Downvotes and close votes should always be accompanied by a comment. While not strictly required as per SE policy this is especially important for new users. We should direct our criticism at bad or unwanted questions, not at unwanted users. Especially beginners – no matter how otherwise knowledgeable or qualified – make mistakes, that is to be expected.
Because there are a lot of similar situations, below is a list of comments that can be copy-and-pasted to provide new users or repeat offenders more insight into how this site works and give reviewers a little help to save on keystrokes.
We adopted the stance that comments are our barn cats. Very useful for improving a post, but also easily gone. Re-use of comments is difficult if they get deleted.
Obviously, self-written comments are always preferable, but because we are often lacking comments before closevotes and downvotes come, and really canned close-reasons are limited, here are a few suggestions that should provide a backbone for standard situations. These should not be copied blindly but preferably adapted to the individual case, if possible.
Especially for new users:
It should be our goal to first post
- a welcoming comment
- that's useful for improving the question and familiarise the new user with the site, it's conventions and policies
- before we see any half-answers posted as comments (which are not entirely bad, but still…)
Please edit the existing answers here and add more examples as answers and as needed.
A list of "magic-links" to save on typing and character limits is on meta.
For dedicated reviewers who are also script-savvy in their browser: AutoReviewComments - Pro-forma comments for SE No more re-typing the same comments over and over!.
The browser extensions may already no longer work (only Chrome one tested positive for me now), but the userscripts seem to still work as advertised, universally.
Note that while I want to 'discourage' using this blindly as 'mindless copypasta', preferring quite strongly a 'tailored to needs' response, the above may still be a time-saver of quite some proportions. Any patterned responses listed here below as answers are still just suggestions, and the pro-forma-comments can still be edited, once pasted…