There's currently an outstanding need:

when a question needs clarification, and I'm discussing this with the OP, I receive notifications of their comments, but not edits.

  • And this is despite the fact that edits are the recommended way to reply to clarification requests!

  • This has led some OPs to employ a kludge: in addition to editing the post, do a comment like "see the update".


  • @PatrickHofman This is exactly as it's meant to be: 1)the reason for this topic to exist is stated 2) the important part is highlighted. 3)"I propose to add... !" sounds plain immature and thus would repulse potential supporters. Nov 16 '15 at 9:38
  • I find the current layout very distracting. That's why I edited. Nov 16 '15 at 9:39
  • @ShadowWizard does sound similar but it's very unclear. It's confusing what the OP actually wants - thus the answer went off on a tangent. I'll edit the question with comparison (and am daring you to track the change without being notified! =) ). Nov 16 '15 at 9:52
  • @ivan_pozdeev no idea why you think it's unclear. It's 100% clear for me. Nov 16 '15 at 9:52
  • Hmm. Okay, then I'll take over that question. I was always thinking that it was strictly prohibited to alter anything, anywhere beyond the original author's intent. But if you are slamming it into my face this is the way to go... Nov 16 '15 at 10:15
  • 1
    No, no, no. I don't want notifications if any question (or answer) I have commented on gets edited. If a user thinks it is important enough to notify me he can @ping me. It is implemented (and I hope it isn't) then it had better be configurable so I can turn it off. Nov 16 '15 at 11:30
  • @DavidPostill can you tell me the principle difference between comments and edits as per c873133? Because I don't see one. Nov 16 '15 at 11:40
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    @ivan_pozdeev The difference is I get notified of comments on my questions/answers. I don't get notified of comments on some other persons questions/answer (unless I have commented and then get @ pinged). I get notified for edits to my questions/answers. I don't want to ever get notified for edits to some other persons questions/answer (whether I commented on some other persons questions/answer or not), unless something thinks it is very important and then @ pings me). Nov 16 '15 at 11:45
  • @DavidPostill @user is ineffective if there is more than one peer. Nov 16 '15 at 12:59
  • <shrug>. If the OP feels it is important to notify more than one user he can add multiple comments (one per @ user) Nov 16 '15 at 13:01
  • @DavidPostill c873161: Not quite. I also get notified on any comment as long as I'm the sole commentator besides the OP - which has the same effect as getting notified on every comment unconditionally. Nov 16 '15 at 13:23
  • That's a corner case. And nothing to do with "@user is ineffective if there is more than one peer.". You are not making any sense to me. Nov 16 '15 at 13:27
  • @DavidPostill the gist is in some cases, I do get notified on every comment to a post I commented on, and this has proven helpful (example). Nov 16 '15 at 13:34
  • I don't care. See my answer. Your proposal doesn't scale. I don't want my inbox filled with edit notifications. When you've made as many comments as I have I'm sure you would feel the same. You have only made 22 comments. I have made more than 18000 Nov 16 '15 at 13:37

Indeed, edits are the best way to reply on a clarification request. Clarifications should go in the question, not in a comment.

The problem is though that you can't make distinction between users interested in updates or not. If I just post a comment to help OP, but don't want to participate in the post any more, I don't want a notification for every edit. If you were the person asking OP to clarify, you do want this.

Without a mechanism to make this distinction, this feature won't be very useful to the general user who just comments.

The current way of @reply is the best way to notify of an edit now. Those comments can be deleted once read, so if OP is interested in maintaining his post, it should be okay.

  • If you "aren't interested in participating", then don't start. You are getting notifications of comments in any case, so whether you get notified of edits, too, doesn't make a difference. Nov 16 '15 at 9:42
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    @ivan_pozdeev comments can be used to clarify what other commenters say, and not be directed at the OP. In those cases, the notification is probably noise.
    – Andy
    Nov 16 '15 at 13:25

I am not interested in automated notications of edits to other peoples questions/answers

This is not because I don't care.

It is because your proposal would vastly increase the number of notifications I receive.

Here's why:

  • As an active participent in SU for more than 1 year, I have made 5,634 Comments and 12,518 Reviews (many of which leave automated comments).

  • Every time one of those 18,000+ questions or answers was edited I would get a notification.

If 10% were edited I would get 1,800 notifications in my inbox.

If 10% of the questions on SU where you have commented was edited you would only get 2 notifications (you have made only 22 comments and no reviews). On SO you would get about 250 notifications.

Your proposal doesn't scale.

What I like about the current system:

  • I don't get notified of comments on some other persons questions/answer (unless I have commented and then get @pinged).

  • I get notified for edits to my questions/answers.

  • I don't get notified for edits to some other persons questions/answer (whether I commented on some other persons questions/answer or not), unless someone thinks it is very important and then @pings me.

What I dislike about the current system:

  • Nothing. There aren't any bad things.

Please leave the current system alone. It works.

  • If a question has been read by 20 people thoroughly enough to leave a comment, minor issues with it have already been addressed. Nov 16 '15 at 13:06
  • It is discussable if suggested edits should be included - because they are prohibited to diverge from the OPs intent and thus are very likely to be minor. Nov 16 '15 at 13:08
  • If it works - how does it address the need outlined in the question? Nov 16 '15 at 13:16
  • Please read my updated answer. Nov 16 '15 at 13:24
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    Your need (and it's proposed solution) don't scale. Nov 16 '15 at 13:25
  • If any of your (as of this writing) 1235 SE network posts gets acted upon, you'll also get a notification. How many do you routinely get (to infer the percentage)? 10% is way overboard. Nov 16 '15 at 13:49
  • Very few. My posts are so good they don't need editing ;) Nov 16 '15 at 13:50
  • As seem to be mine. So, one would need some numbers to overthrow your claim... I do see from experience that edits are much rarer an event than comments. Nov 16 '15 at 13:54
  • Hehe. 50% is more accurate. Number to follow from Bob ;) Nov 16 '15 at 14:11
  • Unless I've calculated incorrectly, approximately 36% of all posts and 51% of all questions on SO have been edited.
    – Bob
    Nov 16 '15 at 14:11
  • @Bob That's not it. The rate of edits vs comments is needed - to roughly estimate the rate of notifications a person with N comments will get, assuming uniform distribution. Nov 16 '15 at 14:16
  • Assuming steady rate ratios throughout SO history, too, I get that an average post is edited 0.63 times and commented on 1.55 times, thus giving 0.40 edits per comment, over the ~6 years (~2200 days) of SO history. Thus, a person with N comments is expected to get N*0.40/2200=N*1.8e-4 notifications/day. Nov 16 '15 at 14:56
  • To put this to scale, David and I with 955 and 943 comments @ SO and 5596 and 17 @ SU would be getting 1.18 and 0.17 notifications per day, respectively. Nov 16 '15 at 15:32
  • @ivan_pozdeev Your query doesn't group simultaneous edits (SEDE considers title, body and tag edits separately) - not an issue when counting edited posts, but it means you can't use the same method to count total edits. Anyway, on average each edit would end up notifying 0.77 users - where notified includes all unique users who commented before the edit. Alternatively, you could say for every 1.3 unique posts you comment on you'll be notified of one edit (on average).
    – Bob
    Nov 16 '15 at 15:54
  • @Bob Not sure how to group (CreationTime might differ in microseconds). Grouping by RevisionGUID (which I consider good enough - subrevision edits don't seem to be notified of - or considered by the system in general) gives 0.37 edits per comment - not much of a difference. Nov 16 '15 at 16:18

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