Pre-made comments are awesome. They're also super powerful tools. Let's workshop some new ones and improve the old ones!
You've probably seen pre-made comments[i] used across the site by moderators, both diamond and not. They're efficient and help reduce the busywork of moderation[ii], but they're also an important tool for setting the tone of interaction on our Stack:
- A friendly and polite comment leaves folks open to correction, not defensive.
- A comment linking to the relevant meta or help pages does wonders for community education.
- A comment indicating that rules and guidelines help improve a user's experience can lead a new user to participate in the site's culture happily and to pass it on to others.
- When a comment needs to be customised for a particular situation, having a template to start from helps us write new comments which also do these things. It’s hard to accomplish all of this on the fly all the time; pre-made comments mean most of the effort’s already been put in.
So I've got two questions that I'm hoping this meta can answer:
What situations do we frequently encounter on the site which would benefit from pre-made comments?
We've got a good start with an earlier collection, but there's currently a widely acknowledged need for pre-made comments that cover other situations. What have you noticed?
What pre-made comments do we need to meet those situations, and how can they best model the tone of discourse we want on the site?
Again, the earlier “pro-forma” post gives us a good beginning. If those comments can be improved, please help us figure out how. And for our brand-new pre-made comments, we need everyone's help designing those.
Obviously everyone will take something slightly different away from this thread. Nobody's expected to use a comment they don't like, and I expect most of us will personalise the comments as we use them. If you think your personalisation would be useful to others, please come back and share it here! My goal with this thread is to foster awareness of the powerful tool these comments are, and to create a pool of resources so we can all use pre-made comments more effectively.
Thank you for your service, citizens!
i. Brian called them “pro-forma” comments for “modal” situations, which is technically accurate but a) confusingly jargonistic and b) “pro-forma” has common connotations of “the absolute minimum we had to do” and that’s exactly what these comments shouldn’t feel like. “Pre-made” is more accessible and means our comments will be Exactly What It Says On The Tin.
ii. If you use pre-made comments and haven't seen this auto-comment script, please check it out. A lot of folks find it very helpful when implementing pre-made comments on the site.