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A comment self-removal time-limit either doesn't exist, or is too long.

Why are users allowed to delete comments days after they posted them?

I think users shouldn't be allowed to delete their own comments after a certain amount of time has passed, like 3 days or so, as an example.

I think that gives incentive for dishonest people to remove comments they are unhappy with several days after they post them.

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    Moderators can still see comments; if you have a serious complaint about a comment, flag for moderator attention and they will look into it. The ability to remove comments at any time is important - many people use it to "clean up" when an issue has been resolved. Also, I don't see how removing comments you made in the heat of an argument (maybe after a good night's sleep) is "dishonest" – Pekka Nov 4 '13 at 0:22
  • I've experienced, several times, where a user and I had a couple exchanges, and he ends up deleting his comment some 20 days in the future, which makes it look like I'm talking to myself. Also, why all the downvotes? Did I post incorrectly? – Joe Simmons Nov 4 '13 at 0:26
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    downvotes on Meta are used to express disagreement with a feature request – Pekka Nov 4 '13 at 0:29
  • In that case, why not erase your own comments, if they don't add anything new to the table. Comments weren't made for discussion rather for adding detail or asking for more information. – Doktoro Reichard Nov 4 '13 at 0:29
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    @JoeSimmons Comments are not permanent: they're transient and second-class citizens. On some Stack Exchange sites, like Stack Overflow, they are left around, but on others, like RPG.SE, they're actively purged and have very limited lifespans. I will also often delete my own comments if they don't need to stay around, or once a discussion is resolved (which should not even really happen in comments), and when I do so I will flag the other side's comments as obsolete. If the other side's deleted their comments, and yours don't need to stay around, you can just delete them. – doppelgreener Nov 4 '13 at 0:30
  • @DoktoroReichard: But what if they do add detail? The only thing is, I look somewhat like a loon since it looks like I'm talking to myself. – Joe Simmons Nov 4 '13 at 0:34
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    @Joe Add all detail in the comments to your post by editing. Possible side effects: bumping the post, so that more people might help you. – Doktoro Reichard Nov 4 '13 at 0:35
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    People know that comments can be deleted for various reasons. They won't think you are a loon. They'll assume you are wearing a Bluetooth headset somewhere :) – Pekka Nov 4 '13 at 0:38
  • Additional side effect: important information about your question is found right there inside it, not buried in amongst a dozen comments which might get deleted. Useful information brought up in comments on your own question should almost always be edited into the question itself if it's worth keeping around. Or to put it differently: if something would be lost by nuking all the comments, make sure it won't be lost when they are. (The same applies to comments on your own answers) – doppelgreener Nov 4 '13 at 0:41
  • @DoktoroReichard: I'm unable to edit my comments that were made on Oct 3rd, 2013. I could delete all the comments and make a new one, but I don't want to notify the asker (and/or the answerer) because I couldn't edit. What is the ideal solution to that problem? – Joe Simmons Nov 4 '13 at 0:41
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    @JoeSimmons You have lost 12 imaginary unicorn points on a website on the internet. (And I just gave you 10.) That is being a bit dramatic. If you're on Meta.SO (or SO), you need to not care very much about downvotes, since they're going to happen - but upvotes can happen too, and it takes five downvotes to cancel out a single upvote. – doppelgreener Nov 4 '13 at 0:43
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    @JoeSimmons reputation on Meta is a funny beast, since votes are generally used to express (dis)agreement. While it's easy to lose, it's also a lot easier to gain than Stack Overflow. – Gabriele Petronella Nov 4 '13 at 0:46
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    @JoeSimmons You ask them to edit the information into their answer if it's valuable, and then later delete it. If they don't want to edit their answer, that's their issue - they may have a legitimate reason for not doing so. You could use your information to post your own competing answer. A while ago I suggested an edit to improve someone's answer (they missed some vital bits), and it was rejected. The Meta community told me I should just use my proposed edit as a new answer on the question, so I did that, and it received more votes than the answer I had tried to edit. – doppelgreener Nov 4 '13 at 0:51
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    I don't care about the rep. I care that 9 people (and growing) down-voted someone trying to spark a discussion. this is not a feature request, why would people down-vote? – Joe Simmons Nov 4 '13 at 1:15
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    this is not a feature request, why would people down-vote? Well, you said "I think users shouldn't be allowed to delete their own comments after a certain amount of time has passed, like 3 days or so, as an example." That counts as a feature request on Meta, and I assume the downvotes are disagreement with that (The question itself is perfectly fine) – Pekka Nov 4 '13 at 1:59
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The ability to remove your own comments at any time is an important feature, and shouldn't be taken away.

Many people use it to remove obsolete discussions without involving a moderator to do the cleanup.

Also, hiding bad content is an explicit part of Stack Exchange's community philosophy anyway. We don't let it rot on the street to show everybody what a jerk the author is. Users can flag offensive comments; if enough of them do that, the comment goes away even without moderator attention. Moderators will delete offensive comments on sight anyway. You'll agree that in light of all this, preventing the author of the badness from removing it - while the rest of the community can! - doesn't make sense.

Don't worry: deleting your own comments doesn't get you off the hook if you wrote something really, really bad. Moderators can still see deleted comments. If you have a serious complaint about a comment that was deleted, flag for moderator attention and they will look into it.

Also, I wouldn't say that removing comments you made in the heat of an argument is "dishonest" in the first place. It's happened to me a couple of times that I removed things I said after a good night's sleep. When that happens, it's arguably a good thing.

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In an ideal Q&A site comments shouldn't exist at all. From the about:

Ask questions, get answers, no distractions

Comments exist with the only purpose of refining the content of a post and not for extended discussions.

It's consider good practice to remove comments whenever appropriate, for instance when the OP clarifies their question and the comment is now useless. You said (in the comments, consider moving this to the question):

I've experienced, several times, where a user and I had a couple exchanges, and he ends up deleting his comment some 20 days in the future, which makes it look like I'm talking to myself.

People are aware that comments can be easily deleted: nobody will think you are crazy, just that there's some missing comment you are replying to.

The other person decided to remove his comments since he though they weren't worth to stay there. If you notice something like this, it's a wonderful occasion for deleting your comments as well and keeping the post as clean as possible.

Bottom line, the focus should be on the content of a post, not on the comments. Locking the comments after X days, as you suggest, would directly go against the fundamental principles of StackOverflow.

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    Joking comments are also good targets for self-cleanup; generally fine and enjoyable in the moment, less and less important (and maybe blocking other comments from view) as time goes on. – jscs Nov 4 '13 at 1:04
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    [making a joking comment to clean up later] – Gabriele Petronella Nov 4 '13 at 1:05
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AFAIK, there is no such thing, and for good reasons.

Answers are sometimes given in comment form. Although not the best practice, it exists on several try-and-solve kinds of questions, that aren't later converted into answers.

Besides, there is nothing wrong for someone to delete their own comment - it's theirs anyway. If they are unhappy with their own comments, they can delete them.

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