I asked a question on Workplace SE. I got a great comment from the Indian guy (it was the first comment under my question). Later I got in an argument with a person who made irrelevant edits to my question. Moderator jmort253 came in and deleted everything, including the first comment, that was probably the most relevant answer to my question.

I understand why he deleted the argument, but why did he delete the relevant comment? Is there any rule on Stack Exchange that justifies such "moderation"?

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    Comments are temporary and should not be relied on to be permanent. Having said that though, it probably shouldn't have been deleted. – Qantas 94 Heavy Nov 15 '13 at 11:08
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    If the comment was so important it should've been left as an answer. Comments are second-class citizens on StackExchange. – JonW Nov 15 '13 at 11:08
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    JonW, Qantas - since when are comments "temporary" or "second class"? Sorry sounds too subjective (even nonsensely to me). Any FAQ support? – Tomas Nov 15 '13 at 11:17
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    meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=%22second+class+citizens%22 @Tomas Or, from the comments FAQ "Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. You should not expect them to be around forever" – Bart Nov 15 '13 at 11:18
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    consider flagging your question using custom flag and appropriate explanation asking to undelete comment in flag message – gnat Nov 15 '13 at 11:47
  • If comments "are temporary and should not be relied on to be permanent", if you think your comments were useful for the readers of this question then why why writing them as a comment? – Franck Dernoncourt Nov 26 '13 at 17:48

That's no big deal. Even moderators aren't perfect.

It was probably deleted by mistake along with the other comments. You can flag your question and explain your concern. The comment can be undeleted.

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    Even moderators are human would be more appropriate. – devnull Nov 15 '13 at 11:12
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    @devnull though not necessarily correct. – Bart Nov 15 '13 at 11:13
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    @Bart Very few things in the world are definite. – devnull Nov 15 '13 at 11:14
  • @devnull: I think he refers to the community user that is a moderator and a robot. – juergen d Nov 15 '13 at 11:15
  • @juergend Oh! Then I should've rather said: Even bots are moderators. – devnull Nov 15 '13 at 11:16
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    @juergend And Bill is a Lizard of course. – Bart Nov 15 '13 at 11:17
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    @juergend I wish mods could write a custom message while declining flags rather than a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it! – devnull Nov 15 '13 at 11:22
  • @devnull: I am not a moderator but I think they can write custom messages. They just use snippets often. I stand to be corrected. – juergen d Nov 15 '13 at 11:25
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    @juergend I'm not suggesting that you're wrong, but it seems that they never use the custom message in that event. I've never seen one (and yes, have quite a few declined flags too!). – devnull Nov 15 '13 at 11:27
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    They can on a rejected flag afaik. And Shog recently did so on a helpful flag, causing all sorts of "fun". But he's not a "regular" moderator. – Bart Nov 15 '13 at 11:27

Comments aren't intended to be answers to questions; they are intended to clarify and improve the question. They should be used to ask for any missing information, explanations of ambiguous wordings, or to suggest other improvements.

Users can also improve a question by editing it directly, which is a core feature of the Stack Exchange model. Several good-faith edits were made to your question in order to improve it. As worded, you were simply asking for opinoins on a situation, which are discouraged (and, as you can see with your question, get closed by the community).

The disscussion going on in the comments got hostile pretty quickly, so I'd definitely consider jmort's action to be the correct course. TheSilverBullet can re-post his response as an answer if desired. It could then be voted up, and you could even mark it as the accepted answer to the question!


Welcome to The Workplace SE, Tomas! I'm the moderator who deleted the comments on the question, and I wanted to take a moment to clarify points regarding comments.


The post was flagged by a community member asking for a comment cleanup. We have an active community of users who support keeping comments on-topic, and those folks regularly flag stuff that's out of place. In short, I generally don't do comment cleanups unless there are flags that specifically point out areas that need attention on our site. On Workplace SE, we outlined our approach to comments early on to prevent this Q&A site from becoming misinterpreted as a discussion forum.

From What "comments" are not...:

Comments are not for answers

Comments are not a substitute for answering questions. Comments cannot easily be searched, nor can they be edited for corrections or vetted with the community vote. There's no history, no reputation awarded, nor can they be 'accepted' as the best answer. They get little visibility but often keep users from posting proper answers because the question appears to be resolved… albeit, incorrectly. Further, those comment-answers will not bring new users to this site searching for the information. In short, you are hurting rather than helping the site, and your contribution is at great risk of being lost/deleted.

Our goal is to ensure content posted here scales and can help future visitors. As a question asker, having your question not only serve your needs but also serve the needs of hundreds or thousands of future readers is something to be proud of. If you've ever done a search for an answer on Google and had to wade through pages of garbage to finally find your answer on page 18, 1/4 of the way down the page, you'll know exactly what I mean by forums not scaling. :) By focusing only on properly vetted answers, we eliminate the problems faced by users searching for answers in forums.

As mentioned earlier, answers don't belong in comments, but I did retrieve it for your reference in case you or someone else would like to post it as an answer.

If you feel like you need to ask, please do. Or simple "how are you doing?" or "how are things with you?" will help. Losing a parent is a heavy burden, which mostly people don't mind sharing. (I'm Indian) – TheSilverBullet 21 hours ago

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    jmort, your answer is a long justification but I actually don't see a single argument for deleting a relevant comment. I can only agree to what other user on META said, "If moderators routinely react to flags by indiscriminately deleting all of them, then we have a problem. That wasn't my understanding of how comment cleanup works." – Innate Imunity is The Way Nov 23 '13 at 14:10
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    Answers just simply don't belong in comments. They discourage real answers from being posted in the answers section when others come by and see such comments. An example of a relevant comment would be one that helps you improve your post or one that seeks clarification because it's unclear. With that said, I've restored the comment, but please understand that comments on Workplace SE are generally treated as temporary, and there's no guarantee it won't be removed again in the future by myself or another moderator. Hope this helps clarify, and sorry about your colleague's Dad. – jmort253 Nov 23 '13 at 18:39
  • Thanks jmort for your empathy and undeletion of the comment. It was frustrating for me especially around this question. You are correct though that it should have been an answer; but in that case you, as a moderator, could consider converting it to answer instead of deleting it. This particular comment has been very useful to me. – Innate Imunity is The Way Nov 23 '13 at 18:42
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    Unfortunately, I can't convert comments to answers. But I edited it into Joe's answer so it's preserved, just in case. Anyway, I understand your frustration and hope you'll continue to participate now that you understand more about how we view comments. If you ever do see a good comment that you think should be an answer, please feel free to @ping those folks to encourage them to do so. :) – jmort253 Nov 23 '13 at 18:53

Seems rather odd to paste a few comments onto the end of an answer. I would have thought a moderator could re-open a question, paste in the comment as a new answer, then close the question again.

But hopefully it helps Tomas. I know helping the original question writer isn't really the primary goal of workplace.stackexchange, but perhaps this is a good enough resolution.

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    I thought about doing that, but I thought it would just be easier to edit yours, especially since yours was the accepted answer. If it's a problem, I could open it and paste it in as a community wiki answer. I can do that if you really don't want that in your answer, just let me know. :D But just so everyone is on the same page, that answer would be associated to me, not TheSilverBullet. I can't post as another user. – jmort253 Nov 24 '13 at 3:40
  • It's not a problem for me. It just seems to make for a disjoint accepted answer. If this best meets the SEO needs of workplace.stackexchange, so be it. (Edit) Not sure why, but apparently some folks decided to delete the question. So I suppose your work is moot anyway. – Joe Strazzere Nov 24 '13 at 23:20

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