It already happened to me twice. Someone asks, and there is a lot of answers. From one of these answers, one commenter asks for clarification. The answer author writes, and then a sort of dialogue begins, not always getting to an agreement.


Like here https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/7779/2355

and here https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/7664/2355

This is not bad, since these more deep debates might bring very useful information to light, but since this is a Q&A site (and not a forum), I'm in doubt how to proceed when this sort of situation happens.

Also, since bicycling is not even a science, much less an exact "science", the way one forms his own knowledge depends on being exposed to a lot of personal experiences from others, which compared with his own, might help to reach greater proficiency and maturity. I cannot count how many times I changed my mind, annoyed at first but after thanking the fact of someone having shown me different and better points of view.

So, would it be adviseable not to create a "thread" from comments on answers, there is no problem at all, or it depends on some other factors?

What do you people think?

  • 1
    It might help everyone understand and evaluate exactly what kinds of comments you mean if you edit this to include links to the posts.
    – Gary.Ray Mod
    Jan 20, 2012 at 21:22
  • Note that I deleted 5 comments from that second example before heltonbiker posted this
    – freiheit
    Jan 21, 2012 at 5:00
  • See also: meta.drupal.stackexchange.com/questions/638/…
    – freiheit
    Jan 22, 2012 at 22:13

2 Answers 2


Some opinions:

  1. The platform simply isn't made to handle debate or threads. They don't really work well here.
  2. Comments should be considered ephemeral and minor, not a good place for primary content.
  3. Comments are primarily there to help people improve questions and answers
  4. Once a post has been changed per the suggestion in a comment, the comment can be deleted. If it's your comment click the x, otherwise flag it as "obsolete".
  5. A few comments on a post aren't a problem
  6. So many comments that you have to click "show more comments" to see them all is a strong signal that there's too many comments and they should be cleaned up somehow.

I think when there's a debate, it might be better to put each "side" of the debate into an answer that fully explains that "side". Edit them as more points come up. Use comments to briefly discuss details, edit the answers, then delete the comments.

In the other case you discuss, I think it's best if the answer is modified in response to the comments, and the comments get deleted. If there's a disagreement, it's ok to put that in the answer. "I believe you should _____, but some disagree and say that you should _____ instead because _____."

Make comments irrelevant by putting the content in the post, then delete the comments or flag them as obsolete.


In the privilege to comment anywhere documentation, there's this text describing what comments are and aren't for:

When should I comment?

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

When shouldn't I comment?

Comments are not recommended for any of the following:

  • Suggesting corrections that don't fundamentally change the meaning of the post; instead, make or suggest an edit;

  • Answering a question or providing an alternate solution to an existing answer; instead, post an actual answer (or edit to expand an existing one);

  • Compliments which do not add new information ("+1, great answer!"); instead, up-vote it and pay it forward;

  • Criticisms which do not add anything constructive ("-1, see previous comments you scallywag!"); instead, down-vote (and provide or up-vote a better answer if appropriate);

  • Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point; please use chat instead;

  • Discussion of community behavior or site policies; please use meta instead.

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