I thought it might be worth making a brief explainer on one of the slight differences in protocol we have developed compared to other sites in the network: comment preservation.

On a lot of sites in the network, comments are seen as temporary, with information that should either be used to clarify a question or start/improve an answer. But there can be useful content in comments that don't make as much sense to incorporate into posts, either because it's tangentially related or is in format that doesn't translate well (e.g., debate or discussion). So what is to be done with these comments?

In most cases, the approach we have taken is just to leave any comment that hasn't become outdated (e.g. pointing out an error in a post that has been corrected). But there are cases where the comments can become distracting to the main post, either going into an extended discussion or just becoming too long to follow in a confined space. The OP can decide to send these to a chatroom specific to the question, but these rooms tend to get deleted (technically still visible to mods) due to lack of activity after a short time. This can lead to a large amount of content getting lost in these temporary rooms. So we want to discourage moving comments to temporary rooms if you are prompted to do so.

Instead, what we have generally done is manually move comments to specific topic rooms. This preserves the comments and organizes them in a way that is much easier for future users to find. While some of the steps to this process can only be done by mods, I'll outline in an answer below what general users can do to help with this effort to preserve comments.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks so much for writing this !!! $\endgroup$ Jul 12 at 2:32

How can I help?

  1. For the OP, if you are prompted to move the comments on your post to chat don't do it. This will create a temporary chatroom, rather than moving the comments to the appropriate room.

  2. If you see a post where the comment section is getting too long, flag one of the comments for moderator attention either as "No Longer Needed" or a custom flag. In general, this is all the typical user will need to do. But, if you are feeling particular helpful...

  3. Copy the comments to an appropriate chatroom based on the topic of the question. While this is unfortunately still a manual process, it's not terribly arduous. Simply click on the date listed next to the comment you want to copy. This will give a URL for the comment that, when pasted in chat, will display the comment there (even if the comment or post itself are later deleted).

  4. Once the comments have been copied over, click on the first message and click on the "permalink" button. Copy the link from this transcript page and post it as comment on the original post. This will let users know where to find these comments.

Once that's done, a mod can come through and delete the comments on the original post.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .