In the recent community checkin post How is the community doing? , the two most highly voted complaints (at the time of this writing) are about comment misuse - namely:
- Answering in comments (mostly on questions)
- Arguing in comments (mostly on answers)
We have existing guidance on comments:
- Why are site comments being deleted? and more in comments
- Should users refrain from answers (or partial answers) in comments?, How to deal with answers in comments?, and more in answers-in-comments
For metrics, we have deleted 2000 comments (exactly! That's weird) in the last month. It was 2000 comments over three months in 2013 per Can we re-evaluate our comment deletion policy? (or at least have access to the data?), a 3x growth over 5 years (not bad really given overall site growth). But since only mods have comment deletion ability, it's a large part of our workload.
The fact that the community feels strongly about this warms the cockles of an old mod's heart, because early in the site many people didn't understand the harmfulness of using comments in these ways and there was quite some arguing about it that you might see going through those older guidance posts. (How dare you delete comments, it's censorship, etc etc.) It's nice that proper use of comments has become normative, and it certainly helps that the community has been flagging and such.
The question is, what can we do (other than what we're doing now) to further reduce the misuse of comments?