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I was just looking at this question. Essentially, it has been edited a couple of times to toggle its meaning between "do this" and "do NOT do this". This has rendered some of its comments meaningless. They can be moved to the edit history, but I don't think they need to stay on the main question/answer page. If the comment no longer applies to the question, as it exists in its current state, is it not just useless noise?

I submit that comments should be cleared every time a question is edited.

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What if the edit doesn't alter the meaning of the post (and thus doesn't render the comments invalid), which is what happens most of the time anyways? –  NullUserException อ_อ Nov 19 '11 at 20:28
    
@Null: That would be "collateral damage". It is a concern, but as I said, couldn't comment history be included in the question history? I think the comments you see under a post should only pertain to that post as it exists in its current state. –  raven Nov 19 '11 at 20:32
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@raven I suspect the collateral damage would be like 90%; that's kind of a lot –  Michael Mrozek Nov 19 '11 at 20:56
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@raven Some of the comments might still be perfectly valid. The question poster might not (yet) have addressed them for example, or they might be useful to someone else. Having to go into a questions history for yet another thing isn't very user friendly, especially for new users. –  J.Kommer Nov 19 '11 at 20:58
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That would be awful idea - nothing personal. What if someone edit the question changing "i want" to "I want"? Or any syntax/grammar/readability edit? –  Shadow Wizard Nov 19 '11 at 21:08
    
@Shadow: No offense taken. I figured this suggestion would go over like a lead balloon. It's just that "comment rot" does sometimes occur. Are comments that important that they can't be swept away at times? –  raven Nov 19 '11 at 21:15
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Too important to be swept away automatically? Yes. Mods can already clear/delete comments when necessary. –  Adam Robinson Nov 19 '11 at 21:19
    
Sometimes the real question is made clear only by comments.. so yes, they are important. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 19 '11 at 21:21
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@Shadow: "Sometimes the real question is made clear only by comments..."? Then the question sucks and should be edited or deleted. –  raven Nov 19 '11 at 21:25

2 Answers 2

If the comments are obsolete, flag them as obsolete.
Automatically clearing them doesn't make sense, as the comment could still be valid; it's just users who can decide if a comment is made obsolete from an edit.

In my experience, most of the comments are still valid after the post they are referring has been edited, and clearing them would be the wrong action.

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It's impossible to tell if the changes to the question invalid the comments posted, the comments might still be valid, they might not have been addressed or you might potentially even lose valuable information which might help someone else resolve their issues in a similar case (after all, how many people will check a questions full history?). There doesn't seem to be any real 'safe' way of doing this automatically other than either

  • Flagging the comments manually yourself if there is a disturbing amount of comments.
  • Potentially notify the commenters of changes having been made to a post that they've commented on.
  • Up-vote the useful comments to get them to display by default, instead of the less useful / obsolete comments.

I'd prefer to keep as much potentially useful information intact myself which is why I really don't like the idea of automated comment clean-up and instead prefer either up-voting relevant comments or notify the comment posters about updates somehow.

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