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On the question What is the proper way to sharpen a pencil? there was at least one comments that was removed. It was from me and was something along the lines of:

Yes I was interested in this as well after reading that question.

I agree that it is not asking for clarification from the author or something of the like. It was a comment in the loosest definition of the term. Comments are considered 2nd class citizens in the SE network. As long as they are not spam or offensive can they just be left there? The linked question was interesting to me and I commented on it. Yes, an upvote accomplishes a similar goal (which I also did.)


Whether or not I am correct about the reason for the removal it brings a concept to light. How strict or relaxed are we going to approach this?

I don't want to condone extended discussions to take place in comments as that belongs in chat. Light discussion however can be stimulating for both the Q&A as well as the atmosphere. The latter I put a lot of stock in because, while we do have a goal for Q&A, I would hope we have a nice friendly atmosphere for all users.

  • Long discussions: Move to chat
  • Off-topic (to the current question) discussions: Migrate to chat (remove the comments and take them into chat)
  • Comments that are not spam or offensive leave in place as they cause no harm.

I want to uphold the communities wishes and views in this matter.

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    Light discussion is absolutely conducive to a positive atmosphere and a sense of community, but I'd challenge users to increase the content value of their comments so they're more than simple statements of support or interest.
    – Erica Mod
    May 18 '16 at 15:03
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I'm not saying that we should delete every comment ever... but comments serve a purpose... they are designed to ask for more information or clarification... comments like the one you mention are pointless. No, one of them doesn't hurt anything but that comment is literally one of the purposes of upvoting (as you say).

If we allow it, we're liable to have such a comment on every single question on the site... and possibly multiple of them. One doesn't hurt anything - but people seeing that they're "acceptable" sets a precedence and the next thing you know, we've got hundreds of them and cleaning them up after the fact becomes tedious.

From Meta.SE, this question and the questions it is a dupe of discuss methods of allowing users to say "me too", generally to prevent such comments or answers which are not appropriate... and the universal response is - this already exists, it's called upvoting.

Dan Bron: That button already exists, it's an upwards-pointing triangle juuuust above the question's score.

Robert Cartaino♦ RothMedia, up-voting serves a lot of purposes, and using it to add more weight/importance to the question is one of them. It may not be as explicit as a separate 'me too' button, but scattering a selection of buttons across a question for each of the reasons why you think it deserves more attention would only dilute the signal that determines the sort. Giving users more buttons to push and axes to vote on would likely have the opposite effect of what you are looking for. See a good question? Up-vote. Simple and effective.

I don't see any reason we should accept users cluttering up the questions with comments that are unnecessary.

Similarly, comments that are obsolete should be removed... If a comment requests clarification and the OP adds it, no one should expect that comment to remain. It'd be awesome if people deleted them on their own but if it's flagged, there's no reason not to remove it.

None of this means that we should expect our mods to burninate every comment that is obsolete, too chatty, or not constructive instantly... there's no way that they could keep up with that but if you see a comment you feel should be removed for one of these reasons, flag it.

The privileges page explains how comments should be used, if you want to see the "official" rules...

This question seems to be asking whether we want our mods to ignore all comment flags reasons (other than spam/offensive) - These comments are supposed to be deleted by SE policy and that's why these comment flag categories exist. Declining flags constantly because we, as a community, have decided to ignore policy regarding usage of the comments section sends really mixed messages to our users.

Comments can be clutter. They detract from the actual content of the site. There is no value to saving comments like:

  • Me too!
  • +1, great answer.
  • Thank you!
  • -1, this is bad. (with nothing else)

We should follow SE policy and delete them when seen/flagged.


The other two sections are fine but we can not condone pointless comments here.

  • Long discussions: Move to chat
  • Off-topic (to the current question) discussions: Migrate to chat (remove the comments and take them into chat)
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  • As long as we are not actively hunting them was more my concern. When flagged is perfectly fine.
    – Matt
    May 18 '16 at 14:33
  • Scouring every post for bad comments is a poor use of our time.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 18 '16 at 14:36
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    "One doesn't hurt anything - but people seeing that they're "acceptable" sets a precedent" -- We had a situation on Parenting where a user was angry about a joke comment being removed and pointed to a bunch of others as proof that his should totally also be allowed, then proceeded to insult mods for removing the others that were equally jokey and saying we were ruining the atmosphere. This is not common, but having generally clean comments in the beginning keeps things cleaner long-term. TL;DR -- +1 I agree! ;)
    – Erica Mod
    May 18 '16 at 14:54

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