There are quite a lot of apparent monologues in comments which where actually replies to other comments leaving an incomplete conversation. If the original commenter wants to delete his comment, those who replied should be notified so they can delete their obsolete reply.

This is a softened version of this suggestion, excluding the delete-veto of repliers

Since comment-replies are detected this should not be too hard to implement. However, if the original commenter changed his username, this change would somehow need to be detected - maybe see here for a possible solution.


1 Answer 1


Cascade deletions
I worry that this might cause a cascade of information being lost. Oftentimes serious conversations are seeded by comments which may be incorrect or worthy of deletion.

If that item gets deleted, then suddenly someone else has a (valid) comment which now makes no sense. So if that person deletes their "non-sequitur" the chain will continue. Until the conversation disappeared, regardless of how valid or useful it was.

Logistics A
If a user has commented more than once and they delete their comment, there is no way to determine if the @ comments were directed at the first (deleted) comment, or the second (still active) comment. While this may not seem like a big deal, it leads to a very confusing user experience when you get notified that a comment you referred to was deleted, and you go to the post and there's literally nothing out of place.

Any system that has "false alarms" greatly numbs its own usefulness.

Logistics B
Because the system attached a comment notification to the most recent commenter with three matching letters, it means that if

  1. Jon B - some thing
  2. Jon S - some comment
  3. DevinB @Jon blah blah

Jon S will get notified. Then if Jon B deletes his comment, will I get notified? Probably, because it will just trace up the comment string and try to find any "@Jon" comments.

Second scenario, what if Jon S, THEN Jon B deletes their comment, will I get notified twice?

Bottom Line

I feel that this will not be all that useful, will be difficult and confusing, and could possibly cause some detrimental conversation deletion that will be a loss for SO as a whole.

  • It would really be a shame if a good and informative conversation got lost. So to keep context, replied-to comments should possible not be deletable at all? But that would probably also not solve this problem or at least introduce others since there are perfectly valid reasons for a comment's deletion.. Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 7:03
  • As you can see, I replied to that one too. My opinion is that leaving it the way it is would work because it allows for users to delete their own comments if they feel the need, and it also doesn't run afoul these problems that i've highlighted here.
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 17, 2010 at 14:54
  • bounty given just because I need to bounty something else. Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 13:51
  • @Poly, I appreciate it :)
    – devinb
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 13:55

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