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This scenario often happens:

  1. User posts a question
  2. Commenter points out minor error or modification
  3. User fixes question. User also adds comment in reply to commenter

Now the question is fixed, and the comment chain (that can be more than two comments sometimes) looks completely irrelevant.

Should the commenter delete their original comment ?

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    $\begingroup$ If so, both comments have to be deleted. I hate comment chains with posts that refer to deleted ones. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 12 '11 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ I would rather if they stayed. Example/reason: I am thinking of writing a blog post on the sort-with-O(n)-preprocessing question here, and part of the strength of the question is that it went from closable to awesome, because of input from users and because the questioner did what users requested. Once the question was awesome, it "generated" answers that were awesome, too. Why erase that dynamic? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Sterling Sep 12 '11 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ That's actually an excellent point @Aaron. Maybe you should even point that out in the blog. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 12 '11 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ and all, since this is meta, feel free to convert your comments to answers: we don't need such a high standard for answers on meta ;) $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Sep 12 '11 at 19:05
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I would rather if they stayed. Example/reason: I am thinking of writing a blog post on the sort-with-O(n)-preprocessing question here, and part of the strength of the question is that it went from closable to awesome, because of input from users and because the questioner did what users requested. Once the question was awesome, it "generated" answers that were awesome, too. Why erase that dynamic?

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    $\begingroup$ because it's redundant information, mostly -- we are fiercely protective of the signal to noise ratio and having information exactly duplicated in the question and the comments puts an onerous burden on every reader. "write once, read many" $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Sep 14 '11 at 1:43
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffAtwood: I see it exactly the opposite. To make it seem as though one of the most important steps of research -- determining the right question to ask -- is always executed cleanly, puts an onerous burden on the reader, especially someone new to research. Part of the signal is what is missing; the other part is what is there. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Sterling Sep 14 '11 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ In the sort-with-O(n)-preprocessing question, some people had questions about my answer, but they were all answered in the comments before I had a chance to look at it. If I had changed my answer to address these questions (I was thinking about it, but decided I didn't need to), I think having the questions and answers there for the record would still be a good idea. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Sep 17 '11 at 22:56
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Recently, some moderators seem to be neglecting the value of leaving preserving comments. I would like moderators to use their Awesome Moderation Powers sparingly and with caution.

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  • $\begingroup$ guessing. k only deleted some of your comment(s)? consider yourself lucky $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 1 '13 at 21:22
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    $\begingroup$ ah now that makes sense. I was wondering whether I was being too hasty in closing things without leaving comments. I can't remember the last time I deleted a comment. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Feb 3 '13 at 8:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Suresh: Sorry, “leaving comments” in the earlier version of this answer was a bad choice of the word. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 3 '13 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi, I guess you are referring to the comments here. For reference the question was also posted here on Computer Science but was deleted by its owner. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 3 '13 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ My opinion: it seems to me that the deleted comments were a meta discussion about the question's suitability and its owner's actions and some follow up with a moderator, they were not comments on the question's content or clarifications about the question. I don't think we generally need to keep those comments and more generally history of every interaction on the site. AFAIR from the last time this was discussed, the community was not in favor of keeping such extended meta discussions about questions on the main site. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 3 '13 at 23:46
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    $\begingroup$ Preserving the history of clarification, I can understand (to some extend at least, though I believe there is a trade off there), preserving a meta discussion about the question, I don't see a very good reason for that. ps: I think your comments are sometimes too harsh on new users who are not familiar with our policies, e.g. this one. Obviously pointing out that simultaneous cross-posting is not acceptable here is fine, but I think this comment is a bit impolite for a first time mistake. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 3 '13 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: (1) My worries are more about the attitude of moderators who do not think twice before deleting anything. (2) The linked comment is not at all about policies of some specific website. It is about valuing other people’s time. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 4 '13 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ 1. according to csthoery mod log, mods don't delete comments that often, stats for the last 3 months: Suresh none; me 13 altogether, mostly offensive e.g. ad hominem attacks, or off-topic e.g. "does God exist?" like comments; Dave roughly the same number as me, 9 from the post mentioned, several others acting on a flag about obsolete comments on an old post. However looking at the full log I see a few I am not sure why I have deleted (maybe I have done so by mistake?) I will be more careful. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 4 '13 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ 2. I share your concern, however I think the concern can be voiced a bit more politely, particularly to new users. That can give a better impression about cstheory and the community. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Feb 4 '13 at 2:32

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