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Looking at the current comment privileges page, and reflecting on the effort that must go into dealing with comment flags, I wonder whether we could use the Badge system to encourage people to tidy up their own comments, rather than rely on moderators to find and delete comments which no longer serve the community.

We already have the commentator and pundit badges to encourage people to use the comment system, but I wonder if a Boy Scout tag or something similar might be appropriate to encourage the deletion of obsolete comments.

Just as the Boy Scout Rule says "Always leave the camp ground cleaner than you found it", this badge would be granted for deleting (tidying up) say 10 comments.

In accordance with the Positive Badge Rule, this might encourage people to get into the habit of tidying up their comments when appropriate.

Related to Need a way to clean up obsolete comments.

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But how would you be able to tell why a comment was deleted (might not be because it was obsolete)? – Oded Jan 9 '12 at 19:35
There's no way that people would post junk comments just to delete them and get the badge, right? – mmyers Jan 9 '12 at 19:35
@GhostofChristmasPresents How about if the badge is limited to actioned comment flags? Comments are insignificant, but on Programmers.SE comment wars are more than common, and a badge that recognizes cleaning up other people's mess would be nice. – Yannis Jan 9 '12 at 19:53
Does this mean that the mod queue will be chock a block full of "obsolete" "chatty" and other hard-to-judge comment flags? – Won't Jan 9 '12 at 20:23
@Oded - I don't think you'd need to try to keep track of why a comment was deleted. The point is to try to encourage people to tidy up after themselves. Good habits learnt early on stay with poeple. – Mark Booth Jan 10 '12 at 10:30
@GhostofChristmasPresents - Do people post 10 junk comments just to get the Commentator badge? If so, then a Boy Scout badge would probably encourage just those sort of people to remove them. *8') – Mark Booth Jan 10 '12 at 10:32

I like the motivation, but I don't know how you make this not easy to game and relatively easy to implement. I think there'd have to be some minimum time limit for the comment to live after posting, which seems like an awful lot of work for very little gain.

It's probably better to get people to flag obsolete comments and to get trusted users to act on those flags.

But, then again, comments are second-class citizens around here. I wouldn't expect too much work done there.

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We already have Peer Pressure, which isn't exactly difficult to game – Michael Mrozek Jan 9 '12 at 21:05

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