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When a moderator moves comments to chat, the operation adds a comment that says:

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat (link).

That's good as far as it goes, but sometimes users treat that as information when we want them to change their behavior on this post. So we get things like this:

screen shot of continuing comments

That's actually one of our milder cases; often that "show N more comments" link is a double-digit number and it doesn't always begin with "1".

Now not all post-chat-link comments should go to chat; ones requesting clarification should stay as comments. But in my experience, most of the time what happens is more conversation. We can't easily add those additional comments to the chat room, so usually we just delete them. But it's work that we might be able to avoid with better guidance.

Moderators can edit this comment text, and I'll try to remember to do so when I move comments to chat, but it would help if the canned text were a little more instructive -- something like this:

Comments are not for extended discussion. This conversation has been moved to chat (link); go there to continue the conversation.

If a moderator feels that last part isn't needed in some cases, it can be edited out. It's easier to delete than to (remember to and) add. Most of the time, on some of my sites, it's needed.

Just telling people a fact isn't always enough. Please make it easy for us to also give this instruction.

I have high hopes that it took me longer to write this feature request than it will take somebody to make this change. :-)

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    Great idea! I think it would helpful for the text to clarify which comments should be made, i.e. ones asking for clarification, and which should not be posted, but put in chat. – HDE 226868 Jan 6 '16 at 0:10
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    Just suspend every user who posts a comment after a warning like that. – Kevin Jan 6 '16 at 0:16
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    I've seen "... Further comments can't be migrated easily, so they will be deleted.", which seems to prevent further comments, at least. – Jeffrey Bosboom Jan 6 '16 at 0:47
  • @HDE226868 I was hoping that using the word "conversation" would signal "go to chat to chat about it" without making them think all comments must now go to chat no matter what. Probably too subtle; if you've got an idea for something terse enough for a comment, I'd welcome the suggestion. – Monica Cellio Jan 6 '16 at 0:57
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    @Kevin A little be too punitive. In my experience extended comment are intense and passionate, but nothing worth suspension. What I think might work—which I just posted as an answer—is to set up the system to block comments from that comment thread by clearly stating they are blocked from commenting but the chat is there for them to use. Set the block on comments for 10 minutes. Either they take the hint and go to chat or they don’t and they are blocked from polluting the comments anymore. Best of both worlds. – JakeGould Jan 6 '16 at 1:35
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Can I make a suggestion to this fine suggestion?

Sometimes the comments that have been moved have been moved because exactly two users need to be shunted to a room. In addition to what is suggested, why not block comments from only those specific users whose conversation has been moved to the chat so they cannot comment for—let’s say—the next 10 minutes with an additional message (in a red box) that says something like:

You are currently blocked from commenting for the next 10 minutes. The comment conversation you were having has been moved to this chat. Please continue your discussion there.

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    Interesting idea. Might need to be an hour or two, depending on when the moderators see and handle the flag, but some sort of short-term comment ban by those users on that particular post could help calm things. Or maybe, like post locks, the duration is set by the moderator at the time, and the moderator can judge the current conditions. – Monica Cellio Jan 6 '16 at 1:46
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    @MonicaCellio I leave the specifics of how this idea can be practically implemented and what options might be useful to those—like you—who “have seen it all.” But in general I think comment threads that get out of hand can be “short circuited” successfully this way. Everyone is happy in the end! (I hope.) – JakeGould Jan 6 '16 at 1:50
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Yes!

But the thing is that the comments may be on-topic with the post and site rules. So I would say the comment would be more like this:

Comments cannot be used for conversation; this conversation has been and can be continued in chat only. Please only comment if it fits the guidelines of how to comment.

Now here, users are explicitly told that:

  • Comments cannot be used to continue nor start conversations

  • The conversation has been moved to chat and can only be continued in chat only

  • Only comment if it fits commenting guidelines

So this would be a better way for moderators to strengthen their statement when comments are moved to chat. The wording could be changed around to meet the needs of moderators everywhere but at least the changes should still allow users to understand that the conversation is only allowed to be continued in chat only, only use comments when needed (while following guidelines), and don't use comments for conversational uses.

Also, for the users who violated the rules and caused their comments to be moved to chat or to continue conversations, allow a manual ban on them for no commenting for a certain amount of time like:

You have been banned for an hour from commenting on any post for creating and continuing a conversation that was forced into chat. Please read the commenting guidelines to know when and how you should comment.

Users who continue the conversations even though there is a moderator's comment saying that the conversation is moved to chat, ban them for like 2-3 hours then suspend any naughty users who keep on creating conversations:

You have been banned for 2 hours from commenting for continuing a conversation when told not to do so. Please read the commenting guidelines to know when and how you should comment.

Later...

You have violated the commenting policies for too long, so you have been suspended to cool down.

  • That's a good idea. We can wordsmith that, but something like that is still short enough for a comment. – Monica Cellio Jan 6 '16 at 1:00
  • Uhh, what do you mean by "that"? I thought my proposal is supposed to be a comment in the first place – Anthony Pham Jan 6 '16 at 1:01
  • Sorry, I meant "that text". Perhaps "Comments are not for conversation. This conversation has been moved to chat; continue it there only. Please only post comments that follow the commenting guidelines." As I said, just a little wordsmithing. (Clearly comments can be used for conversation, at least temporarily -- that's how we got here. :-) ) – Monica Cellio Jan 6 '16 at 1:06
  • Do you believe a ban should be a site ban for the next 2 hours? Or just a commenting ban? I believe much like the way chat rooms can ban a user but they still can participate in the main content, I don’t think a full ban is needed for comments. Most people are just passionate and know not to cross any more lines past comment discussion. – JakeGould Jan 6 '16 at 2:22
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    Just a comment ban. When the user repeatedly violates the rules, it becomes a site ban. – Anthony Pham Jan 6 '16 at 2:23

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