There is a pattern that I frequently see with new users: the user posts a question, someone leaves a comment requesting clarification, and the user posts the clarification in a comment. I anticipate this is likely because new users might not be familiar with our mission of building up an archive of high-quality questions that will be useful to others, and so it doesn't occur to them that we'd prefer them to respond by revising their question to improve it.

I think we could help users by providing guidance in this situation. In particular, I am imagining that a brief message could be shown, under the following conditions:

  • A user ("the asker") posts a question
  • The asker has reputation below some threshold (say, below 30)
  • There is a comment under their question from someone else
  • The asker has not posted a comment under this question yet
  • The asker moves the focus into the comment field

Then perhaps we could have a message that provides guidance on when to comment vs when to edit their question. For example: "Edit your question if you are adding more details." (though this probably needs revising and improvement)

I am thinking this might help teach newcomers about how to use the site, and in a way that is fairly unobtrusive for experienced folks. I am also hoping it will lead to higher-quality questions, by avoiding a situation where there is critical information buried in the comments, and make life easier for experienced users, as they won't need to repeatedly guide new users on this.

  • 2
    This exists but apparently it's too subtle to be of use. A change has been status planned since 2015... meta.stackexchange.com/a/250737/323179
    – Laurel
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 13:00
  • I don't think there's a perfect solution for this. The comment reply most often pings whoever asked for clarification which lets them know of the update. They can nudge the OP to edit the question but if edit is done only they have to be following the question to know about clarification updates
    – charlietfl
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 15:44