I sometimes leave comments that are definitely Noise, and should probably be removed as soon as the other person sees it. (No, I don't really want a private-message system. I like the open community here.) I'd love a mechanism that would help me remove my own comments at some point in the future.

What I think would be ideal would be a flag on my own comment that deletes the comment after the mentioned user sees the comment. Second best would be a flag on my comment that automatically expires my comment after a few days. Third best would be a flag on my comment that puts my comment into the 'Flags' 10K queue and let others flag-delete my comments for me. (Seems wasteful of eye-time, but does let others decide if my comment is really Noise or not. :)

The Activity|Comments page is alright, as far as it goes, but sometimes I know when I write my comment that it should be deleted again in a while.


  • 8
    Why don't you just delete them then? Or better still don't post it in the first place. No need to involve moderators or anyone else.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 15, 2011 at 8:02
  • I suggested something similar once. But especially since the introduction of comment reply notifications, the option to flag as noise, and the anyone-can-edit peer review, I don't think the extra complexity and confusion make up for the little benefit.
    – Arjan
    Apr 15, 2011 at 8:11
  • Actually, I was going to suggest this just this morning. Glad to see you're talking the hit for it.
    – user1228
    Apr 15, 2011 at 14:37
  • @Will, happy to help. :) I don't obsess with my rep on meta so much, I know I'll never get access to the neat tools here, so taking a rep-hit for you suits me fine. :) But it seems we're in the minority here, everyone else thinks comments to individuals about style ought to remain as a signpost for the future. (As if new people actually read old content. Tee hee! :)
    – sarnold
    Apr 18, 2011 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


I don't see how any of these mechanism could be useful. It's a very strange cornercase you're describing here. Especially your first idea comes close to the possibility to track users online status (a who-is-online page was declined, by the way). The second might be a problem, because how do you/we/the system know that the user has seen the comment after those few days? The third adds unnecessary noise to the 10k flag page and adds unnecessary work for the mods...if you know that your comment should be deleted, don't post it. ;)

I think the best solution is what you're doing, manual cleanup of your comments.

Edit: Comments which are helping the user to either find the cause of a problem or are guiding him on how to use features of the site or how to behave/interact with the community should stay. Other new users might find and read them and will not make the same mistakes.

  • I hadn't considered that #1 could be used in such a way. I do think the comments are useful enough to post, but they are intended to improve how that one specific user interacts with our community, so their usefulness is obviously limited and usually unrelated to the specific question and answer where the conversation takes place. Thanks. :)
    – sarnold
    Apr 15, 2011 at 7:43
  • @sarnold: In that case they should stay as guidance for future users which might find them. Apr 15, 2011 at 7:50

This would be very useful for moderators. I have got hundreds of (what are now) noise comments out there, none of which are useful after the target sees it.

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