I commented on an answer because the author of that answer made a spelling error that impinged on the meaning of the answer. The author later saw my comment, corrected his spelling error, and then commented to thank me and make note that he had corrected the error.

Deleting the comment would, however, leave the author's comment hanging, as it indirectly refers to my comment. Leaving the comment would, on the other hand, seem silly, as the misspelling has been addressed.

Help me decide which is more appropriate to do: shall I delete my comment, or shall I leave it?

  • 12
    +1 for thinking about the right way to do things.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:26
  • 1
    -1 for needing to get a life. (only joking, I didn't downvote, honest)
    – U62
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 18:17

5 Answers 5


Delete your comment, and flag the reply to your comment as obsolete. There is nothing wrong with flagging comments as obsolete.

Typically, others will also see that the "hanging" comment is obsolete, e.g. because the OP @addressed you in his comment, so it will disappear quickly (either by reaching the obsolete flag threshold or via a moderator).


I would delete it. The author likely will be back, see your comment gone and remove their comment as well. And regardless, even if it makes the author's comment more "noisy", I believe removing your comment causes an overall decrease in the amount of noise on the question. Additionally, I think it should be clear to anyone who is concerned, that there was initially a comment the author found helpful, that was removed once action was taken. So I really would suggest removing it, and not be concerned at all that it leaves the author's comment hanging unexplained.


Should be edit, not comment

Simple spelling, grammar, name, etc issues should result in an EDIT not a comment.

Use the moderators

If you want to delete your no-longer-applies comment and other spurious comments depend on your comment then flag both comments for moderator attention. They will view them, see the fix has been applied, and delete them if they feel they no longer add anything useful to the question.

Is it appropriate - a philosophical treatise

Specifically for your case, leave it. It lends a bit of history and interesting information to the site (I always pronounced it "I R fan view") which I think adds to, not detracts from, the question and answer.

In general, however, I don't thinks it's appropriate or inappropriate to leave out of date comments. If the comment is out of date, and no one else's comment depends on your comment, then there is little reason to keep it, but there's no pressing need to delete it either.

If, as in Paul Tomblin's case, the comment is out of date, other comments reference it, but the comment itself no longer adds to the question, then again, there's no need to delete it, but it isn't going to ruin the comment reader's experience if you do. They will quickly understand that there's something missing, but based on the existing comment it's not important. They can check out the edit history of the question if they are curious what the change was.

If the comment is at all useful, or interesting, even from an historically outdated perspective, I'd say err on the side of keeping it.

There is some undercurrent against spurious comments on SO, so if it's exactly 50/50 for you, then err on the side of deleting it.

Remember - you own the comment. It's not editable at all, or deletable by anyone else except under some circumstances, so unlike questions and answers it's not a community post. It's uniquely yours, and so its life or death is completely up to you.


Delete it. Don't listen to The Sycophant - your opinion means nothing, do what I want!

  • His opinion means a lot! He has the right to decide his own actions.
    – Welbog
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:19
  • He has waved that right by asking this question. He is now our slave, and must act according to our instructions!
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:21
  • Got a bridge in mind?
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:26
  • 1
    A bridge over troubled water.
    – Welbog
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:28
  • 1
    Eh... Those lay themselves down. He could jump only to find himself already in the water - what a waste!
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:30

Do whatever you want.

If we told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? Make up your own mind, man.

  • 8
    -1, It's a perfectly legit trilogy etiquitte question.
    – Pops
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:08
  • No, it's not. It has no impact on the sites at all.
    – Welbog
    Commented Dec 9, 2009 at 17:09
  • 1
    the Krogan has a posse - you'd think different if you were the one who had to implement the "delete comment" function :)
    – Rook
    Commented Feb 15, 2010 at 17:49

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