Mastering the Art of Code Review Comments

As software engineers, one of the most important aspects of our work is code review. Code review is a crucial process that helps ensure the quality and maintainability of code. However, providing effective code review comments can be challenging, especially when it comes to striking the right balance between being helpful and being critical. In this article, we will explore the best practices for writing code review comments that are courteous, clear, and helpful.

Be Kind and Courteous

First and foremost, it’s essential to be kind and courteous while providing code review comments. It’s important to remember that code review comments are not personal attacks on the developer but rather an opportunity to improve the quality of the code. Therefore, it’s important to avoid making comments about the developer and instead focus on the code itself. By doing so, you can create a more positive and collaborative environment that encourages developers to learn and grow.

Explain Your Reasoning

When providing code review comments, it’s crucial to explain your reasoning behind them. This helps the developer understand why you are making a particular comment and how it can improve the quality of the code. Providing clear and concise explanations can also help the developer learn and apply the best practices in their future work.

Give Guidance, Not Solutions

While providing code review comments, it’s important to strike the right balance between pointing out problems and providing direct guidance. It’s the developer’s responsibility to fix the code, not the reviewer’s. Therefore, instead of writing the code for the developer, it’s better to provide guidance and suggestions that can help them come up with a solution themselves. This not only helps the developer learn but also results in better solutions.

Label Comment Severity

Labeling the severity of your comments is a good practice to help the developer prioritize their changes. It’s important to differentiate between required changes and suggestions or guidelines. By doing so, the developer can focus on the most critical changes first and then move on to other suggestions and guidelines.

Recognize Good Practices

It’s essential to recognize good practices in the code and provide positive feedback to the developer. This not only helps boost their morale but also reinforces the good practices that they have followed. Therefore, if you see something you like in the code, be sure to comment on it and explain why it’s a good practice. By doing so, you can encourage the developer to continue following best practices.


In conclusion, providing effective code review comments is crucial to ensuring the quality and maintainability of code. By following the best practices outlined in this article, software engineers can provide courteous, clear, and helpful code review comments that can help developers learn and grow while improving the quality of the code.