I made a comment asking if something was correct (@user shouldn't it be foo not bar?) then later realized that I was an idiot and they were completely correct. So, my first thought was to delete the comment. However, then both the post owner and the person whom I @ mentioned have a notification for a nonexistent comment. I have had this happen to me and found it very annoying, and would like to avoid doing it to other people, what should I do? Leaving the comment there seems either detrimental or useless, since I know it's wrong and anyone answering the question (shouldn't it be...) will be wasting their time. Yet if I delete it, it's annoying. What should I do?

Edit: @PolyGeo recommended I create another comment explaining the situation (ignore previous comment, I was wrong) and then delete both comments. This is a possible solution, and if others agree then I will mark PolyGeo's answer as accepted and start doing this. However, the problems I see with this solution are:

  • Notifications only display part of the comment. While I'm pretty sure the ignore-my-previous-comment comment would fit into the amount, it may not if I also feel the need to explain why I was wrong or whatever else may come up.
  • Creating a comment with the intent to immediately delete it feels hacky and possibly unethical.
  • I'm not even sure if it works. It would be quite reasonable for the Stack Exchange system to not notify someone of a comment that would seem to be a mistake. I would take the same action (post and immediately delete) if I accidentally made a comment on the wrong post for whatever reason, in which case it would make sense not to notify anybody.
  • 3
    Your comments won't persist as notifications as they're deleted. There's a window in there, IIRC... or we possibly remove them entirely. I don't recall off-hand, and unfortunately can't dig quite at the moment.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Dec 24, 2015 at 2:20
  • @AdamLear there's a window, but in my experience it's very short -- minutes at most, definitely not hours. A still-pending notification for a deleted comment gets removed. Dec 24, 2015 at 2:25
  • @MonicaCellio I meant more for the "create a comment with an explanation and immediately delete it" case. That's not going to work.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Dec 24, 2015 at 2:27
  • @AdamLear oh, I thought you were saying not to worry about the original comment (just delete it and move on). Yeah, the "ignore that other comment" trick probably doesn't work. Dec 24, 2015 at 2:29
  • Another way, if the user got 20+ rep, is invite the user to a chat room, and explain in there. He will get notification about the chat room, and it won't clutter the post itself. Dec 24, 2015 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


You're overthinking it. Just delete the comment.


I would comment along the lines of:

Please ignore my comment - I was wrong

then a little later delete the wrong comment, and then delete the comment apologizing for it.

  • This option passed through my mind when I started writing this but was forgotten by the time I'd written everything else, see my edit.
    – Shelvacu
    Dec 24, 2015 at 2:01

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