We do have many posts here with numerous and lengthy comments but only few answers. I have seen some efforts recently to remove dated and obsolete comments to clean up the site an thus improve readability, and quality.

For additional informations on comments see also the following:

Let us go through our own comments to see if we can delete obsolete comments, or include valuable information from these comments in an answer.

We could do so by either editing information from comments into exisiting answers, or by giving an additional answer where we could just copy & paste from comments. We may want to make this answer Community Wiki to avoid the impression we are going to hunt for rep with other people's ideas, and to give the OP a chance to edit this answer.

4 Answers 4


I'd like to see a lot fewer comments getting deleted. The whole "cleanup" notion is too vague and arbitrary. For me, comments discussing an Answer are a vital part of the Answer. Readers can learn something from the back-and-forth, which they can't if it gets deleted.

Of course, Answerers are free to revise and enhance their Answer based on the discussion in comments. Nothing stops anyone from doing so.

However, deletion of comments that are not in violation of SE's Terms of Service risks alienating users. In fact, I'd like to see flagging only for spam, useless comments or personal attacks. And moderators with the power to delete should wield this power very sparingly.

  • 1
    I agree, comments should not just be deleted for the heck of it, +1
    – Dilaton
    Commented Jun 9, 2013 at 0:11

I'd appreciate if we would do so. However, we should carefully consider following thoughts:

Editing answer:

  • We shouldn't simply edit answer from other users. The edit feature imho is chiefly about correcting typos and such but not to change the statement.
  • Additional answer are a possible alternative. However, I'm always for having one or two good answer than ten answer which completing each other.

Recommendation: If those users are still active, let's motivate them to include these information as far as they think it should be.

Removing comments:

  • While it is possible to remove our comments, we can't remove the comments that are related to ours. Thus, don't forget to flag them.

I'm not in favor of this kind of improvement.

Rereading the question, the answer and all comments for the question and answer is duplicating the work. What new information do we have today which we hadn't back then, when the comment was new?

It's a huge waste of time, and it will pop up old questions, and for every thing older than one week, most of us will not immediately recognize what he has read before.

It's not worth the effort. Only in rare cases, a heated debate might have settled.

  • 1
    It is worth. Just by checking my answers I recognized a lot of obsolete comments. When I amended my answer, the information given in comment changed to duplicated. Especially long discussion in comments are not helpful after a while. It's a pain in the neck for everyone who is interested in the question and needs to wade through long rigmarole which doesn't help him at all.
    – Em1
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 8:27
  • 1
    @Em1: I now observered a question, where upvoted comments still exist and answer comments, which were deleted. The discussion can't be followed; it is more a kind of vandalism. In other cases I'm unsure whether I only thought about a comment or acutally made it, but it got deleted. So perhaps I'm recreating a deleted comment. Of course it is fine if clean up your own comments, when obsolet. Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 7:45
  • Yes, sure. I've also seen some comments whose counterparts are missing. You should flag those comments.
    – Em1
    Commented Nov 22, 2012 at 14:48
  • Since in the one case which I observed my own comment got deleted, I fear it would look like a deletion-request in revenge. If people delete comments, but don't recognize that the answer below starts with @author_of_comment_in_deletion_process, the review is done in a rush and not carefully. That is even worse than a carful process, which is a waste of time, imho. Often read answers can be flagged from those, reading these commments. Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 4:51

Comments are "stopgaps." As such, they should be removed when the reason for posting them disappears.

Ideally comments are suggestions for improvements of questions and answers. Sometimes they are requests for information, clarification, or other action that will lead to such improvements. A certain amount of back and forth can be constructive. But if the changes have been made, the comments can often be removed.

Occasionally, comments will provide a "history" for the evolution of a question or answer. In that case, maybe it's best to leave the comments intact.

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