For instance, on this question I was going to ask about an English translation for one of the resources that was posted.

I noticed that all the answers had no comment threads below them.

My thinking is that not only is there a chance that the user in question is no longer around, but the question serves as a resource for future users, so it might not be a good idea to comment.

Am I over thinking this?

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    $\begingroup$ You should be able to see whether the user is still around by clicking on that user's name to go to that user's page. But I really don't see why a comment would lessen the value of the resource. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2015 at 4:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It really depends on what the comment is. If you honestly think it's something that could be useful to someone else researching the same topic, go ahead. Otherwise keep it to yourself. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2015 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


Don't worry about it. $\ddot\smile$

There are many reasons why older posts may not have comments, not the least of which is that comments are ephemeral. From the Help Center:

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. They can be up-voted (but not down-voted) and flagged, but do not generate reputation. There's no revision history, and when they are deleted they're gone for good.

Thus, after a certain amount of time, chit-chat like comments may be deleted ruthlessly by moderators.

You won't be bothering people by commenting on old posts--I know I enjoy it when someone asks me a question about something I had posted long ago. The absolute worst thing that could happen is that you don't receive a reply because the person has left the site.

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    $\begingroup$ "...may be deleted ruthlessly by moderators." Ruthlessly!? There is a difference between a comment like "Nice answer! +1" and a honest comment requesting clarification. One is useless, the other is not. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Mod
    Jan 15, 2015 at 5:34
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff Perhaps "ruthlessly" carries a darker connotation than I intended. :) The point of my sentence was that one should treat comments as if any one of them could be deleted at any time, without warning. Whether or not they actually are isn't really relevant to my point--if people treat them as if they could be, it will cut down on comment-answers and other misuses of comments. (i.e. you may delete them ruthlessly, whether or not you will is another matter entirely) $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Jan 15, 2015 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ I really don't view politeness as useless. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Jan 16, 2015 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @copper.hat It is useless from an academic point of view. The policy of SE is to abstain from unnecessary content, and maintain high standards. The other user may (or may not) appreciate your 'nice answer' comment, but everyone is to be treated by the same standards. There is a meta discussion on why 'thank you's are not appreciated by the community. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2015 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ @ghosts_in_the_code: I suspect there is a vocal minority who share this perspective. But I would suspect that politeness and recognition of the human condition are indeed appreciated by the community. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Jan 20, 2015 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff actually "nice answer!" isn't that useless. Coming from a high rep user, it's a high rep user throwing their reputation behind the answer being nice. It's also fair to say "not only does this get an upvote, but it goes above and beyond - it's really nice!" one comment of lauding can be useful. $\endgroup$
    – djechlin
    Jan 21, 2015 at 2:38
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    $\begingroup$ To jump in here: I have nothing against temporary "thank you" or "nice answer!" comments (that say nothing else). However, I don't think they should stick around forever. Three months from now, I won't care who was thankful for my answer and who wasn't--I'll just care about the content. At that point, I see nothing wrong with flagging the comment as "obsolete." TL;DR: I concur that common decency/politeness should be allowed, but only within a timeframe where it's still meaningful. $\ddot\smile$ $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Jan 21, 2015 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ It all depends. One must weigh the congratulations against the resurrection of an old post. I could certainly easily go through and find 100 old posts to bump back to the main page just by finding answers I genuinely think are good. $\endgroup$
    – Emily
    Jan 26, 2015 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a new user (or I feel like I am) and I still don't know whether I should stop saying thanks if I really like an answer. at first, i tried to solve this by including it in the question. but I stopped saying it there because I realized doing so clutters up the question and makes it feel less like a resource and more like a message. But are we then saying it's okay to thank people in comments if their answer was particularly helpful? I mean, I don't want to create extra work for the moderators. But if possible I would also like to commend people when they really do help me out. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2015 at 4:45
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    $\begingroup$ One way I've partially solved this to my satisfaction: I don't tend to thank or say nice answer to answerers if they aren't in response to my question (ie on someone else's question). It's usually only if I've been done a favor by having them directly respond to my particular problem that I tend to want to respond that way as it feels like a basic impulse to thank someone who has helped me. But it's not like I thank websites or comment on websites whenever I read an article elsewhere. And thats the attitude I give to other people's questions. It's like any other webpage. No thanks are needed. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2015 at 4:48

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