This site seems to be much more into deleting comments than other SE sites. Is that the case or is it my imagination?

I'm looking for a factual answer if possible, please.

  • If you have a problem with something that got cleaned up prematurely please be specific so we can fix it. Do understand that in general comments are expendable. See the thread I linked for an official SE staff statement.
    – Caleb
    Oct 23, 2011 at 19:13
  • @Caleb: well, on occasion I make a comment that I am proud of (it's rare!) and then find it has gone. Here was an example. But I wonder if generally comments are deleted too much. But that is probably fodder for a new question... Oct 23, 2011 at 20:12
  • Why downvote? I'm not making a statement, just looking for facts! Oct 24, 2011 at 4:47
  • It looks like your comment there got nuked as part of a long series about that post before it got edited that was mostly no longer relevant. Personally I would have left your comment but at the same time it was a discussiony 1/2 answer. I agree with the comment but that isn't the purpose of the comment system.
    – Caleb
    Oct 24, 2011 at 5:22
  • 1
    @Caleb - no worries. I won't lose any sleep over it, but I personally I think the comment deletion as it stands is overdone, especially when compared to other sites. Hence my question - I wanted some objective data before questioning further. Your answer helps, because it also says why we are experiencing more deletion here (i.e., there are more comments). Oct 24, 2011 at 6:01

3 Answers 3


There are most definitely sites with fewer comments deleted, but every specific site has its own issues and problems that make comparing any two sites a pointless exercise: given any site on the network, there are bound to be several metrics outside the norm for the rest of the network.

Christianity doesn't have the same problems as SciFi or Meta Stack Overflow, and its numbers, whether it's for comment deletions or closure rates or number of people named Bob, are going to be materially different from those two sites (as well as every other site on the network).

All moderation across the network is peer-reviewed as well as reviewed by SE, Inc.: if there was a problem or if Christianity was doing outside the bounds of normal moderation, it would be addressed and corrected. While moderator agreements prohibit moderators from sharing specific data without permission, Christianity's numbers were compared to other sites like Programmers (where I am a moderator) and Gardening (where wax eagle is a moderator) and found to be pretty comparable.


Yes, we delete a lot of comments.

See here: How can we improve our guidance about the comment practices?

We also generate reams more comments than most SE sites do and spawn more chat rooms from excessive comment threads than any other site per capita.

That being said, your noticing this here is probably indicative of your own investment in the subject matter rather than an anomaly in moderator practices here. You will find similar discussions about deleted comments on other metas, particularly on sites that deal with less technical subjects.

  • Thanks. Do you have any data to back that up? Oct 23, 2011 at 19:02
  • 2
    The chat bit you can see for yourself by looking through the chat server. I am not supposed to let out numbers from the moderator control panel, but the comparison is based on chat with moderators from other sites and some looking around. Do you know about the data explorer? We aren't in there yet because we are in beta but if you want interesting site metrics that is the place to go.
    – Caleb
    Oct 23, 2011 at 19:10

Comments are intended to be transient. They are not permanent and should not be considered as such.

Moderators delete comments for a variety of reasons, here a just a few.

  • They obsolete, whatever they were discussing has been resolved through an edit or the parties have agreed to disagree
  • They are potentially offensive. Usually this is in response to a flag, but can also be done at a moderator's discretion. We try to give you the benefit of the doubt, but honestly we are likely to delete borderline comments because we know they are transient.
  • They are too chatty, this is almost always accompanied by an invitation to a chat room on the topic.
  • They are generating a lot of flags or other controversy.

Some things to keep in mind.

  • We try to stay away from conflicts of interest. If one of us is involved in the discussion we try to have another mod step in and evaluate the discussion and decide if anything should be deleted.
  • We aren't deleting things for fun, we are trying to present a clean site. One of the interesting things about SE sites is that they are intended to present good questions and good answers, particularly to Search Engine visitors. A ton of comments below a question makes it hard for someone visiting the site to find the answer.

Anyways, our comment deletion is not something out of the ordinary for SE sites, and its for a purpose, we are trying to keep things clean here and make this a useful site, not just for our regular users, but for our primary audience, search engine visitors.

  • This doesn't answer my question. I know why comments are deleted. I want to know if comments on this site are treated differently to other sites. Oct 24, 2011 at 4:50
  • @Wikis The last paragraph here does address that. No nothing is different here, we are working under the same guidelines as every other site.
    – Caleb
    Oct 24, 2011 at 5:17
  • @Caleb: my perception is that there is a lot more comment deletion here than either at [sci-fi] or at [metastackoverflow]. Oct 24, 2011 at 6:03
  • @Wikis: Meta.SO is a different ball game, meta sites are much more discussion oriented. In fact you will find that in the same spirit, we delete almost no comments from THIS meta site either. Only very egregious comments get removed (only a handful to date).
    – Caleb
    Oct 24, 2011 at 14:49
  • @Caleb - that's a good point. But I was reminded today, looking at [sci-f], at how much comments remain there compared to here. Oct 24, 2011 at 15:08

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