A fairly common experience I have goes something like this:
- Auto-flag is raised due to comment volume.
- I visit the post and start reading the 32 comments currently there. (More arrive while I'm doing this.)
- I find a bunch of comments that are an argument between two users, a bunch of other comments that are chatty and tangential, a couple comments that are now obsolete... and comments #12, 19, and 28 are requests for clarification that still seem to be relevant. I keep track of those mentally.
- I get to the end, purge or move to chat, and then go back to hunt for those three comments that still matter. If anything interrupts me, I risk losing track of some of them.
So, moderating long comment threads ends up being a two-pass operation. The alternative would be to delete comments individually as I read them, but when I do that I end up doing a lot of backtracking. The first comment in that long argument doesn't necessarily set off warning bells, and I won't know that a comment is obsolete until I get to that later one that says "thanks, updated".
Is there a better way to approach this using the tools we have? Or, is some improvement to the tools possible? Maybe something like the ability to temporarily mark comments plus a "purge all unmarked" ones, but the details of that are a little tricky, both UI and the definition of "temporary".