Asking my first question just a few hours ago, and almost immediately receiving excellent answers, I did my best to show my gratitude, which included voting up the answer as well as green-checking it. Moreover, I added comments thanking + commenting on the two answers, which seemed absolutely natural to me.

But then I checked the bouquet of achievements added to my list, noting that the content in my Remove New User Restrictions badge included the following:

What are protected questions? High traffic questions on the site may be protected to prevent "thanks", "me too!", and spam answers from new users

Ooops, sounded like I got that one premature! So I went to my question and deleted my own comments. My question is whether I did right in doing so. It feels so strange not properly thanking others for their effort, which they do completely free of charge, that I just have to ask (now when I got my Meta Privileges).

My own guess (substantially helped by this answer) is that the upvoting and accepting of an answer is the preferred way of thanking. Perhaps the background thought being that this way is more useful for both the provider (rep gaining) as well as the general reader (clarity), plus that it does not clog up the site with 'distractions'.

I agree with the former and see the point with the latter, even though explicit thanks are NOT merely distractions in my book. In any case, if ensured that this is the preferred custom, I will most certainly try to adapt. So please help ensure me.

Additional note: Assuming that the No Thank Comment custom is in place here, perhaps noting that should be part of the tour, i.e. by adding a mentioning of that somewhere around the text saying:

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

Just so those of us obsessively polite (at least in this respect) are warned.

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    Meta.SE FAQ says: a comment saying just "thank you" isn't really what comments are for
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 0:21
  • Now I get confused of this comment vs answers thingy. To my noob eyes, this looks more like an answer than a comment. And since you have already provided an instructive answer to my question (Aug 30), why not edit that one with the link you mention here, but instead add it as a comment to my question? What am I missing? Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 15:58
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    Answers are to answer the question. Anything that doesn't answer the question shouldn't be posted as answer. Comments are for clarification, constructive criticism, or a fleeting relevant information. For SE 'thanks' === 'upvote'|'accept', nothing more.
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 23:19
  • Thanks. I understand this in the abstract, but I am trying to grasp how the distinction clarification/criticism/information vs answering is supposed to be applied in practice. Tricky stuff, it seems to me. (And I only just now understood/guessed that 'SE' means StackExchange :) Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 7:20

3 Answers 3


You can thank people in comments (many people appreciate it), just not in answers. You will probably find a few people around the site who take an ultra-cold approach to this and hate all forms for greeting and thanks but ignore them. Being polite isn't bad.

Protected questions are often ones that are really popular and result in a whole load of new users —who cannot comment or vote because they are that new to the site— posting their thanks as new answers.

This clogs up the answer section with non-answers and generates a whole load of ongoing moderation work... So we turn on Protected mode and that just stops these very new users being able to post on a certain question.

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    I see - thanks for that! Ooh that was liberating... Mine (one of them to you, in fact) were in comments, so I guess I was ok then. But I will be prepared for the ultra-colders. Thanks for the heads-up! Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 17:59
  • Just to clarify, I have now seen, thanks to @Braiam as well as from just looking around in this excellent site, that the official line indeed seems to be a 'no thanks' approach, not even in comments. See for example this help center post where it says "Please do not add a comment on your question or on an answer to say 'Thank you'." Still, my personal affinity with Oli's answer remains. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 14:38

It feels so strange not properly thanking others for their effort

Comments saying "thanks"? Why don't you upvote?

If one of the answer wasn't sustain enough, you can ask for clarification in comments, "thanks" are expressed in upvotes (or accepting their answers, but it can be just one!).

  • Black on white indeed! [Clarification: This is the text that appear when you click on add a comment.] Still, the answer @Oli gave makes more sense to me. In the layout of the page, comments are much less 'intrusive' than answers (not to mention that a 'thanks' is not an answer), and so showing gratitude in that explicit way, especially if you are the one having asked the question in the first place, seems like a good thing to me. Just my two cents (or rather 'öre'). Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 8:48
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    @NickTheSwede SE don't like "thanks", in fact, I expect that whenever I see a indicator I have to modify or clarify something, if I see a plain "thanks" in one of my post, is very likely I would flag it as "too chatty"
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 13:17
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    When you get a good answer, you can usually elaborate a little bit in a comment. Things like, "this worked great, just be aware of xxx". Your wording of such a comment can easily be such that your gratitude is apparent, and still be a constructive addition to the answer. I agree that a plain 'thanks' is just wasteful chat, especially when you have accepted and/or upvoted the answer. Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 17:22
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    @PaulRatazzi exactly, if it's something constructive + thanks, I may consider add that to my answer, etc.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 17:23
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    Braiam & @PaulRatazzi: Thinking about it, I believe this is exactly what has been bugging me: A 'thanks' often comes with a modification/clarification/follow-up of sorts, and that, in my mind, is a constructive thing, potentially also for others. Good points. Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 19:27
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    @NickTheSwede Braiam is one of the ultra-colders Oli referred to.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 0:17
  • @Whaaaaaat I'm not "ultra-colders", I just don't find anything constructive in such comments.
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 0:25
  • @Braiam You most certainly are! /tease
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 1:07

As it stands, Oli's answer is + 20 -1, while Braiam's is + 8 - 4. The former says it's ok to say thanks in a comment, while the latter says you absolutely must not.

There is no overwhelming consensus, but I think you can look at these numbers and feel ok in doing what you're doing (thanking people).

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    Thanks for the roundup; my received view on this at the moment is that I will avoid comments only saying 'thanks', but not be too afraid to add thanks which also include some sort of qualification ("thanks, particularly X and Y was very helpful, althogh Z did not work for me..." etc). And even if I happen to submit a mere thank-you comment, just out of reptile-reaction, I won't feel too bad about it, but be prepared for the 'ultra-colders' (@Oli) ;-) Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 13:13

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