Cleaning up my Stack Overflow comment history

2019-01-18 Nick Larsen

Today I cleaned up my comment history on Stack Overflow. It's amazing/fun/disappointing/frustrating and a few other feelings right now. I definitely said some not nice things, defended my answers as opposed to lifting up others and use notable sarcasm in some posts. Most of my comments were fine, many of them just needed to be cleaned up because the person provided the details I asked for and overall I feel good that I left the site better today and then I showed up. It was fun looking at some of my old posts, the good, the bad and the ugly. I have clearly grown as a developer and this was a nice reminder of that.

Today I focused mainly on the newest comments and the oldest comments. I noticed a few patterns which were very common. Plain and simple, the site looks better as someone looking for an answer when there are no comments. In truth the comments on Stack Overflow are primarily outdated and not useful within minutes of being posted. There were some notable exceptions where people pointed out critical improvements, but in almost every case it would have been better to simply update the answer or question text. My off-the-cuff estimate is that a solid 90% of comments are a waste of space on the Stack Overflow proper for people who landed there from Google. Maybe in future I'll try to explore some mock ups without the clutter.

Next time I grind through comment cleanup I intend to focus on the comments on questions that get viewed the most and the ones that get viewed the least. Those on the questions that are viewed the most have large impact but the ones on questions that are viewed the least are usually the result of really poor questions which need cleanup anyway.

See you all next week!