In the comments of an answer, you often see things like this:

Person A: Blah Blah Blah
Person B: Blah Blah Blah
Person A: Blah Blah Blah
Person B: Fixed my answer, thanks.

These comments are just clutter now. Perhaps person A and person B should have an option to request that both comments be deleted as a single transaction.

Say person A requests that all these comments be deleted as a transaction. Person B should get a notification and a prompt to approve or not.

Or if anyone has any better ideas on how to improve comment clutter..? There is probably a more general solution that covers other, unrelated problems/instances of comment clutter. A down vote option that makes lower rated comments become hidden automatically in the future?

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    Can you flesh out what you see as the UI for this? Aug 23, 2015 at 2:26
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    I suppose one option that is currently available is just to flag all four comments as obsolete. Are you proposing this new UI as a way to limit the number of comment flags for mods?
    – josliber
    Aug 23, 2015 at 2:59
  • Comment like "let's clean our comments now" usually works. Deleting 10 comments takes about 10 seconds. Really not that hard, and don't see any need for complicated mechanism for that. Aug 23, 2015 at 6:35
  • Oh, the flag as obsolete works. Hopefully when you do this, the person who originally wrote the comment gets a notification and has a chance to delete it himself before wasting the time of a moderator. Aug 23, 2015 at 6:43
  • @KevinWheeler I don't believe the owner of the comment is notified when you flag as obsolete. As I understand it, comment flags are pretty easy for mods to clean up quickly, so if you're only flagging four as obsolete that's probably not more than a few seconds of mod time.
    – josliber
    Aug 23, 2015 at 16:50
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    Flagging obsolete doesn't work if you are one of the participants, because you can't flag your own comments. So you either delete yours & flag the other person's (leaving half a conversation in the meantime), or you flag the other person's w/a custom flag explaining the problem (more work for mods to sort out; most such comments are too vague), or you find some way to talk w/the other person about mutual self-deletion. Being able to flag your own comments as obsolete could fix this; coming up with a way to flag a group of comments (so a mod just has to say "yes" once) would be even better. Aug 23, 2015 at 19:18
  • @josilber If the mods only have to take a few seconds, how can they be sure that the comments really are obsolete? Sometimes it requires pretty in depth understanding. Aug 24, 2015 at 0:17
  • @Nathan, perhaps an empty checkbox next to each comment, so you can select multiple comments at once, would be a good starting place. I don't know exactly where you would go from there (click one of the existing small flags, or have a new big flag pop up or something once you have selected at least two comments?) Otherwise, perhaps just make it such that you can click more than one flag at a time to select multiple comments. When you click the first flag, the regular modal pops up. Even though the modal is up, you are still allowed to click more flags to add comments to the selection. Aug 24, 2015 at 0:24
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    @NathanTuggy since clicking multiple flags after the modal pops up is a bit unintuitive, the modal that pops up could have a hyperlink that says "select multiple comments". When you click this hyperlink, a tooltip could pop up explaining that you can just click more flags to add other comments to the selection. This would require Monica's suggestion of being able to flag your own comments. (I like this way -- the way without adding checkboxes). Aug 24, 2015 at 0:25
  • @KevinWheeler Here are some stats on the time taken to process comments on Stack Overflow. If I understand the first table correctly, it seems like comment flags take about 10% of the average flag processing time (across all flags). Jon confirms your point -- processing comment flags can require a lot of effort getting context. However, posts like this one suggest that many comment flags are processed without going to the full post.
    – josliber
    Aug 24, 2015 at 1:17


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