There is no way to disable the built-in Flickr plugin from downloading comments, unfortunately.
I am getting annoying popup windows with an error message saying unable to download comments.
These are due to intermittent errors in Flickr's servers. Flickr's quality of service has been steadily dropping the last many years. I can't upload more than 5 - 50 photos before the upload fails and I have to restart it. I was hoping that SmugMug's acquisition of Flickr from Yahoo / Verizon last spring would start addressing these issues, but I haven't seen any noticeable improvement.
Downloading of comments has always been particularly slow.
I cannot for the life of me see why anyone would as the comments are easy to see on the Flickr website recent activity.
I find downloading of comments invaluable for my digital archive of tens of thousands of photos. The comments get permanently archived in my catalog (in case Flickr disappears in a puff of greasy black smoke in the future), and I can quickly search the comments (using my Any Comment plugin), sometimes years after they were made. I publish portions of the archive on multiple services, so having them consolidated is a real help.
Please someone from Adobe can you action a change. This surely is a simple few lines of code in the Lightroom Publishing Manager preferences pane for Flickr.
You can post a feature request in the official Adobe feedback forum: Lightroom Classic CC | Photoshop Family Customer Community . Adobe product developers read everything posted there and sometimes reply, but they rarely read this forum.
Adobe has paid little attention to the Flickr plugin over the years. You might consider this third-party Flickr plugin, which is much better supported, has more features, and recently added the option for disabling the download of comments: Jeffrey Friedl's Blog » Jeffrey’s “Export to Flickr” Lightroom Plugin
Thanks John, I'll give Jeffrey's plugin a go.