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When I want to comment on an answer that I received for one of my questions, I get the following reminder:

"Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid comments like "+1" or "thanks"."

While "+1" is indeed kind of a useless comment, I wondered why I need to avoid thanking somebody in general. Sure, this is Q&A-website, but nonetheless, the people answering my questions aren't robots - and neither am I. If I would answer a lot of questions, I would be glad getting a feedback in a way like this:

"Thanks for your detailed answer, I had problems with ..., but now everything appears much clearer."

Giving upvotes doesn't feel the same since the person receiving the upvotes doesn't get a notification by whom he was upvoted - it could be any other person but the OP.

Or am I completely wrong here and people just feel disturbed by those kind of comments?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps this can be retitled as "Can we be less nice to upvoters?" $\endgroup$ – Ron Gordon Jun 28 '16 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ The text you cite is present on every site in the StackExchange network. Every SE site has their own flavour of interpretation of the general guidelines, like this one. On Maths.SE, the interpretation generally upheld by the community is summarised in quid's answer. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Jun 28 '16 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Is it inappropriate to post a “Thank you” as a comment? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jun 28 '16 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ "Thanks for your detailed answer, I had problems with ..., but now everything appears much clearer." is an okay comment precisely because you added something relevant in addition to the "thanks". $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jun 28 '16 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'm particularly inclined to leave a ''thank you'' comment if I think the answer has and will persist in having fewer upvotes than its quality merits. Sort of as a way of saying ''I recognize this was a low-visibility question and appreciate your answering it so well, in spite of the fact that you probably aren't going to very many internet points for it!'' $\endgroup$ – Mike F Jul 3 '16 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Mike, that's a good point too; sometimes people are not sufficiently equipped to recognize gold when it's in front of them. Answers that require a lot of technical background to understand are often unappreciated, and a "thank you" (but not a bare one, I hope) takes the sting off not having much attention. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Jul 6 '16 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ Both quid and Asaf Karagila highlight that it is very different for the OP to thank answerers vs. anyone else doing it. I think nobody is bothered by the OP thanking any answerer and most answerers appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – Ben Blum-Smith Jul 9 '16 at 16:19
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The comment you sketch is fine. This is not what is meant.

What is meant is that one should not post "Thanks!!!!!!!!!!", "This is so interesting.", "Best answer ever!" on every other good post one comes across.

Imagine a post with score 14 where every user that up-voted the post also commented "Thanks; nice answer." It would be a bit messy.

Note that in your comment you said something more than just "Thanks!" You conveyed some specific feedback.

Moreover, I agree that for the user that asked the question it is even still alright to just comment "thank you," especially in a case where you cannot accept the answer (as you accepted another answer instead). If you accept the answer, it is clear it comes from OP.

To sum it up, comments expressing gratitude are not forbidden. Just show some restraint in using them. Keep them for special occasions, and if possible include some additional content.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems that this will never catch on, but if one upvoter commented "thanks" and the other 13 upvoted the comment, then it would be more polite, would show how many people appreciated the post and would create very little visual clutter. $\endgroup$ – David E Speyer Jun 29 '16 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me this (that is, basically always posting a "thanks" comment to be upvoted) would be almost completely redundant with upvotes on the post or create an extra layer of complexity the fallout of which in the end could well overshadow any added politeness one may see in this. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 29 '16 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for clearing that up $\endgroup$ – Lanier Freeman Jun 30 '16 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ @quid - thank you for highlighting to me what is the critical case: when the OP wants to thank answerers, especially of unaccepted answers. This is completely different from anybody else doing it. I have never felt inclined (and I imagine most users haven't) to thank anybody who has not engaged me directly. $\endgroup$ – Ben Blum-Smith Jul 9 '16 at 16:16
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Let me begin by saying that I'm not disagreeing with quid. Generally, comments with "Thanks!!!!!" are entirely useless. The "guideline" that you cite, is a network-wide guideline, and the MSE culture is a bit different. At least for now.

However, if you asked a question, and someone answered it, it is completely reasonable to post a thank you comment. Even without asking for additional details or anything.

Generally, complimentary comments are useful, when given sparsely. They indicate to the reader, if they are plainly visible, that the answer is really good. This is an additional measure to the vote count. And it can be helpful.

As someone who posted a lot of answers, I can also attest to the fact that it is nice to be appreciated, so when given sparsely, it's nice to hear that your answer was very helpful and much appreciated. For one reason or another.

My general advice is this:

  1. If you are the OP, feel free to thank anyone, regardless of anything.
  2. If you feel an answer was significantly helpful, and nobody remarked that yet, feel free to write that in a comment; if there is a comment, just vote up the comment; and if it wasn't that helpful, vote accordingly (up, down, not at all) and move along quietly.
  3. If there are "thank you" comments, but you want to compliment on a specific point that was not mentioned before (e.g., some elaboration on a technical definition, or some philosophical outlook that clarified something), go ahead. Otherwise, consult (4).
  4. SPARINGLY. Do not over do this, and if you feel that the comment thread is already a bit crowded, just skip this altogether. Read the room, as they say.
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  • $\begingroup$ I am not disagreeing with this either. I think the emphasis is just a bit different. Only, I think you better use s more sparingly. :-) $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 28 '16 at 21:51
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    $\begingroup$ Touche. I guess... :P $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 28 '16 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila, "Tousché"? :-) $\endgroup$ – LSpice Jul 11 '16 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ @LSpice: If my memory serves me right, it should be "touché", and seeing how accented characters are not common in Hebrew keyboard layouts (and not in the international English ones either), I often opt to removing them altogether. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 11 '16 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila, just so. It was just a silly joke. $\endgroup$ – LSpice Jul 11 '16 at 23:05

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