14

All the details are here:

https://workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5320/experiment-running-a-comment-by-any-other-name

TL;DR; Changing the link from saying add a comment to suggest improvement reduced comment friction substantially. I think politics could benefit from the wording change as well.

14

TL;DR: It looks like a good idea that might be worth trying. However, the way it is formulated, it looks half-baked and needs improvement before giving it a try.


Although comments are second-class citizens of the Stack Exchange network, there is a wide variety of classes of arguably legit comments that do not belong to these two defines ones. Here are some examples off the top of my mind:

  • links to related posts or posts that partially help answering;
  • comments that criticize posts or deny some statements within not always qualify for "suggesting an improvement";
  • OP's replies to previous comments (that cannot be converted to edits);
  • quite often, "thank you" comments describe other situations this post has helped with; believe it or not, this helps SEO/indexing a lot;

There is a simple way to measure: everyone can visit any Politics.SE post that has many views and try to classify each existing comment into four categories:

  • clearly asks for clarification;
  • clearly suggests an improvement;
  • too chatty, burn it with fire;
  • others;

I find that the number of "others" comments is about 25%, but this is subjective, and YMMV. Also, keep in mind that in old posts, some chatty comments may have been already deleted by a Moderator.

Also, the new feature will work only before the commentators figure out that they can simply press any of these two prompts and comment like they did it before.

In other words, this feature would somewhat prevent newer users from posting chatty comments, especially at other SE sites.
But it would be nearly useless at Politics.SE, where there are too many politically motivated, experienced trolls who generate most of flame.

  • 1
    I would be happy if more people would phrase "comments that criticize posts or deny some statements" as constructive criticism instead of how they are usually phrased. – Philipp Jun 28 '18 at 19:02
  • The intent of the change is to reduce the amount of work that mods have to do by reducing the number of chatty comments in the first place. This answer seems to downplay or ignore that goal. That is the comment friction I am talking about. You could still post other comments and if they arent problem comments they can still be left – SoylentGray Jun 29 '18 at 14:38
  • @Philipp: On another stack, I recently wrote a comment basically consisting of "This part of your answer is wrong because of X, that part of your answer is wrong because Y, the other is wrong because Z, and there aren't any other parts of your answer so I downvoted." The only possible improvement would be deletion. – Kevin Sep 23 '18 at 18:54
  • "the new feature will work only before the commentators figure out.." - I disagree. It's kept me from posting a lot of comments. I didn't know this wasn't site wide. It should be. "this feature would somewhat prevent newer users from posting chatty comments" if that's all it does then there's no harm done. Replacing the talk smack button with the remember where you are, be nice, and be helpful button, IME, is doing wonders. – Mazura Sep 27 '18 at 1:37
  • @SoylentGray wrote "You could still post other comments and if they aren't problem comments they can still be left" Except that is not how the "suggest improvements" change is being treated in practice. That change has made it even easier for mods to delete what bytebuster has labeled as "other". It is even more common now than it was before to see even useful comments deleted because "That is not a suggestion for improvement" – Aaron Oct 9 '18 at 19:26
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Without changing the function I'm skeptical changing the name in very meaningful. A program on a computer is called a program on a mobile device it is called an app and on an ardino is called a sketch, but they all are made the same way, often by the same people.

It might take a new user a few second to realize that's all this is, but they could figure it out by reading any existing examples on the network.

Which also means I have no problem with doing this. If it works I'd be pleasantly surprised, if not it is at worst just a quirk.

It might be informative what ux.se thinks of the idea.

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