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Fixing broken links in Questions and answers is straight forward. Go and edit them. But we cant edit comments. I can still add a new comment indicating that a link in the old comment is stale and adding the new link. But the problem is, the old but now stale comment was once upon a time very popular with a lot of up-votes and there are a whole bunch of other comments along with it which will make my new fixed-link comment go unnoticed until the user selects, View more comments

So, my question is can I flag such comments and do the mods have the ability of editing comments? ( Instead of delete-that-comment-and-add-a-new-one hassle and also retaining the up-votes that the comment had got)?

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This doesn't really solve your issue, but comments are third class citizens. They should not hold much relevant/crucial information. If they are crucial to a question or answer, perhaps they should not be comments to begin with. –  Bart Jun 12 '12 at 11:31
    
@Bart I can't really agree with you when you say comments are third class citizens and they dont hold much info. I've seen cases where top rep guys come and correct a seemingly correct answer in the comments. And in many cases it so happens, that a popular answer(up-votes) is not always the correct answer. Even in such cases I've seen people correcting the mistake in the comments with proper citations. Unfortunately, all these comments are not necessarily included into the post by the post owners/commenters –  Pavan Manjunath Jun 12 '12 at 12:22
    
They might hold much info, but they SHOULDN'T hold much info. If you have a look around here on MSO, you will find many questions and answers stating exactly this. And with the precise problems you mention "A correct answer was given in the comments, now I can't accept it." for example. At no point did I argue that SO is a perfect reflection of what it (according to many) should be. –  Bart Jun 12 '12 at 12:25
    
If mods have to start fixing broken comment links then I'm resigning right now. –  Won't Jun 12 '12 at 13:11
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What @Won't said. All due respect, on a site with the traffic that SO has, how much garbage is in the comments and how many other important things need to be done before moderating comments, if I see a comment that needs to be addressed, my first inclination is to blow it away (delete it) rather than try and salvage it. –  casperOne Jun 12 '12 at 18:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Moderators can fix comments, but they generally won't do it to fix minor errors. Comments have no revision history, so editing comments of other users is problematic because nobody can see what exactly was changed.

I personally don't edit comments of other users at all, because there is no visible revision history. I can't speak for all moderators, though.

In case of broken links, there is a link-checker currently in development by SE. I don't know if that one will do anything with comments, but this might be an opportunity to implement a way for users to fix broken links in comments (e.g. by automatically fixing all versions of a link if it is corrected somewhere, even if some are in comments).

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If it does anything, it should delete comments with broken links. –  Won't Jun 12 '12 at 13:11

Actually, why bother? Comments should never have any important information. If they do, then the post owner or a good citizen should edit the post and incorporate that information into the post or a new post or a new question. If they don't have any important information, then why bother preserving it?

Having comments and chat rooms are nice to have features that help improve the quality of our content (question as well as answers) but they are not worth the cost to audit their revisions (I am sure, people will have a lot of problem to unaudited edits even if those edits are made by elected officials).

If you cannot edit the post and really feel the need to fix the comment, by all means post a new comment saying "hey folks, that link does not work. Here is the working version". That should solve this problem cheaply.

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While in theory, comments shouldn't have important information, in reality, they can and do. Many critical errors to code have been pointed out through blog posts as references. –  Richard J. Ross III Jun 12 '12 at 14:17
    
@RichardJ.RossIII That is very correct. And we should aim to incorporate that information into the post to make the post more complete and informative. Sometimes, people find it too troublesome to follow a comment trail. –  Monster Truck Jun 12 '12 at 14:35

If the link is permanently broken (not just a server that's not responding) and the comment has no other content, flag the comment as obsolete (or with a custom message).

Moderators can edit comments, but it's a hassle. Why bother?

If you have another link to offer (for example because the page has moved), post a new comment.

delete-that-comment-and-add-a-new-one hassle

What hassle? It's a lot simpler than introducing a history mechanism for comments, or having a moderator edit the comment.

retaining the up-votes that the comment had got

Comments are second-class citizens already. Upvotes on comments determine which comments are visible when there are too many, that's all. They don't carry any significance. If it's been long enough for the link to break and there are too many comments for them all to be displayed, it's high time to cull the obsolete or chatty comments down.

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