Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I sometimes leave comments that are definitely Noise, and should probably be removed as soon as the other person sees it. (No, I don't really want a private-message system. I like the open community here.) I'd love a mechanism that would help me remove my own comments at some point in the future.

What I think would be ideal would be a flag on my own comment that deletes the comment after the mentioned user sees the comment. Second best would be a flag on my comment that automatically expires my comment after a few days. Third best would be a flag on my comment that puts my comment into the 'Flags' 10K queue and let others flag-delete my comments for me. (Seems wasteful of eye-time, but does let others decide if my comment is really Noise or not. :)

The Activity|Comments page is alright, as far as it goes, but sometimes I know when I write my comment that it should be deleted again in a while.


share|improve this question
Why don't you just delete them then? Or better still don't post it in the first place. No need to involve moderators or anyone else. – ChrisF Apr 15 '11 at 8:02
I suggested something similar once. But especially since the introduction of comment reply notifications, the option to flag as noise, and the anyone-can-edit peer review, I don't think the extra complexity and confusion make up for the little benefit. – Arjan Apr 15 '11 at 8:11
Actually, I was going to suggest this just this morning. Glad to see you're talking the hit for it. – Won't Apr 15 '11 at 14:37
@Will, happy to help. :) I don't obsess with my rep on meta so much, I know I'll never get access to the neat tools here, so taking a rep-hit for you suits me fine. :) But it seems we're in the minority here, everyone else thinks comments to individuals about style ought to remain as a signpost for the future. (As if new people actually read old content. Tee hee! :) – sarnold Apr 18 '11 at 23:55

I don't see how any of these mechanism could be useful. It's a very strange cornercase you're describing here. Especially your first idea comes close to the possibility to track users online status (a who-is-online page was declined, by the way). The second might be a problem, because how do you/we/the system know that the user has seen the comment after those few days? The third adds unnecessary noise to the 10k flag page and adds unnecessary work for the mods...if you know that your comment should be deleted, don't post it. ;)

I think the best solution is what you're doing, manual cleanup of your comments.

Edit: Comments which are helping the user to either find the cause of a problem or are guiding him on how to use features of the site or how to behave/interact with the community should stay. Other new users might find and read them and will not make the same mistakes.

share|improve this answer
I hadn't considered that #1 could be used in such a way. I do think the comments are useful enough to post, but they are intended to improve how that one specific user interacts with our community, so their usefulness is obviously limited and usually unrelated to the specific question and answer where the conversation takes place. Thanks. :) – sarnold Apr 15 '11 at 7:43
@sarnold: In that case they should stay as guidance for future users which might find them. – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 15 '11 at 7:50

This would be very useful for moderators. I have got hundreds of (what are now) noise comments out there, none of which are useful after the target sees it.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .