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I'm trying to understand this question which has been edited four times. At this moment, there are about 15 comments, many of which refer to prior revisions of the question. It is difficult to tell which questions refer to which edit of the question; the top couple of questions refer to problems that have subsequently been edited out.

For the purpose of discussion, let us assume that the comments are substantive and not discursive; let's ignore the problems that arise when the comments section is used for discussions.

Someone suggested that we flag obsolte comments for removal; that seems to impose a fairly heavy load on the moderators. I'm not sure that is an ideal solution.

It would help somewhat if there were a way to indicate in the body of the question "edited to address comments 3, 7, and 15", nor is there a way to withdraw a comment when the question is edited.

The only solution I can propose is that when the OP determines that the edit chain has tipped over into confusing, that the question be closed and re-opened. That's not ideal.

Is this a problem for others? Is there a better solution?

  • Well, you can't exactly use numbers, as deleting a single comment near the top will completely throw that off. – T.E.D. Sep 3 '13 at 14:39
  • True - I offered that as a strawman; I know it won't work, but it is the kind of thing that I think we need. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 3 '13 at 15:58
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    What if we just flagged them as obsolete? No really. The flagging system is there for a reason and if you've pinpointed which comments are obsolete yourself, you've saved the moderators a lot of work. – American Luke Sep 3 '13 at 17:56
  • What @Luke said. This is what "obsolete" flag was designed for. If the mods determine that it's posing an unreasonable load, they can easily take that issue to meta for community to help/decide. – DVK Sep 4 '13 at 12:52
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I delete comments of mine that are obsolete, try to notify others of such when they pertain to my comments or posts, and I flag obsolete comments when I need to.

Things seem to get cleaned up fast enough with these procedures. Granted, it can be confusing until that happens - have just a little patience.

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I speak for myself, and not for the moderators in general when I say this, but flag comments as obsolete. It is more work for the three of us, and to be honest I always check to make sure that the flag is warranted, but I think it is the best system we have at our disposal at the moment. Short of a comment id system, which does not seem like something the Stack system is interested in, I don't know what else to propose. I think the obsolete flag is the way to go.

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    Agreed. Dealing with a ton of obsolete comment flags responsibly is a pain (for me at least), but that's how our system currently works. So as long as I'm a mod, that's part of my job. One thing users can do to help is delete their own obsolete comments for us... – T.E.D. Sep 10 '13 at 16:03

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