Every now and then over-lengthy comment threads increasingly become off-topic to the post or do no longer add value for a specific question. Long comment threads will raise a moderator flag to make sure the clean-up of comments takes place. Moderators are expected to delete outdated comments.

In case some issues are of value still, the discussion becomes increasingly off topic to the question, or issues were not yet entirely resolved we have the option to rather than just delete move all comments to an own chat room created for this purpose only. If that happened we see an auto-comment like this one

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This will be a link to the newly created chat room. If we come back to the question after a while it may happen however, that this link leads to Stack Exchange "page not found" page.

What can we do to avoid this?

3 Answers 3


What happens here has to do with how chat works and what rooms are stored, and what rooms are deleted.

Quoting from the Chat FAQ:

Will these rooms exist forever?

Rooms will exist indefinitely, so long as there is at least one person actively talking in the room. A room is considered worth retaining if it has more than 15 messages by at least 2 users.

Rooms not worth retaining which are inactive for 7 days will be deleted. Rooms worth retaining which are inactive for 14 days will be frozen. Frozen rooms do not allow any new messages to be sent, and are not shown in the default room list to prevent cluttering the rooms interface.

To be clear this means, that the moved comment discussion did not "bust" the limit required to make the room "worth retaining". Which means that the discussion was probably not really relevant in the first place.

Everything else is available in the transcript licensed under CC-BY-SA.

You can find rooms considered "worth retaining" in the overview of all chatrooms hosted at german.se

What can we do to avoid this?

Well use the feature. 15 messages is really not that much. In the "worst case" you can ask a mod (or roomowner) to move all the messages to a special chatroom for preserving such discussions.

In this very specific case, the room in question had 14 messages prior to deletion. If you wish to preserve the chat. just write a message...

  • Just an additional note on that special case. It had 24 comments before moving some of them to chat.
    – Takkat
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 6:07
  • As far as I know, comment threads can only be moved to chat when the system has identified them as such (>20 entries), you cannot just do that as a mod when you feel like it. Hence when this option is chosen, the chat should already have the critical mass. Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 11:35
  • @Martin-マーチン the suggestion from the system is definitely happening before 20 comments are reached..
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 11:41
  • Do you have a source for that? I'd like to read up on that. I only encountered it once so far and there were more than 20 comments. Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 11:44
  • @Martin-マーチン not a direct source, but demonstrably less than 20 comments: meta.stackexchange.com/q/133508/222299
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 11:50
  • I think this post is related to when two users are prompted to move a discussion to chat, not the automated flag that the moderators get and then they can move all comments to chat. The prompt for the users happens afair after 8 events or even sooner. Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 12:00
  • ahhh, okay the mod flag is default at 20 comments, but if I understand Oded correctly here it's site-configurable
    – Vogel612
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 12:09
  • great, just what i was looking for. thanks a lot Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 12:28

Comment clean-up is an important means to unclutter the site and to keep questions and answers short, to the point, and easily readable for future visitors.

If that did not lead to a significant reduction of comments on a question or answer the system flag will help moderators to step in and clean up a comment thread that obviously was too long.

In case an issue was not resolved all participants of that comment thread are invited go to a chat room especially created for them to further discuss matters, or to save information they had posted to copy them into a question or an answer.

Only if the discussion does not continue in this chat room we assume that there are no further issues. Then the system will automatically delete that room to keep the number of chat rooms manageable.

  • So, whenever an issue in a comment thread was not resolved we should indeed continue the discussion in chat to avoid the deletion of that chat room (also see this answer here).

Also see a recent Meta discussion on comment moderation: Change "comment" to "critique or request clarification"

  • In exceptional cases when such a chat room was deleted too early we can ask any chat moderator to undelete it again. We can thencontinue the discussion there. To do so just flag the comment with the link to that room for moderator attention.
  • This answer is borderline wrong and imo misses the point of the question... This is not about keeping comments clean, but keeping chat history. That's not addressed here (at least not the way it actually is)
    – Vogel612
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 23:16
  • @Vogel612 The question arose after a comment thread was moved to chat for clean-up, which next to deletion is one means of keeping the comments clean. Only then confusion may arise if the chat room created for this purpose only later got deleted for inactivity. I believe this will happen again, hence this Meta post for reference. We never had an issue with an otherwise frozen or deleted room.
    – Takkat
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 6:02

Just a suggestion:

Instead of creating a chat that vanishes a few hours or days later, so that nobody can see it anymore (which in fact means deleting the comments), we should create a new thread in a board that will not be deleted, so that you later (even 5 years later) can find the discussion and read it again, and - if something new has to be added, you can prolong this discussion.

  • 2
    Our German Language Chat will not be deleted. Many of the comment discussions should in fact take place there. That's why it was created in the first place, and it is the main purpose of it. Only if that did not happen, and to avoid immediate comment deletion the "moved to chat" algorithm was developed.
    – Takkat
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 7:56
  • Whatever we said in our chat room is searchable from its beginning, and it is even searchable with Google: google.com/search?q="Jaqueline+Drosciewskievic"
    – Takkat
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 8:00
  • So, when the comments to this question german.stackexchange.com/questions/23323/how-is-tr-pronounced was not deleted, where are they? Commented May 29, 2015 at 8:01
  • Any such room can be undeleted by any chat moderator on request. I just did that to show you.
    – Takkat
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 8:03
  • I believe I read somewhere that rooms with enough activity for a certain time won’t be deleted either (merely frozen), but I don’t want to be quoted on that.
    – Jan
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 23:20

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