Currently, if there is a word like "accept rate" or either of the common swear words in a comment, any user can flag it and it is instantly deleted.

Please could there be a (made up?) word added to this, that means any comment you don't need lying around can be removed by the reader?

For example, maybe [del] would fit in with the [edit] and [site.se] series?

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    Try putting zero-width spaces in your comments... – Shog9 May 7 '15 at 15:00
  • @Shog9 does that make it count as 1 word? And can be del flagged – Tim May 7 '15 at 15:06
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    I'd go for [speedy-obsoletion], but that might be a little long. – Nathan Tuggy May 7 '15 at 17:24
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    I'm not sure what it is you are suggesting. So, the user who owns the comment can at the time of writing include a word to their comment so others can insta-delete it? – James May 7 '15 at 23:40
  • @James yes, they can flag it and be insta deleted. Like if it had a swear word or "accept rate". – Tim May 8 '15 at 7:10
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    if this would be a site specific setting, it would be friggin' great if Stack Overflow had "programmers" as such a word – gnat May 8 '15 at 18:58
  • @gnat it may already be - post on that meta. I think they possibly can add a word, although accept rate is clearly all sites. – Tim May 8 '15 at 21:06
  • @Tim that's unlikely to fly - MSO folks seem to love to redirect their garbage at other sites, if you take a look at the score of similar feature request: Prevent “I'm voting to close this because it belongs on…” custom close reasons "just lazy suckers afraid to do the real thing by flagging for moderator to migrate... now that could be helpful, but suckers just want to avoid risk of declines..." – gnat May 8 '15 at 21:09

How about a slight refinement. For comments that @ somebody, an optional word that allows that somebody to delete the comment - maybe with a flag, or maybe the x is shown to them also.

important - this isn't a general suggestion that I can delete comments that contain @Kate - they need to have been so marked by the comment writer. Assuming the literal text is (instant-delete) you can imagine

  • Thanks, @Kate, edited (instant-delete)
  • @Kate fixed (instant-delete)
  • @Kate love this answer you're the greatest (instant-delete)

All of which save me from flagging them as obsolete and hoping they're cleared up some day, or replying myself so the person knows they can delete theirs (but then who deletes mine and when can I be sure the other person saw them?)

If the comment is nasty, I don't need to insta-delete it, and in fact I wouldn't want a flag to delete it, because I want to be able to bring down some sort of wrath on the head of someone who keeps leaving nasty comments, so I would want to flag it without deleting. That suggests either showing me the x and leaving flagging to do what it always has done, or having insta-delete only happen from an obsolete flag while rude etc still function as they do today.

Giving the power to anyone who happens to see the comment is probably not super useful, because someone might use it 10 seconds after the comments was posted, or nobody might ever do it. But giving that power to someone who will be notified, and who the comment is specifically for? That makes sense to me. It might even help with Ye Olde Comment Problem.

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    +1, especially for only letting Obsolete flags trigger insta-delete. – Nathan Tuggy May 8 '15 at 21:15
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    Yea, this would work well :) If the instant-delete was added in, it could even add another flag reason, for that. – Tim May 8 '15 at 21:16
  • I did think of exactly this myself, but just can't see it working to any particular advantage. People don't really care about comments. "Most" people don't want to help the site for no reason (why we have badges and rep for edits etc). Are users likely to use their time up on deleting other users comments once read? I just imagine it would be used by so few people it's not really worthwhile. I also worry that it would take comments too close to being "social", than just useful comments on Q and A, as people can chat away and clean up afterwards. – James May 8 '15 at 22:06
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    Maybe @@Kate? To me it looks "cleaner" than appending an arbitrary string at the end. – user12205 May 8 '15 at 23:01

To tackle useless comments, it'd (also) be cool to have a button next to the comment box - 'self-destruct'.

Clicking it could either bring up a dialog that asks you 'self destruct in x days' where x is a multi-choice checkbox-thing or simple a pre-defined number of days (in case the other option is too complicated).

It would simply look like:

enter image description here

I know this is a slightly different suggestion to yours... but it kind of tackles the same problem!

  • I considered this, but I'm worried about a user not seeing it because it goes too soon... – Tim May 8 '15 at 20:36
  • @Tim It's possible, but after it's been publicized, hopefully people will know! I'm thinking this is mainly for existing users - new users couldn't care less about the uselessness of comments! This could also be shown within the 5 minute grace period for comments (just to add a bit more time :) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 8 '15 at 20:41
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    I think Tim's concern is that the person to whom the comment is addressed will not see it, if the comment self-destructs before they get to reading it. – user259867 May 8 '15 at 22:04
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    @Tim the problem is that if someone insta-deletes the comment before the directed target reads it, then it is no different than a self distruct. – psubsee2003 May 8 '15 at 22:30
  • @Yes Ah.... Of course! Then maybe there can be a button to the recipient saying 'can this be deleted now?' Or maybe there can be a 'read' system where the system detects whether the recipient has read the message. – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 8 '15 at 22:37
  • @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ stackapps.com/questions/6315/… – Tim May 9 '15 at 20:31
  • @Tim I was just looking at that! Did you not get the +1? I'm looking into it - no promises though (like Brock :) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 9 '15 at 20:31
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    @ᔕᖺᘎᕊ I got the +1 as I got this comment :) Nice to see if this can be done! – Tim May 9 '15 at 20:32
  • @Tim Done - please see StackApps :) – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ May 10 '15 at 12:43

You've not really stated why it would be useful, or when or how it would be used.

Useless comments can already be dealt with, so I presume your idea is for comments which specifically are "useful for a given time period".
Either to everyone, or a specific user.

Three scenarios - A comment is:

  1. Useful indefinitely
  2. Useful temporarily
  3. Not useful at all

Your proposal is no use for 1 as they should remain, and 3 as we have flags to remove those already.

However, for (2) I'm struggling to come up with a scenario or problem where we need some kind of function to assist or resolve.

What makes a comment have a finite time of being useful?

When to delete

You need some way to identify when a comment has stopped being useful and can be deleted.
Otherwise, with just your "insta-delete" keyword, there's nothing stopping the comment being deleted after seconds, or a few mins.

Who benefits from it then?

I have no idea how you would identify when to delete with accuracy or where it's useful. Or how you would signal this within the comment so other users knew.

Considerations needed

  1. How do we identify when a comment is eligible for deletion
  2. Who can delete it
  3. What determines a comment only has a finite usefulness
  4. Why would users use this to have their comment deleted? Users who post barely useful comments are not likely to bother using this so we can clean them up - comes with the mentality etc
  5. Why would users delete them? Most community clean up actions reward users, or are substantially more useful than comment clean up etc

I'm not sure you could manage this problem successfully and realistically with a good ROI, especially given we are talking about "comments" which are "useful but not essential".
And for the most part, any suggestions for new functionality to comments tends to not be welcomed or cared about.

I'm still not even sure what you proposal aims to help with or resolve. Perhaps update your question with more of your thoughts? :)

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    It seems like this is intended especially for the cases where you need a quick notification to a specific person that they can then blow away immediately with minimal ceremony once read. – Nathan Tuggy May 8 '15 at 19:27
  • Yeah as nathan said - essentially a comment like "Fixed, thanks" etc. – Tim May 8 '15 at 20:37
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    1. The user decides it, and the person it's directed at deletes it. Anyone who sees it can, or maybe Kate's suggestion. 3. The poster, for example "edited, thanks". 4. I'd use it. 5. They'd delete them because they're nice. – Tim May 8 '15 at 20:39
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    @NathanTuggy The question in no way explains this, and in fact states "it can be insta-flag-deleted by any user". My answer was just some general observations based on info from the question – James May 8 '15 at 21:22
  • @James: No, it wasn't stated explicitly, but I did infer it based on the nature of what it seemed to be useful for. – Nathan Tuggy May 8 '15 at 21:28
  • @NathanTuggy It wasn't clear on that. So you presumed what was being suggested. The question isn't clear on what or when or how this was for (no offense Tim :) ) – James May 8 '15 at 21:38
  • @Tim I'd probably use it too, but users on Meta tend to care more about the sites, so voting and opinion can be slightly off to what an accurate general consensus would be on the live site. I doubt of the 4 million users on SO, many would bother cleaning up, or even posting "delete this when read" in the first place. I'm not against the idea, and in principle it would be brilliant (sincerely) I just don't believe many would use it. – James May 8 '15 at 21:57

I think this is an excellent idea. It would make comments much more readable and easier for people who are not familiar with how things work on other sites.

The problem is, it's hard to find such a word. It's like finding a new way of saying "delete comment".

If we had some kind of flag or something similar to say "this post will automatically get deleted", then we'd have a lot less problems when users try to remove comments.

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