My understanding is that there is a per-site configuration on how to display comments. On Software Engineering, the last time comments were discussed on Meta, the behavior was that some comments would be hidden after there were 5 (or perhaps more than 5 - the wording is unclear) comments. However, on some sites, like The Workplace, all comments are hidden behind a "Show N more comment(s)" link until at least one has an upvote. However, today, I'm seeing a change on Software Engineering that is making it behavior more like The Workplace. I checked other sites, but I'm not sure what each site's expected behavior is. I'm not sure if this is an erroneous change to the Software Engineering configuration or some kind of change to the core platform. I'm posting here since it's unclear what the scope is and visibility across multiple sites is desired.

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    How many questions did you look at? As I understand it, comments are all collapsed (until upvoted) when there are a lot of answers on the page. On SE SE, I'm seeing all the comments on the questions I checked, because they didn't have that many answers.
    – Laurel
    Jan 16 at 14:34
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    @Laurel Interesting. I didn't know that the number of answers was a factor in the comment display. That's not intuitive. I first noticed it on a comment that I left on a post with 6 answers. That seems strange, since that's lower than the threshold for the "lots of answers" automatically generated flag on Software Engineering. But perhaps 5 or 6 answers is the threshold to hide comments? Jan 16 at 14:36
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    This behavior should be documented in the question about how comments work. Unfortunately, I know that I'm not aware of all the rules around collapsing or hiding comments, so I can't write that information. Understanding per-site configuration as well would be helpful, if any does exist. Jan 16 at 14:48
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    Yeah, apparently it's a per-site configuration. While you're right that on SE SE it only takes 5 answers (and 2 on TWP), this change was made years ago.
    – Laurel
    Jan 16 at 14:51
  • @Laurel Interesting. Could you post that as an answer so I can accept it? That should be posted to the "how comments work" question, as well - I guess I can do that when I have some more time. But also need to think if that makes sense. But it is per-site, so that would be something for the per-site meta to discuss. Jan 16 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


This is a per-site-configurable setting, the same one that warns a user about to post another answer when there are already a lot on the question. From Add a message when posting to old questions with more than N answers:

The thresholds may change, and are configurable per site, but currently they are:

However, this has been the behavior on Software Engineering SE for years. You (or someone using your account :p) requested changes, and in 2018 Shog posted an answer saying that the changes were made, including that "Authors will be warned when adding an answer if there are 5 answers already on the question. (also, comments scoring < 1 will be collapsed by default)".

  • I'll add that I didn't request the change to comments in the original post. Although it looks like it was added anyway. In fact, I hated it then and I still hate it today. Jan 16 at 15:31
  • 30 answers is a lot though as a default, on my main site (TeX.SE) this would never happen except for a few list questions and fun questions, and for those we want to have many answers. Maybe a network-wide default of 5 would be better? (post a feature request, I know I know...)
    – Marijn
    Jan 17 at 16:07

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