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Related:


Suggest to provide moderators an option to enable (and disable) throttling of comments on particular post by requiring user to review prior ones.

When this option is turned on, system would require user willing to add a comment to compare (a preview of) their comment against all prior comments on a post.

  • UI could be similar to one currently used in review queues (which is not surprising as what I want is basically kind of review). User would be presented with a sequence of screens (one screen per each prior comment), allowing them to compare preview of their comment against a prior one. Last screen in the sequence would have a button like "post a comment", and of course a button to cancel posting should be present at all the screens, for the case if user decides not to post.

A (probably primary) way to use this option would be when moderator cleans up chatty comments and leaves a warning that comments are not for extended discussion. Turning throttling on would help all commenters realise that warning carries a real, enforceable authority, that it is not just a gentle reminder from a random passer by with a diamond symbol in screen name.

Another use that comes to mind is when moderator wants to help commenters avoid repeating points that were already covered (sometimes, comments discussions tend to be stuck in circles). Current comments UI is suboptimal for that (softly speaking), it is often difficult to figure what was already discussed when there are more than a handful comments.

The last but not the least, suggested throttling can be used to lower the risk of posts being polluted by users who would want to drop chatty / ranty, useless, low effort "notes". The more comments are already posted there, the more difficult it would be to add a new one. Users presented with necessity to click through 10... 20... 50 etc "review screens" would have to think really hard whether their comment is worth posting.

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  • would be funny to have lots of chatty, repetitive, useless comments right under this feature request. It would be so meta to use this very post to demonstrate the kind of problem it is supposed to address. "cool..........."
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 13:34
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    would be funny to have lots of chatty, repetitive, useless comments right under this feature request. It would be so meta to use this very post to demonstrate the kind of problem it is supposed to address. "cool..........." ;) Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 14:34
  • 4
    would be funny to have lots of chatty, repetitive, useless comments right under this feature request. It would be so meta to use this very post to demonstrate the kind of problem it is supposed to address. "cool..........." :-D Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 16:28
  • 3
    would be funny to have lots of chatty, repetitive, useless comments right under this feature request. It would be so meta to use this very post to demonstrate the kind of problem it is supposed to address. "cool..........." :P
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 18:15
  • Wait, what? You want them to review comments they have left before? To what end? To declare them good/bad? Or you want them to review all the comments on this post already? Again, to what end, you are shown all the comments when you click Add Comment so I'm not sure what the aim is of the feature. Can you clarify? Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 19:34
  • @KateGregory I want them to review "all the comments on this post already", each one in the separate window. What's more, I want user to compare their comment (preview) against every (every) prior comment, one-by-one. As for the aim of this feature, I described three uses I see for it, first is to give a visible weight to warnings left by mod after comments cleanup, second to help users avoid repeating points that are already covered and third is to make it progressively harder to add more comments to posts that already have a lot of them. Does that make sense?
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 19:41
  • ..."When this option is turned on, system would require user willing to add a comment to compare (a preview of) their comment against all prior comments on a post." (as an example, this is what system currently shows when one wants to see all comments on a particular post - now try to find if anything was repeated there @Kate)
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 19:46
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    ok, but say there are 50 comments. I click through the first, the second, the third... at some point my buffer overflows. I don't know if my point has already been made. It's fair to say such a user also doesn't care if their point has already been made. So they click Next 20 times to get to the part where they can type. Even if they care they can't remember it all. I see this will slow them down -- it would be quicker to code some rep-based rate-limiting than a review dialog though. Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:03
  • @KateGregory user is expected to be done with typing before review starts - they simply compare preview of what they already typed against prior comments. That "post comment" button at last screen, it simply dumps what they already typed. As for rep-based limiting, revisit that link referred in my prior comment and check rep of folks who commented there... I find it extremely hard to believe that anything rep-based would work (if you think of it, why would it work when there's no "demotivating" rep penalty if someone posts a lousy, "downvote-worthy" comment, it's not like with answers)
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:15
  • ...granted, when there are 50 comments, feature will probably be heavily tilted towards a single use of just making it harder to add new ones. When post gets that many comments already, it's hard to make sense of anything else. Other uses (emphasizing mod warnings and helping to avoid repetitions) suppose "less crowded" cases, like 10-15, maybe 20 comments
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 13:45
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    This is a (further) step in the wrong direction. The site software, the developers, and the moderators need to stop treating comment threads as ephemeral second class citizens. Discussion of a question or answer should be permanent, it should be strongly attached to the post, and it should be encouraged.
    – zwol
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:54
  • @zwol two meta discussions referred to in the opening part of this feature request suggest otherwise
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:59
  • @gnat I am aware that my opinion on this matter is contrary to moderator/developer consensus. I am right and they are all wrong.
    – zwol
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:04
  • @zwol sounds familiar. I tend to think like that about many of my own opinions and ideas (including one proposed here). I think we need to keep fighting for what we believe is right
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:17
  • ...especially here at meta, where comments are already almost first class citizen
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:19

1 Answer 1

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+50

The more comments are already posted there, the more difficult it would be to add a new one. Users presented with necessity to click through 10... 20... 50 etc "review screens" would have to think really hard whether their comment is worth posting.

A user making a legitimate request for clarification should not be blocked by the fact that a few other users abused comments. This proposed interface is so tedious that (a) it's insulting and patronizing and (b) users will subvert it, probably within hours of it being rolled out.

I don't like noisy comments either (nor cleaning them up, as a mod), but I strongly oppose making people review all prior comments one at a time before they can proceed. We need some way of dealing with explosions of comments, but this isn't it. Here are some ideas to explore (these are not proposals, just starting points):

  • When the system detects a back-and-forth between two users (and currently suggests they take it to chat), block those two users for some period of time.

  • When comment velocity (comments/hour) reaches some threshold, do something: throttle all comments for an hour or two, limit people to one new comment, raise a flag, automatically send to chat...

  • When a mod moves comments to chat, subsequent commenters get some sort of "are you sure this is a comment and not part of the chat?" message that they have to click through. (No, not that wording.)

  • When some threshold number of comments is reached, make it easier for the community to delete comments via flags. Maybe a certain number of "not constructive" flags auto-deletes?

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  • subtler forms of throttling are welcome. :) I am only somewhat skeptical about the third bullet, with "are you sure" message. Seeing how toothless Atwood's warning doesn't work for answers I find it unlikely that similar measure could work for comments either
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 23:09

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