Forgive my waffle house if this has been asked before.

I kind of like the way comments work, but often am frustrated with an invalid or out of date comment on an answer of mine. I know the way to sort it out is the flag button, but it just does not feel right.

I remember when comments first were rolled out I used to be able to delete any comments from my posts (not only ones I own). So if someone left a comment saying, please fix spling mistke I could fix it and then delete the comment.

What was the rationale for changing this?

  • 6
    I remember being able to delete comments. It was fun. But... It was easy to abuse. And a lot of people abused it. Probably just as well it was removed... See also: stackoverflow.uservoice.com/pages/general/suggestions/…
    – Shog9
    Dec 16, 2009 at 8:14
  • 1
    the feature was removed because people got very upset when someone else would delete their comments.
    – Kip
    Dec 16, 2009 at 14:07
  • +1 because I don't like questions with a -2 score
    – juan
    Dec 16, 2009 at 15:57
  • 1
    +1 because it's a legitimate question and I suspect that it's being improperly downvoted by people who should be posting "I think this is a bad idea" as an answer instead.
    – Pops
    Dec 16, 2009 at 16:47
  • 1
    @Lord Torgamus: Downvotes on meta can mean simple disagreement with the feature request/discussion.
    – Troggy
    Dec 16, 2009 at 17:57
  • 3
    Could you guys stop pity-upvoting? You ruin the voting system on Meta. Thanks! Dec 16, 2009 at 18:23
  • 3
    a downvote on meta does mean "i think this is a bad idea".
    – Kip
    Dec 16, 2009 at 18:32
  • I could pity-upvote without leaving a comment. Would that make you feel better?
    – juan
    Dec 16, 2009 at 18:42
  • 1
    Not pity-upvoting would make me feel better. I thought that was obvious. Dec 16, 2009 at 20:23
  • Oh, sorry then. Replace my previous comment with this: +1, excellent question!
    – juan
    Dec 16, 2009 at 20:29
  • 1
    Im fine with a few downvotes if people do not agree, I did something a bit improper and asked 2 questions in one so will edit to rectify
    – waffles
    Dec 16, 2009 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


Deletion is an extreme option. That's why ...

  • it requires the highest level of rep of any SO ability (10k)
  • even then, it takes 3 votes by 3 different 10k users to delete something (and of course it can be undeleted by the same process in reverse)
  • deleted content is forced-visible to all 10k users all the time

letting people delete comments at will, was not exactly in tune with this philosophy and a mistake in retrospect.


Comment wars, imagine the fun of that! Seriously, it would not work the way it's intended to. I'd delete your comment, you'd resubmit it, I'd delete it again, you'd resubmit ad nauseam. It will simply be abused; people that can't stand any negative comments (know any such people?) will simply delete everything they don't like.

A lot of people probably don't read comments, especially those that haven't been upvoted (mostly because they're hidden). If it really is visible and out of date, just flag it and let moderators deal with it. I don't think it's such a big problem.


The problem is not in the comments, but in the fact that upvoted comments are overly visible. I don't think they should be deletable though, as the line between good intentions and censorship is a thin line - unlike answers which are intended to be edited, comments are personal opinions.

The current way of adding a note to the answer saying that issue X or Y has been addressed or simply deleting and re-creating the answer (useful only if it was downvoted because of an issue and is not the accepted answer) is not really that good as well.

I'm not sure if I overcomplicate this, but maybe an option to mark a comment as "addressed", usable by anyone who did an edit to this post would be one way? But then we're turning comments into "mini-answers" almost...

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