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The comment info text says "Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid comments like “+1” or “thanks”."

That's why I was flagging these kinds of comments as not constructive whenever I encounter one of them. But here on scifi & fantasy when I had a look on my flagging history I got the impression it is not that way.

Since I noticed like 10 of my last ~15 flags of this kind just got declined.

But if comments like the first comment here, which is just saying:

Thanks. That was really helpful. – eleanora Oct 12 '15 at 20:13

...are welcome on this SE page, shouldn't this text on the comments-form be removed then, to avoid people might be frightened off to post "+1 thanks man" and that alike?

  • @MikeEdenfield: Actually I can just say what I see: "not constructive – Zaibis Oct 13 '15 at 10:27 declined" – Zaibis Feb 1 '16 at 15:14
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    In general those sorts of "chatty" comments are passively tolerated; we don't go out of our way to destroy them, but we generally don't raise too much of a fuss if they are. I am a bit confused why your flags were declined, but I'll leave a mod to answer that – Jason Baker Feb 1 '16 at 15:18
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    I feel like the "chatty" flag should really be for things that are obviously noisy, especially if they beget more chattyness. For example, I think "+1 This finally explained X to me," is a very nice comment to leave, whereas "Hey Todd did you see that new T-16 yet?" is egregiously chatty and not even related to a question or answer, and only encourage the Todd in question (there could be other Todds) to start a completely useless discussion on how the new T-16 is better or worse than the old one, etc. – Todd Wilcox Feb 8 '16 at 21:10
  • @ToddWilcox: Again then my question is: WHY waste space in the comment box to warn people about not doing this, if it is ok? Thats without a sense in that case. – Zaibis Feb 9 '16 at 16:51
  • I think it's more ok in some cases than in others, so it is always discouraged, as you say, but not always strictly enforced. That enables humans to make judgement calls on which situations call for the strict enforcement and which don't. If there were no policy against it, there would be no justification for removing those comments when they are egregiously chatty. At the same time, the human aspect of the enforcement gives the policy some leeway. It's a very common way to use separate policy and enforcement to deal with each situation on its own. – Todd Wilcox Feb 9 '16 at 17:02
5

Looking over the logs, it seems I did this, but since it was 3 months ago, I don't have a solid recollection for why I did it. My best guess is that I disagreed with the flag reason, and you used a bunch of the same flag reason at once on many comments, which made it look like someone was spamming flags with an inaccurate reason.

From here:

You must specify a reason for each comment flag. The dialog offers a few pre-filled reasons that cover most common cases:

  • rude or offensive — comments that violate the “be nice” rule
  • not constructive / off-topic — comments that do not contribute to improve the post are ripe for deletion
  • obsolete — for example, criticism of a post that has been satisfactorily addressed by the author
  • chatty — anything that's not really relevant (e.g. “+1” comments)

They're more chatty than non-constructive, although that description of non-constructive is super broad. If I see a ton of wrongly-flagged comments like that, I'll usually decline them. Admittedly, I'll usually delete the comment if it should be deleted anyway, which I oddly didn't do here.

  • 3
    Keen, where on earth did you go? – Möoz Feb 2 '16 at 21:33
2

In general, "thank you"-comments are useful when the OP hasn't accepted an answer (probably because they are not familiar with Stack Exchange); in those cases, a "thank you"-comment is the only indication an answer was what the OP was looking for and should not be deleted (except after having been edited into the post they were commenting on).


Example of inclusion of a "thank you"-comment in a post:

The book you're looking for is blah blah ... blah.


The OP confirmed this answer as correct in a comment:

Thank you! I found it in my library and this is definitely it! Thank you so much!
— OP.

  • 1
    "except after having been edited into the post they were commenting on" - How do you actually legitimately edit a "thank you" comment into the answer? – TARS says Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '16 at 11:36
  • @TARS See edit. – SQB Feb 2 '16 at 11:46
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    While kind of useful, I'd reject this sort of edit to an answer, as it's trying to reply to the answer. – phantom42 Feb 2 '16 at 11:58
  • See scifi.stackexchange.com/a/20646/19561 where I did just this. Is this acceptable? – SQB Feb 2 '16 at 11:58
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    Oh, rather leave the asker's comment and reply to it with explanations about the acceptance feature. That seems quite an invalid edit to an answer. Stuff like that has nothing to do in there. – TARS says Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '16 at 12:05
  • @TARS Ideally, yes, but not all users respond to that. – SQB Feb 2 '16 at 12:17
  • I think that if we're going to use edits like this, it'd be best to put it in the original question. I don't even really like that idea, but if we're trying to put the information where people are more likely to read it, and to stem additional answers, that seems like better place. – phantom42 Feb 2 '16 at 13:19
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    Ultimately, I think that more information is better, and that thank you comment is constructive but, much like the situation where we incorporate useful comments into a question, I think incorporating the acceptance comment into the answer makes sense if it has not been accepted (and especially if you're pretty sure it won't be accepted because the querent has blown the popsicle stand). – FuzzyBoots Feb 2 '16 at 13:19
  • Acceptance means "the OP thought this answer helped them the most", which isn't even synonymous with "the OP thought this was the best answer". Basically, whether or not the OP (would have) accepted it is irrelevant to the way the site is intended to operate, and is an essentially meaningless piece of information. You add nothing to any post by merging in such a comment. Post quality is reflected in the votes. – Anthony Grist Feb 2 '16 at 21:51
  • @AnthonyGrist I disagree that acceptance is not useful information. Acceptance usually means the answer that satisfied the asker's curiousity or solved their problem the best. But sometimes that answer manages to satisfy the asker without providing very much information. Another answer to the same question may have a concise and well-written history and context for the problem, with maybe less of a clear solution, and an overview of other related topics, and by that it may get the most upvotes. To me, highest voted means "most information here", accepted means, "best answer here". – Todd Wilcox Feb 8 '16 at 21:05
  • @AnthonyGrist, specifically in the case of story IDs, which are (educated guess) a large part of our drive-by, one time user questions, acceptance is the only way to verify an answer's correctness. – SQB Feb 8 '16 at 21:43
  • @SQB In the case of story-identification I'd be okay with leaving such comments as comments. I would not be in favour of editing any such comment into the answer itself. – Anthony Grist Feb 9 '16 at 11:06

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