I have been going through some of the older posts on the site and finding lots of what I perceive as obsolete comments: chats about edits which have long been committed, "thanks", "welcome to the site", "great question". Of course, I avoid any comments that have further information or follow up questions.

I'd like to know how this would be received by the community. Obviously, the final say for the deletion of comments comes from our moderator corps.

So, if you are in favor or opposed, please express that opinion by using one of the preset answers below, or if you have another opinion to offer, please add your own answer.

  • 3
    Hey Carlo, this is a great question and I'm glad you've asked it! However posting several different answers to your own meta question as you did is considered 'polling' and isn't allowed; the hope is to have the community respond with their own answers. You're more than welcome to post an answer explaining what you believe the answer is and why, but simply posing yes/no/maybe answers with no other context doesn't aid in discussion, so I've deleted them. I hope this makes sense! Good luck with your question :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 22:05
  • @Wendi, thank you. I'm going to edit the question to remove the part refered to the preset answers. Sorry, but I didn't know that preset answers are not allowed!
    – user114
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 22:09
  • why would you want to delete that. It is unnecessary work for the moderators. If someone said 'welcome to the site' 'thank you', let it be there. How is deleting those comments going help the site, it is not like it is spam or anything. I think it is too much nitpicking.
    – Max
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 10:16
  • @Thor, generally speaking I like comments, but I read this post on SO where there is a section called "When shouldn't I comment?". According with that section it seems that the question I posed is well founded, especially in order to have a great quality site :)
    – user114
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


Deleting comments which have served their purpose is already quasi policy across the network:

Should Moderators delete obsolete comments?

Ideally, users should be managing their own comments, but two-party conversations can be awkward to remove piecemeal by each party separately. So that's where Moderators step in.

When found, Moderators should delete ANY comments that are not actively working towards improving the post. If users notice these obsolete threads, just flag them for removal.

  • 4
    I essentially agree this position. For example, if a comment asks, say, "Please add more context. Is the speaker male or female?, and the OP has edited to comply, by all means let the mods delete it as soon as they notice it (if they have the time and the inclination - I'm certainly not saying they should or must). But many comments are effectively "supplemental" to a Question or Answer (sometimes very peripherally). So I'd emphasise not particularly relevant rather than not actively helping as the main reason to delete "obsolete" comments. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 23:46

IMO, if the comment is obsolete, flag it as such. That's why it's specifically mentioned in the "flag this comment" dialog:

enter image description here

As a moderator, I do see occasional flags for comments that are either very chatty (e.g. "thanks!", "+1 great answer!") or which form part of an obsolete chain of comments, e.g.:

I think you mean "you're", not "your"

Thanks! I've fixed it.

When you flag these comments, moderators do see them and normally they are cleared up once the thread becomes cold and and part of the archive.

I personally try to avoid cleaning up comments in very active threads for fear of stomping on an ongoing discussion - but certainly any help you can provide marking comments that are not helpful to the question - especially in "cold" questions - does help reduce the "comment noise" and hence improve the overall quality of ELL's archive for new visitors to ELL.

  • +1 Matt, but what's meant by "IMO"?
    – user114
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 20:42
  • 4
    @Carlo_R.: It's an (Internet slang) abbreviation for "in my opinion".
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 20:50
  • 1
    I'm on board with this perspective. Some of us (me included! :) undoubtedly get a bit too "off-topic, chatty" sometimes, and it is incumbent on mods to keep the lid on things. But I'm happy with how you guys are doing so far on ELL, and it's good to see that you're happy to allow a little latitude with "ongoing discussion". Having said that, unless you or any other mods post on meta complaining about the increased workload, I assume you're happy to be asked to delete, eg thanls>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 23:59

You must log in to answer this question.