Have you ever seen a comment under that made no sense? Maybe the comment mentioned something about the question that wasn't there any more (maybe a typo was edited out of the question), or a comment reading "this question is extremely unclear" when the question is perfectly clear.
These are cases where a comment pointed out a problem with a questions, and the question was fixed. Do those comments have any reason at all to exist any longer?
In the past, I've been quite against the idea of deleting comments at all. It seems like it's important to show new users how the site works: Leave a comment about a problem, the problem will get fixed. It shows new users how the system works, it's clear, and it's transparent.
However, I recently came across this Q&A thread over on Meta Stack Overflow: Should moderators delete “make correction… done” comments? The currently-most-upvoted answer says, in effect, that such comments should be removed, and that most users probably would be okay with that. The next most popular answer says that we should be extremely careful, since comment deletion is, to paraphrase, completely untransparent.
What that means is that if a mod or high-rep user deletes a comment, we don't see that there's a deleted comment unless we click on the moderator menu and dig for it. So, if I go and delete a comment like "Should be pedal not peddle" after fixing the typo, it'll be more or less gone for good. If the original user didn't like that, I do have the ability to copy-paste the text and send it that user but I don't have the power to restore the comment.
I'm going to suggest that we try this out on a trial basis, being very conservative about this. How about this:
- If you see a comment mentioning an obvious typo, flag it for a mod and we'll delete it, but only if it's an incredibly obvious, simple case of comment clutter.
- If there's any kind of discussion going on, we'll leave things alone. If the two users involved in a discussion want it deleted, should we agree to do that?
In all cases, I'd be more comfortable with this if the request came from the original comment author.
Like the title says, who's bothered by a long comment thread and would want it pruned? Who thinks it's a horrible idea and we shouldn't do it?