On this site it says that comments should not contain compliments, criticism etc.. Now if I see such a comment is it better to add another comment making the user aware of the linked site, which would violate the conventions stated on the same site, or just to ignore it?

I already tried to find an answer on this meta site and in the "help center" of the normal physics site, but without success, although I cannot really imagine this topic has not come up before...

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have examples? Comments may be used to ask for clarification of the question, which can be interpreted as criticism, for example. If focused on the question, not the person asking it, criticism is appropriate. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jul 22, 2021 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ @JonCuster An example would be Zitscx's comment to this anwer of mine, which was the original reason I asked this question, although I formulated it more generally in the hope of getting answers applying to future cases, too. Of course, constructive criticism about the question or answer totally belongs in a comment, but in my opinion, that is not what the linked comment is about. $\endgroup$
    – nu.
    Jul 23, 2021 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


It doesn't say "comments should not contain compliments, criticism etc.".

It says "Criticisms [that] do not add anything constructive".

It all basically boils down to "If you don't have anything useful to say, don't say it.".

(There might be some confusion caused by the use of "which" where "that" would be more appropriate for the restrictive clause.)

  • $\begingroup$ Wait, criticism pointing out why an answer is wrong is not ok? $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I would say pointing out why an answer is wrong is constructive. Or at least it can be done in a constructive manner. $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist Even if it is fundamentally flawed? $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2021 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I'm not sure I'm following. The comment policy isn't against comments that point out why an answer is wrong. This answer doesn't say so either. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2021 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch, saying "this answer assumes that [fact] is true, but [reference] shows that it isn't" is a criticism of the answer, and it is a useful criticism. Saying "this is a bonehead answer" might be just as true, but it's not constructive and isn't useful. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2021 at 3:06

To add to Ray's answer, if you do see comments that do not adhere to the comment policies, you should flag those comments for moderators to review.

  • $\begingroup$ I see your point, but if someone is just trying to be nice and say "thank you", I have a certain inhibition to flag that comment, because it feels like a strong negative judgement. Or do I just misinterpret the meaning of and intention behind flags? $\endgroup$
    – nu.
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ @nu After you read the comment, if the comment doesn't contain other useful information, you can flag it as "no longer needed". This is not a negative judgement. $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @nu. What Massimo said. There is a "no longer needed" option. Nothing negative about it! If it is a short "thank you", for example, the comment is automatically removed. If not, it goes to the mods, who will just delete it or not. No negative imapct :) $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2021 at 15:22

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