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Search lists currently show the total votes, answers and views. I think the number of comments would be a very useful addition, possibly more useful in practice than the number of views.

Questions frequently generate a lot of discussion without conclusive answers being reached, so it would be helpful to see at a glance if a question has generated a lot of activity.

Comments can often help a viewer with a related problem, even when they don't fully answer the original question.

  • I agree, some questions are mostly answered in the comments and the commenter didn't actually answer it. A full cleanup is a good idea but may be too time consuming. – QuyNguyen2013 Nov 12 '14 at 1:15
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I agree that we should see the comment count on the search screen, but for a different purpose than just 'seeing activity on a question'. Comments aren't great things to have lots of. I'd like to see comment counts to know that I might need to extract vital info out of them, and edit that information into the post proper.

The Stack Exchange commenting system is meant for clarification of the question/answer and not extended discussion. By design, comments don't have revision history, nor are they backed up - should they be removed they are lost forever.

Thus, wherever possible we should be:

  1. Editing vital information (system specs etc) into the question
  2. Prompt an Answerer to edit information back into the answer
  3. If the question is 'answered' in the comments, prompt relevant parties to add it as an answer

The only thing I would add to this feature request is: Change the text colour for the comments count, with higher number of comments displaying in deeper shades of red. That way, it will become very obvious which questions have too many comments.

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    I agree that too many comments are unlikely to be useful, which is why the count would be such a benefit on the search results. Often comments are "Have you tried...?", which is not an answer, but may be very relevant to others viewing the question. I agree that the comment count should be in a different colour from the answer and view counts, though I don't see much advantage in colour-coding the size of the number. – AFH Nov 12 '14 at 12:55
  • The benefits of comments aren't mutually exclusive. The count can be useful both because it indicates the presence of input and because that presence might need cleanup. IMHO, comment count would be useful on the front page. Views reflect how catchy or promising the title is. Comments reflect something actually done when the viewer got there. – fixer1234 Nov 15 '14 at 19:34
  • @fixer1234 - You're right, they're not, I was just raising another good reason for having comments on the search page :). I'm not convinced the front-page needs them though. If you think so, you should elaborate on your reasons in an answer :) – Robotnik Nov 16 '14 at 8:35
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While comment count may serve some useful purpose, I believe any value it brings to the front page is outweighed by the interface clutter it would introduce. The front pages of Super User and other Stack Exchange sites are intuitive and sleek, which is worth a lot. Introducing further information (4 values instead of 3 for each question) would be the first step away from intuitive and toward cluttered.

This may sound like a simplistic treatment of the suggestion, but I think it's important to consider before making any changes to the front page.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I agree about the dangers of clutter, but in some ways the number of views could already be regarded as clutter, and personally I would find the comment count more useful. What, after all, is the value of knowing the number of views? Either the title is of interest to a reader, especially if there is an answer, or it isn't. The number of other people who find it interesting is largely irrelevant. – AFH Nov 14 '14 at 23:15
  • Wait, are we talking about the front page or the search page? I also don't agree that it should be shown on the front-page. The search page however, I believe that it would be worthwile (for the points stated in my answer) – Robotnik Nov 15 '14 at 3:11
  • @Robotnik - Indeed I wasn't talking about the front page: this has only votes and answers, so certainly doesn't need complicating. I meant the search page, which currently shows the view count, and I contend that this is less useful to someone looking for an answer than the comment count. – AFH Nov 20 '14 at 12:38

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