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I began an exchange today, and the question being discussed was deleted. The comments are lost once the corresponding question is deleted, but sometimes comments can contain value in and of themselves. It would be nice to be able to keep the conversation accessible even if the question is deleted.

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    You do that by earning 10K+ reputation.
    – user102937
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:04
  • Many users never even hit the 10k mark. I myself have only gotten past 1k. Could that bar be lowered? I'm on SO quite a bit, but I'm missing out on a nice feature because of rep. Mar 13, 2014 at 21:06
  • @Robert Harvey Whatever your reputation, your comment may have value. If there was at least a way to petition a review...
    – Tonio
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:08
  • @MatthewJohnson Can you link to the question that was deleted? Mar 13, 2014 at 21:09
  • @LoweClassOverflowian Comments are for me like a draft on which you build the answer. How would you feel if you're working on some math and some random guy comes by and throws your drafts away in a bin? I think it is not luxurious to ask for a chance to get something out of it.
    – Tonio
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:11
  • This was the question. Admittedly, the conversation in this particular case was not important, but it reminded me of ones that were. @LowerClassOverflowian Comments are second class, and the vast majority contain no value. Some do though, and it would be nice if people with lower rep could save those. Mar 13, 2014 at 21:11

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Comments are post-it notes, ephemeral messages that can vaporize at a moment's notice. Unlike questions and answers, we don't even maintain a detailed audit trail for them. Comments are a way for folks to ask for clarification, and that's all they are. They are a way to keep stuff out of questions and answers that shouldn't be there.

Deleted comments are only available to 10K+ folks for moderation purposes; we allow those folks to see them because they have demonstrated the maturity to handle whatever they find there without blowing a gasket.

Stack Exchange is about getting answers to your questions, not about engaging in conversation other than that discussion necessary for clarification. The only folks for whom comments are relevant, once a post is deleted, are moderators, for whom comments can demonstrate a pattern of behavior.

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  • I agree that they are a way to keep stuff out of questions and answers that don't need to be there. The majority of comments are for clarifications. However, I've seen quite a few comments that answer the question, but the person that commented didn't want to take the time to write out a proper answer. Mar 13, 2014 at 21:17
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    There are ways around that. Write your own CW answer, copying text from the comment and giving credit where it's due.
    – user102937
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:18
  • I suppose that's a good way to handle it, and adds the value to SO. It may be hard to provide the credit though if the comments are no longer available. I can't remember who all has commented so far. If this were one of those times, the credit would be lost. On a brighter note, at least the info can remain. Mar 13, 2014 at 21:21

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