Edit: Rather than ask why my comment was deleted, I’d rather ask, was it not useful?

I understand moderator fatigue is real, and comments are noisy — especially in Workplace — but, for a while, my lone comment seemed to usefully support an answer on a controversial subject. I also understand that “ephemeral comments” reasoning is more of a handy moderator tool than an actual thing, because they are never truly deleted.

I chose to comment in support of the answer which, I thought, said it better than I could, and I wanted to signal to others that I thought it was a better answer than the more upvoted one. My comment, which was by itself for a time, was “swept up,” but I think perhaps without consideration — though not maliciously — because:

  1. It seemed useful to me
  2. It wasn’t violating any policies
  3. There weren’t many noisy comments on that to begin with (that I saw)

Now I do understand that my comment may not have been useful to one or several moderators, but, if so, I’d like to hear that harsh-ish but honest answer rather than one which — perhaps — dismisses my concerns (and caused me quite a bit of confusion and frustration).

Previous question

I commented on this answer here, which was part of a HNQ about last week, itself in response to another HNQ, and was supportive without being conversational, and was not a “thank you” comment or extended discussion.

I thought that my comment:

  1. Added to the conversation
  2. Provided support as an alternative perspective
  3. Was polite, non-aggressive
  4. Not inviting of nor replying to a conversation

In fact, it was the ONLY comment on the answer for a while. So there was by no means any conversation, extended or otherwise.

What was the rationale for deleting my non-violating, polite comment on an answer which, frankly, hasn’t had many comments anyway?

  • 5
    Keep in mind comments are never permanent. Unlike answers they can be swept away with the garbage collector. – Neo Feb 15 '19 at 12:56

Related question What comments are not...

Your comment was swept up in a cull that happened after the related answer suffered a somewhat malicious edit that ended up changing the intended tone of the answer.

Having said that, a recurring meme on the SE network is that comments are ephemeral

From the help pages here

Priviledges - comment everwhere

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.

When should I comment?

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).

The key word here is 'temporary' - no one should really expect their comments to last forever. We're not completely fanatical about removing comments here, but we do get something like 8,000 a month and Stack Exchange isn't a discussion forum.

  • another good reason why comments should go away.\ – Old_Lamplighter Feb 15 '19 at 16:38

If you want to give an alternate perspective, write an answer of your own.

The whole point of allowing for multiple answers is so that people don't start putting counter arguments in the comments.

People here find that annoying for several reasons.

  • When you post counter arguments in the comments, you weaken, not strengthen the answer
  • Comments can only be voted up, so even if more people agree with you than disagree, it makes it look like a valid point.
  • Comments that "provide an alternative perspective" can tend to attract down votes
  • It's viewed as risking nothing in rep for yourself, while damaging the rep of another.

In addition, comments aren't meant to be permanent and can be deleted at any time, which is again why you should provide an answer instead of a comment if you think you have something to say that's worth people seeing.

If you want to "Provide an alternative perspective" post an answer of your own, and don't do it in the comments.

Answering in the comments is like giving away something for free. If you're good at something, never do it for free.

  • My comment was not a counter argument. – NonCreature0714 Feb 15 '19 at 18:49
  • @NonCreature0714 "Provide an alternative perspective", then. The point remains. – Old_Lamplighter Feb 15 '19 at 20:57
  • What I meant was, I was supporting the answer b/c the answer provided was itself an alternative perspective that I agreed with & was representative of myself as a non-traditional hire in tech (older than 35, military vet, non-bachelor holding). So rather than post a repetitive answer, I voiced my support b/c I am a diversity hire which the answer sought to represent. The answer stated that hiring more diversely means redefining interview success & I agreed. I don’t mean to antagonize, but I’m a little annoyed at what I perceive as your dismissive attitude. Did you even read my deleted comment? – NonCreature0714 Feb 15 '19 at 22:49
  • Any inferences you draw about any mindset of mine, are your own. You asked a question, I answered. – Old_Lamplighter Feb 16 '19 at 2:04
  • But you didn’t answer my question. – NonCreature0714 Feb 16 '19 at 2:05
  • I want to say, because I think it’s pretty easy to read this all negatively, that I really like your final point — not giving away answers for free. I commented because I wanted to support one answer over another, and thought the answerer said it better than I could. – NonCreature0714 Feb 16 '19 at 2:22
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    @NonCreature0714 While you are debating this answer, this answer is really the core of the issue: Comments are ephemeral and not ever considered permanent. Their deletion is something that should never be taken personally for any reason. I often get comments on answers I believe are helpful and I get comments I believe are nonsense; I often flag both to prevent some endless comment thread. If you have an additional perspective that veers away from the answer you are posting on, just post a new answer referring to the other answer. – Giacomo1968 Feb 16 '19 at 3:37
  • 3
    @NonCreature0714 Comments are not for supporting answers, comments are not for disparaging answers. They are for improving answers. They are regularly deleted for any or no reason. It's probably a good idea to avoid them in general. – Old_Lamplighter Feb 16 '19 at 13:14

While I’ve been a user and minor contributor to the SE network for a number of years, this is the first time I’ve heard that “comments are ephemeral,” as mentioned in other answers. It is also non-intuitive because comments do seem to last into perpetuity unless deleted. (They don’t disappear into a black hole after 30 days or something.) So, in that context, the removal of my comment makes perfect sense; and I’m okay with it.

I suppose it does make sense that NOT knowing that my comments are ephemeral, it’s perfectly understandable why I would be upset or feel targeted. Especially since my comment was supportive of an answer which already was maliciously edited, and added my personal reasoning for why the answer I commented on was the better than the one with more upvotes.

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