I just read the update to Workflow changes for review queues. There the following is stated:

  • Reviewers are encouraged to leave comments for the post-author, but now they can also choose from a few options of canned feedback which will appear as a comment from the Community account.

Seeing that there has been debate regarding the automatically posted comments on suggested duplicates over the years, this feels like a great time to settle this debate once and for all. People were upset that they were unknowing posting a comment when flagging a post as duplicate. And reasoned to rather not have these comments posted.

By attributing these auto comments to the Community♦ user this debate will be solved.

  • 3
    One good thing I do like about the auto-comments, is that sometimes a user would ping me (or I will be auto-pinged) if the duplicate suggestion did/didn't help them. Then I could find a better one or help them see why it does answer their question. That would not be possible anymore (easy fix: I could of course follow the post...)
    – Tomerikoo
    Jun 1 at 19:37
  • 6
    Or add a comment manually, explaining why you think that dupe is a good fit. Attributing these comments to the Community user gives people the choice if they want to be pinged or not. This is especially helpful when dealing with controversial topics. Revenge downvoting really is happening there.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 1 at 19:39

I see one major pro to this feature. I've often seen users get harassed over their vote to close as a duplicate by some unsavory users, which may include revenge downvoting. I've also seen cases where it's not harassment but a user continues to try and engage with that user, who just wanted to close as a duplicate and move on, and didn't want to start a conversation.

However, I can see a couple major cons to it:

  • About half the time when I vote a question as a duplicate, I edit the automatic comment to explain why it's a duplicate (e.g. what answer/part in the target addresses the question). If the comment were to be attributed to Community, I wouldn't be able to do so; I'd have to leave another comment which would anyway give me up as the one who voted.
  • There's currently an ongoing bug where comments posted by the Community user cannot be flagged, which means that if the comment were to go obsolete (e.g. the question wasn't closed), no one can flag the comment for deletion. (This was part of a feature experiment whose code wasn't completely removed.) Also, the voter cannot delete the comment on their own.

If this is to be implemented, I'd present an option to the user as to whether they want the comment to be attributed to themselves or to Community.

However, if that's the implementation, it's probably better to have it instead be an option as to whether or not to leave a comment at all. The comment dates from a time when the system wouldn't show pending duplicate votes to users at all - now, the system shows them clearly and gives the user the option to self-close. This, on its own, makes the comment entirely unnecessary if the user isn't going to participate in the discussion or edit the comment to explain where/why it's addressed. The only thing that this would remove is the notification upon the first close vote, triggered by the comment - but that can be implemented explicitly.

  • 4
    I'm certainly in favor of removing the auto-comment entirely
    – Kevin B
    Jun 1 at 21:03
  • Regarding your first point, the same holds as I reasoned in my comment below my Q. If you want to be pinged you could manually add a comment, perhaps along the lines of: "Please let me know if this duplicate helps you, otherwise I'll find a different one."
    – Luuklag
    Jun 2 at 7:25
  • Regarding your second point, I say that is reason to fix that bug, especially seeing that this bug might also affect the planned new auto-comments. Otherwise people can always custom flag the Q of course. Less obvious and slightly more work for the moderators, but by no means a compelling reason not to have community post auto-comments.
    – Luuklag
    Jun 2 at 7:27

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