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We hear over and over and over and over again that StackExchange is not a forum, it is a Q&A site. At the slightest sniff of a discussion blooming, moderators chase comments with torches and pitchforks into chatrooms. However, it appears that the community subscribes to the philosophy of "what good is a rule if you cannot break it once in a while", as seen from the activity on this "question": Intern seems uninterested at work internship.

The post keeps rambling on and on and on and on about the world's first and only unmotivated intern. The OP is so overawed by the intern's awesomeness that he forgets to ask an actual question. You would expect the question to be put on hold as unclear what you're asking in no time, but instead the community lays out a red carpet, and showers it with upvotes and comments and answers.

A number of users who commented and "answered" the "question" have been regular users on the site, who have cast close votes a bazillion times before, but apparently they found the post so entertaining that they chose to indulge in a discussion rather than cast their close vote or at least seek clarification from the OP.

The only sane voice that actually asked the OP to clarify his question was not only lost in the crowd, but got caught in the crossfire as a moderator moved the comments into a chatroom. To add insult to injury, the comment, and that comment alone, was deleted from the chatroom as well.

Please stop encouraging poor questions.

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    I think your message here is going to be lost in the feeling of this being a rant. Perhaps an edit to remove some of the bolding would help with that? – enderland Feb 1 '17 at 14:00
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    I'm honestly not sure why that was deleted from the chat room, that... is nonsensical to me as well. – enderland Feb 1 '17 at 14:22
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    Downvoted for non-constructive tone. Are you trying to raise a point for thoughtful discussion, or do you just want to make a snarky rant? If the former, I suggest you rephrase. – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '17 at 14:25
  • @MonicaCellio I will concede that my general irritation with HNQ and moderators being trigger happy to delete comments got the better of me here. Anyway, the core purpose of my post is to encourage regular users to use their privileges wisely. I will edit out the non-constructive tone when I have the time. Feel free to do it though if you can. – Masked Man Feb 1 '17 at 14:50
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    Re "Some people were suspended from the site for questioning why moderators do not allow discussion in comments": the only people who know why a user was suspended are the moderators, the user, and anybody the user has shared the suspension notice with. If you aren't in one of those categories, then at best you are engaging in rumors and speculation. And remember: you don't see everything. – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '17 at 15:31
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    I completely agree. It really grinds my gears when I see otherwise high rep high quality contributors answering bad questions. Comments on the other hand suck in general I think posting comments that get deleted should cost rep! We have a gaming problem with people wanting more points. fix it and this problem goes away. But you have to fix it by increasing the penalty for doing bad things – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 1 '17 at 16:27
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings one thing that could be done to mitigate against people profitably answering questions that should have been closed: revive the broken-windows project. Any community member can do that; doesn't need mods except maybe to deal final blows after community review and consensus. – Monica Cellio Feb 1 '17 at 16:35
  • @MonicaCellio FWIW, I have now "cooled down" and deleted my "offensive" comments above. – Masked Man Feb 1 '17 at 16:50
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings penalizing people for comments that get deleted makes no sense. Comments are SUPPOSED to be deleted. If anything, you should penalize people for comments that are still there after a week. (Or autoremove them) – Erik Feb 2 '17 at 9:50
  • @Erik - The point is to add incentive to rethink the desire and need to post a comment. Get into a discussion that is 8 comments long... that just cost you 80 rep. Im also for an logarithmic type scale your first comment on a question or answer deleted costs 0 second 1 third 10, 100, 1000 etc – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 2 '17 at 15:35
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings but the point is that ideally, good comments also get deleted. It would strongly discourage posting any comments altogether, even though good comments serve a positive purpose. – Erik Feb 2 '17 at 16:52
  • @Erik I think what he is suggesting is one of the final step of a comment feature overhaul. You should be able to tell why a comment was deleted first. If it was deleted because the OP addressed the issue raised (and hence, is obsolete), commenter should not be penalized. But if the comment was deleted because it was just a snide remark or a meme or generally irrelevant, then the penalty applies. – Masked Man Feb 2 '17 at 17:00
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    Anyway, that problem doesn't need such a complicated solution. I have a much easier solution to that: on any post, a user can have at most one comment (except perhaps in meta, where we can be more lenient). If you want to make a new comment, delete the old one first. That friction automatically kills all back and forth discussion in comments, and relieves a huge burden of the moderators. There shall also be a site-wide limit on comments to encourage people to clean up old obsolete comments. Unfortunately, the know-it-alls at SE just don't want to listen. :) – Masked Man Feb 2 '17 at 17:09
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    @MaskedMan that would help, yes. A penalty for making bad comments is effective. (Then again; that's also why we have warnings and the banhammer for people who make too many, so we already do it in a way) I actually like the idea of a limit on how many comments per post. – Erik Feb 2 '17 at 17:30
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    @Erik - I would be all for an increased intolarance on the part of the mods for comment abuse. But it needs to be applied equally. Another solution is to give mods the ability to comment ban a person so they can still post questions and answers but not comments for those that are the worst abusers of comments – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 2 '17 at 17:48
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The OP is so overawed by the intern's awesomeness that he forgets to ask an actual question.

It's kind of implied that he's asking how he might reform the intern.

You would expect the question to be put on hold as unclear what you're asking in no time, but instead the community lays out a red carpet, and showers it with upvotes and comments and answers.

Well, we're all here to earn reputation right? Let those counters go up.

A number of users [...] found the post so entertaining that they chose to indulge in a discussion [...]

So what's wrong with entertainment? $DEITY forbid anyone should have fun on the web's most "serious" Q&A site.

The only sane voice [...] got caught in the crossfire as a moderator moved the comments into a chatroom.

So why don't you just put out an APB to the moderators to the effect that they shouldn't indiscriminately move comments to chat?

  • "It's kind of implied that he's asking how he might reform the intern." No, it is not, if you go through the answers people have posted, they have inferred various different questions. – Masked Man Feb 15 '17 at 6:27
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Good point, ok I will undertake not to engage in discussions from this point on unless I see a need or feel like it, because lets face it, it's the internet. I can do whatever I want as whimsy takes me.

And it's the moderators role to keep things within bounds, not mine.

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    Usually your answers are great. But I hope "I can do whatever I want as whimsy takes me. And it's the moderators role to keep things within bounds, not mine." doesn't become the norm here. – Joe Strazzere Feb 14 '17 at 1:30
  • Yep, me too, I just tend to get cheeky in meta, and serious in the main board.... – Kilisi Feb 15 '17 at 1:46

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