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I sometimes leave '+1 for XYZ' comments on answers, to emphasise what it is about the answer that I like. These aren't general '+1 Good answer :)' comments, they have an amount of specificity.

Are these comments still discouraged?

  • possible duplicate of Why so many +1 comments? – Jim G. May 7 '14 at 23:47
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    +1 to possible duplicate suggestion ^^^ – gnat May 8 '14 at 0:46
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    ^Now that's a superflous comment, that doesn't add anything the triangle wouldn't have. – geekrunner May 8 '14 at 1:17
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    +1 for pointing that comment is superfluous ^^^ – gnat May 8 '14 at 12:55
  • I use the follow-up comments directed at me as a guide to improve the quality of my answer. A +1 attracts my attention but I read all comments anyway, as I think I am supposed to :) On the other hand, I reserve the option to disregard a comment that I think is off-base, even if it has say a +10 rating. Having said that, I am much more likely to get a -10 than a +10 :) – Vietnhi Phuvan May 8 '14 at 16:23
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It's a grey area where we trust the community to use their best judgment.

As a rule of thumb: if you're on the fence, don't make a comment.

Comments are Second-Class Citizens

See Robert Cartaino's explanation:

Comments are not intended for long-term storage of important information. But that transiency doesn't mean you can use comments for random, parenthetical asides. If your comment isn't likely to change the content of the post, please do not post it for someone else to clean up.

What this generally means is the default stance toward comments is 'delete on sight' when they come up for moderation.

Does Your Comment Add Value?

See Rarity's post:

+1 great question/answer: Yes, we can see the votes. These are only okay if the comment otherwise has substance. If it's useless without the +1 it's still useless with it (same for -1)

We're going to have to trust your judgment on that. Generally speaking, if there are a lot of comments on the post already, or the post is older than a few days old, I would really appreciate it if you erred on the side of restraint, because...

Comments are a Pain in the Derriere to Cleanup

You can read up what Jon Ericson said about comments -- he has plenty more if you search around, but comments are not fun to cleanup.

Though this may seem absurd, it probably takes more time for someone to moderate a comment than it does to make the comment in the first place. That doesn't mean don't make the comment, but it just means that you should be aware that at some point in the future, someone will have to take some time to read through your comment (and others) to figure out what to do with them.

When in doubt, err on the side of silence.

4

When you do a downvote, it is customary to use comments to explain why, so the author and any readers learn what specifically you disliked about the answer. This tells the author and anyone else what kind of behavior exactly you would like to discourage in the community.

As an extension of this it makes also sense to explain why you upvoted something. It gives the author and anyone who reads it feedback about what behavior specifically you endorse and would like to see more of in the community.

Comments like "+1 for proper formating your answer" or "+1 for finding and linking so many reputable sources for your claim" tell people "Do this too, and you get more upvotes!"

There is, however a kind of +1 comment I see a bit more critical, and that's the "+1 for having the same opinion I have".

  1. Personal opinions are not a good thing on stackexchange in general and should be avoided. There is a reason we have the "primarily opinion-based" close-reason.
  2. Answers should be judged based on their factual accuracy and usefulness, not on how much you share the viewpoint of the author.
  3. Rewarding people for expressing certain opinions makes the community one-sided and discourages people from expressing unpopular (but still valid) viewpoints which would offer a useful alternative perspective.
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    "When you do a downvote, it is customary to use comments to explain why" Customary where? Not at The Workplace. – Joe Strazzere May 12 '14 at 17:54
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    If you comment with a downvote, the comment should clearly indicate what the user can do to improve the post. Saying, "Hey Philipp, your answer may be better received if you explained point A a bit more, especially if you can add a citation" is great. Saying, "-1 because that's just like, your opinion, man" is not great and will likely be removed. The goal of comments is not public shaming of poor behavior, but rather to improve the content of the posts so that they don't get downvotes. – jmac May 13 '14 at 6:17

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