Recently there was a Meta discussion about Deletion of Comments from Sandbox? and according with Monica's comment I want to start a discussion about the usefulness of comments under graduated/abandoned Sandbox drafts.

My personal opinion is that comments under the draft are not necessary anymore when a draft has graduated. It's ready for the main site so the comments have served their purpose and the OP decided to move on with the draft. The only people who can still see the comments are the OP, who either decided to follow or ignore the advice they got, and people with more than 10k reputation, who rarely will need to look through random Sandbox drafts to get ideas on how to ask questions. They likely know their way around and have specific problems in mind when posting a draft themselves, or they are searching for people who need help, in which less clutter is definitely better to scroll through the Sandbox.

Comments under abandoned posts on the other hand can be really important in case the person ever comes back to the draft. Maybe they started the draft and then had something important come up in their life that made them unavailable for some time while people were commenting under their draft. These comments might be useful as the OP maybe didn't have time to read through and think about them.

In any case comments can pose a problem to users of the Sandbox because they are taking up a lot of space, which makes it harder to find posts that still need help if you can see the deleted posts. They are also contributing to the slower loading of the site for users that can see them, which was a problem we had with the 2017-2018 Sandbox.

What is the opinion of the community about this matter?

Are comments still needed, meaning that we shouldn't create such a policy or even create a policy that is discouraging the deletion of comments under graduated/abandoned drafts? Or should we create a policy that comments should be deleted/moved under certain circumstances to remove clutter and make the Sandbox easier to use? Or is it something that doesn't really matter and we should leave things as they are and simply spin up a new Sandbox when the old one gets harder to use?


1 Answer 1


As comment deletion appears to be easy for mods according to Monica Cellio and HDE 226868 I propose the following addition to the Sandbox policies:

After a draft graduated, meaning that the OP has posted the question on the main site, they should flag their post for moderator attention and ask them to purge the comments. This means that the comments won't be transferred to the chat and instead get deleted completely without trace for normal users. If Sandbox users see that a draft has been deleted by the OP for some time, let's say a week, and still has comments they should flag it for moderator attention and ask for the comments to be purged.

This gives people some time to maybe look through the comments in case someone wants to do that, for example if the question is received very badly on main and people would like to see what happened in the Sandbox. This removes the necessity to undelete the draft, then move the comments to chat and then delete it again, as comments can only be moved to chat on undeleted posts.

If a draft is abandoned according to the rules for Keeping the Sandbox clean, meaning that there were no edits by the OP for at least 30 days and a comment indicating that the OP should edit their question or else it might get deleted for at least 7 days, the post should be flagged for moderator attention asking the mod to move the discussion to chat and then delete it.

This way the comments are still accessible if the OP ever returns to work on their draft and there is no clutter in the comment section. Abandoned posts should be flagged for deletion anyway.

Furthermore users are encouraged to remove their own comments from graduated posts to reduce the load on the mods that comes with the proposed policy. This doesn't mean that we should notify people in comments to clean up their comments all the time. Just that everyone who regularly goes through the Sandbox anyway should keep an eye out for old comments from himself on graduated posts.

The policy is especially for those comment threads that got rather long. If there are only one or two short comments it's not really worth it to ask a mod to remove them, but if there are half a dozen long comments it can have an impact in the long run.

Comments under graduated posts served their purpose. There is no need to keep them.

Comments under abandoned posts might be useful to the OP if he ever gets back to the draft. They should be moved to chat to remove clutter and still be accessible.

  • $\begingroup$ FYI, multiple flags on the same post get aggregated; we see the group, not one at a time. So it doesn't matter if several people flag the same post for Sandbox cleanup, other than that some of them are doing redundant work. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio Interesting, I thought you'd get the flags one after another. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Well, if we resolve flags and then more come, we get them again. But in this case the resolution would also solve the problem that's causing the flags, so I wouldn't expect to get more. When we look at a post we see all flags for that post and who they're from. So, for example, we might see "Not an answer - user1, user2; very low quality - user 3; spam - user4". $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio In this case that will probably not happen. The only occasion that I could think of that could reasonably happen would be that someone abandoned the post, someone flagged it for deletion and then the user can't undelete it because a mod deleted it. (The user could just post a new draft, but maybe someone decides to flag for undeletion for some reason.) Has that ever happened in the Sandbox before? Or are there other situations that are regularly throwing flags in the Sandbox? $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ That might have happened once, maybe. Overwhelmingly, flags in the sandbox are requests to delete abandoned posts. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ I posted a bunch of Sandbox Purge Requests in the sandbox but stopped less than half-way through realizing I'd posted a lot of requests. I feel bad for doing that to the moderators. I wish there were an easier way. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 0:36

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