite rare).

  • Yes we did have this conversation about this issue and where I have mentioned in my question I got told off by the senior users I was actually referring to that conversation. I just wanted if there were any alternate ways of doing so or if this option is really off the table.and I have got my answer after listening to all the users here.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:35
  • 2
    @M.Ali Pretty sure "told off" might be a little strong. Cite?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:37
  • 2
    where "told off" actually means "don't do that, it's not polite/proper"
    – swasheck
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:38
  • @M.Ali Not sure how that's relevant. Your reaction (or over-reaction) to a comment is not something I can predict, control, or be responsible for.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:39
  • in tears not literally it was a metaphor, but the way you responded it felt like I have done a major crime.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:44
  • 4
    @M.Ali seriously, though, if you're going to call me out with such accusations that I "told you off," could you provide a reference so that other readers may judge for themselves, rather than your word vs. mine?
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:45
  • Take it easy pal, I am not accusing you of anything what you said was right. what I did was wrong. and I did it in ignorance not knowing all the rules of SO. I have avoided doing it afterwards as much as I could.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:50
  • 1
    @M.Ali but you are accusing me of something; you said I told you off. I don't remember it that way, and it paints me as some "senior user" that harasses people for asking questions.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:58
  • 1st of all when I said senior users I meant people with big reputation numbers/experts so nothing be "worried about". And like I have said in my previous comment, what you said was right and what I did was wrong and yea at that time because I wasnt aware of this rule of SO I felt like you were being a bit hard on me unnecessarily . and also if anyone thinks you harass people for asking questions. Well people he doesnt , and he is very helpful always. and I get to learn a lot from him, and I have a lot of respect for this guy. I hope I have cleared any misconceptions anyone may have :)
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 22:10

Generally, all of the posts on a particular question should be on the topic of that question. We try to avoid comments and answers straying from the topic of the question at hand.

If the answer to the question you're looking at answers your own question, than great you have your answer, otherwise, your question is a different matter, and should stay out of this other question.

If you want your question to be bumped to the top of the main page, than you can edit it, preferably with an edit that meaningfully improves the question.

  • Wow didnt know that if you edit a question it is comes on the top as if it was asked again.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:14
  • 1
    @M.Ali Make them good edits though, don't just do it to bump Jan 2, 2014 at 21:18
  • @RichardTingle always ask post questions with good quality text, providing as much as possible information and reasonable formatting. will try to make them even better.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:27
  • 1
    @M.Ali When viewing questions by "activity", editing obviously moves the question to the top, as editing is a type of activity. For people only looking at "newest", they won't see edits. The homepage of non-SO sites is based on activity; the homepage of SO isn't either, but rather a custom algorithm that isn't affected by edits.
    – Servy
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:42
  • @Servy cheers for pointing this out, but if I delete a question and post the same question again to get it on top will that be something acceptable by SO standards.
    – M.Ali
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:47
  • @M.Ali No, that is not.
    – Servy
    Jan 2, 2014 at 21:48

You must log in to answer this question.

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