Recently, an "answer" that was wrong in several ways was posted and several people commented on how wrong it was. Currently after twenty downvotes, the person who posted it and someone else are alternately deleting and restoring an edit complaining about the downvotes.

But all the comments are gone, and they are not in chat. Seems to me the reasons for the downvotes should not be deleted.

  • Can you clarify what you are taking about? Or if you prefer, can you flag the post or question if you'd rather it be anonymous?
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 22:56
  • I'd prefer this to be about why/whether that can happen (and should it?) than about how bad is a newbie's only post.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:30
  • 2
    The problem is there is no context for what you are describing and it isn't clear to me what you are talking about.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:31
  • @enderland Remember that you can check the review page to view low-voted posts. It's about this one
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:48
  • Well, I followed the "anonymous" route, but since it's been outed, note what kind of edits were made in addition to the comments (if the deleted comments are retrievable). I'm against deleting bad answers unless they are dangerously bad, but if the "answerer" is lying or ignorant, comments saying so protect readers who are ignorant or gullible. (Of course the down votes help.)
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 23:51
  • The down votes are sufficient to indicate "no". Explanation of why not probably belongs in an actual Answer.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 14:13
  • Having the refutations of a wrong answer attached to it is better than making the reader scroll around hunting to see if anyone disagrees. But if the person who deleted them agrees with you, he/she should have put them in an answer instead of making them disappear completely. Also, explanations of down votes should not be removed; how can people improve if we're only allowed to tell them “You're wrong, or we don’t like you or you haven’t expressed it well, but we won’t tell you which“?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 15:04
  • You seem to have missed the tooltip that shows up when you downvote: "Please consider leaving a comment so that moderators can delete it."
    – Masked Man
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:25
  • 1
    That answer was largely flame-bait, and entirely successful in that regard. Comments are for improving the answer through constructive comments. Nothing good came from this particular answer or it's comments. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


The overwhelming majority of that comment thread was inane and not worth keeping. It also attracted enough "rude/offensive" flags to generate a system auto-generated flag, even before it had enough comments to generate the "more than 20 comments flag."

Comments are not intended to prevent other people on the Internet being wrong. Particularly when there are comments like "it's downright WRONG" - comments like this provide zero value whatsoever that a downvote doesn't provide.

If you disagree with an answer there are a few things to do:

  • Post an alternative answer (I see you have done this)
  • Downvote (because voting is anoynmous, I don't know whether you have, but I do recommend it if you disagree with the answer)
  • Comment with suggested improvements or requests for clarification
    • Note that "you are an idiot" or "you are wrong" or meta discussions about things that aren't related to the question/answer do NOT fall into this category. I'm slightly generalizing the quality of the comments on that answer, but barely.
    • If you must, post factual errors without emotional commentary. From my perspective this appears to be incredibly difficult given the quantity of emotionally charged "you idiot" comments we see as moderators.

Stack Exchange is not intended to be a discussion board where arguments take place about things.

Regarding the edits, answers are not the place for meta information like they were trying to do. The rollbacks were appropriate. If this continues, flagging the answer for moderator attention is also appropriate (although I believe that answer is close to automatically generating a system flag for rollback wars).

  • Most of the comments DID say why it was wrong. Now none of them do. And none of them were as "rude and offensive" as the first version of the (wrong) answer. A down vote does not point out that an "answer" contains several false statements. It says that it MAY have that, or it MAY be irrelevant or it MAY be written by someone the downvoter doesn't like or …. Pop-up recommends we explain which of those apply. Removing those explanations goes against that. Perhaps many "inane" comments were added after the last time I saw it. If so, why remove the numerous good ones.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:11
  • 3
    There were two comments there that were remotely appropriate in terms of providing that sort of constructive criticism to the answer. I have undeleted them. Note that there are still TWENTY deleted comments on the answer, all of which are not worth undeleting.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:24
  • Having read more than two, I disagree, but this argument has gone on long enough.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 22:16
  • Speaking generally, comments that say "This is factually wrong because X, Y and Z" should be perfectly fine.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 14:53
  • @Lilienthal speaking generally, I agree. That generalization doesn't apply to the deleted comments here, though. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 19:39
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio Of course, I didn't follow this particular situation at all and can't view deleted comments, I just wanted to clarify that as far as I know commenting to explain the problems a post has is fine, as long as that's really what you're doing (i.e. you're not just jumping on the insult bandwagon).
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 20:20
  • @Lilienthal I clarified
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 0:09

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