Is there a methodology that's employed when determining if a comment thread should be deleted or simply moved to chat to allow discussion to continue?

If not, that creates an environment where expectations aren't understood and frustration can arise by users.

It seems that there should be at least some criteria that mods use and users understand.

An example

As a specific example: there was a comment thread on this question where I was trying to engage the querent in clarifying their need in order to better develop their question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ One thing is I rarely observe comments being moved to chat under a question, but much more often under answers. Don't know if this is because there are much higher rates of answers with long comment chains than questions (or just the fact that there are more answers) and this is skewing my perception or if there is a conscious reason behind it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Aug 28 '18 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting - I haven't looked that closely at that. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose That's because it's easier to have a productive comment chain on an answer than on a question. On an answer "consider addressing X" "How?" "Y works, also Z" "Okay. Do you think I should also address Q? It's related to X but not the original question" etc etc can be on-task but excessive noise for people not involved. On a question, stuff the querent isn't completely familiar with is part of the frame of the question and something you should address in an answer or not at all, rather than something you might use superior specialty knowledge to help improve a post with \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 11 '18 at 6:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose (Or so I think, anyways) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 11 '18 at 6:02

There isn't a set criteria. It's a subjective case-by-case judgement. Primary considerations include whether we imagine the participants might want to continue at all, and whether we as diamond moderators would want to allow the discussion to continue.

For example, sometimes what one person sees as a discussion, diamond moderators might instead see as an argument waiting to happen, an argument already happening, or people taking someone to task unnecessarily: some of the people involved might feel they want to continue, but we as diamond moderators might see problems in allowing that.

Bear in mind the primary responsibility of diamond moderators is ensuring the site runs smoothly for the community. In the course of that duty we look after our members and content quality bars.

If you want to know why a comment trail was deleted it's best to ask about the specific case.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I added the specific case, but I guess I remain in the position that without some criteria it feels haphazard. And if a mod does it and puts up their own comment it feels like users aren't being allowed to help and that voting/improving becomes a mod event and not a community one. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch You're allowed to help. Sometimes people trying to help make a wrong call, and sometimes a diamond moderator finds it necessary to step in when the wrong call is being made. On your example: if a diamond moderator felt this help was making the wrong call, and therefore the comments pressuring for changes were off the mark and not actually helping this time around, why would we want to facilitate that conversation continuing in chat? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 28 '18 at 17:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point, but if that's the case shouldn't there be some discussion with me? Otherwise, what am I learning? There should be a process to help the commenter rather than just shutting them down. I thought I had a fairly good reason to try and initiate conversation that I laid out in the comments. Up until the mod came in with "Nope, you're all wrong." \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch That usually doesn’t scale. If a general message (like the one given in that example) doesn’t teach, a personal one is unlikely to help. And personally engaging every time we take corrective action would increase our workload tenfold — it’s be impossible to do. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 28 '18 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually the comment left behind is the dialog. We can't have a long conversation with everyone, like SSD says. Given unlimited time and energy we could, but we don't have those, and we might only be on the site for 5 minutes (no time for back and forth in that frame). But if it needs follow-up you're entirely welcome to ask about it on meta and understand better what happened. It's better for us to save our energy for when that actually becomes necessary due to someone feeling strongly enough to ask about it on meta. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 28 '18 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Frustrating, but understandable. We often talk about wanting to understand a person's problem so we can provide the best solution, so my effort to do so being shot down was surprising. Especially considering the existing Meta Qs on it, the mod responses on those Qs, and the language in the question that has recently been removed by a different user than OP. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 17:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Consider that the language that was removed was pretty much insubstantial to the question. It was substantially just a question about meaningfulness of the numbers in the mechanics. I think your radar was just being pinged overly strongly in this case, as happens to any of us sometimes on our various radars, probably based on the context you've been dealing with in the author's series of questions. That's the kind of scenario where a moderator steps in though to correct a wrong call. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 28 '18 at 17:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe, but that language IS what made it feel like an intent question and there still wasn't was a clear 'problem' to solve. There was a clear question, but not a clear problem. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ And that's fine to have that opinion, but the fussing over that question had gone on long enough and I as a mod decided to make a bit of a ruling on that it was fine. You can still VtC as your conscience dictates. Disagreement can't go on forever, when the community comes to a consensus itself that's good, if it can't then it needs some direction set so we can move on. It's already on meta, go keep after it there if you must. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 28 '18 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk It had pretty much just begun, but I guess long enough isn't time but number of comments. I had tried to redirect it to Meta in the comments (or to chat), but Jack didn't engage on Meta and you deleted the comment trying to do that so it ended any possible nudge in the thread when they had already chosen to not engage in meta. But you made your call and the community seems to agree with it based on the voting. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 28 '18 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I linked the newer meta Q as a comment before my guiding comment on the Q, it can still be found there. There were 2 questions each with comment threads (rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/130493/… (closed), rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/130599/… (with 10 deleted comments)) \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 28 '18 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ and then 2 meta questions also with discussion (rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8304/…, rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8308/…). Yes, in my opinion that's too long, or wide, or much, or whatever. If they choose not to engage in meta, then you vote your conscience, you don't sprawl the discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 28 '18 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, don't ask a generic question if really you want to talk about a specific action on a specific question. This decent general meta is being significantly derailed because you are not focusing in on "when comments are deleted vs moved to chat", you're litigating this specific instance. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 28 '18 at 21:48

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