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When I comment suggesting a change to the question or answer, and the author uses it, is it good form to then delete my comment? Sometimes the author leaves a "yes-thanks" comment which is then vestigial. But in any case the comment's usefulness approaches zero, and I figure the whole page is less cluttered if I remove it.

I thought this was discussed somewhere but I can't find that, and I don't think it has been asked head-on.

Here's an example answer where my edit was rejected, so I made a comment suggesting a revision, the author revised and thanked, then I deleted my comment, and so the author's thanks is now dangling.

Another example with a vestigial comment.

Another where I haven't yet deleted my comment.

  • This seems to be essentially the same question: meta.stackexchange.com/q/32444/282702 – Kimball Apr 28 '15 at 9:51
  • You're right @Kimball, good find. But we've had so much more fun here... – Bob Stein Apr 28 '15 at 16:58
  • @BobStein-VisiBone I just noticed it was listed at the top of the "Related" questions. Sorry, I didn't mean to be a spoil sport :) – Kimball Apr 29 '15 at 1:04
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I think so.

Leaving around obsolete comments clutters the page, and these comments are no longer useful.

What might be a good practice, in case you're worried about the fact that "author's thanks is now dangling," you should flag that comment as "obsolete," because that comment no longer serves a purpose, either.

If you want to maintain a record of why certain edits were made, you can write that into the edit summary.

....although, to be fair to moderators, you should consider leaving your comment there as proof that the OP's response is truly obsolete, because viewing half a comment conversation can make it confusing to moderators, unless the only comment left is a "Thanks! Edited that into the post," which is very clearly obsolete.

Another method of being fair to moderators is to mutually agree to delete your comments yourselves, and not have to rely on flagging at all. This can be a little tedious, but I've done it in the past (though I can't recall ever initiating it myself), and it works.

Perhaps the best method of deleting obsolete comments, if there are a lot of them, would be to flag the whole post, and leave a custom message that says something like "I think all the comments here are obsolete."

  • I just did this, and considered linking to it, but it would only be useful for a little bit, until the comments are all deleted.... :P – Shokhet Feb 6 '15 at 3:06
  • Two problems here. I hate to admit I'm old school, but when I hear "thanks" I want to respond with "you're welcome" not "this thank you is now obsolete, peasant." Second, I'm not making those edits to the question/answer (see my first example -- that gets shot down), so there's no place for me to record why the edits were made in the edit summary. It feels harsh (and surreal) when someone deletes even comments. But I guess I should get over all that, as this is the best option. New tech means new etiquette. – Bob Stein Feb 6 '15 at 6:09
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    @Shadow I'm tempted to say if your comment were an answer I'd accept it. But the process is tedious: I suggest edit in comment 1, author edits, author thanks in comment 2, I delete comment 1, you're-welcome-let's-delete-these in comment 3 with link here, author deletes comment 2, I somehow remember to delete comment 3. And the last step has no automated cue. How about instead I suggest in the first comment "If agreed, please edit, then I'll delete this comment". Say maybe we can start a IYAPETIDTC meme. – Bob Stein Feb 6 '15 at 16:49
  • @Bob While I haven't started comments like that, I've had comment conversations with people who then said exactly what Shadow Wizard said above, and we both deleted our comments, no need to bother moderators with flags. I do, however, appreciate the sentiment of "this thank you is now obsolete, peasant." ....you know, you don't have to say it quite like that ;-) – Shokhet Feb 6 '15 at 17:35
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    @ShadowWizard, `@Bob, do you think this should be edited into my answer, and our comments deleted? :P – Shokhet Feb 6 '15 at 18:03
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    @ShadowWizard Okay, I edited that in. (flag this comment as obsolete when you're done with it!! ;-) – Shokhet Feb 6 '15 at 18:43
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    Or @Shokhet this post could be exempt from dogfooding itself. ;-) – Bob Stein Feb 6 '15 at 20:14
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    Unfair or confusing to moderators? I understand that mods have a lot to deal with, but cleaning up obsolete/noisy comments is part of the gig. Deleting your comment(s) and flagging the rest as obsolete is absolutely the right thing to do. I'm sure if a mod sees a comment flagged that doesn't make sense because half of the conversation is missing they're going to just delete it. If it's really that confusing, we need new mods... – RubberDuck Feb 7 '15 at 17:31
  • @RubberDuck I don't know what you do, but I say "thank you" to the guy behind the counter in the grocery store, even though it's his job. The fact that it's "part of the gig" doesn't mean that we should make their jobs any harder. On the sites that I'm most active on, I've gotten to know the mods a bit, and can't think of a good reason why I would make their (volunteer!) job harder than it needs to be. – Shokhet Feb 8 '15 at 1:03
  • Agreed @Shokhet. I've gotten to know the mods on a site I'm more active on myself. I wouldn't want to make life more difficult for them. I also truly understand that the mods on SO are busy, but what you're suggesting is time consuming and error prone. The obsolete comment flag wouldn't exist if we weren't meant to use it. – RubberDuck Feb 8 '15 at 2:45
  • I didn't say not to use it, @RubberDuck; I said to use it wisely. ....d'you think the phrasing of my answer is unclear, and needs to be fixed? – Shokhet Feb 8 '15 at 2:47
  • Personally, I believe all mentions about being fair to the moderators could be removed, but, on the other hand, 18 people did upvote your answer... Idk. I really don't. – RubberDuck Feb 8 '15 at 2:50
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Yes, absolutely! Please do delete such comments once their purpose has been served.

Comments exist primarily to help the author improve their question/answer. Once that's been done, the comment no longer serves any purpose -- it's just noise. Do us all a favor and delete such comments, once the question/answer has been edited to address whatever suggestion you made in the comment. This will help keep the site clean and avoid noise and clutter for other readers.

Also, if you see comments from others that are now obsolete because they've been subsequently incorporated into the question/answer, feel free to flag them as obsolete, so they can be deleted and don't clutter up the screen for other readers.

  • Could the "Obsolete" flag, specifically, be sent to the commenter on first reference rather than moderators? – Mark Hurd Feb 13 '15 at 0:07

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