I looked all over SE Meta and couldn't find a definitive answer there or via Google, so hopefully one the more seasoned SE users knows this. Is there a way to move a comment thread to chat once things start to get chatty/off topic? Is it buried in the site interface somewhere? Is it a mod-only action?

I know a suggestion kicks in once the size of the thread to get too large, but I'd like preemptively do this before the suggestion happens.

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If you don't see the suggestion (which anyway would not move the comments to a chat room, but rather create a chat room containing a copy of the comments, when there are two users replying to each other), you don't have a way to move the comments in a chat room, if not by flagging the post for moderation attention.

Keep in mind that a post with more than 20 comments will be automatically flagged for moderation attention. So, you normally don't need to do anything about those posts with too much comments.

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