I recently happened to take another look at an old answer of mine, and noticed that there was a fair amount of chatty comments between myself and the OP of the question I was answering.

The comments were a sidebar discussion about spoilers, and were largely unrelated to the question or answer.

I decided to delete my comments, since the conversation ended over a year ago, and then flagged the remaining comments as "obsolete", as they no longer served a purpose (nor even made sense, now that my comments they were replying to were deleted).

I was a bit surprised to see that my flag was declined.

I reviewed our meta discussion on when to use comments, and it seemed like I was using the "obsolete" flag appropriately. A more recent discussion does not seem to contradict my use of the flag, either.

Should I not have flagged the comments, or was declining my flag a mistake? If I shouldn't have flagged it, when should comments be flagged as "obsolete"?

1 Answer 1


Personally, I've been getting a bit more active lately in culling obsolete comments. Often there will be discussion in comments about an aspect of a question, which then gets edited. Leaving the comments that discuss the former state of it just confuses future users, so I remove them. I'm not speaking to your specific case, but that's how I've read the expectations of obsolete comments and what to do about them.

For this instance in particular, that you deleted your comments first made it unclear to me that the other poster's comments were obsolete. When I looked at the comments, he complained about a spoiler in your post. The spoiler was still in the post, so I declined the flag. Had your comments been there, I would have seen the back and forth on the subject and might have decided differently.

  • I must have mistakenly flagged the first comment, instead of the last (iirc, there were three remaining comments, and the last two were responses to my deleted comments); my bad. For future reference, would you suggest I just leave my own comments, too, instead of self-deleting?
    – Beofett
    Aug 9, 2013 at 18:03
  • 1
    @Beofett Yeah, leaving the extra comments helps make it clear to the mod what's happened. Alternatively use a custom flag and explain the extra context there.
    – user1027
    Aug 9, 2013 at 18:05
  • I've only ever dealt with "offensive" comment flags, so it didn't even occur to me that it wouldn't make sense without some additional context. My fault for not being clearer. Although now my schedule for the Marshall badge has been thrown off, and it will be 6 years before I get it, instead of 5 :P
    – Beofett
    Aug 9, 2013 at 18:31

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