I think the "This is commentary on another post, not an answer" comment is used too much on close votes. I'm talking about the following one:

This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post.

I think it should only be used if the answer is actually a comment, not if the answer is of low quality.

Examples of the usage I consider "wrong":

I think the default comments should also add "this answer is very low quality" comment.

2 Answers 2


You are correct that this comment is often used wrong. Our policy is that answers that are low quality, incomplete, or too short should not be posted as comments. It is sometimes appropriate to delete such posts, but they should not be comments.

Since we have a strong community consensus that these don't make appropriate comments, reviewers should not advise people to post them as comments.

We also have the help page on comments, handed down to us by Stack Exchange, which lists the situations in which comments are or are not appropriate. This can provide helpful guidance while reviewing, to decide whether or not to advise someone that their answer is really a comment.

Posts that are very low quality should still be flagged and should still be deleted in review, but we should only suggest an author leave a comment when it would not be wrong for the author to do so.

Furthermore, aside from the problem of giving newcomers bad advice about how to use the site, people often use that particular review comment in contexts where it does not make any sense. It says:

To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post...

So if a post is neither an attempt to critique something else that has been posted, nor an attempt to request clarification on something else that has been posted, then this review comment makes no sense for it and should not be used.

This relates to another, broader problem. For some reason, many reviewers think the canned comments on the Recommend Deletion / Delete dialog are a way of voting about what is wrong with a post, and that they have to select whichever one best fits the situation, even if none of them really fit the situation.

Canned review comments aren't a way of voting and don't affect outcomes in the review system. All that happens when we post a comment that way is that the comment gets posted. Reviewers do not have to select one of those canned comments while voting to delete a post, and posting no comment is, by design, the default.

  • I do not propose to change that comment. I think it serves its purpose well. I propose to add another canned comment to clarify that the post is of very low quality. Commented May 12, 2015 at 16:12
  • And one solution might be that the first time a reviewer reviews a specific queue, he gets a "tutorial" explaining that the canned comments are just comments? Commented May 12, 2015 at 16:13
  • @Galgalesh Sorry, you're right--you did not suggest changing or removing the "commentary" canned comment. (Answer edited accordingly.) Commented May 12, 2015 at 16:22
  • @EliahKagan I suggest you make the paragraph Canned review comments.... more prominent.
    – guntbert
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 20:11

My opinion:

The 1st one is a comment to me. The word "try" is key here: that makes it a comment since the poster is basically guessing. The claim to use ibus-libpinyin should have come with text to why it should be used to make it a good answer.

The 2nd one is just plain wrong. Not even low quality. Out of the possible options given I might have voted for 'comment' too though.

  • So do you agree we need a "low quality or just plain wrong" option? Also, please note that "plain wrong" is not immediately obvious to everyone and for every answer. A lot of times I commented something like "This seems wrong, can you explain how this can work?, but still vote to close" Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:06
  • 1
    And I use the word "try" in a lot of my answers. A lot of errors can have multiple sources, so one solution might not work for every occurrence of the problem. I think it's better to put something that might be an answer as an answer than pollute the comment section with "try this, try that". Related: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/2281/… Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:10
  • 1
    @Galgalesh well, the VLQ flag is not be used for "just plain wrong" answers. Downvote them, instead. (But we still use the flag for wrong answers.)
    – muru
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:11
  • @Rinzwind please note that I am not defending the answers I linked to. They are both very bad answers. I'm just saying that having "try" in a question isn't a reason to say it is a comment. Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:13
  • @muru Is there an "autocomment" for a "VLQ" close vote? (I'm talking about the options you see when voting "close" in the close queue) Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:17
  • @Galgalesh nope. Only duplicates and custom close reasons have autocomments.
    – muru
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:24
  • 2
    @Galgalesh yes it is. The word "try" is making a suggestion to see if something works. That in itself should be a comment (as in "try this and if it works Ill make it an answer). Answers need to be based on facts. Basing them on guess work should attract downvotes as muru suggested.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 12:50
  • 3
    Just the word try does not make it a comment.. I've seen lots of answers that are not comments that use the word try.
    – Seth
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 14:27
  • 3
    @Seth: I'm very sorry to say that I've seen many more bad answers then good answers that start with "Try this" and it annoyed me so much I used to quote Yoda's "Do, or no not! There is no try!" which I've stopped doing now as that annoys Eliah.
    – Fabby
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 12:16
  • @Fabby Bad answers are still answers, however ;)
    – Seth
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 14:53
  • 4
    The word "try" is implied in virtually every answer I've seen. If an answer isn't tested in the users environment (which is impossible except for self-answered questions in most cases) all we can have at best is a reasonable expectation that it will work. Is polluting the comment section worse than polluting the answer section? I've been guilty in numerous cases of leaving "try" comments rather than posting a possibly useless answer. Based on the help page on comments, I should re-think that strategy.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented May 17, 2015 at 16:06

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