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I came across a useful answer on a question today and while I was there, I read some of the comments underneath. One of them, a reply from the OP, seemed particularly fitting for the 'It's no longer needed' flag type. This was the comment:

Works perfectly!!! Small correction — the second code is missing a quote. echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']; — and thanks!

The small correction referred to was made 5 minutes after the original comment was posted (Aug 28 2012 at 13:51). Beyond the correction to the solution, everything else in the comment can be distilled down into actions:

  • 'Works perfectly!!!' -> Accept answer
  • 'and thanks!' -> Upvote.

My flag was declined. I didn't bother flagging some of the other comments on that Q/A which would also be 'no longer needed' because I didn't want to swamp the flag queue.

Just wondering if there's something I'm missing there? As 'Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer', I'm unsure why they're being left there after they are all well over 6 years old.


Update: Since I initially wrote this, I flagged two more comments (1, 2) on the same post and they were also declined.

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I wasn't involved in those, but I did write the answer that was commented on.

I believe that some of those comments add to the answer, and that by removing the previous comments, context is lost. I've found many a useful thing in the comments on stackoverflow attached to an answer, and clarifying comments are sometimes lifesavers. Sure a good comment can be incorporated into an answer, but it's still useful to see the original comment, as well as an alternative or caveat the author might have missed

I also don't believe there is any obligation to clean up comments, unless there's harassment or a violation of our codes of conduct there's no need. If comments turn into an extended discussion the commenters are prompted to move to a chat room.

Additionally, if there are a lot of comments, SE already filters comments initially to those most up voted and most useful. For example:

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/3241309/what-is-the-intuition-behind-uniform-continuity

a screenshot of comments being filtered to the highest upvoted on a question

  • 1
    Thanks for your response! I didn't mean to suggest there was an obligation (I've updated my title to reflect that). I also take that point that there's no need to actively seek them out. I found an answer whilst googling and thought I'd point to a couple of outdated comments. I believe that highly upvoted comments can serve a purpose to future readers (eg) but none of the comments flagged gained a single upvote in nearly 7 years. I'll take your lead on this :) – Henders May 29 at 14:39

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