Currently moderators have the ability to lock posts, for any of the following reasons:
- Content dispute (~ edit wars),
- Historical significance (to prevent great but off topic questions from being deleted), and
- Offtopic comments
- Wiki Answer
The locks can be applied for an hour, a day, a week, or permanently. This is all great, but:
- Locking a post also prevents voting and (more importantly) editing, and
- If the locked post is a question, there are other ramifications, such as preventing new answers from being posted.
Those side-effects aren't always desirable for posts that generated a lot of "offtopic comments" and I think we could use a lock that would only lock the comment section. The lock message should point to chat, and ideally should also give the option of migrating the comment thread to chat automagically.
Additionally the comment lock, being a lesser lock, could be available to the OP as well, not only to moderators. Perhaps only after a certain rep level (3K? 5K? 10K?) and perhaps without the option to lock permanently. Getting spammed with inbox notifications on an irrelevant discussion happening on one of your posts isn't fun, and it's perhaps the only thing I truly hate on Stack Exchange.
Similar feature requests: