When I do a Google search I'll often find an on-point question answer from 5 years ago or more. That's good. This database is great for that.

As a practical matter, as I work and get stumped by something, I very often use Google to get close to the answer I am seeking.

Sometimes it is in the form of a formal answer and sometimes I find what I need in comments.

Sometimes there are a lot of comments. Showing them all would be overkill.

So the system designers wisely set it up to automatically give the user the option to show the rest of them or not.

The comments are still there, and only those interested enough to see them will do so.

The frustration index goes way up when a fruitful community of users are discussing the issue right on point of the Q or A then to have it stopped by a "moved to chat" message with a useless link to a truckload of unrelated stuff.

The "Moved to chat" link is a brick wall. Why even have that link? Why not simply move off to chat without impacting the postings (including the comments)?

Why not just let the system handle it like it was designed to do?

Here is a recent example of why to preserve visible comments:

Jessie: How to log in to gmail account in Chromium 51

In the answer there was no need to rewrite everything that had been done via comments. The accepted answer is short and sweet, simply referring to the comments to explain itself.

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    Comments are not part of the database we are building. Questions and answers are. – Oded Oct 18 '17 at 19:29
  • "handle it like it was designed to do" Which is? What about all the comments that are outright deleted without ever being moved to chat at all? – Catija Oct 19 '17 at 2:28
  • Your "great example" really doesn't seem to prove anything; if the relevant comments were moved to chat, what's preventing that answer from just referring to that chat room instead of the comment thread? The answer would still be just as short, just as sweet, and just as useful. – goldPseudo Oct 23 '17 at 6:28
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    While the person who posted the question is ultimately the person with the final say in their question - vandalising it to get it deleted is kind of unfair to the people who spent time answering it. – Journeyman Geek Oct 23 '17 at 8:08
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    Your latest revision invalidates the newest answer. If you bring back what they quoted, we'll let it be. – rene Oct 23 '17 at 8:18

From the help center (emphasis mine):

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer.


There's no revision history, and when they are deleted they're gone for good.

If they are headed in the right direction, that should ultimately lead to an updated question/answer, or else they weren't used in the way comments are intended to be:

When should I comment?

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

Too much comments distract from the main content (the questions and answers), that's why they're sometimes moved to chat.


Why not just let the system handle it like it was designed to do?

Umm… it sorta kinda does?

The system, by design, is a place where people write questions, and other people provide answers. The system, by design, has great places to keep these, namely the "Question" and "Answer" fields.

Comments are, by design, terrible places to put answers, or parts of answers, because they're hard to follow and pretty much bypass all the peer-review that makes the actual answers useful. They are, by design, places to put things that are meant to be ephemeral and which may end up deleted at any time.

Chat is, by design, a place to hold extended discussion in a way that's actually relatively easy to follow (or, at least, easier to follow than a comment thread). The link provided when a comment chain is moved is, by design, a way for future users to actually find this potentially relevant discussion.

If you really want the system to handle things like it was designed to do, it helps if you're using the system in the way it was designed to be used.

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    +1 for mentioning by design 6 to 8 times ... – rene Oct 23 '17 at 6:48

They aren't actually removed from the database, just hidden away - mods can see them - yes, that's a comment, and considering what I'm about to say that makes me a terrible person.

A lot of folks don't quite get the aim of comments - they aren't really meant to be the equivalent of a discussion thread - too many comments is noisy, and we hate noise more than we hate fun.

Convert to chat's a bit of a compromise. Chat's actually designed for discussion, moves stuff out of the way from something that's not designed for it, and lets us keep the stuff worth keeping somewhere people can find them.

That said, the direction things are taking - how we treat comments may change drastically in the future. In any case, if its useful it needs to be rolled into a question or an answer

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