This might not be a popular topic for many, but very interesting for a few, so maybe this feature request could also be introduced as a high level privilege.

I regularly like to add useful comments to new users' posts to urge them to read a certain page from the StackOverflow Help Center to help them improve their post if they have strayed far from the guidelines. Here is a typical example of a comment that I would leave:

Your answer has been down voted by several members of the StackOverflow community because it does not meet some basic requirements. Please see the How do I write a good answer? page of the StackOverflow Help Center to help you to improve your answer. If you improve it, your down votes may be removed. See the What is reputation? How do I earn (and lose) it? page for more information.

Now it's true that if I didn't do this, then people would eventually flag the answer and it would get deleted and the user would get a pre-defined explanation, but I feel that my comments are more welcoming, more friendly... more human. Also, leaving these comments is a great way to get users to actually read the help pages and therefore, adhere to the advice given there.

And it's not always for poor quality answers. It could be that a user leaves a comment saying that they have down voted a user for doing something that the Help Center says is perfectly acceptable. I also find myself needing to leave comments with links to the same certain code API webpages again and again. Of course, there are many different situations and I won't go through them all here, but it's not just me either. I've also seen other users that leave the same comments pointing to this resource, or that, on different posts in the same situations.

Anyway, my point is this: I find myself repeatedly re-writing the same old helpful comments again and again. It takes quite a while to keep navigating to the various web pages to copy the titles and URLs to make the links in the comments for the users.

So I was wondering if there could be a feature, maybe provided as a high level privilege, where I could store a small number of draft comments and access them from the comments panel?

By 'comments', I mean the actual characters that are written in the comment input text box, including the formatting characters.

I can visualise a number of buttons under the Add Comment button, which when clicked, could paste the relevant saved comment into the comment input text box. Maybe something like this:

enter image description here

Or even better, instead of the buttons, there could be a combo box with titles of the draft comments, so that we could be sure which comment we were requesting.

Please share your thoughts on this.

Please note that I am aware that I can search through my answers using user:me and is:answer, but it seems that there is no corresponding is:comment value that I can use. I have also seen the Can I search my comments using some keyword(s)? and How can I search StackOverflow comments? pages here on Meta, but they both confirm that I can't search through my previous comments.


Thanks to @Michael Petrotta for providing a link to a script that provides this functionality on the AutoReviewComments - Pro-forma comments for SE page from StackApps. This page has an image that shows what it looks like... it's pretty similar to what I was thinking:

enter image description here

As I replied in my comment though, I'd still really like to see this feature 'built in' to StackOverflow. Again, let me know your thoughts please.

  • 3
    I use this userscript. Feb 8, 2014 at 0:42
  • Wow, that looks awesome... pretty similar to what I had imagined. Is that just a javascript script as well? I'd still like to see this feature 'built in' to StackOverflow though. I'll edit my post with that image. Thanks.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 0:49
  • Yep, it's just JavaScript. Feb 8, 2014 at 0:57
  • We had an entire Meta page filled with prototype proforma comments once. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost.
    – user102937
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:08
  • @MartijnPieters, if you read my update, you'll see that really, I'm requesting a built-in feature, not a macro add in.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:19
  • That's exactly what the other request is asking for. A built-in feature to produce comments. Feb 8, 2014 at 1:21
  • The issue with it being built-in is that it's extra javascript that would need to be downloaded by every user, regardless of whether they want to use it or not. That's extra data slowing everything down. Better to have apps such as the one linked, then if anyone wants it they can get it. Perhaps making stackapps more visible and discoverable would be a good idea though. (It's clearly not discoverable enough as you weren't aware of it until now).
    – JonW
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:21
  • Yes, but the accepted answer for that question is, as I stated in my update, not acceptable for this question.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:22
  • @JonW, that's not necessarily true. I'm not suggesting that StackOverflow build that javaScript script into the site... they don't need to... they have the source code. This functionality could be achieved with just an extra tab in the user section to add the draft comments and a combo box in the Comments Panel with one tiny function to populate the comments text box.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:28
  • What about comments helping new developers with the same old problems? I write WPF and I can't tell you how many comments that I've linked to the INotifyPropertyChanged Interface page on the MSDN website. This feature would be useful for all those comments too. Other users repeatedly leave comments advising new users to define their UI elements in XAML rather than in the old WinForms way. There are many other valid reasons to leave the same comments again and again.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:33
  • @Sheridan "as noted above" is confusing at this point in time since the header is only visible to you since the question is not closed. And personally, if you want to dispute an duplicate, you better explain why it isn't a duplicate in the post (preferably as a footnote) not just state, this doesn't answer my question. Feb 8, 2014 at 1:57
  • @psubsee2003, thanks for pointing that out - I didn't realise that only I could see it. However, I did dispute the duplicate already, as you can see above.
    – Sheridan
    Feb 8, 2014 at 2:06


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