I have often seen our moderators leave detailed and helpful comments, usually to new users. Some examples from the front page right now:

Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. I have noticed that somebody has downvoted your question and that is not a pleasant first experience. The reason was presumably that the question does not show enough effort (it is, after all, very short). You can considerably improve the question by adding what you already know (including what we supposed "all know (about) the differences between Antony and Brutus). See also How do I ask a good question? in the Help Centre. Good luck! – Tsundoku♦ 25 mins ago

Hi. Since you have been on the Stack Exchange network, I assume you know that the rules are against questions that invite strongly opinion-based answers. (See e.g. What types of questions should I avoid asking?) For this reason, I would appreciate it if you could edit your question to clarify how people should answer your question without relying solely on personal opinions. – Tsundoku♦ 3 hours ago

Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. This site has different rules than a forum, so I would recommend that you take the tour and review at least How do I write a good answer? in the Help Centre. For example, answers should really attempt to provide an answer to the question instead of commenting on it. As it currently stands, your answer consist for a large part of speculation ("I suspect, ...") and a recommendation for the Audible version, which is not relevant to the question. – Tsundoku♦ 7 hours ago

Is there a list of comment templates that I could use along the lines above? If not, would it be useful to compile and curate such a list?

Of course, it's not possible to cover every possible scenario, and it would be better to always tweak any template to suit a particular situation, but comments like the above are (in my opinion) useful in guiding new users to ask better questions and write better answers. Leaving such comments would also be a more active form of feedback compared to just voting and flagging.


3 Answers 3


There is a helpful userscript Auto Review Comments which I use (on many other sites in the network) for exactly this purpose. It contains some stock comments useful on any site (e.g. the ones similar to the comments generated by the Low Quality Posts review queue) but it's also possible to upload your own ones, so you don't have to type them over and over again.

It may be useful to have a list of such comments here on Literature Meta, drawing inspiration from the ones linked by @Tsundoku. Another one I know of is on Mathematics; given the scope of that site some will absolutely make no sense here, but some generic ones might.


Personally I never use comment templates, always writing comments from scratch to welcome new users to the site or suggest improvements to posts. No disrespect to those who use templates, but I feel people are more likely to feel welcome and respond positively to a comment which clearly comes from a fellow human; if they're new to Stack Exchange, they may see a stock comment and thinking it's just posted by a bot! If I don't have time to write a personalised comment, I'll leave it for someone who does.

This is especially true for a small site like Literature. On Stack Overflow, with thousands of new posts every day, I can understand the desire to use comment templates and cut down the workload. But here it's easy for one user to read all new posts on the site each day; we don't have enough volume that streamlining the commenting-on-new-posts process is necessary.

One useful thing is the "magic links" - see Add data.SE style "magic links" to comments This is an easy way of linking to e.g. the Tour or the How To Answer page in a comment without going to find and copy the URL each time. It cuts down the time for a comment without making the comment itself look boilerplate.

(Again, no disrespect to people using comment templates, and I have no issues if you want to compile a list for use here. Just wanted to present another point of view.)

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    There would no requirement to use them, nor, if you use them, to make the template the only content of the comment. It can be used as a starting point that can be adapted. For example, suggesting to take the tour and read "How to ask good questions" would go a bit faster when you can grab the markup from a template and reduce the risk of typos.
    – Tsundoku
    Jul 20, 2020 at 17:07
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    Personally, even if I write my personalized comments from scratch, they still look like stock comments, so how to fix this issue? :)
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 20, 2020 at 20:28
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    @AndrewT. Well, I try to say something about the specific post I'm commenting on. (In fact, all of the Tsundoku comments quoted in the OP here do that too. As he mentions above, you can use templates without ever leaving just stock comments.) I won't just say "welcome to the site, take the tour", but maybe give some specific positive feedback (detailed answer, good sources, nice insight, or whatever). If a post is bad or even NAA, I'll try to say exactly why ("the question asks XYZ, but you've only addressed ABC"). Then it can't be mistaken for a stock comment.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 20, 2020 at 20:36
  • I completely agree that writing tailored comments is more welcoming, and I will try to tweak any templated comment to suit the particular situation at hand. I think the advantage I will get out of comment templates is that some common useful pieces of information are already present in them, so I don't have to strive to remember whether I've left anything out.
    – user5387
    Jul 29, 2020 at 14:02

I am in favour of creating such a list or repository. I have seen similar lists on other sites:

Being able to copy and paste (and tweak, as the case may be) would save a lot of typing.

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