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I understand why some comments should be removed. However, it does appear that there is a cleanup going on at the moment with any comment that is not directly adding to the answer or providing clarification being removed.

Of course, I may be wrong but, if there is such a cleanup going on, what is it's motivation?

As an example, I quoted one of my favourite aviation quips in an answer of mine - "in the ongoing battle between the Earth and aluminium objects arriving on it in other than controlled conditions, the Earth has yet to lose" - which generated some comments, light-hearted in content and expanding further upon it.

Whilst I accept that the comments add nothing to the content of the Q&A, and I personally couldn't care whether the comments on my answers are deleted or not (unless they are substantive), I firmly believe that additional comments such as these bring some humanity and reflect the nature of this community to the wider netizens.

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  • $\begingroup$ I believe deleted comments are the one flagged as obselete (I hope). $\endgroup$ – Manu H Aug 13 '16 at 11:07
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There is no active organized comment cleanup going on (that I'm aware of), but there have been a fair number of deleted comments recently. Addressing the question posted by @JayCarr, we can either delete comments one at a time or all at once, with no easy happy medium. This might bias toward delete-them-all if 90% of the comments need to go, but isn't necessarily the case. Also note that "comments move to chat" will be deleted from the post, but viewable in the chat link.

The most common way comments get deleted is because someone flagged them as noise, chatty, obsolete, or rude/abusive. These are flags only moderators can handle, so when I have to look at a comment I decide if it is relevant to the post and still valid. If it anything else, I tend to toss it. I'm not against leaving humorous comments in place, but they do need to be funny.

From the site help:

What are comments?

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. They can be up-voted (but not down-voted) and flagged, but do not generate reputation. There's no revision history, and when they are deleted they're gone for good.

The big point for me is that comments are temporary. If you want something to last, put it in the post, assume that before the heat death of the universe all comments will have been deleted at some point. They are not intended to be permanent fixtures of the post.

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    $\begingroup$ This was how I handled comments when I was a moderator as well, and what I use to decide whether or not to flag a comment. The section quoted from the site help which shows that they are temporary, and a little bit later on the same page which says when to comment (to request clarification, to leave constructive criticism, and to add relevant or minor information) tells me that they should be removed once their purpose has been served. That being said, I certainly don't believe that funny comments should be removed just because they don't meet those criteria either! $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 8 '16 at 15:18
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Personally I think the purpose of removing comments is solely to remove arguments and discussions that spring up at times (and really ought to be moved to chat.)

I personally think a few funny comments are just fine, right along with clarifying comments and questions. It enriches the answer, in my humble opinion.

But I think that, sometimes, humorous banter ends up getting removed on accident as part of a larger clean up effort to remove argumentative comments... Which is unfortunate, I wish the mods would be a little more selective and only remove the comments that are actually engaged in an argument.

I hate to answer this question with a question, but I sometimes wonder if removing comments is an all or nothing action for the mods? So perhaps if they strip some comments off they all end up being removed? I'm not sure that this answers your exact situation though...

Would be nice if @voretaq7 or @casey would chime in here.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I'd agree with this - humorous comments which end up in an argument should be removed, but there's a place for a little lightheartedness on SE: especially on Aviation, which isn't the busiest SE site. The only other time I think it's worth removing humorous comments is if there is a bit of an extended (relevant) comment chain on the question/answer, and one or more humorous comments are truly "getting in the way" of useful information $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Sep 5 '16 at 9:14

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