Over the past few days, some people have been upset about how long comment threads are handled.
- How should long comment threads with important information in them be handled?
- Where did all the comments go on "Is `*--p` actually legal(well formed) in C++03"?
My understanding has always been that comments are secondary to the actual questions and answers. This is why comments cannot be edited for more than a couple of minutes, why there is no easy way to link to a specific comment, why extended discussions are automatically collapsed, and why there is a warning to "Please avoid extended discussions in comments. Would you like to automatically move this discussion to chat?" Despite all of these limitations, people still like to use them for extended discussions.
One way to handle this—short of deleting a long series of comments entirely—is to provide a tool for moderators to migrate comments to chat. This would definitely be a step in the right direction, but it's still re-active instead of pro-active.
I propose a mechanism that would do the following two things automatically once a comment thread reaches a certain length:
- Insert a comment with a link to a chat room and the statement "Please avoid extended discussions in comments. Would you like to automatically move this discussion to chat?"
- Lock the comment thread.
By locking long comment threads automatically, we can spare moderators from the need to clean them up—and take the heat for doing so—while allowing users to continue their discussion at a place that is exactly designed for that.