The manner in which comments are moved to chat on "noisy" websites is incredibly disruptive. It goes something like this:

  1. Several comments are moved to chat by a moderator and linked to the chat room.
  2. More comments are written under the post.
  3. Moderator returns and deletes all of the new comments, leaving a new comment "Comments cannot be moved to chat twice. Any further comments will be deleted."

The workflow for moving comments to chat is very haphazard. You never know when the "would you like to move this conversation to chat" link will appear, and when it does, it doesn't actually move the comments, nor does it "move" all of them. This is also true of moderator chat conversions.

The policy of deleting further comments because they can't be moved into the chatroom is just terrible in so many ways.

So here is what I suggest:

  1. When the number of comments under a given post reaches a certain, site-specific threshold, move all of the comments to a new chatroom.

  2. Leave a link to the new chatroom under the post.

  3. When the "Add a comment" link is clicked, redirect to the chat room.

  4. Turn on OP notifications in the chatroom, so that folks asking for question clarification will get attention from the OP. Alternatively, allow the OP to be addressed directly in the chat room, even if he hasn't commented previously.

  • why are people downvoting this? I support your proposal, and your other one relating to the same topic.
    – user340193
    Nov 30, 2016 at 17:51
  • 1
    The other proposal is here.
    – user102937
    Nov 30, 2016 at 17:53
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    I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, this makes it a lot easier for the moderators, and that would be nice. I also like the automatic redirection to the chat room, and the site-specific threshhold. On the other hand, I would still want to get an auto-flag that this happened, so I could check out what made the discussion go so long, if there was a specific issue that needs to be addressed. I also don't like the idea of moving all the comments, especially if this would automatically delete them. I suppose a mod could manually undelete them, but that's a bit of a pain.
    – HDE 226868
    Nov 30, 2016 at 17:59
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    @MarkYisri I'm sure people have varying reasons for not liking the proposal. The most obvious is that it's a blunt hammer: while moving discussion is awesome, some comments can still have value as comments (e.g. "possible duplicates: X, Y, Z" or "meta discussion on this question here"). There are also maybe issues to do with making sure the OP finds out about requests for clarification: will people actually mange to @-notify for exactly the right things in chat?
    – Cascabel
    Nov 30, 2016 at 18:02
  • @Jefromi true. So what if it was made that the owner of the room was the OP? That way, they would be notified of any chat responses. Also, it could be set up that they could chat in that case regardless of low rep.
    – user340193
    Nov 30, 2016 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


A one-size-fits-all-comments approach doesn't work. There are several kinds of comments, and they should have separate dispositions:

  • Comments that request clarifications from the author should be comments on the post, not shuffled off to a chat room. Ditto relevant links, like "possible duplicate of X" and "this is being discussed on meta here".

  • Discussions should be in chat.

  • Things that are obsolete, rude, or otherwise unproductive in either setting should be deleted.

Right now two users can take a conversation to chat after, I think, three comments from each. Often they don't, so I don't know if giving people a pre-emptive "create a chat room and go there" option in the comments would help much, but it would be worth some more thought.

Most of the time, it only becomes apparent to people that comments are misplaced after there are a bunch of them. Moderators can move comments to chat, but only once. That's an unfortunate limitation. If mods could also add comments to the existing chat room, then the additional comments could be moved rather than just deleted. (At the cost of enabling bad behavior when people should have gone to the chat room in the first place, but nothing is perfect.)

Disabling comments on a post entirely should be a rare moderator action, not automatic or routine. We still want the requests for clarification; that's why we have comments at all. Nobody should have to dig through 50+ messages, whether in chat or in comments, to see if any of those exist. For especially-active posts we should look at ways to add a little friction to commenting, but we shouldn't shut it down.

Disabling comments as a concession to people who read right past a chat link on the way to adding their new comments seems backwards to me.


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