I really despise the workplace due to the amount of comments moved to chat even when the comments are on topic. This of all the SE sites is probably the most notorious for moving very relevant comments to the chat. I had some comments on this question:

Fired because your skills are too far above your coworkers

And the OP actually liked many of my comments and it helped establish what type of person this is and how he can overcome the issues. Yet a mod of course has to move the comments to chat.

Please stop it or risk losing a LOT of people who don't agree with you! Sorry for the rant but I'm tired of it.

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    If you do not like the social norms of an online community of volunteers, you're free and welcome to dissociate from it. I disagree that a discussion of the type of person an original asker is, is relevant to answering a general question. Given your activity on The Workplace, you don't have enough experience with it to make judgements about the entirety of it.
    – user53718
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:44
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    Rory to me this site (Workplace) is the only site where you literally have to second guess about clicking the add comment button. Its almost like users are scared to post on this site. Its a lot different then most SE sites, including SO, the main SE site.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:47
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    Seems like your expectations about comments don't match the current policies. I guess that's a reason for you to despise the site. I think if you stick around, you'll probably get used to it. Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:49
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    If you want something to stay, make it in answer. Comments are for improving the questions or subsequent answers and are ephemeral by nature Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:39
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    If you don't understand enough about SE to call moderators by their correct title (who are "admins"?), then it comes as no surprise that you haven't understood the policy around comments, either.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 23:35
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    Maybe you should rephrase your comments and craft a real Answer out of them? That way, they aren't temporary any longer, and won't be moved to Chat. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 0:19
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    I despised that question. OP like a comment does not mean it is a comment that should be kept.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 14:48
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    The topic of comments and the label of the button has been discussed before. See: meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/a/2750/7777 Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:32

5 Answers 5


Jon - comments are not permanent! This is a general SE policy. Comments are to request clarification. Otherwise everything rapidly gets unreadable.

If you have something worth keeping that's currently in a comment, move it into the question or answer, and delete the comment to clean it up.

Please read https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/140033/154443


What are comments?

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. They can be up-voted (but not down-voted) and flagged, but do not generate reputation. There's no revision history, and when they are deleted they're gone for good.

Please note that you can always comment on your own posts, and any part of your questions. However, commenting on other people's posts is a privilege.

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).
  • This is a very unclear policy and if that is the case then comments should be renamed to "clarifications to question..." come on the point of comments is to make a comment. When I see a button to add a comment it means I want to comment. You will need to change the user interface if comment isn't and doesn't really mean comments. You'll have to go to each and every answer across all the SE sites to impose such a horrible idea.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:44
  • Rory even if I read them, the UI says opposite. To me it says "Add Comment".
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:45
  • It doesn't verify what you posted. It just says they are post it notes, it doesn't say they are there to only ask for clarification. Thumbs down.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:47
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    Absolutely nothing about the word or idea of "comment" suggests they would need to be permanent or that they are unrestricted. That you interpret a UI one way when there is explicit clarification of the meaning and when others obviously don't share your interpretation, suggests the issue is entirely on your side.
    – user53718
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:48
  • Rory, my point was not whether they are deleted my point was about what you mentioned when you said comments are only to be used for clarification and that is wrong.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:49
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    I've had my comments deleted from this (and some other) sites so often I'm considering posting nothing but answers in the future if I have something meaningful to say. I'm a moderator on Stack Overflow, where we have our share of extended comment chains, and I have to say I'm a bit baffled by the aggressive stance that The Workplace moderators take towards extended comment chains. Moving civil, on-topic comments to chat solely because of their length, and then deleting them if people post further comments, is very disruptive, and frankly, I don't see the peril that is being defended against. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 5:18
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    @RobertHarvey your Stack Overflow experience is totally irrelevant here. If you want fair comparison, first request Shog to implement proper "penalization" instead of dirty hack made only to push SO questions from hot list in a few hours. And after SO questions start hanging in spotlight of HNQ (and attracting comments because of that) for days or weeks like it is here - after that get back to us and tell us how it is great to have comments over there
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 8:18
  • @gnat in the meantime continue deleting relevant comments like you guys have been cause you know us contributors have all the free time in the world to post stuff only to have it removed later. What a waste of time. The workplace is a disaster when it comes to the way you guys administer it. And if i say so myself Robert does an excellent job on SO. Maybe you guys can take and learn from the way he handles things.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:05
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    @JonH - I can see your point. It's frustrating for someone new to have content removed due to the rules not being clear. Perhaps it's possible to make changes to the UI. I would ask that you (or someone else) post that as an objective feature request, perhaps demonstrating how the UI could be tweaked. It could be as easy as help text in the comment box explaining what comments are for. There's no guarantee it would be implemented but we can try. In the meantime, it's our policy on this site to reduce the amount of noise and clutter as Q&A is the goal, not discussion. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:29
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    @jmort253 FWIW I posted some notes on what I think is lacking (pretty badly) in move comments to chat feature in this MSE discussion. 'System probably needs a way to "promote" worthy chat rooms and help readers see them. "Here is an important discussion related to this post, follow this link to find it"...'
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:33
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    JonH - alternatively, please realise that all Stack Exchange sites are different. Yes, the mods over on SO do an amazing job (and I wouldn't want that job) but their approach would not work on various other sites. You think Workplace is a disaster, but many thousands disagree, so maybe it's just that you need to learn this site's ways, and how they differ to SO, rather than ranting at the established mores here.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:40
  • @RoryAlsop or you guys need to relax on removing comments that even the OP finds helpful. Its two sided here so stop being so one sided on this. This isn't a post about JonH vs the workplace. Yes believe it or not this is a real request for you guys to stop removing content that HELPS people. Its a comment, thats what the button says "Add Comment" and thats what people do - they add comments. Want to know why you guys are constantly having to do this - because its there for people to do. If you don't want to allow people to comment get rid of the button..otherwise continue wasting time.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:17
  • @JonH Regardin jmort253's helpful suggestion to make a feature request, as someone who has waded into meta.stackexchange a few times too many unprepared for the massive downvoting that followed, I would advise that before making a request there (if you're asking for a sitewide feature), make sure you're willing to take a decent hit to your rep on that stack, because feature requests often get downvoted very heavily, and once people start answering your question, you can't delete it. So I would only post there if you're comfortable with losing 10, 20, 40, or more rep points on that stack.
    – bob
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:10
  • I am curious: why do comments/questions/(and even rants) about the way things are done on SE almost always turn into a strong defensive response? This is an honest question. Is it because SE power users and mods are putting in a lot of hard work that the rest of us don't see and are reasonably frustrated by suggestions they think will make their life worse? Again, honest question here because I've asked questions like this one before with similar results. And I can see both sides. On the one hand people asking for the same thing over and over must be annoying...
    – bob
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:14
  • ...and on the other hand, if people are asking for the same things over and over, it could signal unmet customer demand, and thus the need for a more radical change, e.g. as JonH suggested, renaming "Comments", which is btw valid within the context of other sites wherein Comments are pretty much universally permanent, not transient like they are here at SE. So it's arguable that SE is violating the UX principle of least surprise by making comments transient and for improving questions only.
    – bob
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 20:16

I have had a handful of run-ins with the moderators over comment deletion, but, by and large, they perform their role well. Your complaint seems to be the result of a misunderstanding of the purpose of comments, so here's a Meta post (on StackExchange) to help you: How do comments work?

I have to wonder why you care so strongly about comments getting moved, or even deleted. They don't add to your reputation, and are hardly searchable. If OP has addressed the points raised in the comments, they have served their purpose, so what else do you want to gain from them?

If you believe that your comments carry value even beyond improving the OP's post, all you need to do is make them into an answer (or in some cases, you might even have to convert them into new questions). You would be pleased to hear that moderators can't move those into chat.

Finally, sorry, a lot of people don't agree with your disagreement. We are not going to lose a "lot" of people over what is essentially a non-issue of someone complaining because they do not (yet) understand how the site works.

  • I don't really care for rep (whether for answers or for comments) I just feel we lose a lot of understanding (sometimes yes outside of the question) to aid in a question. Many times I even wonder am I really looking at the question I once commented on since they are drastically changed so much - and I notice it mainly on this site. I won't mention any names but there are a few mods on this site that do it all too much yet they are free to make their own comments and no one can say a thing about it. Double standard and its difficult to have this.
    – JonH
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 17:57
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    I don't get your issue. If you post a comment pointing out a mistake in the question, and the OP corrects it, why do you still want the comment to stick around? What "understanding" do you lose if the comment gets deleted after its purpose has been served?
    – Masked Man
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 18:01
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    Another thing we encourage the community to do is this: If there's something in the comments relevant to the question, edit it into the post. The goal of comments is to help an author improve their post, or to seek clarity. Once the clarity is found, putting it in the post body makes sure it's searchable, easily readable, and in a clear "knowledge-base" format.
    – jmort253
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:32

I despise “The Workplace” thanks to the admins who move comments to chat

If I understand correctly, you don't like the fact that comments are not permanent. You might get a better reception for your question here if you reworded it to emphasize that change to policy/process/UI.

It doesn't make any sense to use the word "despise", unless you are just venting.

And it doesn't make any sense to blame the admins who are just doing what they are instructed to do with comments.

Personally, I agree with you that comments should be permanent, and I believe I've mentioned that in the past. I'd probably upvote a Meta question that made a cogent argument about changing that feature. You might be interested in this discussion: Our Comments Problem

I personally delete all of my comments that are more than a few days old, so as not to add to the comment problem.

But I don't own the site, so I don't make the rules. And I certainly don't complain about the admins/moderators who are just following the rules.

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    You delete your own comments? Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 13:24
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    @WorkerDrone this is generally considered normal and welcome, see for example this badge proposal, this proposal for SE Quality Project and Cleanup Crew hat description: "earned by deleting 10 of your own comments on posts that fulfill certain criteria..."
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 14:12
  • @gnat - is everyone supposed to delete their comments? Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:49
  • @WorkerDrone it is desirable but since the system doesn't make deletion of own outdated comments convenient it is considered okay to leave them (to flaggers and moderators to occasionally take care of them)
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:54
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    @WorkerDrone - yes, I delete my own comments after a few days. That way, I'm not adding to "our comment problem". Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:20
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    @WorkerDrone meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2691/… "Make it a point to clean up your comments once they've served their purpose. For instance, if you've edited a post to include information from the comments, flag those comments as obsolete and/or delete them if they're your own."
    – user30031
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 21:58
  • @DoritoStyle - interesting. First I've heard of that. Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 13:01

You may find this aspect of the guidelines annoying, but others (myself included) find it to be a blessing.

Stack Exchange is not built for discussion.

The Workplace is easily in the top 25%[1] of all Stack Exchange sites as far as traffic is concerned, and as such it can not preserve the amount of comments received while maintaining the core values of the network (Unchecked, posts would quickly devolve into discussions which is the opposite of what the network values in the end).

The Q/A should be able to stand on it's own.

Discussion is only useful on the main site to the point that it improves the Questions & Answers. After that point, once the Q/A is updated, the comments have small value. If they can't directly improve the Question or Answer then they're not as useful as they may seems (even for context).

Extended discussions belong in chat rooms

Chat offers some measure of persistent context (Especially if specific rooms are created for individual questions & answers (Which is how the mods handle such instances when comments need to be moved). After things have been hashed out a bit, the main site posts can be updated and hopefully everyone is more on the same page about what is needed going forward.

[1]: #34 out of 161 sites by my count


I have seen neither rhyme nor reason in a lot of the comment deletions, but que sera sera, I'm not a moderator, I just assume they're doing it in good faith for some reason beyond an itchy finger.

There's no point getting upset over things like this. Save your ammunition for a worthier battle.

If you make a comment that is particularly good and addresses issues very well, add it to the answer, assuming it is your answer. If it's a great comment that absolutely destroys someone else's answer. Make your own answer and incorporate it.

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