The comments section has recently become an area where disagreements are voiced and the exchanges have detracted from the answers to the posters questions and often go far astray from the context of the original question. Can we start a practice where if you disagree with an answer down vote it and leave a single comment as to why. I am guilty of getting into this in trying to defend my views as have others, but that only serves to degrade the site as it gives the poster the impression that we are not united in our faith.
Before saying anything else, let's take a look at the help center's guidance on comments:
When should I comment?
You should submit a comment if you want to:
- Request clarification from the author;
- Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
- Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).
When shouldn't I comment?
Comments are not recommended for any of the following:
Suggesting corrections that don't fundamentally change the meaning of the post; instead, make or suggest an edit;
Answering a question or providing an alternate solution to an existing answer; instead, post an actual answer (or edit to expand an existing one);
Compliments which do not add new information ("+1, great answer!"); instead, up-vote it and pay it forward;
Criticisms which do not add anything constructive ("-1, see previous comments you scallywag!"); instead, down-vote (and provide or up-vote a better answer if appropriate);
Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point; please use chat instead;
Discussion of community behavior or site policies; please use meta instead.
As for what should be done...
- learn the guidelines
- follow the guidelines yourself
- resist the urge to "just say one thing"
- If you see an invalid comment, do not argue, do not respond. Just flag it and let a moderator delete it.
Flagging is the safest course of action. Far too often, even those of us that should know better get caught up in comment discussions. The best you can do is to try to avoid doing the same thing yourself, and just flag invalid. non-constructive, incorrect, offensive, or otherwise unwelcome comments.
I think there is a difference between arguing in comments and doing what I sometimes do: point to something in a question or answer that to me appears to be illogical, and ask for a better explanation. I don't think there's a problem with that (though perhaps there is if I forget to explicitly ask for an improvement), but what does the rest of the community think?