The Stack Exchange platform has a convenient feature where if a comment thread on a post is running long, it'll provide a link and suggest you take the discussion to chat. I'm not seeing that prompt come up very often, but I am seeing plenty of this:

<comments removed> Please keep comments focused on improving the post and try to not to turn comment threads into miniature chat rooms and debates. Thanks.

Could we have it adjusted so that Politics.SE points people to chat sooner? This site is going to have frequent commentary that discusses various points of posts in comments, and they're going to run long pretty often. That feature is incredibly handy because it auto-creates a chat room and copies the existing comment thread into the new chatroom. This also means those discussions aren't obliterated, they're instead moved to the appropriate medium for them.

2 Answers 2


Those comments are removed manually (and the notice posted) when I see the problem taking shape. Typically, well-established sites are able take care of these activities through vigilant community self-moderation. But the Community Team is still considering candidates for your provisional Moderators.

The bigger problem is that, often, it's not actually the comments that are the problem. The root of the so-called "problematic posts" seems to be the need to follow such answers (and sometimes the question itself) with on-going debate and discussion to make them even remotely credible. Point, counter-point — such discussions are simply nature of political forums, and are usually quite welcomed. But simply stated, that's not how a Stack Exchange site works. We want to do something different; something special with this site.

I am in the process of carefully considering what works on this site and what doesn't. The comment-problem you cited seems to be at the epicenter of what doesn't quite "work" in this style of Q&A. I can (and do) remove these comments to keep them from becoming personal chat rooms, but soon we will have to decide what kind of posts deserve such discussion — and send them to any one of the countless forums that have done this thousands of times before.

To follow in the success of what makes Stack Exchange sites "work," we have to be true to our philosophy and simply figure out what type of content we should simply forgo in this format. By doubling down on the pure leaning ethos that we handle so well, we can do something really special and novel here. Review the many discussions raised on meta regarding citations, objectivity, and suitability of content. Contribute to those discussions… and stay involved. Changes are coming for the better.

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    Anyone else reading We want to do something different; something special with this site. as oddly sinister? I keep expecting a 'Politics.SE is now made of Soylent Green!' meta post. Anyway, thanks for your massive amounts of moderation here, I'm looking forward to what these mysterious plans are.
    – user171
    Jan 11, 2013 at 22:05
  • Nah. Think of it as all Stack Exchange sites are oddly "Soylent Green" compared to their discussion forum counter-parts. The trick is making Politics work in this format. This site has been allowed to remain uncharacteristically chatty for longer than is typical for a Stack Exchange site... as pointed out in the original post above. Time for a cleanup, but to cleanup "what" exactly. That's what we're looking at. Jan 11, 2013 at 22:16
  • (can't resist adding a touch of paranoia) Does the example question in the new about page on Politics mean we don't (yet?) have a good enough question on the site? /cc: @Keen
    – yannis
    Jan 13, 2013 at 11:30
  • @YannisRizos That feature is just being rolled out and is still under development and refinement. I imagine those are just placeholder questions while we work out the selection process... possibly by moderators or as another part of this new-ish site's progression. Jan 13, 2013 at 19:43

I was just about to come here to post this same question. The problem here seems to be that nearly every answer turns into a political debate. Perhaps we should have expected that.

So we end up with 20 comments that have veered off topic and now an admin wants us to move to chat. In the process, they delete 17 of the pointless comments.

The problem is now there are only 3 comments left, and not enough to trigger the 'move to chat' option.

So I'd second Keen's suggestion. Can we have the 'move to chat' link be permanently available for every answer? That might lead to less cluttered comments in the first place.

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