This question received 6 good serious answers, and 32 up votes. Yet I have been beset by comments suggesting - that I should not question a dramatic depiction of early 20th century USA, that my "history classes" misled me - hardly, the 60s weren't History when I was at school - and that I should have 'defined' significant!

Do people have too much time on their hands? I dislike the analogy of comments with 'barn cats' - cats are sentient, comments are not - but these barn cats are a great deal less use than the average mouser!

Not sure if there is a solution.

  • 1
    Can't evaluate this yet. One problem with comments is that they tend to disappear. You enumerated the number of answers and votes here but not the number of comments (you disliked), just linked to one. How many of those unwelcome by you comments were there to read for you, and how much did they 'tried to improve the Q', or worse: were 'chatty' or even half-answers? Since it went HNQ, bad comments also increase with those network-views. It would be even more cocnerning if those bad commenst were from our regulars. Did you notice sth to that effect? Jul 3 at 21:03
  • Sorry, my IT skills failed there, I meant to reference the question, not the individual comments. I don't think any were from 'regulars' - I didn't recognise the usernames. I personally don't think they added anything to the discussion, but having a dog in the fight, I'm probably not the best judge. And I note that @MCW has incorporated my response to one comment - see below.
    – TheHonRose
    Jul 3 at 21:44
  • "I am wondering how authentic this picture is" Ironically, the unauthenticity is usually in the pictures (films) of today. It likely wasn't your history classes that planted this seed of an idea that women in the 50's/60's didn't have the privileges/right/permission to drive, but the mediums you use to consume entertainment and information. Just a thought. – 8protons 4 hours ago". Which sort of pre-empts it.
    – TheHonRose
    Jul 3 at 21:46

Looking over the comments, I think mainly you've just experienced some of the highs and lows of getting your question on the Hot Network Questions feed.

That question got put on the HNQ list quite early in its life, if I remember correctly. That of course means there's a link to it on the right of the browser for every user in the StackExchange system. Even if the only reason they are here is because they got stuck in VIM. If the title in the question is particularly clickbaity from the perspective of a person who isn't already a History user it can drive a ton of new traffic into a question.

The plus is that the hordes of new eyeballs got it a motherloade of upvotes and answers (at least by our standards).

The downside is that all these new eyeballs aren't as acquainted with the standards of this site as our regular users, probably weren't brought here by any real interest in History, and a certain % of them are likely to just be flat out numbskulls.

Fortunately, we do have some tools to deal with this.

  1. Protect the question. This will prevent new users from posting answers. This measure is most effective if its getting a lot of bad answers from new users.
  2. Move comments to chat. This is a good option for a post where users really want to get a bit chatty, but we'd kind of like to keep the comments attached to the post functional in nature.
  3. Comment lock. This is a new feature (yay!) that allows us to prevent comments from being added to a post. For when users won't or can't be trusted to refrain from posting comments of marginal or worse utility.
  4. (Most drastic) Remove the question from the HNQ. This will turn off the tap of numbskulls. It of course also turns off all the positive things that HNQ status was bringing.

Of the options above, I think any highly trusted site user can do 1, but the other steps require a diamond mod, so getting them done requires getting the attention of one of us and convincing us to do so. That can be done via flags, meta (here), or an appropriate chat like The Time Machine or HNQ History. I think as a general rule we should be very sympathetic to any such request from the question owner.

As for this specific instance, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your main issue is numbskulls in the comments? If so, we could perhaps lock the comments on the question. In fact, it appears that another moderator has already done that.

  • 1
    Absolutely, it's the numbskulls who I find deeply tedious! I'm not really familiar with the HNQ process, so was very surprised at some of the "less helpful" comments.Thank you very much for your explanation and advice, For now it's just an irritant so I will leave it. If any more barn cats stray in from other farms, I will turn off comments. I think actual History:SE members have said their piece.
    – TheHonRose
    Jul 3 at 22:48
  • 4
    @TheHonRose - I meant everything above, so totally ask for this kind of stuff if you need to. However, as a sanity preservation measure, from someone who's been through this a few times, I'd council to try not to worry too much about addressing comments on very high-traffic posts that seem misguided to you and have no upvotes. A lot of times they are just verbal graffiti. There's only one of you in the world, and a nearly endless supply of numbskulls. Don't let them dogpile you.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Jul 3 at 22:57
  • 2
    Corrections: 1. I see only 1 new (HNQ) answer. The many As were the reason for it to go hot. 2. On HNQ even upvoted comments are quite often 'ignoble'? 3. When a Q goes hot, ordinary users can only protect it after a day (says MetaSE, but I can't figure out now how that works at all, on any older Q, despite having done that in the past.) Jul 3 at 23:23
  • 1. yes, high-rep ordinary users can "protect" questions, if stack exchange sites work the same as Stack Overflow itself. Jul 6 at 4:49

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