6

Admittedly, I posted this question composed in a bad way, initially at least. As some people were asking for clarifications, I was posting updates one by one, to address each comment, marking each update with [UPDATE] outline.

I usually do so, to make sure the comments made by others still remain valid, once the question has been edited. This time though, someone suggested that instead of posting updates, I should consider editing the question as a whole, so I did just that.

Is it a good practice to adhere to?

Outside the context of that specific question, is it not a concern that some comments may simply loose sense, if the question has been edited the way it looks as an original unedited post? I don't think people often care to check the history of editions.

8

Questions should avoid having a "sense of time", they are forever and should feel as if they were asked all at once in the best way possible. Make your question as good as it can be (don't invalidate existing answers however)

Comments on the other hand are transitory and will likely be deleted once you have made your edit. Never worry about invalidating them. You can even flag comments as "obsolete" after you have incorporated their suggestions and a moderator will delete them or you can @reply their author to say you've made the changes and the author will most likely delete them themselves.

  • It's almost a revelation to me, I wish I followed it from the beginning. – noseratio Jan 24 '14 at 0:15
  • On: "will likely be deleted once you have made your edit"; well, most often no, actually. And I have flagged many obsolete comments for moderator deletion and they have been almost universally rejected, even though be unquestionably irrelevant after the post was changed. Of the hundreds of flags I've done, almost the only rejections I've had are those for obsolete comments, so I highly doubt I am misflagging in these cases. – Lawrence Dol Jan 24 '14 at 0:20
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    And @reply to the author just adds one more obsolete comment, unless you remember to go back and remove your comment telling the other person to remove their comment. – Lawrence Dol Jan 24 '14 at 0:23
  • @Software In all fairness those comments are useful beyond the possible deletion because they ping a user who was interested in the question that the question may now be answerable – Richard Tingle Jan 24 '14 at 0:24
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    @RichardTingle, OTOH, if the obsolete comment hasn't been deleted, it may turn users off the question, especially if the comment came from a high-profile user. – noseratio Jan 24 '14 at 0:32
  • @Noseratio indeed, best case scenario you want outdated comments gone from the question. Second best is a comment saying the comment has been dealt with – Richard Tingle Jan 24 '14 at 0:34
  • @SoftwareMonkey: In general, mods don't get involved unless the material in question is harmful in some way. – Robert Harvey Jan 24 '14 at 1:28
  • @RobertHarvey, I'd like to chance to thank you for your original suggestion, I believe it was you :) Does the same guideline also apply to editing own answers? – noseratio Jan 24 '14 at 1:36
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    @Noseratio: Yes, it does. Basically, we're compiling information for future readers. We don't put EDIT: in our answers for the same reasons that book authors don't put EDIT: in their books, except that we actually have an edit history. – Robert Harvey Jan 24 '14 at 1:39
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    @Robert: OK - then what's the point in flagging a comment as obsolete?? That feature should be removed if mods are ***not *** actually going to remove obsolete comments. – Lawrence Dol Jan 24 '14 at 18:27
  • @SoftwareMonkey: To remove noise. – Robert Harvey Jan 24 '14 at 18:28
  • @RobertHarvey I think software monkey is asking with relation to "In general, mods don't get involved unless the material in question is harmful in some way. " – Richard Tingle Jan 24 '14 at 18:29
  • A good example are pre-migration comments ("This question belongs on Programmers.") These are useless once the question is migrated. But comments that provide context for a question and its past edits can still have value, even though they are technically obsolete. The "big city" nature of Stack Overflow nearly demands that mods only focus on things that are genuine problems for the site and its participants. – Robert Harvey Jan 24 '14 at 18:30
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    @Robert: Ahh. Then I guess we'd have to agree to disagree; as far as I am concerned, once the edit has been done the comment that suggests or requests it is obsolete and should be removed (along with the "@JoeBlow: Thanks, did that, question/answer updated" comment from the OP). – Lawrence Dol Jan 24 '14 at 18:33
  • @SoftwareMonkey: The thing you have to remember about mods who go through a thousand flags a day is the question they ask of every flag: is this content harming the site? If it is, it has a much greater chance of being acted on. All other things being equal, casting a custom flag that answers this question is better than casting a canned flag. – Robert Harvey Jan 24 '14 at 18:34

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