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Often I'll be reading an old post and the comments below it. Sometimes the comments will have lost relevance (such as one about a necessary edit that has since been made), so I flag these for deletion as:

It's no longer needed.

This is all well and good.

But sometimes a comments will have two parts to it: half is no longer relevant, yet the other half still is. So I don't flag, and it remains (despite half being no longer relevant).

Even worse is when a string of obsolete comments is concluded by a half-and-half comment. Deleting the first bunch would render part of the half-and-half comment obscured.


Can moderators be give the ability to remove part of a comment, rather than having to choose to delete it entirely or not at all.


NB: Giving moderators the power to arbitrarily edit other user's comments is too much. But they should have the ability to remove a sentence or two from a flagged comment.

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    @JohnOmielan Yes, you are correct. Diamond moderators can already edit any comment. However, doing so is relatively rare (probably, substantially < 1% of the time that a comment is handled). How often editing of comments happens will depend on the site and the site's moderators.
    – Makyen
    Jul 27, 2022 at 3:22
  • Oh, so this feature already exists at some level, good. So I should flag half-and-half comments then? Jul 27, 2022 at 3:43
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    What the moderators want you to do may vary by site, so you might want to ask on the child meta site for the site in which you are interested. However, the "normal" would be No Longer Needed flags should indicate only that the comment is actually no longer needed and should be deleted. For more complex issues, you should raise an "in need of moderator intervention" flag (custom flag) and explain. Keep in mind that custom flags on comments allow fewer characters and are removed from the queue when the comment is deleted (which may happen automatically). Thus, flagging the post may be better.
    – Makyen
    Jul 27, 2022 at 3:49
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    I didn't downvote, but I'd assume that the downvote was because you're asking for a feature to be implemented which already exists.
    – Makyen
    Jul 27, 2022 at 4:00
  • Does this answer your question? [A guide to moderating comments](meta.stackexchange.com/a/238095/282094 ) meta.stackexchange.com/q/281749/282094 meta.stackexchange.com/q/237978/282094
    – Rob
    Jul 27, 2022 at 4:04
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    @ElementsinSpace FYI, this answer, in the question this one was closed as a duplicate of, has advice by Shog9 for diamond moderators specifically regarding when & how they should possibly edit comments. Jul 27, 2022 at 4:42
  • @JohnOmielan - Yes I accepted that as a duplicate, but it might be better if it explicitly mentioned deleting the obsolete part of a comment. Jul 27, 2022 at 4:57
  • I keep getting down votes. Am I supposed to remove the feature-request tag? delete this question? just feel bad? or something else? Jul 27, 2022 at 10:34
  • Downvotes only mean people don't like the idea of deleting only part of comments. You should not feel bad, and at this point removing the feature request tag won't help. You can't delete because there's answer with votes. Best is to just move on, understand that unpopular questions are part of the site, and keep posting when you have a new idea or question. ("unpopular" in this context means that people don't like the idea behind the question.) p.s. for what it's worth, we're in the same boat - and I have more downvotes than you. ;-) Jul 27, 2022 at 11:23
  • @ShadowTheKidWizard - You've also got more upvotes than me. I do understand that votes on meta are different to votes on the main sites. But are people really indicating they don't like this existent feature? Jul 27, 2022 at 12:14
  • @Elements well, yes. And same people would upvote your posts if they agree with them, you already got bunch of posts having decent amount of upvotes, so you're in good standing. I have more just because I'm more active, not because I'm more "loved" or something like that. Jul 27, 2022 at 12:34
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    @ElementsinSpace, See the Help section: "Voting is different on meta".
    – Rob
    Jul 27, 2022 at 17:03

1 Answer 1

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This is already possible.

If you want a moderator to edit a comment, you'll want to explain that in a "Something else" comment flag. It's unlikely that a moderator will figure out that you actually only want half the comment deleted from a "No longer needed" flag—comment flags on sites that get any significant number of comments tend to be handled pretty quickly, and moderators rarely edit comments.

You can ask on the site-specific Meta site if the moderators there have a particular preference. Or you can flag some and see how they're handled—worst case, the flag gets declined, and it's probably not the silliest flag the mods have gotten that week.

Also, note that the remainder of the comment should be valuable enough to warrant taking the time to manual edit it with the necessary caution to not put words in the author's mouth. If it's not really adding much, it might be better off removed entirely.

Even worse is when a string of obsolete comments is concluded by a half-and-half comment. Deleting the first bunch would render part of the half-and-half comment obscured.

For cases where a large number of comments need to be deleted, you may also wish to flag the post and explain which comments should be deleted, as it will also allow you a longer maximum flag length. Different moderators have different preferences about whether they prefer individual comments to be flagged or the whole list—you can ask on the site-specific Meta about that as well.

Giving moderators the power to arbitrarily edit other user's comments is too much. But they should have the ability to remove a sentence or two from a flagged comment.

It's impractical to do one without the other, as minor phrasing tweaks are often needed when removing content (e.g., removing "Also, " from the following sentence).

Also, we can do things like fix dead links, typos, etc. Also, we've been able to do this for years and I can't think of an instance of anyone complaining about an edit to a comment (usually people are complaining about comments being deleted). Moderators have a lot of powerful abilities—as with the rest of them, moderators strive to use them in a way that earns the community's trust (e.g., not putting words in people's mouths).

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  • "It's impractical to do one without the other ..." I guess this is why it makes sense that only the special diamond moderators have the ability to do this. By the way, I tried it out and it works! Jul 27, 2022 at 12:30

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