I've seen that usually a number of 30 comments calls for removal, why not this time?
Please move to chat the extremely long trails of comments posted under this question and its main answers.
I agree, the comments are too long. They need to be pruned.
Can I make a request for a few specific comments to stay?
Thanks to everyone for both your support and your forbearance on this atypical question. It was an amazing experience and collaboration. In the most visceral, sincere sense, I've never felt more connected to this community. It was quintessential StackExchange. I won't soon forget it.
¹ For convenience (and because the answer is so long), a listing of these comments is given in the hidden link-references at the very end of this Meta-answer.
² I promise those changes will be my last, and I won't bump the question thereafter. You can believe me when I say I'm drained on this question too. But 3 users did some extraordinary work further tracing the ball, and I feel guilty not making them whole.