Removing comments does not seem to stop people from using comments the same way next time, it only ruins what has been posted in the comments. I see the removal only as a detriment.

Comments under the question are very often the most useful part. When looking at a question, especially on this site, I will read the answer and then read through the comments before glancing on some of the answers. For example, I would like to read comments here as I expected some gems there. The comments on answers are either actual clarifications (not deleted) or at least interesting and I hate to see notifications about comment deletion there as well.

I do get the point that comments should not contain valuable information, but this "should" does not actually work. And deleting comments do not stop useful stuff appearing in comments. It only removes this information from the site.

And here is an example of useful comments in another site. For example "most papers are simply badly written". It is not an answer, it does not belong in question, but it is useful to note that when considering the overall picture. That phrase is what "a comment" means in English and it belongs perfectly as a comment.

  • 4
    Keep in mind that if a comment receives enough no longer needed flags it will be removed automatically without moderator intervention. Many of the comments on this site are removed because the community has deemed them unnecessary.
    – sphennings
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:06
  • @sphennings I am talking about the cases like interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/14824/… where I would very much want to read the comments.
    – Džuris
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:18
  • 3
    You may want to check out related meta questions tagged "comments"; there have been quite a few posts on the topic here already.
    – Em C
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:30
  • 2
    In this case, for the record, a mod deleted precisely three comments on the question. One was a joke and two were answers in comments, all of which should be deleted as per site-specific (and network-wide) policy. Additionally, only one answer had comments deleted on it - nine. That's . . . .really not a lot.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 13:53
  • 1
    Not sure that's a good example - the points made by the top comments of the Academia post you linked are in the top answer, so I'd argue that those comments are indeed "no longer needed". (Academia seems to be much more lax about comments though, so I wouldn't be surprised if nobody bothers to delete them.)
    – Em C
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 19:23

3 Answers 3


If comments are actual clarifications, they should be added to the OP and then deleted.

If they are answering the question, they should be changed into an answer and then deleted.

If they are adding other information not applicable to the question/answers directly, they are off-topic and should be deleted.

If the comments are suggested improvements to the question or the answer, they should be implemented and then deleted.

I don't see a case where comments should remain.

  • Is the answer "comments should be ... and then deleted therefore we just delete them without doing the 'then' part"?
    – Džuris
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:13
  • You mean the part before the 'then'? because 'deleting them without then deleting them' doesn't make much sense to me.
    – Cronax
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:17
  • Yeah, sorry. My point is that comments are often deleted with the information being just lost instead of adding it anywhere.
    – Džuris
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:19
  • 3
    @Džuris That isn't my experience, when I see comments that are deleted most of the time those comments were off-topic or unnecessary.
    – Cronax
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:22
  • 3
    @Džuris That's the risk when you write answers in comments instead of as answers... particularly on a post that specifically says "don't write answers in comments"... which is what you did.
    – Catija
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 12:22
  • @Catija I am not complaining about my test comment getting deleted. I was already typing this question when I added the comment :)
    – Džuris
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 13:32
  • 1
    @Džuris part of the basic concept of SE is collaborative editing. In most cases, a comment identifying a helpful edit could be made into an edit by someone with sufficient reputation long before a moderator purges comments.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 16:44
  • Why are comments on IPS treated as editorial comments instead of reader comments? The sense I get is that comments are being treated as private messages on how the question/answer should be improved, removing all interaction between other commenters, even when follow-up comments suggest there are logical issues in the previous comment.
    – vol7ron
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 22:12

We're actively working to discourage people from misusing comments. Right now the normal "leave comment" text has been reworded to say "suggest improvements" to see if it has an effect on commenting behavior.

Comments are outside of many of the systems of moderation on this site. If behavioral changes don't work deletion is the only available action to moderate them.

With respect to mods bulk deleting answers in comments, you can read more about our site's policies on the subject, and why we don't allow them, here.


This stack is very different from others concerning the comments. If no comments would be deleted, the comment sections would blow up almost indefinitely in size. Therefore, a rule to only allow improvement suggestions and asking for clarification was implemented. Any funny stories related to the question/answer and other stuff that is not either an improvement suggestion or a clarification question will be removed as soon as possible, since they are not relevant.

And if a comment does meet the beforementioned criteria, then the question/answer should be updated/improved and then the comments are unnecessary again and can be removed.

Therefore, in the end, there should ideally be no comments left.

Comments under the question are very often the most useful part.

No, they are not. The question body is the most useful part. The question should include all information about the situation. This way, one only has to read the actual question and be informed about everything at first sight. If you had to read all comments first, gathering additional vital information from every fourth comment, people would oversee important things and write answers that do not apply to the actual situation at all.

An important fact that also has influence here is the fact that comments can't be downvoted. So the popularity indicator of comments can be very deceiving. Even though maybe 10 people upvoted a comment, there could have been hundreds who disagree but couldn't show that by downvoting.

  • In the "No" paragraph you are mixing up "is" with "should".
    – Džuris
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:03
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    @Džuris uhm, no I don't think so
    – kscherrer
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:04
  • The decision to allow admins to delete at will enables a bubble (groupthink) because they are overactive in their discerning a useful comment from not useful. They gauge what is popular or not. They are the judge and censor. They are big brother. I’ve witnessed comments that are not on topic being left due to the user’s popularity and unpopular comments equivalent in content (but opposing view) be deleted. They judgment is not fairly applied and thus there is a slant being presented. Not something I would expect from a site that is directly related to IPS.
    – vol7ron
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 22:18

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