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IPS policy regarding comments strictly discards everything that is not either asking for clarification or suggesting improvements. Those comments that do not respect these guidelines - I'll call them "invalid comments" for the rest of the post - are destined to be deleted sooner or later.

There are some cases in which there are valid comments under a post, yet no edit was intended since they were posted. The thing that's bothering me with this situation is that I usually think the post in question would benefit from an edit addressing the issues raised in such comments but for one reason or another, the post remained as is.

I don't like unnecessary content and I'd be tempted to flag those valid comments as they're so old I'm unsure they're any useful anymore (in the sense that no one is likely to edit the post to address those issues). I thought we could maybe write a new comment to "ping" the author, as a gentle reminder:

"Hey, there are questions remaining unanswered regarding your post. Would you mind having a look?"

but this would mean we need to agree on the sufficient duration after when one could write such a reminder.

How should we handle old posts where there are valid comments underneath, which issues were never addressed by editing?

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If the poster hasn't addressed the issues asked for, I think "valid" comments can stay, regardless of age. I don't see an issue with leaving comments around that are suggesting improvements - in fact, those are good examples of what comments should be!

If there are unaddressed comments, then you get to make a judgement call on whether that missing part is worth a downvote, flag, and/or vote to close or delete. Age of the post doesn't matter here, either - the author can always return and edit, and the post can be undeleted or reopened after. (And sometimes people don't edit until they notice the rep change1 from their answer being deleted...)

Leaving a new comment to ping the OP is another judgment call, but consider:

  • Has OP explicitly said they will not address the existing comments? If so, pinging again probably won't get a positive reaction.
  • Is the OP still active on the site? If not, they might not even see it.
  • Do you have a suggestion that isn't already there? If so, that's worth posting regardless.

Sometimes there will be posts that you think ought to have XYZ, but the poster doesn't want to add, but it's also not serious enough to make it close- or delete-worthy. I think that's okay too - a consequence of having a diverse set of opinions here! - and personally I tend to not flag such comments (unless I think the suggested improvement is really not relevant, like "this might work for OP's country, but what about this other one?"). (But - *putting on the mod hat* - if someone else thinks a comment is flag-worthy, I'd still consider it on a case-by-case basis, looking at what's already in the post vs. what was asked for.)

In general though, since the post hasn't been edited, the comments aren't obsolete, and as long as they are phrased constructively, they're still useful to signal to future readers "Hey, this post may be missing a piece".

1: However, if it's been 60+ days after posting and the score is 3+, then reputation will be kept.

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I don't see why the age of a post should be a significant contributing factor in how we apply site policy. Our definition of what is an acceptable answer or question has evolved over time. We should strive for consistency across the site. We often suggest to new users to take a look around the site to see what makes a good question. If we don't close questions that no longer meet community standards, there will be a lot of hidden gotchas for new users.

If the post as currently written is in a form where it doesn't meet community standards and there isn't an obvious edit that can be made to "save" it then we should delete it as we would any other post.

If however the suggested improvement is talking about how to improve an already acceptable answer, given the more subjective nature of answers on this site I'd err towards leaving the answer as is, unless it's obvious that the OP wouldn't object to the edit.

As for the comments themselves, if they are valid comments, I'd leave them around. Most other sites aren't as aggressive as us with removing comments. The reason for that is that this site is a magnet for contentious content that leads to massive blowups in the comments. If comment isn't in violation of our strict policy and hasn't been disruptive, a little signposting from suggestions isn't a bad thing.

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