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I'm curious how it is decided how many comments to display before the "Show more comments" link.
Sometimes I see a dozen comments on a question and no "Show more comments" link, in other occasions no comments are visible at all, only the link.

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1 Answer 1

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On main sites, on most questions, it seems to be the best five (by votes) or the first five (if there aren't any votes). On meta sites, this threshold of 5 comments is increased to 15 comments.

On all sites, if the question has more than a certain number of answers, all comments that don't have any upvotes will be collapsed, and then the above applies to upvoted comments if there are more than five on a main site or 15 on a meta site. This threshold is set to 30 answers on most sites but can be changed on specific sites. For example, on The Workplace, the threshold is only two answers.

According to a January 2011 comment by Shog9:

it's configurable, per-site (meta is 15), and also changes slightly if the number of answers exceeds threshold (30, except on SU/P.SE where it's 15) in that all comments without votes are hidden.

As an aside, upvoting comments does not change the sort order of comments, but when there are lots of answers, or lots of comments, then comments without any upvote (or comments with less upvotes) might be hidden, until one clicks that "show x more comments".

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  • But what is "lots of answers, or lots of comments"? I'm trying to ascertain why some questions on some sites don't get five comments and, as an example, this question on The Workplace has only three answers and only seven comments total (all on the question) but only two of the four comments are visible.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 22:51
  • ... while (Dark Knight Trilogy Spoiler warning) this question on M&TV has four answers (one is deleted) and 13 comments total on question and top answer but both times the question and answer display 5 comments... this makes no sense. Is there some relation to the user's Rep on the site?
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 22:55
  • @Catija, sounds to me like the setting is the same as on Stack Overflow: at most 5 comments. Or are other questions on M&TV showing a different number?
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 8:22
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    No, I figured it out. Workplace is testing a different comment collapse protocol where only upvoted comments are shown, regardless of the 5 minimum comments rule. There's a question on their meta about it.
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 13:18
  • You might be right, @Catija, but note that the Meta post dates back from September 2014...
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 15:05
  • It's still active. Just look at any question with 2+ answers. It's obvious.
    – Catija
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 15:07
  • Ah, @Catija, I didn't notice you posted two comments yesterday. I thought the first was old, and I didn't read it... Only now I understand you were seeing differences between Workspace and M&TV :-) Nice find!
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 15:34

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