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I am confused by this issue.

Consider the question

Is "murder" a noun or verb in "Mr Putin is guilty of conspiracy to murder"?

and look at the comments following this answer. At this moment there are eleven back and forth comments constituting an extended discussion. I don't get it. Is it okay to do this or not?

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    Generally, because many questions on ELL involve tricky methodological and terminological issues; and because by and large we're concerned to get the answers right, not merely convincing. Jan 22 '16 at 18:03
  • @StoneyB Yet this getting-rightness could be continued, literally, in the chat room that the conversors are urged to move into, after what?, six or so comments by two.
    – GoDucks
    Jan 23 '16 at 2:22
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    @GoDucks: For whatever reason, I've had much less success clarifying anything in the auto-chat room than in comments. It's great to keep the site clean, but if that comes at the expense of post correctness I don't think that's a good tradeoff. Jan 23 '16 at 2:44
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When the number of comments reaches a certain threshold (I believe it's 20), the system will automatically raise a flag. Sometimes members if the community will raise a flag before that, if the comments seem too chatty or unproductive, or if the tone is getting rude.

The moderation team then decides if the comments should stay, be moved to chat, or be culled or deleted.

Generally, I try to see if the ensuing discussion would be of educational value to the future visiting learner. If so, I'm inclined to let the discussion stay.

Is it okay to do? It depends. If the tone stays civil, the ensuing discussions can help a learner understand an answer better than the answer on its own, then I think it's okay.

Some individuals use comments more than others. I'm not comfortable setting any quotas. For the most part, I think "live and let live" is the way to go, except when the discussions start turning ugly. If you see bullying or belittling going on, flag it.

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  • Hopefully any relevant conclusions from extended comment discussions end up in an answer (or modifying an existing one).
    – user3169
    Jan 23 '16 at 0:26
  • SE seems to have a built in feature that pops up way sooner than twenty comments. It's popped up at me after about four or five. At which time I stop commenting and ask the interlocutor if he or she wishes to move to a chat room. I once ignored it and carried on commenting, but don't do that anymore since that seems contra to SE. I read when I first got here that this wasn't a forum.
    – GoDucks
    Jan 23 '16 at 2:27
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    @GoDucks - The 20 threshold is when the moderation team gets notified. Individual users get notified sooner if it seems like a discussion is being prolonged.
    – J.R. Mod
    Jan 23 '16 at 3:08

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