I have been here for 3 weeks now, and I like to think that I'm gradually understanding, how the place works. However, there are a few things that I haven't figured out yet, and the FAQ didn't give any clues either, as it is geared towards the needs of new users asking questions (as it probably should!). Nor did browsing old questions give any advice.
How does the `personal messaging' system work? I mean: some comments are obviously directed at me, and I see the word "StackExchange" in the top left turn red notifying me of something (a new message, rep update, whatever). The comments to my answers are obviously there, but what about the rest? Beginning a comment with @username seems to be somehow related to this. I have just thought that this is a handy way of directing a comment to a particular fellow poster, but would have thought that the recipient only sees that if she/he shows up to view that particular question again. Therefore I only use the first name, as more often than not that is enough to identify the person within that context. Where is this feature explained?
The list of comments that I have received is becoming longer and longer. Am I expected to do some basic housekeeping chores, and start deleting the older ones? Something similar to maintaining an inbox.
While typing an answer I occasionally notice that my answer is not gonna cut it. Either a very similar answer was just posted, I realize that I overlooked something and my argument doesn't really work, or I notice that my answer may be at a level unsuitable to the OP. Whatever it is, at this point I want to abandon it. Only I can't! If I simply move elsewhere to read other questions, I first get a dialogue asking, whether I really want to go elsewhere given that I have started typing an aswer. I click 'Ok', do something else, come back, and, lo and behold, the old incomplete answer is there! How do I delete it for good? I realize that caching such unposted answers is a nice safety thing, but I find it mildly annoying that I cannot decide such things myself. I tried replacing the incomplete answer with a single blank. To my surprise even that didn't work. What's going on?
Is there a FAQ explaining this kind of features of the site?