Daughter is reluctant to participate in proposed family meeting. What kinds of objections do you anticipate she has?

my speculations precisely

This comment added nothing of value, it should have been an upvote. Why was my "too chatty" comment flag declined?


I agree with bjb, and have similarly flagged "+1" and such comment that was declined, which surprised me. I know that our comments are chattier than other sites, and that's fine within reason; but I don't believe our comments should be this level of chattiness. If you agree then you should push the "vote up" button, not leave a comment. (and I think "my speculations precisely" means "I agree", not "I think this is a speculation", which is almost the opposite in feeling).

In general, we use comments for more of a discussion forum here, and I think that's something that in the long run will hurt us. The comment discussions end up containing a lot of information that doesn't make its way back into the answers in some cases, and that's where the problem really is: in the long run, the answers need to contain all of the useful information. However, beyond that, assuming we keep more-or-less the discussions-in-comments that we do now, the lone "+1 agree" comments and such should still be removed, because they do harm to the rest of the discussion.

The Stack Exchange platform isn't made to make comment discussions really work; it hides all but a few comments, and can feel sort of at random which, so it's hard to follow the whole discussion when it has many comments. They're fine while the discussion is in progress, for the discussers; you get reply notifications and such. But days afterwards, they're not very readable. As long as the important information from the comments gets imported to the answer that's not a big deal - but if it doesn't, then having a lot of little random comments is very unhelpful, and it doesn't always get imported.

Moderating comments a bit more would be a reasonable middle ground, I think. Don't use comments to show agreement; those should be deleted. Comments should be used for clarifications or asking questions about the question or answer. Nothing wrong with a (even a long) discussion in the comments, as long as the comments are useful. But also don't use comments to answer the question; encourage people who 'answer in comments' to convert the comment to an answer proactively, at least once they've clarified things sufficiently if that's why it's a comment.

Either way I think we should discuss this, and in general our attitude on comments, either here or in a new question, as a community. It's one of the things that differentiates us greatly from other Stack Exchange sites, and I think it's worth discussing whether the current approach or something different is appropriate.

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    Good points. Might chat be better for long discussions, especially on tangents? – bjb568 Oct 10 '14 at 2:14
  • You raise some good points, and I agree with much of what you say. I do want to point out a couple of things, though: the example was the only comment on the answer, so hiding other comments, or obscuring the discussion (which I agree shouldn't be done in comments anyway) wasn't an issue; if there were a bunch of comments on the answer, I possibly would have accepted the flag. Flagging every comment that doesn't add anything significant, however, would likely overwhelm the flag queue, and hide more important flags. – user420 Oct 10 '14 at 12:27
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    Also, there are other SE sites that have similar leniency towards comments. Sure, they are subject to arbitrary deletion, but the majority of comments that add nothing more than humor, or even "+1 good answer" are tolerated until there is a reason not to. For example, scifi.se, a site I am very active on, is very tolerant of the types of comments you are discussing. Just take a look at any of the highest voted questions, and you'll see old comments that are essentially "this is awesome", or some humorous aside, that are not only tolerated, but upvoted. – user420 Oct 10 '14 at 12:29
  • I feel there is a line between where comments are harmless, but not really contributing, and where they become problematic. Sporadic "I agree" comments don't strike me as problematic, so long as they are sporadic, and don't obscure existing discussions. I'm downvoting this, strictly because of the suggestion that each and every comment that boils down to "I agree" should be flagged for moderator attention. I simply don't think that's practical, or necessary, and I believe it would interfere with monitoring more important flags (such as "not-an-answer", spam, arguments, and spell casters). – user420 Oct 10 '14 at 12:33
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    Note that I have opened a new meta discussion. I will wait a bit for others to chime in, and then will likely use some of what I've just said here to compose an answer of my own, and then delete the comments here. – user420 Oct 10 '14 at 12:46
  • I don't necessarily think every comment should be flagged for moderator attention. I think that ones that are should be deleted, though, and not rejected. – Joe Oct 10 '14 at 13:59

I wasn't the one who declined the flag, but I probably would have. This site has a lot chattier atmosphere than other StackExchange sites. We tend to let comments like that slide unless there are a bunch of them on a post. Most of the comments we delete as "not constructive" are insulting or argumentative, not merely chatty.

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    A chattier post here and there isn't too bad, but this comment had nothing of value. I was always told comments are second-class citizens and by default are deleted, is this not true here? (Semi-)Constructive chattiness seems natural here, but a comment like that seems to go against SE's principals. To what extent does the culture here weigh over the usual SE strictness? – bjb568 Sep 29 '14 at 21:48
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    @bjb568 I declined it because I felt it useful to have a reminder that the answer (all answers on the question, really), was speculative. Granted, I don't believe it has a lot of value, but I see some in it. While it is true that comments are indeed "second class citizens", generally, we're pretty lenient on comments, as Karl mentioned, unless they show signs of getting out of hand (too many, discussion outside the scope of the question/answer, rude, etc.). One lone comment, even a "+1 I agree" is something that we tend to let slide. – user420 Sep 29 '14 at 23:01

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