Now that moderators gave the ability to lock comments, I’m encountering many more questions where I can’t leave a link to a related (but not a duplicate) question. In the past, I’ve also seen links to related questions removed when a comment discussion was moved to chat (that is not a complaint; the tools for comment moderation suck and related question links are easy to overlook).
I’m going to conflate “linked” questions, which are questions from the site users have linked in comments or answers, and “related” questions which are generated by an algorithm. I don’t find the “related” questions that useful for most of the sites I participate on, but I’m not specifically asking for this to be a replacement. I am mainly asking for folks to think about “related/linked” questions as more of a community curated list than it currently is.
I would like a feature that allows users to add a related question to the list in the sidebar even on comment-locked questions. If the question is locked for all interactions, that lock should prevent this one as well. Linking related questions should probably be a privilege similar to “comment anywhere”, but maybe the reputation required could be lower if the links were limited to existing, not-deleted questions on the network.
It would be nice if the questions could be from other Stack Exchange sites, not just the current site. Maybe just from sites where there is a migration path to or from the current site.
It would be nice if the community could vote on whether or not they were truly related, and if the order they were listed depended on that.
There should also probably be a way to flag a link as unrelated or no longer needed, but that may be overkill. Moderators will need a way to be able to manage the list though since they won’t be able to just delete a comment to remove a linked question.
Comments are not a good place to preserve this information. However some of the comments have made me consider the advantages of comments for adding related questions, namely:
- comments ping the author and bring the related question to their attention
- comments under a question have more visibility to the community.
- A new comment pings people following the question
I don’t think they’re insurmountable problems, but they are something to think about if we ever decide to make related questions a full-fledged feature instead of a bit of an afterthought.