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I have a second question that has arisen from this meta; how can I suggest that a comment may have problems without violating the "no discussion" rule?

By "no discussion" rule, I see this a lot "Comments are not for extended discussion" after comments have been deleted or moved to chat, so I guess there is a rule somewhere.

Example: Answer: "A, B, therefore C" Comment 1: "Good answer, very good, but I think Y isn't correct, it should be D, therefore E". What I want to say: "Good comment 1, very good, but I think D isn't correct, it should be F therefore G" or "it D is actually not correct because of H so B is actually right".

Why I want to say this: The original poster may not know this. Someone reading the answer might not know this. It doesn't make sense to me that someone criticizing an answer is themselves immune to criticism

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Short discussions that are working to improve a post aren't a problem

Clarifications can be further clarified (or corrected) in comments as long as it is directly working towards that. If it diviates from that goal (such as discussing a related topic, consequences of a result in the answer) those comments shouldn't be posted.

If the discussion becomes overly long it may have been moved to chat to clean up the main thread (ie. not have lots of "noise" between one answer and another). This can only be done by diamonds and autogenerates1 the comment with "Comments are not for extended discussion, this conversation has been moved to chat". As with most autogenerated things, it doesn't always cover the situation perfectly, but it's close enough.

If you do correct the correcter/suggester, please also clean up after yourselves. Once any mistakes have been acknowledged; delete your comments, suggest the other(s) do the same and/or flag them as "no longer needed". This also goes if you get corrected. I would suggest something like: "You're right, thanks. Comment(s) removed, suggest you do the same". Salt and pepper to taste.


1: I believe. Any diamonds who would like to confirm or correct?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It can be difficult to stay clean with only 10 flags, but I do try to delete my comments once they are obsolete! So hiding comments is because of limitations in the platform, not necessarily an inherent problem with discussion? For example if comments were automatically collapsed then there would be no benefit to removing active/relevant threads? \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Oct 21 at 8:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Flag what you can. Note that you get more flags per day from having flags marked as helpful and from rep. Comments are collapsed to help against them flooding the thread, but should also be cleaned out so other (newer) comments can be seen. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Oct 21 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel that relevant comments should be left even if they are old. Relevance is more important than age to me, if a comment is old and unaddressed then it is important. \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Oct 21 at 9:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just for perspective: I've always understood "comments are not for" to cover both "comments are not intended for" and "comments are not well-suited for" extended conversation. I.e. comments on a post aren't a terribly good mechanism for having a conversation. So I'm certainly in the habit of moving to chat liberally, in the hopes of helping the conversation flourish in a space where it can. (In cases where (a) there's a conversation brewing and (b) it doesn't seem to be quickly converging to an action being taken on the post.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 21 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil just to confirm, your 1) is indeed correct. When we move comments to chat that message is auto-generated (though sometimes we tweak the wording after it generates if the situation calls for it). \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Oct 21 at 13:55
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Comments aren't a changelog

Comments can be a helpful mechanic for suggesting additions or having a short dialog over improving an answer or question, but the comments themselves are only of value/utility insofar as they work towards that goal. Even comments that are attempting to improve the quality of an answer or question are themselves not something you should expect to exist forever. They can be cleared out for a variety of reasons.

The long and the short of it

If there is something helpful in a comment, then incorporate it into your question/answer. You should not expect the comments to be preserved.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good answer, I should have specified I am talking about unresolved comments, not obsolete ones. \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Oct 21 at 22:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jgn kinda the same thing. Unresolved is a choice by the answerer, so it's obsolete. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 21 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Ok, "I should have specified I am talking about unresolved/obsolete comments, I am not expecting resolved and obsolete comments to be preserved." \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Oct 22 at 0:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jgn My apologies for my brevity. What I was saying is that if a comment is left on an answer and it is not addressed or incorporated, then that means de facto means the author does not intend to make changes. In that case, the comment is obsolete and should be removed. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 22 at 13:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I believe that before my hiatus of the last year or 2 that the diamond mods did used to routinely just clear out all comments from the Qs and As on older "settled" questions. Not sure if that is still a policy or thing they do. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Oct 22 at 15:14

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