38

This experiment has ended; you can view the report here.


Last year, Robert Cartaino relayed this one weird trick to fix comments:

I also flag dozens-to-hundreds of posts daily simply to remove misplaced answers and other minutia from comments which simply don't belong there. It's very time consuming, and largely ineffective.

But it never stops.

Only recently, I changed the comment prompt in Area 51 from "add comment" to "suggest improvements" (the primary use case for example questions), and that number dropped to essentially… ZERO!

He proposed a two-part change based on this observation:

  • Change "add comment" under the question to "ask for clarification"
  • Change "add comment" under the answer to "suggest improvements"

For the past 60 days, we've been testing a partial implementation of this over on Interpersonal Skills. Results are less dramatic than those on Area51, but still promising - so I'd like to try it here next.

To be clear: the issues this site has with comments aren't nearly as severe as that over on IPS; y'all only delete about a third of all comments posted vs. IPS's half. But... That's still a lot of comments that could be doing something better, so this seems like an obvious place to test a possible quick fix.

For the next 60 days, "add comment" will instead read "suggest improvements" on all posts for all users. Please let me know if this causes any issues!

Example:

add comment now reads "suggest improvements"

  • 7
    This is great, thank you! – Masked Man Jun 26 '18 at 0:40
  • Sounds promising, since when will this changes take effect? (I'm on mobile, so can't check if they are live) – DarkCygnus Jun 26 '18 at 4:52
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus The change is already live on the main site. I can see the change from the mobile browser as well (though in this case, I don't think the change is device-specific). – Masked Man Jun 26 '18 at 6:13
  • Will check tomorrow @MaskedMan :) – DarkCygnus Jun 26 '18 at 6:17
  • 1
    I noticed that here on meta comment prompt under question says "suggest improvements" while under answers it is "add a comment". As for main site, prompts under both questions and answers say "suggest improvements". Wonder if this is working as intended. Also given the title of this post it would be great if cross in the icon of deleting one's comment would change to rose – gnat Jun 26 '18 at 7:19
  • 3
    @gnat The meta shows "add a comment" for both questions and answers. Maybe you got confused by shog's screenshot? Discussion in comments is ok on meta, since there usually needs to be some back-and-forth for people to arrive at a consensus. I like your other idea of changing the cross to a rose. – Masked Man Jun 26 '18 at 7:38
  • @MaskedMan great catch, thank you! I was indeed confused by a screen shot. Indeed, "add comment" at meta makes good sense – gnat Jun 26 '18 at 7:41
  • 1
    Thank you I have been thinking something like this would be beneficial. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 26 '18 at 15:56
  • I would also suggest reconsidering this that received a warm reception when suggested 2 years ago. Can we make the policy “Be Nice and Helpful” – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 26 '18 at 16:21
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    Back in 2014, there was a lot of discussion about "Our Comments Problem". A few of us suggested that the label was at least partly to blame. Glad to see someone finally decided to change the label. workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2748/… – Joe Strazzere Jun 26 '18 at 22:23
  • 1
    I'd love to see this network wide. Too many people think comments are a space for discussion, and the UI itself saying something else would help a lot. – battery.cord Jun 27 '18 at 18:54
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    Just FYI: The link to expand the collapsed "suggestions" still says "Show X more comments." – Wesley Long Jun 27 '18 at 19:53
  • 7
    Edits title to This one weird trick fixed comments! Tim Post hates it! – Machavity Jun 29 '18 at 12:37

10 Answers 10

12

Sounds good to me. Hopefully this will help cut down needless discussion and half baked answers in comments.

  • Maybe it will, but the wording should be altered. I was confused (to the point of asking why my commenting privileges were gone), because I read "suggest improvement" and understood something akin to "edit answer", which I did not want to do (and thus didn't even try). – KlaymenDK Jul 27 '18 at 19:23
  • @KlaymenDK Since you asked, it doesn't look like the comment you eventually posted on that question was attempting to suggest an improvement? – Masked Man Jul 28 '18 at 0:28
  • @maskedman no, but its not a full-fledged answer, either. – KlaymenDK Jul 28 '18 at 12:34
12

Just as a quick observation anonymous users already see an "improve this question" link on the questions already instead of "edit". Seeing that above "suggest improvements" is a bit ambiguous for if there is a difference between the two.

enter image description here

Now this may cause problems or it may not but I think it's worth mentioning.

  • 2
    Yep, I know; it's kinda crazy. We should probably just call the edit feature, uh, "edit". But both will never be enabled together, so non-issue for now. – Shog9 Jul 6 '18 at 1:07
  • 1
    @Shog9 Stupid question but how will they never be enabled together if I can see them together right now? – TheLethalCompany Jul 6 '18 at 9:26
  • 1
    One is disabled, @TheLethalCoder; you can't comment if you're not logged in. – Shog9 Jul 6 '18 at 15:34
  • @Shog9 so the comment one should really be disabled? – TheLethalCompany Jul 6 '18 at 15:44
12

So far, this experiment has turned out exactly as bharal predicted.

For a few minutes hours days, the change led to a drop in extraneous comments. However, once users figured out that "suggest improvements" was just "add a comment" by another name, normal service was restored comment usage patterns returned to the pre-change status.

This does not mean the change should be scrapped. It is less effective than expected, because it is a partial solution. With the following additions, this experiment would hopefully yield better results:

  • Add "discuss this question" alongside "suggest improvements": This link opens the post-specific chat room where users can discuss the post.
  • "Protect" commenting on protected questions: Users coming in from other sites (usually for entertainment via HNQ) who are used to "adding comments" on other sites tend to use the "suggest improvements" similarly. This can be easily resolved by disregarding the association bonus and requiring 10 reputation on this site for commenting on protected questions.

However, this change has also proved useful because now moderators need to spend less effort to justify deletion of comments. Consequently, complaints about comment deletion are expected to drop drastically.


Update: One user was recently flabbergasted by the change, and asked on meta why he wasn't able to post comments. When this experiment was explained to him, he went back to the post soon after, and posted a comment, which was partly commentary and partly semi-answer, but definitely not a suggested improvement.

  • 3
    Where are you getting your statistics about comment usage? (If SEDE, remember that it's only updated once a week and doesn't include deleted comments.) – Monica Cellio Jul 9 '18 at 17:54
  • 1
    @Monica I don't have any statistics as of now. This is based on actual comment flags I have handled as well as direct observation of the comments posted, especially on HNQ. – Masked Man Jul 10 '18 at 0:45
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    "Add "discuss this question" alongside "suggest improvements": This link opens the post-specific chat room where users can discuss the post. " - This is, IMHO, a really good idea. This will help catch those users that are more interested in discussing rather than suggesting improvements or ask for clarification – DarkCygnus Jul 10 '18 at 18:09
  • 1
    you know, you actually really made my day be referencing my original thoughts. i honestly thank you for making me quite happy. – bharal Jul 10 '18 at 23:36
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    I love the idea of the Discuss this question link. Give people a place to put their comments where they belong, in chat. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 18 '18 at 18:20
  • 2
    Genius. Currently the only way to get a chat room associated with the post is (1) wait until a moderator moves comments to chat or (2) continue a discussion in comments until you're prompted to continue the discussion in chat. If those steps could be bypassed, I think most comment troubles would go away. How about you propose that on Meta? – Wildcard Jul 27 '18 at 19:16
  • @Wildcard Thanks for your feedback. I'm pretty sure someone might have already posted that, or a similar idea, on meta. Nonetheless, I will have a look. – Masked Man Jul 28 '18 at 9:54
  • "One user was recently flabbergasted by the change, and asked on meta why he wasn't able to post comments." - if the goal is to have fewer comments, this is a pretty good indication that the change is having a desirable effect. One wonders how many users think the same thing, but don't ask. – Joe Strazzere Jul 30 '18 at 14:59
12

The results of the experiment

Days before the change             65    
Days after the change              65    
Posts created before the change    3655  
Posts created after the change     3708  
Comments created before the change 14029 
Comments created after the change  12003 

Description                     Before     After      PctChange  
------------------------------- ---------- ---------- ---------- 
Comments / post ratio                 3.84       3.24     -15.66 
Flags / comment ratio                 0.14       0.18      28.55 
Pct comments deleted                 34.75      34.37      -1.10 
Comment upvotes / comment ratio       2.80       3.07       9.75 
Pct comments followed by edits        8.87      10.40      17.16 

Just as we saw on Interpersonal Skills, this resulted in significantly fewer comments.

Unlike the IPS test, we didn't see fewer flags per comment; part of this may be simply that an awful lot of changes to comment flagging rolled out mid-way through the test, but given the effect wasn't very strong on IPS either it's my guess that any changes noted here are most likely just noise.

As on IPS, there was a noticeable improvement in the average utility of the comments that were posted: even as fewer comments were posted over all, y'all left slightly more comments that were followed by edits to the post being commented on. This continues to be my favorite observation, as it suggests the change in wording is helping folks to focus on activity that results in lasting improvement to the site vs. idle chit-chat.

Distribution and ongoing effectiveness

Finally, I want to address a concern I've seen raised in a few places, namely that any benefits are likely to be a temporary effect caused more by confusion than anything else.

The metrics we've been looking at thus far were picked to reduce the effects of noise and temporary variation on the results. That's useful for gauging the overall effects of a test like this, but they don't tell the whole story! As we're all painfully aware, it isn't every post that gets large amounts of tangential commentary; the norm - here and just about everywhere else - is 0-2 comments per post. That makes it kinda hard to intuit either a problem or its solution from casual observation, as problems are by definition exceptional cases and thus observing improvement means observing cases where comments might have blown up but did not.

box chart of comment distribution during each post's first week, past year (click for larger version)

This chart seeks to illustrate the distribution of comments posted during the first week of each post's life here over the past year and two months, grouped by every week between June 26th 2017 and last week. Weeks where the test was live are highlighted in orange; whiskers indicate the full extent of the data (so, extreme outliers are plainly visible).

A few observations:

  1. The overall range has consistently dropped during the test - not a single post has garnered more than 60 comments in its first week for the duration, nor 50 during the second half of the test.

  2. The median number of comments per post has been locked at 2 for the duration of the test, with 75% of posts consistently getting 4 or fewer comments.

  3. There's no variation in either the median or quartile numbers week-by-week during the test, which stands in stark contrast to the year preceding it and also suggests that whatever effect this change had was consistent beyond what we could expect from novelty or confusion alone.

Summary

As with IPS, this isn't a dramatic difference. There are still posts that get too many comments, there are still plenty of flags, there's still lots of cleanup work for moderators to perform.

But, there is a difference - and it's largely positive. And for a relatively inexpensive change, that's nice to see!

  • Interesting results Shog9, thanks for sharing them. Seems that it indeed had some positive effects :) During the experiment, I also noticed confusion among new users regarding the test wording. If this change were to be implemented permanently, how do you think we can address this situation? Most of them were under their own posts, os perhaps reading "suggest improvements" under your post may be confusing (as why would you suggest changes to your post if you can edit it?) – DarkCygnus Aug 29 '18 at 21:14
  • That's tricky, @DarkCygnus - the easy way out is to just not change it when looking at your own post... However, I suspect this might negate a good portion of the benefits. Ideally, we'd be explicitly encouraging folks to edit in this situation... – Shog9 Aug 29 '18 at 21:19
  • what I miss in this analysis is comparing comments posted by site regulars (those who made at least 3-4 positive score posts or, say, 10 approved edits) and passers-by. Per my observations, in last several months there seem to be quite a sharp difference there - would be interesting to have some data to confirm or disprove this (similar analysis for IPS would be interesting too) – gnat Aug 29 '18 at 22:01
  • 1
    ...it would be also interesting to compare comments on questions vs answers – gnat Aug 29 '18 at 23:19
  • 1
    Is it possible people are commenting (suggesting an improvement) instead of just making the edit themselves? I suppose you could look to see whether edits from people other than the author have decreased. – Jon Ericson Aug 30 '18 at 17:50
  • But, there is a difference -- I think you need some statistical analysis to conclude that. Like, p-values. – Federico Poloni Sep 27 '18 at 8:05
  • Actually went up, slightly @JonEricson - just over a 3% increase during the test (and a corresponding drop afterwards, both for 3rd-party edits and edits following comments overall). – Shog9 Sep 27 '18 at 23:28
  • 1
    I'm not a statistician, @Frederico; I can get a significant p-value for, say, weekly averages... But I have a hard time trusting that; there's no visceral connection. Folks don't complain that the average number of comments is too high, they complain when those comments are irrelevant and infuriating, or when there's whopping pile of comments on some post and the mods delete 'em all. Are those connected? Sure. And if a p-value of .006 suggests that happened less often, great... But me, I kinda gotta see the shape of it before I really feel comfortable. – Shog9 Sep 27 '18 at 23:29
9

IMHO this is not a helpful change1. I get that you are trying to cut down on the number of extraneous comments, but the modification attempts to classify comments into either

  1. Suggestions for change
  2. Everything else (which is now undesirable and should be purged)

But this is a false dichotomy. There are classes of comments that are not suggestions for improvement, are not extraneous and yet are still are germane to questions and answers. Thus I think in implementing this solution you are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


  1. I originally came here after noticing that I could no longer post a commented was confused as to why this was so, and what bad thing had I done to be punished so. I also checked some other SO groups and saw that I could add comments there still. So this confused me even more. I would posit that there are now a large number of people who are just as confused as me right now.
  • 6
    Could you give an example of a comment that you think is germane but not a suggestion for change or request for clarification? I'd recommend you also take a look at this Meta discussion (What “comments” are not . . .), and all of the Meta questions on comments. – David K Jun 26 '18 at 16:23
  • @DavidK Such comments are germane in questions that have the feel of an XY question, but where the X idoes have a valid concrete answer. IMHO in such cases adding Y as an answer pollutes the answer space and is better off as a comment. – Peter M Jun 26 '18 at 16:33
  • 12
    In case of XY problems, an ideal answer should explain why this is an XY problem, and provide a solution to the Y problem. Answering the X question, and leaving the Y solution in comments is not the way to go about it. – Masked Man Jun 26 '18 at 17:12
  • @MaskedMan Here is a a summary of a Travel question illustrating what I mean. OP: "I want to take a ferry from A to B because I hate flying, but I can't find any current service". Various answers of "The ferry service A to B stopped in 1908". But if I know that the OP could book passage on a cargo ship instead, this is not an answer to his question as his question is about not being able to find a ferry service. Adding it as a comment would be germane as it addresses how to get from A to B without flying, but is not what the OP is asking about. – Peter M Jun 26 '18 at 17:30
  • 6
    @PeterM I disagree. In that example, the correct answer should state "Ferry service stopped in 1908. However, as an alternative you can book passage on a cargo ship. [detail...]" This is similar to our policy on "Don't do that!" answers. You can tell people not to do what is being suggested, so long as you provide an alternative solution. – David K Jun 26 '18 at 17:39
  • 1
    @DavidK That may be so but when 10 other people have already answered that "Ferry service stopped in 1908" I believe that my additional answer with "but.." will add to the noise. But at this point its all moot and I will point out the irony of this discussion not adhering to the desire to purge all non-suggestion comments. It's as if there is a class of comment that is not extraneous, yet is still germane to a topic. – Peter M Jun 26 '18 at 17:52
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    @PeterM There is no irony. We are on Meta, and the rules here are different from the main site. Discussion is encouraged here – David K Jun 26 '18 at 18:04
  • 1
    @PeterM The goal should ideally be to help the OP, not to answer the question as asked. Usually those two overlap, but sometimes the OP just phrases their question wrongly which doesn't reflect their actual issue. – Masked Man Jun 29 '18 at 10:09
  • Related situation I exposed in this answer – DarkCygnus Jul 17 '18 at 20:58
9

Can't we just downvote comments instead? Some suggestions are just really bad, even if the only comments identified are suggestions - which is a clear anitpattern.

What I think downvotes should do in comments is subtract points from the user's reputation score, that way people stop doing dumb things in comments that they wouldn't do in answers because they know it would cost them reputation. I suspect that this would also stop "Me too" and "I agree" comments.

  • 2
    What would you expect downvoting a comment to do, Steve? Show it out of chronological order? Raise a flag? – Shog9 Jun 28 '18 at 16:38
  • 10
    @Shog9 To start with, just showing the downvote count would be useful. +12/-6 (or whatever format you prefer). Some people argue that since 25 people upvoted the comment, it must be pretty good and so the OP must incorporate that "suggestion". When the question has received 1000 views, it is hard to tell how many of those other 975 users would have downvoted it if they had an option. – Masked Man Jun 28 '18 at 16:58
  • 4
    @MaskedMan you might be interested to give a read to this discussion at MSE: Why was “downvoting comments” declined? Should this feature be revisited? – gnat Jun 28 '18 at 17:10
  • 1
    @Shog9 reflect on the users reputation. That's literally all I want. – user53651 Jun 28 '18 at 17:34
  • @MaskedMan Should I make another feature request for that? – user53651 Jun 28 '18 at 17:44
  • @gnat I was actually aiming for "get rid of upvotes on comments" but that would have led to a long argument about "why we want the system to work this way" and "if you want to comment something that someone else has already said before, then you can upvote the comment instead of writing your own comment" etc. so I settled for a more "constructive" alternative. – Masked Man Jun 29 '18 at 10:05
  • @MaskedMan Yeah, but being able to downvote comments stops them from being no risk without hindering the upvote's ability to declutter the comment section. – user53651 Jun 29 '18 at 13:49
  • @Steve I'm not sure I understand your comment, because I am actually in agreement with your suggestion. Anyway, to be honest, I see no reason to vote at all on comments (either upvotes or downvotes). However, since SE wouldn't agree to getting rid of the upvoting, I suggested a "constructive" compromise to allow downvotes and display downvotes as well. – Masked Man Jun 29 '18 at 15:25
  • @MaskedMan think voting on comments is useful to stop people from posting duplicate comments. That's about it. – user53651 Jun 29 '18 at 15:27
  • SE says that upvoting on comments is enabled so that if you wanted to say the same thing that someone else has already said, then instead of saying the same thing again, you can upvote the already posted comment that says the same thing ... or something of that sort. That makes no sense to me, because if someone has already said what you wanted to say, then you can just not comment at all instead of posting another comment with the same thing. – Masked Man Jun 29 '18 at 15:28
  • 1
    @MaskedMan That's true, but you know how people on the internet are about keeping their opinion to themselves and not sharing. That design just doesn't mesh well with the majority of humans. Our brains aren't built to support that. – user53651 Jun 29 '18 at 15:31
  • @Steve Allowing people to upvote comments doesn't help with that either. People can upvote a comment and still post their own comment. Let's be honest. Things really don't work the way SE thinks they do. How many people decide what they are going to comment, then search if that comment is already posted? More often, what actually happens is people upvote comments that they find interesting or agree with, they don't do it because "this is what I was also going to say". – Masked Man Jun 29 '18 at 15:35
  • 2
    @MaskedMan if they couldn't upvote things they'd agree with they'd comment, "Yeah, I agree with this [incoherent positive reinforcement drivel]". This way reduces the occurrence of that nonsense. – user53651 Jun 29 '18 at 15:36
  • 1
    @Steve I totally agree with your last comment. ;) – Wildcard Jul 27 '18 at 19:13
8

Interesting situation to analyze the one that this post reveals: Is it expected that I cannot comment on questions or answers, having reputation 1,986?

On that post, we can read (emphasis mine):

My reputation on workplace is currently 1,986. The commenting privilege starts at 50. However, I can't comment on any questions or answers — there is no "add a comment" link on any of them for me.

This clearly indicates that the change of wording did had an impact, at least to some users.

My hypotheses (I am not a psychologist, but I am a keen observer) is that this user was "unable to add a comment", because he was subconsciously looking for the "comment" word; when he saw the "suggest improvements" he ignored/skipped it.

Perhaps a guess from my part, but that behavior could indicate that such user was indeed not looking to suggest improvements and, perhaps, was just in for the comment or discussion...

This is the first evident sign I see that the experiment worked to some degree; besides the stats that surely can be generated or collected.

Edits:

6

I'm not sure if this will work as you think.

At heart, I suspect that the change will work initially, while people are unsure what is going on.

After all, when you see "suggest improvement" you now think that you're not even writing a comment at all. I just assumed, initially, that the site was going to make me do a feedback faq or something.

Which means that, initially, yes, you will get rid of extraneous comments. You will also get rid of all the other comments, too. I can see you're using it only when the comment queue gets a little unwieldy - which might work.

If, I suspect, only for a little time until people work out what is going on. This will depend on the types of users making excess comments, mind. I have no idea what that is - if they're veterens this won't work, if they're normally new and don't comment much, well, great.

As an aside - I question the wisdom of nerfing the ability for this forum to work like a forum (and instead, a bunch of answers). If you sacrifice the small sense of community you already have, who is going to use this site?

  • 4
    Agreed. A little commentary often helps and brings about new and possibly better answers. I dont know why this site is trying to be like wikipedia. – solarflare Jun 26 '18 at 4:55
  • 4
    "Commentary" that leads to helping and novelty is suggesting improvement. Comments that just throw up opinions aren't desirable and should be discouraged, as is the apparent effect. – user53718 Jun 26 '18 at 6:44
  • 16
    "I question the wisdom of nerfing the ability for this forum to work like a forum (and instead, a bunch of answers)." - Except SE is explicitly not a forum and is supposed to be just questions and answers. Go to every single tour and that is practically the first thing you see. – David K Jun 26 '18 at 12:17
  • 6
    @DavidK sure, But comments are part of the dialogue. Look, I get some purists want a "q and a ONLY site". Every other human being wants dialogue. Curtailing dialogue - while true to the spirit of the site, is just a stupid idea. WHy on earth would you put effort into reducing usage, into reducing interaction? – bharal Jun 26 '18 at 18:46
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    "I'm not sure if this will work as you think." - The point of running an experiment is to collect some actual data rather than just speculating. – Monica Cellio Jun 26 '18 at 19:51
  • 3
    @bharal It doesn't really matter if 90% of the visitors wants a dialogue - Stack Exchange is created just because everyone wants to "help". That's what breaks every other type of forum. We need to remove discussion from the discussion forum to make it work. – pipe Jun 26 '18 at 20:16
  • @MonicaCellio and the point of mentioning it on meta is to speculate and discuss, right? – bharal Jun 26 '18 at 20:27
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    @bharal the point of mentioning it on meta is to announce the change so we don't get meta questions asking "hey, what happened to comments?". But that's just a guess, since I can't read Shog's mind. – Monica Cellio Jun 26 '18 at 21:08
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    @MonicaCellio I just think it's not going to work as intended. I'm not sure why you are implying that's something inappropriate to mention in meta. – bharal Jun 27 '18 at 16:54
  • 2
    I think the military would call this one "incomplete success" – Retired Codger Jul 10 '18 at 17:58
5

Please let me know if this causes any issues!

Will do. We won't know until it's been tried, so no idea why people are arguing.

-4

One thing that still makes absolutely no sense to me is the fact that it seems to be disallowed (especially on IPS) to use comments to call into question the correctness of an answer.

"That's what votes are for"

Yes, but one downvote is irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, especially when no-one actually understands why the vote is there and figure the answer is good enough to deserve a counter-upvote (at which point the downvote probably helps the answer more than it hurts it).

"Votes will reflect how correct an answer is"

No. Just because there are few people who know what's wrong with the answer doesn't mean the answer isn't wrong.

"Phrase it as a suggestion"

Yes, maybe you can phrase your "this answer is so blatantly wrong because ..." comment as a "suggestion", but that shouldn't be necessary, it's somewhat dishonest to pretend to give a suggestion when you're in fact just pointing out a fundamental problem and, if they don't end up editing their answer to address the comment (which is common in the case of a fundamental problem), a suggestion will be less useful to future visitors.

"Post your own answer"

Yes, maybe you can post an answer of your own, but:

  • "that answer is so blatantly wrong because ..." is not, and will never be, an answer,
  • it doesn't make much sense to combine that with an answer of your own, so people must vote on both at the same time (just like you're not supposed to post multiple answers in one post),
  • nor does it make sense to have something that's directly relevant to one part of the page be put somewhere else entirely.

"But this won't work since we can't downvote comments"

Well, that seems like an easy enough problem to solve.


The correctness of answers is too important

The correctness of answers is such a fundamental part of a Q&A that I'd have figured we could all agree that we shouldn't just sweep under the rug anyone who has something to share about that.

Basic site functionality contradicts this

How does close vote explanations fit into this? In plenty of cases they aren't suggesting an improvement at all, and every other close vote comment is, at best, doing so indirectly, which seems inconsistent with how other comments are treated - mods have absolutely no problem deleting indirect suggested improvements on answers.


PS: I'm not saying "suggest improvements" is a bad name, nor do I have a better suggestion, this is more about the policy driving this change.

  • This really doesn't have anything to do with the main post aside from both being about comments. – David K Jun 26 '18 at 19:46
  • 10
    Seems like an awful lot of folks are able to successfully critique answers using comments... Maybe you're just not good at it? – Shog9 Jun 26 '18 at 19:49
  • 1
    @Shog9 There are also an awful lot of folks who leave comments that end up getting deleted (for the "was never useful" reason). And I'm sure plenty of people are happy only downvoting in cases when doing so does essentially nothing. And maybe my superior aptitude for logic and reasoning allows me to often see things the majority of people miss. And maybe others are happy just ignoring a clearly incorrect answer. – NotThatGuy Jun 26 '18 at 19:57
  • @DavidK "this is ... about the policy driving this change". – NotThatGuy Jun 26 '18 at 20:19
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    @NotThatGuy "and yes, I realise this should probably be posted as a discussion of its own somewhere else." (now deleted) – David K Jun 27 '18 at 11:44
  • @DavidK Yes, but not "doesn't have anything to do with the main post". – NotThatGuy Jun 27 '18 at 17:25
  • 1
    The number of comments that "successfully critique" answers are far less than the number of comments that are irrelevant side commentary, jokes and snark, personal anecdotes, bickering and mudslinging, and other off-topic nonsense. Maybe you're just not good at handling criticism, @shog9? :) – Masked Man Jul 19 '18 at 5:06

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