New users sometimes leave a question, check the "Notify [me] daily of any new answers", and then don't return to the site, knowing that they will get a notification when someone replies to their question.

Is this mail also sent when the reply is a comment but not an answer? If a question needs some clarification it is the custom that you don't give an "answer" and work from there, but comment directly on the question and ask for edits. If no notification is sent to the new user, they might completely forget about the site, and the question remains unanswerable.

I modified the query that Jeff used to auto-delete old questions, and I noticed that 370 comments were posted after the OP last accessed the site. Many of them are comments asking to improve the question, but these messages never got to the OP because they think they will get a notification when something new is posted.

I think this is especially important for the newer Stack Exchange sites that are still growing: new users don't always know how the system works, but they can be potential goldmines once they become active users. I don't want to lose them because they think no-one replied to their question.

  • I think it would be awesome if there was a user setting that allowed us to specify whether or not to receive alerts for comments to our posts.
    – Polshgiant
    Feb 25, 2011 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


I consider this a form of spamming, so it is unlikely to ever be implemented.

A comment is not a large enough unit of work to bother emailing someone over -- but an answer (assuming they checked the checkbox) is.

edit: this makes sense in the context of "email you your global inbox" as specified on https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/10/improved-global-email-notifications/

  • 4
    I understand you don't want to spam someone, but maybe you could send the mail only if the question is x days old and has no answer yet, but does have some comments? These are most likely to be comments of the form "please add this or that to your question to clarify it", which is what I think the new users are missing.
    – Jan Fabry
    Feb 6, 2011 at 22:46
  • How about sending an email when the comment gets, say, 5 upvotes?
    – Gelatin
    Feb 6, 2011 at 23:16
  • 1
    I agree that a comment on an answer isn't a big enough deal to merit emailing the person whose answer was commented on, but I do think that a comment on a question, especially if that question has no answers, does merit a notification. I think that would significantly further the Stack Exchange mission of providing good answers to good questions. Mar 25, 2011 at 0:23
  • 1
    I think I can consider this implemented, with the Improved Global Email Notifications?
    – Jan Fabry
    Oct 8, 2011 at 17:34
  • @JanFabry & Jeff, I'd appreciate your input in this question of mine about StackApps Notification Methods: meta.wordpress.stackexchange.com/q/1132/12615 , thanks!
    – brasofilo
    Jun 6, 2012 at 23:01

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