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Occasionally* popular close-as-duplicate targets such as this question about comparing Strings in Java happen to have a long string of comments on them. While that's not necessarily a problem in general, sometimes this means that the first actual answer is barely visible on the first page.

And more often than not that discussion adds little for those who later visit via Google (possibly because it has been resolved, or because it's about a minor problem with the initial question or someone is complaining that "the question is too trivial").

When I see such questions (usually as a result of closing some other question as a duplicate) I tend to try to improve it, if possible: edit the question, make sure the tags are in order and sometimes I even flag especially superfluous or obsolete comments as "too chatty" or "obsolete". In this particular case, for example there's a comment with 90 upvotes that seems to answer a now-deleted earlier comment.

What's the communities opinion on those flaggings? Should they be done? Are they useless, because the comments are too old? Should I just flag the whole question and ask a mod to "clean up"?

* read as "almost always"

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Useless comments ought to be flagged (flag the post with a custom comment asking for "comment cleanup" or something). Comments are only for improving the post. If a comment will not aid in improving the post, or has already been incorporated, flag it. (generally it's "chatty" for the first case, "obsolete for the second"). For a whole thread of useless comments, flag the post for cleanup.

So yes, they should be done. For more info on when comments should be flagged, read the section on comments here

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We might need to make the pundit badge gold instead of silver. – Tim Post Jan 3 '13 at 9:52

Seems to me it's always okay to flag something if you have a good reason that clearly matches one of the flaggable reasons. Whether you consider it worth your time to go flagging a bunch of old stuff is up to you, but I think such flags are useful.

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