Presently a comment discussion has to go on for some time before the system encourages commentators continue it in a chat room.

But feature-requests to allow this before that heuristic makes the offer; as well as to preserve and associate that chat with the post in question, have been consistently ignored or declined. E.g.,

So what is the desired practice when a protracted discussion relating to a post is expected?

Is the "move-to-chat" prompt actually a poorly-described "get a room" feature? If so, then should well-intentioned users just continue the discussion in comments so long as it is on-topic? If not then shouldn't a bunch of the aforementioned feature-requests be implemented?


Life is not black and white and what happens in comments is complicated and varies tremendously. A protracted discussion, in comments or in chat, should never be expected and is not a good thing. Questions that attract many comments and a great deal of back and forth are probably bad questions. Almost certainly, one or more of the participants in the comment thread is Not Grasping The Concept of how these sites work. So that's the first thing, that the situation you describe is a suboptimal one that probably shouldn't drive the UI considerations for the site.

A far more normal comment situation is that one person says "but that won't work when X" and the OP replies "good point, not sure how to handle that" and a third person says "you could Y" and then the OP updates the answer and all three folks delete their comments. Having all that happen in a chat room serves no purpose. It hides useful information further from where it's needed. Especially if the OP doesn't update the answer, those comments are really helpful to people who come afterward.

Having a "hey let's chat" button could guilt folks in the second situation into hiding their short and productive conversation. That lowers their value. Worse, the same button could encourage the "won't let go" types to have extended conversations about everything they post. Who wants that?

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  • It sounds like you're saying, "Chat isn't for discussions relevant to posts. Furthermore, if discussions are occurring in comments then either something has gone wrong or the comment feature is being misused." Is that correct? – feetwet Sep 11 '15 at 17:42
  • I also don't understand your middle paragraph: Yes, ideally clarifications should be incorporated into the post. If they are incorporated then are you saying they should be deleted, in which case it doesn't matter where they occurred? Or that regardless of whether they are incorporated they should be preserved? Note that I have seen on-topic clarification discussions that legitimately run past 20 comments. It's not always possible to incorporate every nuance back into the post. So preserve the record, or accept whatever edit is made and let the discussion disappear? – feetwet Sep 11 '15 at 17:46
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    No, I'm not saying chat isn't for discussion. I'm saying discussion is rarely appropriate. If it really must occur, then it should go to chat, but a discussion in chat is really not a good outcome. It's just slightly better than an extended discussion in comments. As for preserving comments: best is post is edited and all comments go (nuance be damned, we shouldn't need nuance), next best is comments stay (and I hope there aren't 20 of them), third best is it was all in chat and no-one who reads the post sees it. Unless it was all useless discussion that nobody needs to see anyway. – Kate Gregory Sep 11 '15 at 18:03

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