I came in to this question from the Hot Network Questions sidebar.

It does not reflect well on this Stack site to drop in on a question and see a moderator having a friendly comment exchange with another user and exchanging off-topic political takes. Comments are not for extended discussion; Stack Exchange sites are not discussion fora; the purpose of comments on a question should be to help refine and understand the question and not anything else; and moderators are supposed to know these things.

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    I don't see that it causes any harm. Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 14:21
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    @Seekinganswers The purpose of comments is for clarification, constructive criticism, or for minor or transient information. Comments are not recommended for secondary discussion or debating a controversial point; please use chat instead. My take on this is that it attempts to avoid cluttering Q&A posts, and to discourage the Stack network from becoming yet another discussion forum. FYI, I'm neutral on this policy.
    – user35069
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 13:25
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    @Rick that all sounds sensible enough. Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 15:14
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    Oh, other people actually do notice this kind of thing. Not being sarcastic here, I seriously thought I was the only one who noticed this nonsense.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


That’s not how we do things here

I refer you to How to deal with comments? which came about when an over-zealous new moderator (speaking) was chastised for pruning comment discussions against the community’s wishes. So, now we leave things alone until they are flagged or are obviously turning into bickering.

The comment guidelines are network wide and are heavily influenced by Stack Overflow where secondary discussion or controversial points are unlikely to lead to anything productive. Law is different: controversial points are the bread and butter of legal decisions. Comment threads like that can be extremely useful here. Except when they aren’t.

Incidentally, I came to the same conclusion about the particular thread and moved it to chat just before you posted this question.

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    Just to be clear, you understand that you are the moderator whose behaviour I was complaining about, yes? My issue is not that you were engaged in a debate over "controversial points" that were related to the question, because you weren't. My complaint is that you were going off on an unrelated political tangent about US politics, when the question was tagged as being about Switzerland. I am proposing that you should have known better than to bring it up in the first place, because even if you expect everyone to agree with your view, it would still be off-topic chatter. Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 1:30

StackExchange != StackOverflow

Karl omits detail and I don't know any better of what's the exact complaint, but I agree with Dale's sentiment that certain kinds of "doesn't exclusively target OP" comments can be useful, myself coming from DSP.SE. It's compact forms of related information that may complement OP and interest readers. Karl's comment under Dale seems more agreeable, but I mainly post in opposition to the framing of the original (Karl's) question.

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    Stack Overflow is by far the largest Stack Exchange site, and has an active meta community that has worked through years of friction with the Stack Exchange company while also working though multiple rounds of trying to figure out exactly what the most common issues are with the literal millions of questions we get. Stack Overflow was also the original concept and Stack Exchange only exists because of a realization that the software could be used for other things. I hardly find it surprising that "SO users" have a superior understanding of how it's supposed to work. Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 18:45
  • That said, said Stack Exchange software insists on dropping clickbait onto my right-hand sidebar, so of course I'm going to have a look now and then and see how other sites are operating. Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 18:46
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    @KarlKnechtel You can always tell it not to, by disabling it in your profile settings.
    – gparyani
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 19:25
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    @KarlKnechtel SO's "meta community" is a tiny fraction of the entire SO community and its decisionmaking and especially voting on specific meta posts isn't generally reflective of majority interest. My Meta.SE post on rep, now the #2 post, would be downvoted to oblivion and closed on SO and Meta.SE without the featured, I guarantee it. SO also thinks too much for coding and fast-paced environments and is inherently ill-suited for assessing other environments. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 12:32
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    @KarlKnechtel As much as I agree with what you said about "unrelated political tangent", I cannot say so for the part about "SO users being superior". I am mostly active on Scifi Stack Exchange, where some (few) unrelated comments may happen below questions and answers, and as long as it's just short and minor fun and games instead of lengthy conversations that don't belong there or unrelated political tangent, it sounds fine by me. In the question you mentioned in the original post though, I would agree with you.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 9:51
  • @KarlKnechtel DSP.SE could use some SO, feel free to drop by. Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 12:07

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