I have found a number of comments consisting entirely of question marks, and a few consisting entirely of underscores, or tildes, and a few other variants.

These comments should be auto deleted when they are flagged.

Currently, comments consisting entirely of periods are auto deleted, so this would be consistent with that. I have yet to encounter a legitimate comment that consists entirely of a single character.

Perhaps simpler but also effective: Comments consisting entirely of non-alphanumeric characters (even a mix of different types, e.g. "?!?!?!?!?!") could be added to the auto delete filter.

  • Desperately trying to come up with a valid comment that is just one character... :P – Tim Apr 7 '15 at 9:38
  • 行​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ – HugoRune Apr 7 '15 at 19:55
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    @HugoRune Heh; legitimate, although still of dubious worth. – Jason C Apr 7 '15 at 20:08

I agree with you, but I think we should take it one step further. Why let these be posted in the first place?

I can't really think of any useful comment that I can make using one character, and it's better to not even have the thing come to the someone flagging it (which I would guess happens less often then one might think).

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    I agree completely. – Jason C Apr 7 '15 at 20:03
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    Although, one potential downside to disallowing is if somebody really wants to post something meaningless, they might just do it in a different, harder to spot form. At least if we let people post the easy stuff we can still find it in a SEDE query or something, and passively remove it without ruffling feathers. – Jason C Apr 7 '15 at 20:41

While I do agree that there is little use in single character comments or non-alphanumeric comments, I would question whether it is worthwhile to implement and support a specific code path for this 'problem'.

What fraction of flagged comments would be eliminated by such a rule?

And while such comments are generally useless, at least they can hardly be that harmful; it is hard to insult or spam using only a single character.

I would rather see a reduction of all the automatic and sparsely documented auto-edit rules, such as automatic deletion of @name.

(by the way, can someone tell me how to write the number 15 in unary notation?)

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    To be clear, I don't want to blow this up into more than what it is. Two assumptions are made: 1) We're happy with the current treatment of strings of periods (and I'd like to improve the coverage of that), and 2) The change is trivial, an extra regex in a filter somewhere. There are only about 416 such comments on SO, a fair fraction of which I removed yesterday. The sole reason I made this suggestion was because the period case is auto-removed, while the rest are not. – Jason C Apr 7 '15 at 20:36
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    There are other classes of bad comments too, e.g. these, and while I'd love to have some sort of perfect, all-encompassing auto remove system, I only feel that the repeating character case is worth mentioning, solely due to the existing partial handling of those. As for your tiny question: "You'd write 000000000000000." Note more than one character in that quote; point being that disallowing / auto-deleting just "000000000000000" doesn't really negatively affect us. – Jason C Apr 7 '15 at 20:37

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