I'm trying to understand the rationale for locking What's the word for something that is purposefully generalised and understated?

As it is, the question is lacking a degree of necessary detail. My immediate response would be to add a comment asking for clarification, and then possibly vote to close it, although, in this case, only if clarification wasn't forthcoming.

It's not possible to provide an answer, because I can interpret the question in several different ways, which only the person who asked it can clarify. And that clarification would normally have to come in comments, or in an edit to the question that has been prompted by comments.

For instance, what's wrong with the word understatement itself, as used in the question? To me, what's being described is understatement; however, I would not provide that as an answer without knowing why it had been rejected.

In its current state, the question merely exists in a kind of limbo until the lock period is over and comments for clarification can finally be posted again. (Unless people want to start providing answers that may or may not be appropriate.)

  • I commented here english.stackexchange.com/questions/544801/… that I think the poster has answered their own question. By means of extracting from them some clarification of why that /doesn't/ answer their question. Technically I've provided an answer in comments, is that allowed?
    – JeffUK
    Aug 26, 2020 at 10:57
  • @JeffUK Honestly, I'm quite uncertain about this whole matter. I don't believe anything has been appropriately clarified or publicly announced. However, there is more general discussion about it at here. Aug 26, 2020 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


I locked it because users had already begun to offer their suggestions in comments.

This causes a lot of cleanup burden that we have no other way to avoid.

  • 1
    Locking it actively prevents it from being answered by those who have to get clarification. I believe locking it is doing a disservice to the question, causing more harm than good. Comments that aren't appropriate can be deleted. (Since when has this ever been a problem, or locking a question for this purpose the solution?) It's current status is stopping at least two of us from providing an answer to a question that cannot be clarified. Aug 20, 2020 at 21:46
  • @JasonBassford I'll unlock if you guarantee you'll flag comments that aren't seeking clarification, merely providing answers in a bad way.
    – tchrist Mod
    Aug 20, 2020 at 21:53
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    I disagree with the entire premise of this. What do you mean by comments that provide answers in a bad way? How has anything changed from all of the years that have gone before with questions and answers on this site and others? Aug 20, 2020 at 23:30
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    @JasonBassford Nothing has changed. Answers go in the answer box, not the comment box.
    – tchrist Mod
    Aug 21, 2020 at 0:24
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    First of all, that's not an actual policy. Second, even if it were, it's never been applied consistently before. Third, that's awfully subjective, and it makes no sense for you to start locking question when you simply don't like the comments. If you really think that should be something that should be done going forward, you should decide that with the other moderators, probably user input, and announce a policy change. Aug 21, 2020 at 5:05
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    This is interesting. Have we had a new policy decision? Where was it discussed? Aug 24, 2020 at 15:40
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    @JohnLawler And even if it has been discussed by the moderators in private, there has been no kind of general announcement with a complete FAQ that would address all of the points I've been trying to raise. Instead, it's just started to be applied very recently, and without any notice. I've also seen a few moderators posting "answers in comments" themselves, despite this. Which doesn't look good, if it's something they are now trying to work with, and they want to convey a do what I do message. Aug 25, 2020 at 18:49
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    Regardless of what one thinks about the answers-in-the-comments problem, it is troubling when all the comments under a particular question or answer are deleted (or moved to the chat, which largely has the same effect) and/or commenting is disabled just because some of the comments were problematic in some way.
    – jsw29
    Aug 25, 2020 at 20:53
  • @JasonBassford:  The “policy”, such as it is, is not new — and neither is its inconsistent implementation. Aug 26, 2020 at 20:05
  • @Scott But I'm not talking about comment deletion. I really don't care about that. I'd be fine if comments got deleted on a daily basis. In fact, that could solve all sorts of problems: delete every comment after 24 hours, regardless of its nature. All I'm concerned with here is the locking of questions that prevent clarifying comments to a question. Aug 26, 2020 at 20:16
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    @JasonBassford: (1) Well, IMHO, you’re being unclear. When tchrist says “Nothing has changed.  Answers go in the answer box, not the comment box.” and you say “… that’s not an actual policy.  …, even if it were, it's never been applied consistently before …  And even if it has been discussed by the moderators in private, there has been no kind of general announcement …”, readers have trouble discerning what you are referring to (with that and it). … (Cont’d) Aug 26, 2020 at 21:21
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    (Cont’d) …  (2) As Kit Z. Fox says in an answer to your other question, the ability to lock the comments on a post is a new capability at the Stack Exchange level.   This was announced here — I’ll concede that adding a new answer to a seven-year-old question is not the best way to announce a new feature, but it was a general announcement. Aug 26, 2020 at 21:21
  • @Scott An announcement is a new post in the form of a question that states policy and also describes details—perhaps also inviting questions around it in the form of answers. (As is common for metas.) That has never been done. What has been done is frequent debate over the years without any actual resolution. With that and if I am referring to all of the items in sequence. I deny each of them in turn, going down the list. Aug 27, 2020 at 3:53

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