Many times I know some active TeX experts roaming in the site, and, as I think, they can answer my unanswered question.

So, would it be acceptable to comment on answers of theirs in similar questions and ask them to consider my unanswered question, or it would be considered something annoying and unwelcome?

P.S. I meant to put a link to my question on similar question answer; it will not be spamming random questions and irrelevant answers.

My own history in the main TEX.SX site has nothing to do with this general meta question.

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    You have enough reputation to participate in the TeX.SX chat and ask the experts there -- comments should not be 'misused' to draw the attention to something completely different (;-)) – user31729 Aug 2 '16 at 20:03
  • I thought chat is intended for side talks between friends. I have been afraid of asking there for help about my questions :) – Diaa Aug 2 '16 at 20:11
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    You can ask your questions still on the main site and if you think they have not been viewed enough, go to the chat and link the question there. Asking your question in chat is also possible, but it is not as effective as the other way, in my point of view (depends on the complexity of the question, of course) – user31729 Aug 2 '16 at 20:14
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    You are right. I always ask on the main site, but after a couple of hours, I realise that its chance of being answered had been dramatically reduced. So looking for help in another way would be great. – Diaa Aug 2 '16 at 20:17
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    Some questions are answered after more than a single day. Don't worry. :D – Alenanno Aug 3 '16 at 8:21
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    You have asked 17 questions. Of these, only 3 lack answers and 1 of those is closed. Of the remaining 14 answered questions, 13 have accepted answers. This strikes me as a rather impressive response rate and I am somewhat surprised you find it disappointing :-). – cfr Aug 3 '16 at 21:29
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    Why do you think the site is full of people who can answer your unanswered questions effortlessly? It is probably true that there are people who could answer many of your questions (though some questions nobody here or elsewhere can answer in practical terms), but the assumption that they can do so without effort suggests you know in advance that the answers are trivial. But to know that, you'd have to know the answers. In which case, why are you asking them? – cfr Aug 3 '16 at 21:38
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    It really doesn't follow that the same is true for all your questions. Some things may seem simple but just be hard to do. You really cannot know the answer can be easily given without knowing the answer (or that there isn't an answer). This is why I suggested you read the comments in setspace.sty - what you are asking in that question is far from trivial and the comments there explain this. – cfr Aug 4 '16 at 17:44
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    @Johannes_B, the questions I know their answers after reading some literature I don't ask them. I only ask the questions I don't figure out how to solve them after I already read similar questions and sone literature. – Diaa Aug 6 '16 at 7:20
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    If you are not able to figure out the solution yourself, you might consider the question as not so easy to answer. – Johannes_B Aug 6 '16 at 7:33
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    I changed the question body to remove the debatable part "of course/effortlessly". Ultimately, it is my point of view not a rule I try to constitute :) – Diaa Aug 6 '16 at 9:42
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    @crf, this question is totally irrelevant to my question of setspace. I just ask this to know if it is acceptable to generally put a link to my question in similar answered question. When you told me the problem in setspace is not easy to solve, I didn't ask more because you know a lot more than me in this regard. However, this meta question is just a general question I am curious to know its answer. – Diaa Aug 8 '16 at 4:47
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    I would like to back Diaa's last comment briefly. I arrived here because the question is good, and I find the answers interesting too. I think that the attention is pretty much drawn to Diaa's specific cases, and see no big reason to do so. The question was about comments as a way to draw attention to a question, as well as other means to do so. The question is good for future reference and I'd say that it goes beyond Diaa's particular questions. – Luis Aug 8 '16 at 14:24
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    @Luis OK. If the question is intended merely hypothetically i.e. what if I had an unanswered question which I somehow knew lots of other people could answer fairly easily, but which I couldn't answer myself, then would it be OK? I'm not saying nothing falls through the cracks, but I think most good questions get answered in a reasonable time frame, provided they are not just hard and plenty of people know the topic. And some of the hard ones, too. And some not-good and bad questions, as well. Certainly not true of things like ConTeXt, but there are far fewer people using it. – cfr Aug 10 '16 at 2:39
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    That is, I just used that question as an example. I think it is not that easy to find good-and-answerable-by-many-members questions which aren't answered. Generally, either they aren't good questions or they aren't answerable by many members. At least, that's my impression. – cfr Aug 10 '16 at 2:41

There are some ways to draw more attention to a question (if it is going to be awarded the [tumbleweed] badge ;-))

  • Edit the question from time to time (ok, this is not the best way ;-))
  • Award a bounty on your own question
  • Go to the TeX.SX chat and link your question there, asking for support on it (or leave some hint that the question is not yet answered (or not sufficiently)
  • Go to the TeX.SX chat (again) and ask someone to be very generous and add a bounty for your question ;-)

I am pretty sure the rep hunters wait for such a prey and appear pretty soon ;-)

Leaving comments on answers by the experts is not really helpful, in my point of view -- it's some kind of last resort.

  • I am already using occasional edits way :)). Reputation points are few and I would be sad to let some of them go. I am sorry, but what do you mean by "Go to"? – Diaa Aug 2 '16 at 20:20
  • That's helpful. I appreciate your help :) – Diaa Aug 2 '16 at 20:23
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    I would make the last point much stronger. Commenting on other answers is an abuse of the commenting system and really should not be done at all. The only time it might be acceptable is if the answer you're commenting on is related in an obvious way to the new question, but if that's the case, it's better to link to that question in the new question anyway. – Alan Munn Aug 3 '16 at 15:12
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    And one other point: make sure your question is a good question. MWE, clear problem etc. – Alan Munn Aug 3 '16 at 15:13
  • @AlanMunn, I would do it on a similar question not spam a link to my question on every answer I see. So, it is basically an extension and relevant to the question I comment on one of its answers. – Diaa Aug 4 '16 at 16:22
  • @DiaaAbidou The reputation e have here doesn't have any value. There is no use in collecting it. You post a good answer, you get some reputation. If it isn't good and unanswered, you can give the reputation from previous questions back. It is a bit like paying. :-) – Johannes_B Aug 6 '16 at 5:43

Comments are for discussing the post that you are commenting on. Commenting on an unrelated post in order to gain attention for your question is an abuse of the commenting system. The help center's explanation for the "comment everywhere" privilege says

When shouldn't I comment?


  • Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point; please use chat instead;

Additionally, there are some relevant posts on Meta.SE about contacting users:

How do I contact other users?

Any way to send a personal message to another user? (answer: no, and that's by design)

The first of those two posts recommends using the chat system and notes that

One might use comment replies to notify a user of a comment. But remember: even comments should be relevant to the post, and can be flagged as noise if they are not, so this is not recommended.

In my experience TeX.SE is one of the most friendly and welcoming sites on the SE network, so you probably won't get into too much trouble using comments for this purpose here. Nonetheless, you should be advised that

  • users are well within their rights to flag such comments for deletion (e.g. as "not constructive")
  • moderators might decide to take action if you do it too much (e.g. the users you contact start to complain)
  • you might be more likely to get into trouble on other sites in the SE network that are less friendly

If you decide to use chat, your best bet is probably the TeX.SE main chat room. From there you can link to your question and possibly ping a specific user (post a chat message with @username, though that only works if the user has been in chat recently). You can also invite a specific user to a chat room from his/her chat profile.

If you're looking to get attention for your question, the system you're really looking for is the bounty system. From the answer to the Meta.SE FAQ on the bounty system (emphasis added):

A bounty is a special reputation award given to answers. This feature was designed to motivate answerers, and help questions get the answers they deserve.

You have to spend your own reputation (at least 50) to post a bounty, but in exchange your question is put on the highly visible feature tab for the duration of the bounty (up to 1 week). Furthermore, as @Christian Hupfer mentioned, you might be able to convince a kind high-rep TeX.SE user to offer the bounty for you.


If you think the same technique can be used: copy/paste it and see why it doesn't work and ask that by referring to the previous question.

ElseIf you think the same person answers those kinds of questions, first ask the question and then go to the chat room and ask about the user (if they hang out in the chat) to draw attention if they haven't reacted already.

ElseIf you think that some users should definitely know how but can't be bothered then don't bother them and ask without any referrals.

Elseif Just ask the question

Else Ask the question

Finally Ask it


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