It occurred to me that some type of questions might require intermediate steps, trial and errors and other similar back and forth mechanism.

The general consensus is that back and forth in the comment section is a no-no in the EE.SE best practices. But, the chat function of SE is perfect to take care of the back and forth.

My question is this, should there be an explicit guidline regarding that type of interaction in order to have them without actually disturbing the concise nature of our questions and answers format?

My first stab would be that the OP and OA go to the chat for the back and forth and once new information comes in, the OA update the answer. Any thoughts on that?


3 Answers 3


Personally I don't like that there is a chat, and I don't think it is necessary to point anyone to the chat in this scenario.

Whenever someone comments on one of my answers or questions, I try not to answer them, but rather update the post so that the issue in the comment is covered. After that I reply to the commenter that the post has been updated so that the comment can be removed. After some time I remove my reply.

This ensures that the comment section is kept clean and readable in case anyone else has an issue with it.


People choose their level of participation. I just wouldn't be willing to take a thread like that to a chat. It creates a whole new level of implied commitment to see something through in a timely manner, as well as a level of rudeness if you cut it off. It's not for me.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess that it is indeed a personal choice when you answer a question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14, 2018 at 14:23

The comment system is not for long periods of communication, it is for clarification. (one reason is it takes too long to hunt through 10 or so comments) If you think your conversation is going to head in that direction, move it to the chat system (you can start a new chat and then invite someone, sometimes they show up and sometimes they don't).

The system after ~5 comments between users invites you to chat automatically.

If you do end up with clarification and it becomes no longer relevant, delete the comments that are yours and use the flagging system to have a moderator clean up irrelevant comments.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the key concept of cleaning up the comment section too after all is said and done. I think I will start doing that. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 13, 2018 at 19:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Simon If some useful information emerge from these comments, be sure to include this information back in the original post before deleting (or requesting the deletion of) the comments. Also, be aware that sometimes, flagging comments as "obsolete" ends up being rejected. I believe this adds burden on the diamond moderator side, and, if in doubt, they'll typically prefer keeping the comments rather than deleting them. In fact, I have stopped doing this, and I only delete my own comments now. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Sep 13, 2018 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes? always rejected. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Sep 14, 2018 at 2:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Really? I've had people show up in chat its about 50/50 or if you talking about deleting its higher than that (usually gets accepted) \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Sep 14, 2018 at 3:58

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