I want to know what the "official" definition here is, of "extended discussions", because when the comments under an answer are being used to further troubleshoot or gain relevance to said answer, and then some moderator moves the comments to a chat, making it more difficult to discuss because you now have to flip back and forth between the main post and the chat, trying to correlate between the two. If the comments are actually being used purely for conversational purposes, I'm in agreement with moving them to chat, but when they pertain solely to the answer or original question being asked, I think they need to stay with the main question.
Thanks for raising this here, as it's always good to try and hash these things out.
Since you're referring to the fact the comments to this answer were moved to chat, and since I'm the moderator responsible for that decision, I'd like to start by saying that this was a 50/50 scenario for me.
We had started getting flags about the number of comments on this post (22 comments from memory), so we really needed to take a closer look.
Stack Exchange sites are designed deliberately to not work like forums. Instead they work best when posts are presented as a question followed by one or more answers. The aim is to make this site one of the best (if not the best) resources for finding solutions to issues people have with their Apple products or services. And, having a question and/or answer followed by a lengthy discussion does not achieve that for most end users who really just come here looking for a solution to their problem.
So, in summary I am guided by the fact that Stack Exchange sites:
...allow for limited discussion in the form of comments: if you can resolve a dispute or tease out the real question in a few short messages, then it usually works... and works better still if you can then update the question/answer to reflect what was agreed upon. But regardless of purpose, long, involved conversations are, by design and by decree, discouraged.
In summary, while I agree the discussion was relevant to this post, I had to weigh up the user experience overall and the best way to preserve the thought processes involved in the troubleshooting process. By moving the comments to chat I sought to:
- improve the user experience of those who may come across the question looking for an answer, as it significantly reduces the amount of scrolling and hopefully results in them getting to the answer up front*
- preserve the comments – whereas leaving them as comments below the post risks some of them being displayed out of order (because the system automatically collapses the list of comments and provides a link to show more comments) or, in some cases, being deleted by users even though they're still relevant.
* That is, once the discussion is over the answer should be edited to provide the final solution without the user needing to read through all of the comments.
However, moderators are only human and we can all make mistakes. I see you've flagged this to have the comments returned, so if another Mod wants to revisit this and reverse my action, I would be totally fine with it.
As I said, this was a 50/50 case for me, especially since there were only two of you commenting, and I concede that I could have just waited a while to see if you guys ended up getting to a final solution and cleaning things up.
As an aside, just to address the fake moderator comment – all users of the site have a role to play in moderation. It's true that as they earn more reputation points they do gain more privileges, including more moderation privileges. However, those of us who have a diamond against our name are actually elected moderators. That is, they're elected by the community and have additional moderation tools regardless of how much reputation they have.