When reviewing low quality posts, I came across this post and recommended its deletion. The system automatically left a comment saying,

If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context. - From Review

This does seem a little hard on the OP, so I'm proposing some new replacements/alternatives to the auto-comments.

When the user asks a question in the answer section:

Hi, User Name. It seems like you have used the answer box to post a question. Please ask a question separately instead.

If this is the user's first post:

Welcome to Foo Bar SE, User Name. It seems like you have used the answer box to post a question. Please ask a question separately instead.

... and so on. This should be added, as we need to make the site more friendly to new users. If there are any extra suggestions, feel free to put it in an answer.

  • Is there a reason why 12 out of the 30 people that have viewed this post have downvoted it? Just because one person downvotes a question doesn't mean that 11 others can follow suit just because they see "Oh, this question is -1, let's make it -2." and so on. Apr 17, 2021 at 19:02
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    @fasterthanlight In case you aren't aware, downvotes on meta are different from those on main sites. On meta (particularly on [feature-request] posts), they mean: "I disagree with this proposal". Please don't take that personally. Apr 17, 2021 at 19:21
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    Why do you leave out the obvious contingency of writing your own custom comment, then clicking on the "no comment necessary" option? It's what a majority of diligent reviewers I'm sure would recommend and do themselves. Apr 17, 2021 at 20:20
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    Please don't make that kind of assumption on how people downvote. It is explained in the What is "meta" help page meta.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta: "On posts tagged feature-request, voting indicates agreement or disagreement" Apr 17, 2021 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


Your current suggestions aren't any friendlier to the people that get them, because they leave out the important instructions. All your suggestions will do is end up with someone who, at best, just gives up because they don't know how to ask a new question. In a worst-case scenario though, this user ends up being so frustrated they start lashing out at other community members (who end up having to deal with more crappy content), because they've been instructed wrong. Such a worst-case scenario was the inspiration for this question of mine, for example.

In the case of the comment discussed here, the instruction is not to "post a new question". The original comment contains some valuable guidance, that you now left out in your suggestions:

  • If you have a new question. This is important, because some people just ask the same question again by writing an answer. Think things like 'I have this problem too, can anyone answer this please?' types of answers.
  • clicking the Ask Question button. Your suggestions don't mention how to ask a new question. If someone did use the answer box to ask a question, and it is a new question... well, perhaps they didn't know which button was the one for asking new questions. Mentioning this is important.
  • Include a link to this post. This is not only important in case there is context in the post they're asking under, but also a good way to indicate that you're not asking a duplicate, and are indeed asking a new question.
  • From Review. This is useful information, as it shows these sites have a review system, and that post was being reviewed. It's an introduction to some basics on how these sites function.

And while some people may feel a bit of phatic noise in the auto-comment like 'hey', 'hi', or 'welcome' can make it more pleasant and personal, we're talking about auto-comments. You know people didn't add it themselves, so it's just going to be fake. Faked kindness/friendliness in my opinion ranks way below messages that perhaps may seem cold, but are at least informational and professional.

As such, I propose we leave the comment as is, and don't dilute its informational density with phatic noise, or remove information from it.

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