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Quite often, it is seen that OP begins with questions with basic level with only barely minimal explanation. Over time, several people ask - "Questions about question" under comments. This is quite common place : "Can you post some images?" "What is your feature set" "have you tried algorithm x?" - so on and so forth. All of this makes understanding the complete questions quite a mess.

How do you ensure that we leave questions with right context and away from all the clutter?

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Comments are intended to be used for clarifications, but when such clarifications have been made, they should be edited into the question/answer and the corresponding comment removed. Usually neither of these two happen, or at most the question is updated with more info. This leads to a mess of comments that are obsolete.

I fully agree with your answer here. In addition, flag such comments as obsolete! If you hover around the left end of a comment, you'll see a flag under the upvote arrow:

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Click on it and it'll open up a pop-up with different options. Just click on the appropriate reason and the mods will clear it up.

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There might not be many comment flags available, so instead of flagging each comment, you can select "other" and explain that you need several more to be removed and we'll look through and prune them. Alternately, you can also flag the question/answer and explain that the comments are obsolete.

If you come across a comment thread where there is a conversation and clarification, please flag it after editing the relevant info into the post.

In the end, we can keep this site clean only if everyone chipped in and used the tools and privileges they have. Personally, in the early days, I had the time to look at each post and make edits/clear comments/tell the OP to improve and keep it in line. But as with life, things get busy and now I only act on flags when I see them, so if you're not flagging, we'll never know :)

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  • $\begingroup$ In Real situations obsolete comments are less. They can simply be deleted to keep the clutter. However, what is more painful is when the real question is burried in comments than the original post so question remains in a very bad state to answer well. $\endgroup$ – Dipan Mehta Apr 11 '12 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @DipanMehta In that case, edit the question to add the "real" question or rephrase it to make it clearer and flag for wiping out the comments since they're no longer needed :) $\endgroup$ – Lorem Ipsum Apr 11 '12 at 18:31
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In most ideal scenario, OP must provide a detailed information about the question. Think of the way if someone really need to reproduce the algorithm or visualize complete details which allows specific and useful answer.

OP should also list down detailed research already underway which will make Questions more focused and definitely the quality of the answer will rise due to better context. When lame questions asked - even if they are valid, the answers are rather more generic and shallow.

In spite of all this, it is quite natural that more explanations are essential for answering questions. However, it is essential, that if more information is required requested by other people - OP should rather edit the question and extend with more useful information rather than replying the comment.

The same thing applies to the answers also to the extent. If there are comments from others which can add valuable information to the original answer or critical correction - we must apply the due edit to the question or answer and leave the post more accurate.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you saying that we should encourage the OP to edit the question with certain clarifications when commenting on it, rather than simply ask for the clarification? $\endgroup$ – Phonon Apr 9 '12 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, ideally if you realize that when people are indicating that the question is not sufficient or clearer, instead of replying - one should edit the question. Even if you reply by comment- after a while when things are clear, one should consolidate all these information in a more meaningful post. $\endgroup$ – Dipan Mehta Apr 11 '12 at 8:38
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Yoda's post is exactly what you should do with obsolete comments. They should be flagged and removed to keep the signal/noise ratio high.

If the Asker is providing clarification in comments instead of adding it into the question, editing their clarifications into the question. You can recommend they add stuff into the question instead, but if they've already left the info in a comment, just make an edit to their question.

You can't depend on other users to do everything right, so be proactive in improving other's questions.

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