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A lot of highly voted comments were removed from this answer and others. Instead of deleting them, and asking people to move to chat, why not auto-archive all such comments and move them to chat so that they are not lost? May be create a new chatroom for that answer.

Edit. Thanks to jmac for this discussion link

My idea is to have a separate chat "page" for each answer. There could be X comments on the original answer. After say 24 hours are done since posting the answer and mods have started cleaning up the comments, they could activate the chat "page" that will auto-archive all comments. Then can then remove comments that think were not good enough to be on the main site. Score of the comment will be visible on the chat page.

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    Short answer: (a) it is incredibly time-consuming to do manually, and there is no tool, (b) if you don't want the comments deleted, stick them in chat in the first place, (c) comments were never intended to be permanent, and any comments that have value should be edited in to an answer and/or question so the information isn't lost. That said, you can just as easily copy comments in to a chat room as a mod can, so if you truly care that much, knock yourself out -- nothing is stopping you. – jmac Jul 31 '14 at 5:54
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    @jmac this is a feature-request. as in if there is no tool for this, there should be! – user13107 Jul 31 '14 at 6:13
  • @user13107 - Ah, most of the questions have been about the reasoning behind this. Would you mind editing this to make it more clear in the body that this is a feature request? Perhaps you might also expand with an idea of how this might work, if it is something you've put some thought into. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Jul 31 '14 at 6:20
  • related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/93444/… – jmort253 Jul 31 '14 at 6:21
  • @jmort253 added my idea. – user13107 Jul 31 '14 at 6:25
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    @jmort253 i am sorry you had to delete such a long answer! – user13107 Jul 31 '14 at 6:28
  • One challenge is that useful info often ends up in comments, but buried so it's hard to find. This leaves the question of how do we ensure that useful stuff ends up in the answers themselves? (Ha, no worries. It wouldn't be the first. :) ) – jmort253 Jul 31 '14 at 6:29
  • related: Help us figure out a way to handle the explosion of comments on Stack Overflow "Often, the comments have useful information, but ultimately, the comments generate a lot of noise. Too much noise for even the most dedicated of users to keep up with..." – gnat Jul 31 '14 at 8:12
  • @gnat I wish there was a chatbox besides the answer in the left empty margin. – user13107 Jul 31 '14 at 8:23
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    @user13107 I wouldn't mind having such box, either... provided that answers prevail: 'Let's face it, comments fit the "discussion forum" culture, and that culture is widely popular, fun, appealing and frankly speaking, much easier to follow than answer oriented one. Give it a chance to leak through and it will leak through, and it will compete and corrupt the answer oriented culture...' – gnat Jul 31 '14 at 8:29
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Stack Exchange is not a discussion board or a forum. Period. Meta sites are a bit different, but the main sites are not this.

The primary purpose of this question/answer site is clear and direct questions with clear answers.

Comments are chatty and more appropriate for discussion boards. If an answer or question is needing large numbers of comments to add clarity/value then it's either a bad post or the comments are pointless.


I think an interesting strategy would be to automatically migrate comments to chat if there are ever more than 5 comments on a post.

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Comments shouldn't be used to chat in the first place. Having a tool to migrate comments to chat would help, but the real solution is to not misuse comments in the first place. If people who want to have an extended discussion would get a room in the first place, their contributions to the discussion would be much more durable.

The Workplace isn't a discussion forum, and if people try to turn it into one we will keep deleting those comments because they harm the site. So if you want to chat and don't want to have your messages deleted, get ahead of the problem -- go to chat in the first place, either the main [chat] or a new room, drop a link to the chat room in a comment (yes, that comment would stick around), and carry on.

By the way, I would oppose a wholesale "migrate all comments to chat" function. Comments that seek clarification and haven't been addressed yet should stay; the point is to get the question addressed. It's everything else that should move. But no automated system can figure out which are which, so a human has to be involved.

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