7

There is an active feature request on meta.SE by one of the Community Managers, proposing to change the add a comment text below each post to something that better conveys the intended usage of comments on Stack Exchange.

Current text (source):

ugh!

The change on Area 51 uses "suggest improvements" for answers, and "ask for clarification" on questions:

ask for clarification

Area 51 screenshot

show more...

In summary:

  • Change "add comment" under the question to "ask for clarification"
  • Change "add comment" under the answer to "suggest improvements"

There is a separate idea to provide a second link below each post, linking to a chat room for more general discussion about the Q & A, but that is out of scope for this meta question.

Thinking just about the "add a comment" link, what do you think would be a good replacement for our site?

Or is this a terrible idea, and we should just leave it as-is?

  • 2
    Interesting, these changes might help to reduce superfluous comments. In my opinion, someone may like to "ask for clarification" with respect to answers as well. Regarding questions, the "suggest improvements" point would suggest something close to the edit option, where a user can actually "make the improvement". – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 13:40
  • 1
    As for questions, the "ask for clarification" label could also guide the OP in clarifying directly in the question body instead of doing it via comments (another common problem that entails extra work). – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 14:01
  • The drawback on changing from add a comment to anything else is the question from @RDFozz regarding Commenting on questions you don't intend to answer (slightly). You might not be asking for clarification, but adding a tidbit of information on what you thing might be a solution. This happens before there is an answer. – John aka hot2use Aug 29 '17 at 14:14
  • 2
    @hot2use Yes well that's one of the current uses of "comments" we want to discourage - see my answer on that question for my reasoning. People will still do it, of course, just maybe less often? – Paul White says GoFundMonica Aug 29 '17 at 14:44
  • @PaulWhite Regarding questions, there are times when, for example, instead of supplying an answer one uses comments to post a link to a Q & A which (1) does not directly answer the question at hand but that (2) can be used to establish an analogy with que scenario under consideration to solve the problem. So: – MDCCL Aug 31 '17 at 14:09
  • That would certainly not qualify as "asking for clarification". Should that kind of action be frowned upon? Could it be considered "answering questions in comments"? I think this point has a connection with the aspects discussed in these meta posts, even if the labels for comments remain the same. – MDCCL Aug 31 '17 at 14:13
  • 1
    @MDCCL We allow those because they're often useful (e.g. when the link is same-site, it appears in the Linked/Related list. There will always be edge cases, so don't worry too much about always matching the wording in an exact sense. – Paul White says GoFundMonica Sep 1 '17 at 15:23
  • Makes sense, they can help the OP and a future visitor. – MDCCL Sep 1 '17 at 16:52
6

Change it to "suggest improvements" on answers and "ask for clarification" on questions because...

2

Change it to “suggest improvements or ask for clarification” for answers and “ask for clarification” for questions because...

  • Someone may like to “ask for clarification” with respect to answers as well.
  • Regarding questions, the “suggest improvements” point would suggest something close to the “edit” option, through which a user can actually “make the improvement”, so it's not necessary.

  • As for questions, the “ask for clarification” label could also assist in other common problems. For example, it may:

    • guide the OP in clarifying directly in the question body instead of doing it via comments
    • reduce occurrences of answers posted by means of the comment box
  • One can suggest the improvement that the answer needs to be clearer about something. – RDFozz Aug 29 '17 at 17:42
  • 2
    Definitely, and one can as well ask for clarification about a certain aspect; for example: "What does point x mean exactly?". These changes might not be as precise as one would wish, but I consider that they can help to diminish the current abuse/misuse of the comment facilities. – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 17:57
  • 2
    Very good point and probably even the better solution. I can't remove my vote for the other answer until it's edited but I like this way of wording better – Tom V - Team Monica Aug 29 '17 at 20:38
  • @TomV Let's see if someone shares other ideas. This proposal can be improved of course. – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 20:44
1

Leave it as "add a comment" because...

...The drawback on changing from add a comment to anything else is the question from @RDFozz regarding Commenting on questions you don't intend to answer (slightly). You might not be asking for clarification, but adding a tidbit of information on what you think might be a solution. This happens before there is an answer.

  • 1
    "Adding a tidbit of information on what you think might be a solution" would qualify as asking for clarification, in my opinion. – RDFozz Aug 29 '17 at 17:41
  • 1
    @RDFozz The way I see it, a solution qualifies as an answer (maybe a partial one) not as a clarification request, so it should be better posted as a community wiki answer, perhaps. – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 18:07
  • 1
    Currently, the background of the comment box tells: "Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid answering questions in comments". – MDCCL Aug 29 '17 at 18:11
  • 1
    We tell new users not to provide answers that require additional clarification from the asker. Just trying to follow that same principal by asking questions. – RDFozz Aug 29 '17 at 18:27
-2

Change it to "suggest improvements" for both answers and questions, because...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .