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Possible Duplicate:
Would it be alright if the mods cleaned up comment clutter?

I'm pretty sure I made a comment on this question, and it's not there now. I think I'm noticing this happening a lot. Can we get an explanation, or get our moderators better trained? At least can we know which moderator is doing these deletions?

I understand the reasons why the comments might be deleted, and this comment did not fall into any of them. Please can moderators stop doing this.

Comments are a record of how particular conclusions were reached. If there is a seeming flaw in a question, someone coming to the question will assume we haven't noticed or addressed it, and maybe post their comment. This will be deleted, and the next person will post another comment, and so on. If we leave comments there, the record is there for people to see.

To be clear, I've been involved in the startup of several SE sites, and I've never seen a comment deletion rate like this.

marked as duplicate by Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 22:13

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • See Also – Richard Sep 21 '11 at 17:40
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    I closed this as a duplicate. No need to split the issue between threads. @DJClayworth: Comments are only supposed to help clarify the original post, not to launch into side conversations. The moderators and community are only more recently getting better at enforcing that (keeping comments on topic). Comments are being increasing viewed as transitory. If a comment improves the post, hopefully that information is edited into the body. If the comments drift into conversations, they should be deleted... It's all part of discouraging users from using comment for their own mini chat system. – Robert Cartaino Sep 21 '11 at 19:32
  • So we are saying that the culture here is changing? That's useful information, not included in the other question. Where do we get to debate over whether this change is a good thing? Or will questions about that be closed too? – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 20:56
  • If you have a specific instance where we made a mistake and you want to bring it to our attention, a separate meta post is fine (although a ping in chat is preferred) but as a general discussion thread, this will be covered in discussion elsewhere as we seek to follow SE recommendations and make this site a better place for the whole community. – Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 23:09
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All moderators (both volunteers and paid SE employees) delete comments regularly.

See this question for much more information on the subject:

Comment Deletion

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    Well then please stop! My comment was in fact drawing the attention of the questioner to a flaw in his question, which was not addressed by the edit. One day we get to vote on moderators, and the current batch are not making themselves popular. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:34
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    "Comments are deleted zealously across the network. This post on MSO outlines why." It's not any individual. It's the culture. – Richard Sep 21 '11 at 17:37
  • The culture of this site is something that the beta is supposed to be defining. I've been involved in the startup of many of these sites, and was an early contributor to StackExchange. I've never seen so many deletions. The culture here appears to be very different, and very much more aggressive, than other sites. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:40
  • That might be why they gave us five moderators... And the fact that we have five moderators might have something to do with the number of deletions. – Richard Sep 21 '11 at 17:42
  • It's hard to believe that it's about the number of moderators. If so, that implies that each moderator feels they need to delete a certain number of comments a day (which would be bad). – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:45
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    This conversation exhibits perfectly why comments should not be deleted. Where would you suggest this conversation be held, if not in comments? And how would you suggest it be preserved if comments are deleted? – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:46
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    In chat. Comments are temporary. You can't expect them to stick around. Permanence should be added to the question or answer. Comments should be used to improve the questions or answers. Meta is a bit different since it's purpose is to discuss ideas. Very few comments have been deleted from Meta because of this. – Richard Sep 21 '11 at 17:48
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    I wasn't aware that chat records were stored permanently, and accessible. Are you sure they are? There certainly isn't an easy way to get from a question to access previous chat about it. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:51
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    From launch: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/1726834#1726834 Also, chat is for conversations. Questions and answers are useful for permanent information. – Richard Sep 21 '11 at 18:21
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    @DJC Chat is permanent once a minimum number of posts in a room is reached, I think 15 or so. Even then, rooms with <15 comments are only soft-deleted. – Mad Scientist Sep 21 '11 at 18:25
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    @DJClayworth: In addition, you can search the chat transcript with the convenient search box in the upper right corner. – El'endia Starman Sep 21 '11 at 18:26
  • Chat doesn't give the immediate accessibility that comments have. With comments, they are right there when you look at the question. Chat is interpreted by most as semi-private conversation. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 19:04
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Yes, you are correct. Quite a few comments were deleted and a couple of them were yours. They were basically obsolete, non-constructive (for today), and old. With regards to how so many comments are being deleted, see this question. Also, I know that Caleb and I leave a note explaining what we did, but the mod who did the deletions didn't do that. I'll ask him to leave a note.

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    Well then please stop! My comment was in fact drawing the attention of the questioner to a flaw in his question, which was not addressed by the edit. One day we get to vote on moderators, and the current batch are not making themselves popular. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:34
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    @DJClayworth: ...wait...all those comments were deleted 6 days ago. And you just now noticed? Also, your comments weren't really said in a mild way, and the OP (Flimzy) actually said that you were misinterpreting what he said, meaning your comments weren't really that useful to him. – El'endia Starman Sep 21 '11 at 17:39
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    Well, I decided not to cloud the argument with suggesting that people are informed when their comments are deleted, but since you bring it up... – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 17:47
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Comments. Are. Disposable.

Moderators doing are encouraged by SE to delete comments for any number of reasons. Frankly SE employees have deleted far more comments than us Pro-Tems have yet -- they delete reams and reams of stuff and then point us to their work for how it's supposed to be done.

However we are encouraged to leave 'breadcrumbs' that show were things have been removed and why. I do this (almost) all the time and I see most other mods do the same. In this case a comment didn't get left and we'll be sure and mention it to that mod.

However, moderator intervention is not the only way comments get deleted. When a comment gets flagged a moderator is notified and we can intervene and do clean up, but if we choose to do nothing and a few more flags collect, they will get automatically get deleted. Any time a comment gets 3 flags from the community (as, so 'obsolete') it will get automatically deleted without a moderator stepping in.

If you want to have a discussion with an OP, invite them to chat, then link the chat conversation later. Every message, room, and even delineated conversations inside rooms have permalinks. Chat messages are typically NOT deleted. Unlike comments, chat is a permanent record of a conversation on a topic.

Lastly, even though I wasn't the one who did comment cleanup there, I can see why it happened. There was a whole string of comments basically bashing on people rather than constructively suggesting corrections or improvements. If you have something that you think should be fixed that did not get addressed in the edit, feel free to comment again. Keep it focused and keep it respectful. However the best place to do this is probably not a comment, but an answer. The OP suggested you try to represent the view you were commenting from in an answer. Answering a question in order to point out a false premise has, historically, been accepted as a valid operation as long as you then go on to answer the question as best it can be with the premise corrected.

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    Repeating the rules (or even adding periods to your statements) in no way addresses the fact that I've seen more deletions from this site than any other site I've been part of. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 20:44
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    @DJClayworth: No other site I've seen has been so prone to people using comments to carry on debates, rag on different beliefs, throw mud at other people, troll, etc. Frankly most of the deletions just have to do with issues that have been addressed and are distracting and non-valuble content for future visitors. The mods are doing the best they can to uphold the SE model of focusing on good QnA. If you can think of a way we can do that better, feel free to let us know. – Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 20:48
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    I believe that by deleting the record of how we reached a particular conclusion, we are compelling people to revisit the issue again and again. If a question has what seems to be a logical flaw, someone will post a comment to that effect. If there is a comment that asks about the flaw, and it is answered in another comment, they will not post about it. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 20:52
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    @DJClayworth Of course! We don't typically delet things that look like valid commentary that haven't been integrated into posts. There might have been a valid point about a logical flaw in the question, but the OP suggested you put that argument into an answer and you weren't very respectful in your reply. The language of your last comment is probably what triggered a flag and a mod that came by and saw the whole thing as obsolete since the comment had been acknowledged and the post updated. How about posting an answer pointing out how to resolve the problem by fixing the logical flaw you see? – Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 21:02
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    The individual comment aside, there is a much bigger issue. As many people have said, there is a much bigger deletion rate here than on other sites. I've had more things deleted and closed on this site than all the other sites put together, and I've seen more. Frankly, I believe this is a problem, and it's not entirely caused by the more highly-charged subject matter - it's also the response of the deleters. – DJClayworth Sep 21 '11 at 21:08

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