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I have recently asked this question and received some comments.

The whole initial series of comments was removed by a moderator and replaced with:

Comments deleted. Comments are for providing constructive criticism on the question itself. They are not for answering the question. If you would like to answer, please write a proper answer which adheres to our quality standards

Why would a comment giving a quick answer should be deleted? It can be useful for other persons to have a quick start in giving an actual answer.

Also, going slightly off-topic can also add some fun flavor to the site experience. E.g. The most upvoted comment for this question is not "providing constructive criticism" to the question itself (which is not fit for the site), yet it is a very good one (it surely made my day).

My suggestion is to allow a slight deviation on comments admission policy as long as they are "nearly ontopic" and obey "Be nice policy". Reasons:

  • pleasant experience - a little fun can do no harm
  • can help - some users may be inspired by information in the comments and provide interesting answers

Also, StackOverlow users are used to such a policy (I have never seen a comment to be removed on any ofmy questions/answers).

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    Comments are not deleted because there is one harmless potentially useful comment. They are deleted because they get into lengthy. often contentious, discussion. – SoylentGray Feb 9 '17 at 17:50
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Comments are not deleted because there is one harmless potentially useful comment. They are deleted because they get into lengthy. often contentious, discussion.

Do good comments get caught up in the purges, sure. The best way to avoid this happening is to flag bad comments early and not get involved with discussion chatter so that those bad comments get removed singly rather than have a conversation purged enmass.

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The real reason not to post answers in comments is that comments are transient by nature. They are meant to encourage people to change their posts, not for discussion.

Note that this has been the policy on every stack in which I've participated. Some are more aggressive about enforcing it than others but I've seen deleted comments everywhere. You may not notice on other sites because you don't visit the questions again. It's not like you get notices for deleted comments.

The general policy tends to get enforced more heavily when relatively new users start picking it up from others. Then they delete the existing comments so as to discourage the practice. Afterwards, moderators become stricter in their enforcement.

  • I get it. However, there are two aspects that I see differently: the "answers" in the comments are actually just 1-2 ideas of an answer (there is limited space) and on StackOverflow they almost never remove the comments, but are able to move all the discussion to a specially designed area, if there too many comments (I cannot remember how that area is called). – Alexei Feb 13 '17 at 5:57
  • Comments get moved to Chat when there are too many. You probably have enough reputation to participate in chat now, even without a referral from a question. – Brythan Feb 13 '17 at 18:26

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