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I flagged this question on Ask Ubuntu as a duplicate. A comment "Does this answer your question...." was auto-generated. For trying things out, I retracted my flag. Now, I can't delete that comment. Since I'm a low reputation points user, I can't edit my comment as well.

Screenshot for reference:

I'm aware of <50 reputation users can't delete comments that were posted on their behalf, but that's a bug report that was marked as "by design". The explanation for having it designed that way is because users without privileges supposedly wouldn't be able to restore/repost such automatic comments if they deleted them, and that in the admin's opinion, new users usually aren't aware that they can retract flags.

However, this is a feature request to change the design to allow low-reputation users to delete comments created on their behalf. There are also other cases where low-rep users end up with comments posted on their behalf, such as if they trigger the "trivial answer converted to comment" script or if a moderator converts one of their answers into a comment; it doesn't make sense to disallow deletion in those cases, and in the first case, they can repost the comment. Also, just because most users are unaware of the flag retract functionality doesn't mean we should shut it out for users who are aware.

This has come up in another interesting way: a new user posted an answer that triggered the trivial answer comment conversion feature. For some reason, they didn't see the redirect and notification from the feature (maybe it didn't load for them for one reason or another), and so they thought that their answer went into the void somehow, and tried reposting it two more times, resulting in three duplicate comments which they only noticed later. They were unable to delete the duplicate comments themselves, and couldn't flag the comments since they didn't have 15 rep, which delayed the comment cleanup.

This also affects users who make comments while having the privilege, but later lose it (e.g. due to a bounty): they can't delete their own (non-automatic) comments posted back when they had the privilege.

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    Does this answer your question? <50 reputation users can't delete comments that were posted on their behalf Jul 20, 2020 at 20:46
  • @user289905 I think it partially answers my question. I have suggested to allow low reputation users to at least edit them, so that we can point which answer would apply there (in some cases). Ona a side note, they tagged bug but I tagged feature-request. So, I don't think it's an exact dupe.
    – yfluK
    Jul 20, 2020 at 20:49
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    The fact that low-rep users can't edit comments is intentional; it's to stop users from getting around the privilege by intentionally triggering an automatic comment then editing it. I'm editing your post so it's not a duplicate and it better explains why it should be implemented. Jul 20, 2020 at 20:56
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    Does this answer your question? The automatic comment upvote is not retracted when I retract my duplicate close vote and see discussion in (all) the comments, including this one.
    – Rob
    Jul 21, 2020 at 1:38
  • @Rob Not a duplicate of that. This covers additional cases over just duplicate flags, including automatic "trivial answer" conversions and moderator conversions of answers to comments. Jul 21, 2020 at 1:57
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    This absurdity is just a symptom. The root cause is that comments simply should not be posted automatically in the name of users that did not write them. Automatic comments should be posted in the name of a system user (Community or the like). Jul 21, 2020 at 8:47
  • @EmilJeřábek That would be a great feature-request.
    – Mast
    Jul 21, 2020 at 13:20
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    So the system writes a message, falsely signs it with the name of a low-rep user, and that low-rep user cannot delete the message or even say that they did not write or intend to write that message. So much for welcoming new users. I hope this feature request is implemented.
    – wimi
    Jul 21, 2020 at 13:37

1 Answer 1

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I would be against being able to edit those comments, as that leaves an obvious way to abuse the system to circumvent the reputation requirement for commenting.

Being able to delete such comment could be helpful, but we would need to set a rep limit greater then 1 to prevent banned users making use of this "new feature".

Therefore I would propose to add the privilege "Delete comments" at 2 reputation. (Can also be 3 or 5, but should be sufficiently low in order for this to be useful.)

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    Or simply 15 reputation, since it's the rep threshold for flags, and if I'm not mistaken flags are the first feature that add comments on your behalf (reviews do as well, but by that time you're way past 50 rep anyways). On the other hand there's a point to be made that if you get downvoted and fall under 15 again, you can't delete the comments. Mmmmmh.
    – Jenayah
    Jul 20, 2020 at 22:37
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    Good point about review. But there is also the automated conversion of answers to comments. Failing to perform an action when you lost the appropriate rep is by-design and would be an issue at any level above 1 rep. @Jenayah
    – Luuklag
    Jul 20, 2020 at 22:42
  • Oh, good point, hadn't thought of that one. But I think those auto-converted answers can't be edited or deleted in the first place, can't they?
    – Jenayah
    Jul 20, 2020 at 22:45
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    Suspended users cannot vote, even in cases where a 1 rep user could, such as accepting answers (meta.stackexchange.com/a/272220/323179). A suspended user shouldn’t be able to delete their comments, but that’s not a good reason to not allow 1 rep users to.
    – Laurel
    Jul 21, 2020 at 2:04

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