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If a post has several comments only the first and/or most up-voted once are shown by default. If a new important comment, e.g. by a moderator, is added then it will not be displayed by default and isn't very visible even when the whole list of comments is shown.

It would therefore be good if a moderator (and maybe 10k+ users too) could pin a comment to be always visible, or at least increase its priority like it has one up-vote (more). They can't up-vote their own comments and it might be a while until someone else up-votes it. This is similar to the pinning of chat messages. This way important moderator comments would be clearly visible from the beginning.

I'm a moderator at TeX.SE and I and the site would benefit from this.

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No reason. We just get our sockpuppets to upvote them. –  Cody Gray May 8 '12 at 10:22
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if something is that important, 10k+ users can always just edit the post... –  Shep May 8 '12 at 10:25
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@Shep: It doesn't have to be extremely important, just important enough so that should be noted right away. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 10:27
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If some important info is drowned in other comments, either it needs to be pulled into the post (Q or A), or the comment noise need to be purged, IMO. I don't really see a practical use-case for this. –  Mat May 8 '12 at 10:28
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What are the important moderator comments you have in mind? Moderators can attach highly visible notices to any post, perhaps all you want is a couple more notices? –  Yannis May 8 '12 at 10:35
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@MartinScharrer, I can see your logic, but it calls into question what comments are for. I typically view them as subjective opinions and suggestions for amendments, they should not become fixed to the post (unless they are included in the post). –  Shep May 8 '12 at 10:36
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@Shep: Commenting behavior can be quite different between SO and specific SE sites. On TeX.SE comments are often used to request more information and ask people if a possible duplicate fixes the issue or not. Such things should not be edited into the post. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 10:47
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@YannisRizos: I'm talking about medium important things, not sledgehammer notices. I realize that comment culture varies between SO/SE sites. As states this feature would be good to have on sites like TeX.SE and similar which have a more user support nature. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 10:50
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@MartinScharrer "this feature would be good to have on sites like TeX.SE" doesn't really say much, care to give us a couple of actual examples of where that'd be useful? –  Yannis May 8 '12 at 10:52
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@MartinScharrer If the comment is for the user who wrote the post, there isn't the need to pin the comment, as the user is notified about that. –  kiamlaluno May 8 '12 at 11:04
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I think, since the policy of SE is that "comments are ethereal and can be deleted at any time; therefore they should not contain anything of importance" would be undercut by this ability. But +1 as sometimes it is nice to get above the fold. –  Won't May 8 '12 at 14:34
    
This sounds like a feature you would have on a forum, which SE explicitly is not. –  RivieraKid May 8 '12 at 16:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

This suggestion seems to be generating a lot of debate about what comments are for. I think it's equally important to ask what moderators are for. Moderators are supposed to be "human exception handlers", who deal with exceptional cases where the normal up vote / down vote system doesn't work.

The ordering of comments is hardly exceptional: for most posts they are all displayed anyway, but when a post becomes extremely popular and old, sometimes newer comments are crowded out by upvoted ones. If we're worried about newer comments getting recognition, maybe we should give them an (automatic) bump in the queue.

Either way, having moderators pinning comments they deem more important is outside their job description, and against the principle of guided community-driven organization. If moderators have to micro-manage comments there's something wrong.

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Why can't we just handle exceptions by deleting the useless, noisy comments? –  Cody Gray May 8 '12 at 11:06
    
you can, my point is more that if you have to catch that many exceptions you're doing something wrong. –  Shep May 8 '12 at 11:15
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Okay, agreed. But doesn't that also apply if moderators have to spend time reading all of the comment threads and "pinning" the most important ones? Isn't that also "micro-managing comments"? –  Cody Gray May 8 '12 at 11:16
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I'm going to have to rephrase my post: that's exactly my point. I think moderators should have to do as little as possible, and this proposal opens the flood gates. –  Shep May 8 '12 at 11:18
    
I'm going to actually accept this answer. The whole discussion here lead me to the conclusion that the feature is indeed not generally required. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 14:16
    
@MartinScharrer too bad I was going to request two new flag comment reasons. One to request an Unpin and the other to Pin –  Some Helpful Commenter May 8 '12 at 14:21

If you see a clickable link saying "Show 5 more comments" and you don't click it - then you won't see the rest of the comments.

What you are suggesting is the need for users to review comments one by one and decide if it is important enough to be "pinned".

Comments are just that comments - they should be complimentary to the post and not vital to it. If the content of the comment is vital to the understanding of the post then it should appear in the body and not below it as a comment...

Who is to say what comments are important and what comments are not? Its the job of the community to judge that - with their comment votes. The outcome of this community decision reflects the current behavior - many votes on a comment - it'll appear at the top.

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I'm getting sick of this "Comments are just that comments" mentality. Addressing questions using comments is a vital tool at some sites, e.g. my home site TeX.SE, because we have to constantly handle newbies which don't provide enough information to solve their LaTeX issue or have overlooked that this might be solved using an existing thread. I'm a 72k+ moderator there and know myself how comments are used. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 10:55
    
With all due respect - you posted on the global meta not on your site specific meta. This "mentality" is the same across the entire SE network - comments are comments wherever you go... Vital information appears in the main body of the post. Addressing an issue only in the comments is wrong - do you also provide answers in the form of comments? Once you have requested more information (in a comment), the OP should update their post and you continue from there... –  Lix May 8 '12 at 10:58
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Sorry, but I keep getting this kind of answers for all my comment related feature requests and it might be right for SO but not everywhere. I posted it here because it is an user interface feature-request and IMHO is better posted on the global meta. It's not vital information I'm talking about, but request for such etc. OPs should of course edit this information into the post. And yes, on TeX.SE sometimes people point out a possible solution as comment first. Often something like "try loading hyperref as last package" can fix a LaTeX problem and we don't want such guesses as answers. –  Martin Scharrer May 8 '12 at 11:05
    
@MartinScharrer If the comment for adding more information is written for the user who wrote the post, that user is already notified of the comment. Then, it is enough a vote from a user to make it always visible; if it is not enough, a vote more from another user would make it always visible. –  kiamlaluno May 8 '12 at 11:09
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Wait... what you are talking about is comments containing - "...request for such [vital information]"? Or "guesses as answers"? These are the comments you want to "pin"? –  Lix May 8 '12 at 11:10

I know you mentioned other voted comments in the request... but think for a minute about how Stack Overflow would implement a "pin comment" feature, if they chose to do so. Given the philosophy that moderation doesn't scale as well as user privileges, the obvious way to handle this is to make users vote to pin comments, just like you vote to close/open questions. That brings us right back to what we're already doing, because voting for comments already pins them.

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A single vote by a moderator obviously doesn't fulfill this feature request as written. I don't think pinned comments are a good idea, but I wouldn't call this status-completed by any stretch. –  Anna Lear May 8 '12 at 14:08
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Also, not even a moderator (without a sock puppet) can upvote their own comments. Agreed that it's not status-completed at all. –  Kevin Vermeer May 8 '12 at 14:28
    
(yes, I know this is old) - when locking a question due to content disputes, the question often has many comments already. The mod has two options edit the question or leave a comment. The comment is at the bottom (show 20 more comments) and not upvoted so isn't shown above the fold. This sometimes leads mods to delete all the comments which obscures some of the history for others to see. Pinning a comment might solve this issue. –  MichaelT Sep 30 '13 at 17:01

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