This has been mentioned before, and I suppose it's not really a question, but not sure where else to post this.

Numerous times a comment thread gets long, and then an admin comes along and removes them and asks that the conversation move to chat.

Just a reminder that if the comments get deleted, we lose the option to move the conversation to chat.

Not sure if there is a workaround for this or not, but thought I'd remind the admins of this catch-22.

  • Belatedly hosing out the room after the fact really isn't moderating, and the moderators can't turn around and say "moderate yourselves" if the only aspect that comes close to interactive peer moderation - the commentary - is periodically stripped from the site for what? To hide the sausage-making process? To hide the inadequacy of site precepts to fall back on? To be one those inept parents that just beats every kid with a spoon when caught arguing? I commented somewhat impolitely on this habit before, on this Q&A; and the issue still stands. Oct 30 '13 at 8:48
  • @LateralFractal Comments are only meant to add transient information or constructive criticism to a post. That's it, plain and simple. If you have issues with how comments are handled on Politics, by all means feel free to start a Meta discussion about it. But do not pollute other people's answers with irrelevant Meta commentary. As for the removed comments in that answer, we (mods) aren't running a daycare. When a conversation starts generating "rude/offensive" flags, it has most probably outlived its purpose.
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 10:54
  • @YannisRizos Thank you for proving my point. Again. These commentaries are 3 or 4 people and are constructive in so far as having to nanny any Q&A can be; but get stripped out before any resolution solidifies. Naturally I reacted (and do react) negatively to fiat hosing of the commentary in lieu of moderation. I don't like wasting my time pulling rhetorical operators into line, but only a few us seem to be stepping up to the plate. You know what I consider irrelevant? The topic page as clearly no one is enforcing it consistently or credibly. Oct 30 '13 at 11:32
  • @LateralFractal Again: If you have issues with how comments are handled, start a new Meta discussion. As long as you keep abusing comments for irrelevant (to the post) commentary, I'll keep "proving your point".
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 11:39
  • @YannisRizos The only irrelevant comment was my irate response to a previous hosing. Naturally, now I post in meta.politics where the dysfunction of the site is hidden from the eyes of sensitive new visitors. Oct 30 '13 at 11:41
  • @LateralFractal Your previous Meta question (a very good one, btw), is featured prominently in the community bulletin. It's true that most Meta discussions aren't easily accessible to new visitors, but the few that actually matter (as measured by the community's response to them) are.
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 11:43
  • @YannisRizos I think we might need the in-depth do's and don'ts of the skeptics.se site; tailored of course for a policy-wonk site. Oct 30 '13 at 11:48
  • @LateralFractal During private beta and early public beta, Skeptics and their policies came up on our Meta almost every other day (e.g. meta.politics.stackexchange.com/q/40/101). The general feeling back then was along the lines of "Oh, no! Let's not turn the site into Skeptics". I don't think that was a justified response, but it was what it was. Wouldn't mind if we revisit any and all of our policies, and I do agree that we should look at Skeptics for inspiration. We are quickly reaching the point were something must be done, Skeptics or no Skeptics.
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 11:53
  • @YannisRizos We don't want to be skeptics.se, I agree. But we may need their rigour. Oct 30 '13 at 11:54

As a moderator, when I happen upon a long comment discussion, I try to read it from the perspective of a new user, who just found our site.

If the conversation adds information to the post, it stays. If, on the other hand, the conversation:

  • is obsolete, or
  • it has devolved to a side discussion,
  • it's about something a new user couldn't care less about (e.g. Meta commentary),
  • it's full of bickering and/or partisan rhetoric,

it will go the way of the dodo. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the occasional long & mostly pointless side discussion, but there's a place for it, and that place is not under questions and answers. We have a chat room, use it.

Just a reminder that if the comments get deleted, we lose the option to move the conversation to chat.

You can move the conversation to chat at any time. Here's how:

  1. Post a single comment, inviting the participants to our chat room,
  2. Click the chat link in the header.

Simple, isn't it? There's absolutely no reason to wait for the system to automatically nag you to move the conversation to chat (or to nag the moderators, via an auto flag, that the conversation is getting a bit long). That feature is more meant as a warning, the system is subtly letting you know that you might be abusing comments.

Ideally, only new users who aren't aware of our comment policy or the existence of chat should ever see it. Users who've been around for a few months or more should have the discipline to either take the conversation to chat themselves or move away from it after a certain point.

  • "move away from it after a certain point" - I'm not sure a Q&A post should be left in a POV state due a lack of NPOV advocates stamina. But then that's the million dollar question - do we have the stamina? And if we don't - then who are we kidding with this site? Oct 30 '13 at 11:38
  • @LateralFractal I'm actually with you on that, but there's only so much I can do. If you have any proposals on how we can solve the problem without turning the site into a forum, I'll be very interested in reading them.
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 11:46
  • I don't know. I certainly don't want it to be forum. politics.se could be something very special if we can nail down our requirements and vet content effectively. The only initial idea I have (I'll wait until some answers flesh out the other meta question) is that we should create a page that explains how people wandering in from the partisan jungle of the internet can "detox" from that mindset while using this site. Sort of like a "no shoes in the house" rule. Oct 30 '13 at 11:52
  • "Simple, isn't it?" no, not really. "Inviting" people into chat--at least on Politics--doesn't work nearly as well. Many people simply do not like using the general chat tool. I agree that it's a workaround, but not as ideal as the (IMHO) simpler link that goes into a chat just for that particular thread.
    – user1530
    Oct 30 '13 at 13:56
  • 2
    @DA. Let's fix it then. Any ideas? (post them as a feature-request, please). Also you might want to upvote this: Provide a tool for moderators to migrate comments to chat (and you might find this comment interesting).
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 14:01
  • @YannisRizos I think it was discussed before but I don't recall how doable it was from a technology standpoint but, IMHO, it'd be ideal to have the 'continue in chat...' link appear all the time rather than waiting for 10+ comments (not sure what the exact threshold is)
    – user1530
    Oct 30 '13 at 15:28
  • @DA. Showing the link at all times wouldn't be a bad idea, or at least show it after x total comments (for a relatively small x). Although I don't remember the exact threshold either, you should keep in mind that currently the link appears only after a conversation between two people exceeds the threshold. On a conversation with more participants, you may reach an insufferable amount of total comments, without ever seeing the link.
    – yannis Mod
    Oct 30 '13 at 15:34
  • @YannisRizos I suppose that compounds the challenge.
    – user1530
    Oct 30 '13 at 15:43

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