Inspired by this question on meta.TeX.SE, I thought it might be useful to collect some comment templates (to be customized) for some standard situations in a form suitable for quick copy&paste (especially if links are involved), so I don't have to hunt through my previous comments. This should be community wiki, so please feel free to add blocks and improve existing ones.

Useful links

Help center

  • [on topic](http://scicomp.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic)
  • [disclose your affiliation](http://scicomp.stackexchange.com/help/behavior)
  • [minimal, complete, and verifiable example](http://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve)
  • [MathJax](http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/5020)
  • [on hold](http://scicomp.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions)

Meta discussions

  • [questions about mathematics](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/398)
  • [questions about software packages](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/368)
  • [cross-posting](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/156)
  • [affiliation](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/a/342)

New users

  • Possible bugs in specific software:

    Questions about (suspected) bugs or problems encountered with specific software are [off topic here](http://scicomp.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic), and should be asked on the dedicated support forum.

    Links to support sites for common software to add:

    • [Octave mailing list](https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/help-octave)
    • [Matlab Answers](http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/)
    • [Fenics AllAnswered](https://www.allanswered.com/community/s/fenics-project/)
    • [deal.II mailing lists](https://www.dealii.org/mail.html)
    • [Comsol support forum](http://www.comsol.com/support/)
    • [PETSc mailing list](http://www.mcs.anl.gov/petsc/documentation/bugreporting.html)
    • [CVX Forum](http://ask.cvxr.com)
    • [CFD-Online's OpenFOAM forum](http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/openfoam/)
    • [CFD-Online's FLUENT forum](http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/fluent/)
    • [Tecplot user forum](http://tecplottalk.com/)
    • [FreeFEM++ mailing list](http://www.ann.jussieu.fr/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/freefempp)
    • [ABAQUS learning community](https://iam.3ds.com/service/social/?redirect=aHR0cHM6Ly9zd3ltLjNkcy5jb20v#community:73) (registration required)
    • [R-help mailing list](https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help)

    If it's just a "what's wrong with my code?!" question:

    In particular, this is not a good place to ask others to [debug your code](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/a/369).

  • Help with using a specific software:

    While questions on how to solve a scientific problem with a specific software package are on topic, [make sure to read the documentation first](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/a/369).

  • Pure programming questions:

    This question is purely about programming and does not require any expertise in computational science; such questions are [off topic](http://scicomp.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic) here and should be asked at one of the programming StackExchanges (StackOverflow, Code Review etc.).

  • Cross-posted question:

    [Cross-posting](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/156) is discouraged on the StackExchange network, so people don't waste their time with an answer you already received on the other site. The usual procedure is to wait a few days, and then either raise a flag and ask the moderators for migration (if there are some answers already) or delete the old and ask a new question.

    If it's OK to have the question on both sites, add:

    [Cross-posting](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/178) is discouraged on the StackExchange network, so people don't waste their time with an answer you already received on the other site. If you really would like input from different communities, make sure a) to wait a few days before cross-posting, b) that it's really on-topic at both sites (and not just marginally - there are higher standards for cross-posts), and c) to cross-link and keep up-to-date all duplicates. You should also consider tailoring the questions to the specific sites.

  • Please include a minimal example:

    Please help us to help you and add a [minimal, complete, and verifiable example](http://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve) that illustrates your problem. It will be much easier for us to reproduce your situation and find out what the issue is when we see code we can run and modify ourselves.

  • Author comments on own software:

    Please [mention that you are the author of this software](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/a/342), so anyone reading this will be aware that you a) know what you're talking about and b) might be a bit partial.


  • Code blocks:

    A tip: If you indent lines by 4 spaces, they'll be marked as a code sample. You can also highlight the code and click the "code" button (with "{}" on it). There's even [syntax highlighting](http://meta.scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/332)!

  • Formulas:

    A tip: You can use [MathJax](http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/5020) to typeset your mathematical formulas. This will make the question much easier to read.


It's nice to have links to all this content in one place, but I'm not a fan of generic cut-and-paste comments.

They tend to come off as dismissive or robotic to new users, read as noise to everyone else, and are often misused. This has been the case at many websites and forums I've used in the past.

Even if the content is not dismissive, it is still mildly irritating - like when you call a business trying to talk to a person, but get answered by a prerecorded voice instead.

  • 1
    Then by all means only use the links and ignore the rest. The comments weren't meant as a replacement for a custom comment (although I often use them as a basis for one), but as an alternative for a down- or closure vote without a comment. (Also, if there's a specific one you feel sounds dismissive, by all means improve it -- I tried to avoid that, so any help is appreciated.) – Christian Clason Aug 21 '15 at 8:13
  • @ChristianClason Thanks for collecting this all on one place, that is definitely useful. This is just my personal opinion on cut and paste comments, built over many years of experience using different internet forums. – Nick Alger Aug 21 '15 at 20:01
  • I understand, and I'm not too happy with some of the auto-comments when flagging a post. I've just seen too many first posts collecting multiple votes to close without a single comment about what is actually wrong; I usually try to add a comment in this case, but sometimes I'm too lazy to compose something from scratch but not to copy from this list. (In your analogy: rather a prerecorded message that all lines are busy, and please call back, than just getting hung up on.) – Christian Clason Aug 21 '15 at 22:35

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