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Comments are essential to healthy skeptics questions and answers.

For example, this answer about COVID-19 response has an incorrect supporting statement:

Health care access has never been prevented by quarantine measures.

With 100+ upvotes, it's likely that readers don't realize U.S. healthcare officials directed practices to cease non-urgent care resulting in massive closures/furloughs.

Or maybe they do realize that.

Either way, it seems important to surface the issue, but comments get wiped out en masse.

Can moderators be less remove-happy? Or be slightly more selective?

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    There's a simple solution, Paul. Make that comment again. If you are addressing a falsity in the post, it belongs as a comment until addressed. – fredsbend Jun 29 at 14:13
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Short answer: No, not in the short-term. Things may improve as more moderators come on board, but currently the number of auto-flagged "More than 20 comments posted...." is overwhelming, and blocks any real issues being identified easily.

Slightly longer answer: Comments should never be long chains of back and forth discussing an issue. This is not an appropriate use of comments

When should I comment?
You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

When a comment threads begins to get large, the system auto-flags it. This is raising in the region of 20-30 flags a day which, quite frankly, I do not have the time to read through individually to determine the merit of each comment individually. The system gives me the option to deal with it in a few clicks and that's what I do.

In answer to your assertion that

comments get wiped out en masse

This is simply not true, they get moved to chat which is a more appropriate place to have a discussion about a question or answer.

I'm sorry if this seems heavy handed, but there's simply not enough hours in the day to deal with the mostly political/ideological squabbling that goes on in a huge number of questions.

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  • That whole answer should have been nuked for violation of policy long ago*(nevermind that misinfo quoted on top). But HNQs (also & esp their comments) should indeed *much more often be pruned – most heavily. Can 1 or 2 new mods ensure that wholly off-topic comments disappear quickly? A newbie user getting a post deleted may sound 'unfriendly', but this HNQ-thing is just too damaging overall. These discussions would need just more time to hash out the problems via comments than any HNQ frenzy on an emotionally charged panic topic seems to allow. And I think we cannot afford that. – LangLаngС Jun 29 at 13:42
  • @LаngLаngС While I may agree with you that comment has nothing to do with this answer. You've essentially demonstrated the problem with comments! – Jamiec Jun 29 at 13:51
  • Pertains to this answer: mv2chat should be avoided as long as possible, pruning is imo preferable to mv2chat, should take place more often, esp on HNQ. Blatantly off-topic gets mv2chat too. You say 'it's like it is because 2 mods'. I ask whether you'd agree 'pruning is better' than wholesale nuking (exceptions often found below Qs, more seldom below As) and/or mv, and how much 'more mods' should get to 'better' (since pruning will also raise issues with mods being accused of "why this comment & not that". IMO that would address the issue of this Q a bit better, as least as I do read it. – LangLаngС Jun 29 at 14:02
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    Sorry but I'm not going to read through 30 x 20-50 comment threads to decide what to prune. I have a day job. Oddthinking may well differ in his approach but currently our timezones do not overlap much. So if it's my "shift" then pretty much any long thread will get moved to chat. – Jamiec Jun 29 at 14:05
  • I completely understand the pragmatism hereand respect for your time. I hope have two more mods next week helps. – fredsbend Jun 29 at 14:09
  • @LаngLаngС Odd's words are "this answer is headed toward deletion", so mod actions seem to coincide with your preference at this time. However, just a few comments later he's accused of acting in bad faith ... – fredsbend Jun 29 at 14:15

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