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I recently posted a question. It was locked within the hour for a day. Now what I need to understand is why that was done, so I can rectify it. As a corollary, should moderators lock questions without giving a reason?

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The reason is always given in the lock message.

In your case, it's so that people actually bother to answer you instead of just commenting you, which breaks our system here.

The way you asked your question is likely to provoke comments and discussion rather than answers, at least with the current set of folks who are lightning-quick to jump on questions to comment them, but somehow can't ever be bothered to answer them.

If you're looking to have a conversation with people about this, then that should be in chat.

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    I'm not against this, but how does one ask for clarification from the OP? Chat is an option, but not everyone is comfortable talking there. For the question linked above, I'd have to wait 18 more hours to ask for clarification from the OP...
    – Justin
    Jul 23 at 18:10
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    There is also the option of converting answers in comments to community wikis, as I've seen you do a few times before. Or add an immediate comment under the post explicitly asking people to post answers in the answer box, not in the comment section (as @AndrewLeach has done here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/591623/…).
    – Justin
    Jul 23 at 18:19
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    What does the "lock message" refer to exactly? Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but I don't see any message on the OP's question that explains why it was locked. (Or is this message is only available to the asker of the question?)
    – Carmeister
    Jul 23 at 19:14
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    While I understand your arguments against excessive commenting, which you stated at a number of meta-pages, it seems to me that, even if one agrees with these arguments, there is something problematic about disabling comments on a particular question solely on the basis of a suspicion that it might generate excessive comments, before any such comments actually appear.
    – jsw29
    Jul 23 at 20:43
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    @jsw29 All answers in comments are excessive comments.
    – tchrist Mod
    Jul 23 at 23:50
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    @Carmeister There's a blue banner on the question, "Locked for time remaining. Comments on this question have been disabled, but it is still accepting new answers and other interactions. Learn more." The lock reason isn't explicit, but can be inferred from what is locked: locking against new comments indicates that comments so far are there for the wrong reason.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 24 at 8:33
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    @tchrist, assuming for the sake of argument, that 'all answers in comments are excessive comments', there is still a difference between a moderator's reacting specifically to such comments after they have been posted, and a moderator's disabling all comments just because the moderator believes that some answers-in-comments might appear. One may find the latter problematic even if one agrees with the latter.
    – jsw29
    Jul 24 at 16:14
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    Why are -all- comments disabled? Why not just delete the offending comments? Or, what I think is better, leave all the comments? The answers in comments are the most helpful in understanding the question, most of the other comments are, relatively, less helpful. So, of course, the right thing to do is copy the 'answer in comment' to an official answer (as community wiki).
    – Mitch
    Jul 24 at 18:49
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    @Mitch Continuous abuse like this is why we can't have nice things: because it ruins the SE system. Moderators delete metric truckloads of answers in comments every single day. It has to stop.
    – tchrist Mod
    Jul 24 at 19:23
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    If a question attracts a lot of comments it's normally because it's a question that needs improvement. People often answer in comments because they're not sure if they're answering the question or suspect the question will be closed. It's common in such situations to post a comment of the form "If you mean X the answer is something in the area of Y." The apparent rule that you're not supposed to answer low-quality questions also doesn't help. Other people could be encouraged to convert semi-answers in comments into proper answers, because answers in comments almost never meet SE standards.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 25 at 9:33
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    @StuartF People aren't much interested in making an answer out of someone else's comment, if that is what you are suggesting. That feels like drudge-work with a side order of looking like you are grasping for cheap points.
    – Spagirl
    Jul 25 at 9:59
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    @Spagirl "grasping for cheap points" that's why community wiki is recommended
    – Mitch
    Jul 25 at 13:01
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    Blocking comments for 7 days on a question that is an hour old seems excessive to me. No, wait, it doesn't seem, it is. We're also a community, and a community exists when there is communication. Expertise in anything cannot exist without dialogue, an exchange of ideas, which also includes answerers responding to OP's genuine doubts and queries.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 25 at 21:54
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    @Mari-LouA People were writing answers in comments, so that means the question gets locked. Your "dialogue" is not being blocked because this time I actually gave you a chat room. You are perfectly free to continue your chatting where it belongs.
    – tchrist Mod
    Jul 25 at 23:05
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    It was one person, not people. And a chat room is provided for everyone who commented. You're spoiling me, be still my beating heart. Talking for myself: When I see a question with comments I sense a buzz, it looks "attive", I may be drawn to see what the fuss is and sometimes, not always, users' comments give visitors and the OP insights that are not proper answers but give a better understanding of the problem.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 26 at 7:02

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