As a Stack Overflow user who wanders over to Workplace sometimes via the Hot Network Questions section, I'm not sure I understand the commenting norms here, and would like to present a case study.
I recently commented, twice, on the answer at https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/119260/25356 to point out a misconception that in my view invalidates the entire logic of an answer. The question there is about encouraging coworkers to follow the nohello protocol in chat: that is, initiating a conversation with a question instead of saying "hi" and then typing the question. The purpose of this - spelled out by both the nohello website and the OP of the linked question - is to spare the recipient the need to wait and twiddle their thumbs while their interlocutor types out their question, depicted in the example chat on the website as a nearly 2-minute wait. In the words of the website,
It's as if you called someone on the phone and said "Hi!" and then put them on hold!
Based on their own characterization of what nohello is for, the answerer doesn't get this, and has given an answer premised on the belief that the "problem" being solved by nohello is - in their own words:
the 10 seconds of additional time required for the brief exchange of greeting
As such, their answer is to recommend that the OP follows what I guess they see as a compromise when interacting with a coworker who doesn't like nohello:
My advice is to adhere to your "nohello" policy with her when you initiate conversations with her, but to respect her own communication preferences when she's initiating the communication.
This makes sense when viewed with the answerer's stated misconception of what nohello is for. However, it's pointless and illogical in light of the actual purpose of nohello, as described by the blogger who came up with the protocol. I commented about this, with a comment like:
You've misunderstood nohello, and consequently your compromise - that the OP should initiate conversations using nohello style with their coworker who doesn't like it, but not request the same in return - makes no sense. The point of nohello, spelled out clearly at http://www.nohello.com/, is to spare the person being asked a question the need to wait several minutes between "hi" and the question. As such, there's no reason for the OP to use nohello when initiating a conversation with her colleague; doing so doesn't help the OP, and just violates her colleague's preferences for no reason.
(The wording above is probably inexact, since I can't view my deleted comments, but captures the spirit of what was written.)
This comment got flagged and deleted, so I reposted it, and now it's been deleted again.
Some observations about this comment:
- The point it's making is probably non-obvious to a casual reader.
- It's also about as objective as I can imagine any criticism on Workplace being. The answer is logically flawed due to being - explicitly - based upon an assumption about the purpose of nohello that contradicts the purpose spelled out by the OP and the nohello website.
- Its content could not reasonably be put into an answer, because it isn't one; it's a criticism of faulty logic in one particular answer, but not in itself an answer to the question.
- The comment doesn't in any way seek to improve the answer, nor can it be (non-disingenuously) framed as a suggestion for improvement. It's pointing out a mistake of reasoning that invalidates the entire thesis of the answer, and as such can't be fixed.
Over on Stack Overflow, where I'm more familiar with the commenting norms, I make comments like this all the time. Yes, it has sometimes been said that comments are ephemeral and that information of long-term value shouldn't be put in them in the first place, but on Stack Overflow that idea is consistently and explicitly ignored in practice, with mods openly saying that they will not delete comments the contain valuable information.
Thus, some questions is:
- Why were my comments deleted in this case? Is this normal?
- Is it the norm here that comments should not be used for criticism of posts? (Or at least that they shouldn't be used for criticisms not directly aimed at getting the answer improved?)
- If it is, doesn't that effectively mean that there is no mechanism for pointing out flaws in the core thesis of a particular answer? Doesn't this community view that lack of a feedback mechanism as a problem?