I read a post about 2 months ago, maybe less, that Stephen Kitt commented on or answered about best recovery software. I have searched under his posts, but am unable to find it. Should I ask the question myself? Is there anyway to make sure he sees the question?

  • This may possibly be the answer that you refer to?
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Sep 10 '19 at 9:42
  • @Kusalananda No, but it did mention one of the 2 recommended ways which is helpful.
    – sgu55
    Sep 10 '19 at 11:10

No, there is no way of making sure a specific user reads your post. You could leave a comment under one of Stephen's posts and ask them to check but that can be considered rude and a bit pushy. This isn't a social networking site.

But while Stephen is indeed extremely knowledgeable and helpful, he isn't the only expert on the site, and it's very unlikely he'll be the only user who can answer. He also spends a lot of time here, so it's very likely he'll see your post if you ask it anyway. So sure, ask your question and see what you get.

If, however, you don't need to ask a question but only find an existing one, I suggest you search in DuckDuckGo or Google or whatever search engine you prefer using site:unix.stackexchange.com to limit the results to here. The local search isn't very good, unfortunately.

  • 3
    Effectiveness of searching is why comments should almost never be removed (except some extreme cases, but still need great caution), regardless of whether converted to chat, or how many comments there are.
    – Tim
    Sep 10 '19 at 11:17
  • 2
    @Tim If comments are that useful, they should ideally be incorporated into the answer. Anyone with editing privileges may propose or make edits, and comments that have been dealt in this manner may be flagged as "no longer needed".
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Sep 10 '19 at 18:02
  • @Kusalananda The reality is: useful comments are incorporated less often than not by anyone, and the view of usefulness varies differently from user to user.
    – Tim
    Sep 10 '19 at 18:39
  • 3
    @Tim If you find a useful comment, suggest an edit to the answer. If you don't, the comment could not have been that useful. If the edit is rolled back or denied in some other way, then the comment was not useful to someone else, and you may have to make a note of the comment in some other way. Comments are ephemeral and are supposed to be ephemeral.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Sep 10 '19 at 18:42
  • @K: (1) Usefullness is very subjective. Even when I don't see a comment useful today, probably due to my ignorance, I might change my mind when I revisit it in the future. I don't think I am alone. Denying access to a comment by removing it kills the possibility of revisiting. (2) It can be difficult to sell the point of incorporating comments into replies to many users, per their familiarity with the policies, and willingness to comply.
    – Tim
    Sep 10 '19 at 18:54
  • @Kusalananda This profile says better than I do: stackoverflow.com/users/388520/zwol
    – Tim
    Sep 17 '19 at 14:23

Because I've run across this situation, here are two methods I've used.

First, one you've already tried: searching through a user's answers.

  1. Go to the Activity tab of Stephen's profile.
  2. Go to the search box at the top (which is prefilled with "user:86440") and adding "is:A recover" to search for Answers (is:A) containing the text "recover". Search.
  3. On the resulting page, sort the results by "Newest".

The result is this URL: https://unix.stackexchange.com/search?tab=newest&q=user%3a86440%20is%3aA%20recover

The best choice from that list looks like Restore a removed file when still in use.

Secondly, because Stack Exchange views comments as second-class citizens (there only to support the post they're attached to), there's currently no direct, on-site search method for them. Next-best is the Stack Exchange Data Explorer (SEDE) (that's the UNIX & Linux flavored link). The SEDE data is only refreshed weekly. There, you can construct SQL to query the data you're after. One example might be:


which corresponds to this SQL:

    Comments.Id as [Comment Link]
    Comments.UserId = ##UserId##
AND Comments.Text LIKE ##needle:string##
    Comments.CreationDate DESC

Simply plug in the userID (seen above from their profile page) and the words you're looking for. SQL uses % for wildcard text, so a query string for a comment containing "recover" would be %recover%.

That query pulls up this comment from 2019-08-15 as the only match within the last two months.

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