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I've noticed some comments of mine have been deleted. In this question the comments were, from memory

  • a comment that marking the question as a duplicate did not make sense
  • a comment that RichardU's answer that the answer overly simplified the issue
  • a comment that RichardU's answer was bad (my opinion, of course, you might find his answer fine - that's not what I'm discussing)

I'd like to ask why these comments were deleted. I'd also like to ask why we don't have a system where I'm informed that my comments have been deleted - I think that comments getting removed is normally the first step toward banning someone, but it seems a bit stealthy.

marked as duplicate by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, David K, DarkCygnus, Mister Positive Mar 28 '18 at 14:01

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  • 2
    with regards to comments removal being first step to banning, this is only the case if many of these are flagged as rude / abusive and if (that's quite a big BIG if) if moderators agree with these flags. Though even in this case it can hardly qualify as a first step because true first step (at least for established user accounts) is a mod message suggesting to change commenting style – gnat Mar 21 '18 at 20:40
  • 1
    @gnat thanks for clarifying. ah, I hope you don't mind if I mention that, hilariously your answer is a comment :) – bharal Mar 21 '18 at 20:49
  • Related: Be nice policy – Retired Codger Mar 21 '18 at 21:22
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    comments at meta work a bit differently than at main site (among many other things) – gnat Mar 22 '18 at 12:19

I'd like to ask why these comments were deleted

The comments were:

@dukeling how is this possibly a duplicate of the given link??????? – bharal 6 hours ago

This was flagged by someone. Two things here.

First, I find that adding ???????? to the end of your question strongly implies a "how could you be so dumb!" tone for the comment, amplified by the phrasing of "possibly." Whether or not it was well intended the tone of this comment is not at all one which suggests "hey, let's talk about whether this is a duplicate" but more "you idiot this isn't a duplicate."

Second, and less important, comments arguing on the on-topicness of questions belong on meta -- not polluting comment threads.

@Mister what if they got the applications mixed up? what if that's handled by someone in hr, who you'd otherwise never work with? this answer throws baby out with bathwater, then blames baby for it. – bharal 6 hours ago

This was flagged on an answer.

It's basically a comment that says "this answer is wrong" - if you read through the comment purpose, which is summarized every time you type one:

enter image description here

It doesn't really suggest an improvement but more just says "this sucks."

@RichardU i mean, dress a bad answer up all you want, but... – bharal 6 hours ago

This one was actually deleted by enough community flag votes (I deleted the first two based on flags). I think that speaks for itself when enough non-moderators find a comment problematic enough that the system itself auto deletes them.

I think that comments getting removed is normally the first step toward banning someone, but it seems a bit stealthy.

Rarely is this the case. When a user has enough problematic comments, normal "escalation" looks like:

  1. Contact user privately informing them that they've had enough activity recently which has generated attention (this is a warning)
    • Often this involves dialog back and forth when users do not know what this refers to
  2. If problematic behavior continues, user is suspended.

It is rare to skip step (1) and normally this is when someone is posting content which is undeniably controversial/problematic and a suspension is need to stop the behavior continuing.


Comments are for improving questions and answers. If your comments are disappearing and you have not deleted them, they have either been flagged by the community, deleted by moderators, or both.

Multiple flags for "rude or abusive" will automatically delete comments. Multiple deletions for being rude or abusive may result in action from the moderators. Usually, this takes the form of the moderators reaching out to you first and advising you of your infractions. The best way to avoid this is to keep your comments polite, on topic, and relevant to the purpose of comments.

Most deletions, however, are routine cleaning up of the Q&A. Deletion of comments are not an indication of anything other than this routine cleaning, again, unless you are being rude or abusive and are not a "first step" towards anything.

As to why your particular comments were deleted, if they were rude, then it's fair to assume that they would be flagged as such.

As to why there is no system for notification of the deletion of comments, as I said above, the cleaning of comments is routine and they are designed to be ephemeral, and therefore notification of their deletion is unnecessary.


I'd also like to ask why we don't have a system where I'm informed that my comments have been deleted - I think that comments getting removed is normally the first step toward banning someone

Comments are never meant to be permanent, so a system where you get an explanation is unrealistic,

Don't worry about it being a ban signal, I've had plenty of comments deleted and still managed to squeak through.

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