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There's a question about tipping: How should I tip if the food is good but the service from the waiter/waitress is terrible in the USA?

It has 22 comments on the question, and 12 answers with a total of 64 comments between them (longest thread is 18 comments).

A lot of these comments are basically a tipping argument following the same pattern I've seen in countless message boards. I've seen comment threads disappeared into the cornfield for less.

So, I almost flagged a random comment to call attention to all of it, but I stopped because it's arguable that the comments are useful to highlight the differing views. On the other hand I think the answers cover that better. And I'm sure the mods must have seen it by now and decided to leave it.

What does everyone else think? Disappear the comments and point people to chat? Leave them? Some combination of both?

  • There is a similar question on the main site where the answer was to flag for moderator and explain that the comments are excessive or outdated or an unnecessary digression and waste bandwidth. The moderator will come along in due course and remove all the comments. I tried it (on the main site) and it worked. I can't find the relevant META thread or else this would be an answer. – Gayot Fow May 22 '15 at 16:47
  • I've "protected" the post for now, but if things continue to get out of hand (and enough people flag it), I can "lock" the post for a fixed duration. In general, we encourage people to use the chat room for extended discussions. – Ankur Banerjee May 22 '15 at 22:40
  • Flag as too chatty. The system warns people after a few comments that it has gotten too long, so there's no right of expectation of their posts remaining. – Mark Mayo May 24 '15 at 13:20
  • @AnkurBanerjee thanks, I also see that some of the comments have been disappeared (at least on the question) to leave a more 'core' argument. I'll flag it if it appears to be getting out of hand. – SpaceDog May 25 '15 at 2:46
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    @GayotFow The "waste bandwidth" argument is hardly applicable. One person getting rickrolled on YouTube uses more bandwidth than any comment thread on Stack Exchange. – David Richerby May 26 '15 at 7:51
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Tipping, is one of the topics that can be subjective regardless of the rules about it, simply because it is different from one person to another, some people are cheap, some are not and so on. Same comments pattern can be observed in personal safety questions as well.

In my opinion, comments in these questions are OK, otherwise people who got something to say and were not able to, might write a crappy answer just to express their opinion in public, that's a bigger problem than comments, IMHO.

One more thing, a good way to know if the comments were useful or not is the upvotes. For example, the question you linked had most of its comments upvoted, this means the comments were on-topic and useful to many, regardless of them being argumentative or not. Again, IMO.

Bottom line, as long as the comments are talking about the same topic, not chatty and have upvotes, then they add value to the answer/question. Again, IMHO.

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    In general I agree, but on that particular thread I suspect the upvotes are more 'I agree, and I want you to win this argument' rather than 'this is a useful comment'. But fair point about comments being better than crappy answers, in this particular case probably best to let people argue a little in the comments rather than end up with a full out answer-battle. – SpaceDog May 25 '15 at 2:48
  • Remember that comments cannot be downvoted; there's no way short of flagging to say "this comment is not on-topic." – cpast May 28 '15 at 4:57
  • @cpast there is "not constructive" option, and "Too chatty" option, and finally, there is "other" option which you can use to write any comments to the mods regarding a comment. – Nean Der Thal May 28 '15 at 5:19

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