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Recently, the new Policy Lock feature was introduced, to allow staff members to lock posts for editing by non-staff while still permitting votes and comments.

However, I'm wondering what will happen if the comments on a policy-locked post end up getting out of hand and need to be locked out by a moderator. As far as I'm aware, only one type of lock can be applied to a post, and as the post already has the policy lock applied to it, which can only be removed by staff, moderators can't also apply a comment lock to it.

Can policy-locked posts also have their comments locked somehow? Specifically:

  • Can moderators lock a policy-locked post for comments using the standard mod menu?
  • If someone (a mod or staff) manually adds the "Comments only" post notice to the policy-locked post, will it lock the comments out in addition to the standard effects of policy lock? (Is that even possible?)
  • Finally, if policy-locked posts can't be locked for comments in any way, how are out-of-hand comment discussions moderated on such posts?
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No. Currently they can't. As of 16 Sept 2020, this is now possible.

It's still true that we don't allow more than one type of lock on a post at the same time but we now have two classes of lock - moderator and employee locks. With the change Jane shipped today, a post can have one of each class of lock simultaneously. Mods will be able to add and remove moderator locks from a post, even if it's policy locked.

This was an enhancement in our backlog that we've now completed - giving mods the ability to add a comment lock on top of the policy lock was in the original specifications and so we're still hoping to get this added. Fortunately, for the time being, that's not been an issue.

To get here, we had to think through how the post notices work and how the mod menu should work to allow it. Moderators didn't have the option to remove the Policy Lock, so the "Lock" option was already somewhat closed down - we needed to decide the best way to let locks stack that recognizes the permissions for the locks.

The solution that Jane and Brian worked out meets all these needs pretty nicely.

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  • What happens if someone manually adds the "comments only" post notice to a policy-locked post? – Sonic the Masked Werehog Aug 7 at 17:27
  • @gparyani There's no way to do that. I'm not sure what you're thinking of but... that's not a thing. – Catija Aug 7 at 17:27
  • Thinking about this further, I think one sensible way to handle such a case would be for staff to remove the policy lock and re-lock it as "content dispute" or "wiki answer", which would prevent edits from non-mod users and comments, and get an agreement from the site mods to not edit or unlock the post without consent from staff. – Sonic the Masked Werehog Aug 16 at 20:27
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    @SonictheMaskedWerehog not a great solution. It prevents voting and (on questions) answers. – Catija Aug 16 at 22:11
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In the announcement of the Policy Lock it says:

Answering, commenting, and voting will not be affected by this lock, though additional locks to limit these activities can be added to a post that already has a Policy Lock in place.

so (without being able to test it) I guess it should be possible to lock comments on a policy-locked post.

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    Hopefully this will be true eventually, but this part of the feature didn't actually get built yet. – Catija Aug 7 at 14:52

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