19

If I happen to come across a answer from which I have judged that the answerer is likely to at least give some advice on one of my own questions, is it OK to post a comment on that answer linking to my question and state that I want to invite the answerer to take a look at my question?

The positive side I see is that it will set a signpost for others who are interested in my question, but since the two questions are related, they may have used the wrong keyword Googling and arrived at the other page.

The negative side is that some people may deem it as an incorrect (or indecent) way to draw attention to my own question and others may find my link distractive, especially when my question has not yet received a good answer.

So I would like to ask whether there are some rules on this practice or on "invitation", in general? Or, in practise, is it likely that such a comment will get downvoted? Please point me to the right place if there are. Any help would be appreciated.

  • 1
    Just a minor point: comments can’t be downvoted, only upvoted, flagged for attention (such as deletion), or outright deleted themselves. – Jeff Schaller Dec 9 '17 at 21:23
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    Yes you are right. Thank you for your correction. – Weijun Zhou Dec 9 '17 at 23:37
17

I would prefer that people not do this.

Questions are already "linked" in that they are, or should be, tagged appropriately. People who are interested in specific topics tend to follow those tags, so will probably be aware of related questions anyway.

Commenting on their other answers, and including a link to your question, feels wrong to me for a couple of reasons. One, it duplicates the functionality of tagging. Secondly, it feels spammy. It is yet another notification that has to be addressed and, given the first point about redundancy, feels like an unnecessary drain on the goodwill of people contributing to the site.

So, no, please don't do it.

  • 2
    Agreed; using appropriate tags and keyword descriptions should bring the appropriate people (on their terms). – Jeff Schaller Dec 9 '17 at 21:20
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    Thank you for pointing out that questions are linked already by tags and that they should me. Never occured to me before. I have missed a very important part of the roles of tags. The answer provides the insight I need exactly. Good job. – Weijun Zhou Dec 9 '17 at 23:52
7

I think it’s OK.  I’m somewhat able to answer questions about shell scripts, awk and sed (among other things), but I don’t always monitor the corresponding tags.  If somebody sees from one of my answers that I’m likely to be able to answer their question, I don’t mind having my attention drawn to it.

It seems a little unfair, and may contribute to the “Stack Exchange hates users” sentiment.  Suppose Andrew posts a question and Barbara writes a good answer.  Charlie (who has rep ≥ 50) doesn’t fully understand Barbara’s answer, so he posts a follow-up question as a comment under her question, and she gets notified.  (Whether she responds is up to her.)

Then Dave has a question that’s similar to Andrew’s.  He does the search that leads him to Andrew’s question, but they’re not similar enough that Barbara’s answer solves his problem, but they are similar enough that she can probably help him.  So he posts a new question — and he’s not allowed to ping her?

And if we’re not supposed to invite people to answer questions, why does this message:

(Know someone who can answer?  Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.) appear at the bottom of every unanswered question?

I would suggest that you wait a couple of days after posting your question before you invite anybody to answer it.

  • 2
    It's absolutely not ok. Take a closer look at that message you posted. There is no option to share a link to the question via Stack Exchange. Email, Google+, Twitter and Facebook are means of social interaction. Stack Exchange isn't. Stack Exchange chat is a different thing; there it may be ok to ask someone to answer a question, but it's pushy, you should only do it with fellow chat regulars. I consider begging for answers to your own question in chat tacky and generally ignore such requests. – Gilles Dec 14 '17 at 22:09
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    I think its OK, also. I've been on the receiving end of these requests and it didn't fell 'spammy': It sometimes alerted me to questions I wouldn't have seen. And, if I wasn't interested, I was free to pass it by. – John1024 Dec 15 '17 at 6:21
  • I also think it's ok, as long as you leave it at that. Obviously pestering someone to look at your question crosses a line. I don't think the "Know someone who can answer" thing is relevant, though. – Faheem Mitha Dec 15 '17 at 19:09

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