From time to time I see first comments under new questions that rather than suggest improvements or ask for clarification, feel to me to be more idle chit-chat with the effect of directing attention away from the question and instead towards a parallel conversation or even towards the commenter themselves, perhaps seeking the "clever comment!" upvotes.
I think there was one such event here Has Ukraine experienced any long-lasting adverse effects/repercussions due to its "serious snub" of German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier so far? and I've added the current comment upvote score:
+5bit early for anything to be long-lasting given that it's only been a month, isn't it?
Me: if at war fighting for your survival depending on shipments of arms to defend against daily onslaughts, I think a month is already quite a long time; you don't?
+11 hour could be a long time if that's the only hour you have left. But in politics, 1 month seems a bit short for any policy to go from trigger to trend.
Me: any functioning democracy making political decisions with immediate military consequences will have the capability of making decisions quickly whether they choose to or not. –
C: sure. but i don't know how long a time must pass before you can consider the long lasting effects of those decisions.
Me: more than a news cycle or two. - Rather than making conversation, do you have any helpful and/or actionable suggestions or recommendations at this time?
C: guess not. sorry.
I tried to move the focus away from the distraction and to see if the commenter had something, anything helpful or actionable to add, but it seems not.
Why do I worry about this? Because these clever-sounding yet distracting comments attract readers' eyes away from the post itself which means the parallel discussions get longer, and the question gets ignored or confused.
And while the question is still young (12 hours) and sits at +2/-2 votes and already three answers, I can't help but wonder if one or both of those down votes were triggered (consciously or not) in folks who skipped reading and forming an objective opinion about the question and went strait to the bottom to see if any disparaging comments had been made first, and if by itself it sounded sufficiently clever and/or disparaging when straight back up to the down vote button.
This is not what Stack Exchange comments are for. It is true that in Politics SE the community seems to support more of the parallel chit-chat than most other SE sites and it is probably simultaneously true that this results in the moderation team having to spend more time and energy deciding which chit-chat to remove than on other sites.
But I also notice another trend; the most distracting comments are almost invariably made by folks who appear to have little experience asking questions and seeing what happens to their questions when someone a clever yet distracting comment under their question. In other words, "they know not what they do".
At this point I'd like to ask how others feel about this, broken down into two general areas:
Overall question: Are clever-sounding yet otherwise unproductive/unhelpful negative first comments directly under your questions a problem? Should we avoid them?
- am I imagining this, or does this phenomena sound familiar to others, especially other question-askers?
- should we find a way to further discourage this? Either in answers here that we can refer to later (refrain for vote-attracting clever but otherwise unhelpful comments)? Or is it the freedom to put those distractions under other users' question what makes Politics SE so "fun"?
While of course anybody can post an answer, I will be primarily interested in hearing about the experiences of other active question-aksers.