This certainly never used to be a thing, but I'm wondering if this behaviour has changed with the "increased notifications" - without the OP having to explicitly "follow" that answer (like any other user).

I have developed the habit of having to post an additional comment ("I've updated my answer") in order to notify the OP of significant updates to my answer, however, I've seen some evidence that perhaps suggests this may not be necessary anymore (of course, they may have just been "following" my answer)?

I've read through the following meta question, but I don't see this particular scenario mentioned in either list of "DO" or "DON'T" triggers for notifications.

  • 2
    Did a little bit of thinking about which answer I should edit this info into, and chose the "Do not" category on the FAQ you linked. I've added a clarifying edit there.
    – Spevacus
    Mar 30, 2021 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Spevacus Thanks. It could be added to both (as in your first edit)... there are a number of sub-sub-exceptions on the "Do" category already.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 30, 2021 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


The only time that askers get notified of an answer is when it's created - so if you ask a question which then gets an answer so you get notified. If that answer is edited, you don't get an alert about it - and that's always been the case as far as I'm aware.

With the addition of following, an asker (or anyone) can now follow answers to see if they've been improved - so if you ask someone to add additional details in a comment or ask them to clarify a point of confusion, if you also follow the answer you'll be notified if it gets edited. Otherwise, the only way you'd know about the edit is if you get pinged by someone to say that they've edited based on your comment.

As an answerer, if you want the asker or any commenters to be aware of changes to your answer, you'll still need to leave a comment which notifies them - particularly since you can't know whether they've followed the answer or not. The asker has no special status with respect to being notified for comments on the question's answers. In other words, @<username> notifications won't work for the question asker from comments on an answer, unless the asker has made themselves notifiable through some interaction with that answer (see above link for what interactions qualify the user for notifications). In general, this means that if you want to notify the asker, then your comment needs to be on the question.

I can see how addressing this would be beneficial, but I'm not quite sure how to do it without possibly overwhelming askers with tons of new notifications.

  • Thanks for the clarification. "I can see how addressing this would be beneficial" - yes, but as you say, this could overwhelm the asker (unless perhaps the notification was "delayed" to aggregate multiple answer updates into one?) and I certainly make some trivial edits at times that I wouldn't necessarily want to notify the asker about. However, I wouldn't be surprised if a (significant) number of answerers are not actually aware that their "updates" are not triggering a notification for the asker.
    – MrWhite
    Mar 30, 2021 at 16:37
  • "@<username> notifications won't work for the question asker from comments on an answer, unless the asker has made themselves notifiable through some interaction with that answer" - Dang, didn't realise that! That means half my comments would have been in vain anyway! sigh
    – MrWhite
    Mar 30, 2021 at 21:59
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    Ah, indeed - you would have had to let them know by commenting on the question unless they'd asked you to clarify your answer in a comment on the answer already. :) That's a relatively common point of confusion about our reply system. :)
    – Catija
    Mar 30, 2021 at 22:00
  • Hhhmmm, yes, that is confusing (and rather annoying)... I've gotten this wrong for... years! IMO you should be able to @<asker> anywhere (ie. in comments to answers where the asker has not yet participated). To clarify, if the asker has participated in comments on an answer then you still need to explicitly @ them? They don't receive a notification for none-@ comments? - The problem with this is I'm now going to start making out-of-context comments on the question directing back to my answer!? @Makyen Thanks for the revelation!
    – MrWhite
    Mar 30, 2021 at 23:23
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    @MrWhite From the FAQ How do comment @replies work?, "if Alice was the author of the question, then you cannot notify her by commenting on Bob's answer (unless Alice also participated in that answer)". But it'd be a nice feature (IMHO) if you could ping the OP using the @UserName syntax in any comment on the page. There is an existing request for this feature, but it's over 10 years old: meta.stackexchange.com/q/52376/334566
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 31, 2021 at 1:45

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