Canned comments may not be as useful as we have thought.
Why people post canned comments
- If the author of the problematic post is of malicious intentions, posting a canned comment is effortless, hence does not matter if the comment is not read.
- If the post is a mistake of the author or because the author is new and hence not familiar with the site, a comment appears to be more welcoming and friendly.
Why this won't work
- In this case, the comment will not be read anyway.
- In this case, a canned comment does not generally make a user feel terribly welcomed. It is cold and may do more harm than good.
I suggest that we reduce our use of canned comments, and either leave no comment at all, or write an actual and welcoming comment, instead of a machine generated, cold and lifeless one.
But I don't want to spend time and still want to be friendly!
Then leave no comment. A canned one would not fulfill this goal, and generally makes one appear to be less friendly.
Leaving a canned comment indicates that you have read the post, yet won't bother writing an actual comment. This doesn't really sound terribly better than being neutral (leave no comment and hence no indication), right?
As being criticized in the comments, the first revision of this post lacks evidence to back up the claim. So here is what I found:
- A script that posts auto comments
- A query on SEDE shows that there are 1523 identical canned comments, of the single form 'whilst this may theoretically answer the question...' posted on SO.
- Some discussions about canned comments on meta.SO
- Discussions here and here suggests a overall negative experience about canned comments.
- And this source