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Dangerous workplace travelling

This question had multiple comments which identified the area the OP was talking about, and had discussions about the relative safety of the US vs. other nations of the world.

Not only were those comments summarily deleted, but there's not even an acknowledgement that they were deleted, leaving a lot of people baffled at, for instance, how others know where the OP is travelling to.

This is beyond the pale.

I get that mods feel the need to delete excessive comments. (I completely disagree with it, but I understand it.)

But it's totally inappropriate to delete them without even an acknowledgement of the fact. It justifiably leaves people wondering what other types of participation on the site are going to be abruptly vanished with no notice or record.

Whichever mod did this is abusing his/her powers and needs to have them, at a minimum, temporarily removed.

  • I'm not so sure whether a mod deleted those comments or those comments got flagged and auto-deleted, I thought mods only migrate the comments to charooms if there are too many, but then, I'm not sure. – Sourav Ghosh May 6 at 8:10
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    This isn't new by any means though, comment deletion has no public log. In fact, even 10k users, which can see other types of deleted posts, cannot see deleted comments. Comments are supposed to be temporary in any case, so one just has to expect any comment to potentially get deleted, helpful or not. – Magisch May 6 at 8:47
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    If anything, pertinent location information from the comments should be edited into the question as soon as possible. – Magisch May 6 at 8:49
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    Comments get deleted all the time - that is something you must expect. I always delete my own comments after a few days. – Joe Strazzere May 6 at 11:15
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    Mind, for the powers that be to be de-modding or restricting a mod, a lot has to happen. All of our mods are democractically elected by members, I'd be pretty upset if someone I voted for got their diamond taken away over something seriously minor. – Magisch May 6 at 11:41
  • @MisterPositive As I said, whichever mod chose to nuke all the comments didn't make any note of the fact. So I'm not sure what you're saying. Are you saying there's no record of deleted comments? I'm not surprised. Are you saying there's no indication that information was lost due to deleted comments? That's only because I, personally, edited the question to add the missing information. If there's something else you're trying to say, you'll need to be more clear. – user1602 May 6 at 11:46
  • @MisterPositive If there is intended to be a record of deleted comments from questions and answers, and if you can see no deleted comments on the question above nor on its answers, then it seems we have uncovered a bug in the software or the database. – user1602 May 6 at 12:04
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    @Kyralessa - did the OP specifically mention Detroit? Or did you just assume that was the area and chose to edit it into the question? – Joe Strazzere May 6 at 12:28
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    Please take a look at the Meta thread What Comments are Not. – David K May 6 at 12:43
  • @MisterPositive you probably can share screen shot of comments as they are shown to you - ie including deleted ones. I saw our moderators doing this sometimes in meta to help clarify things - here is an example – gnat May 6 at 12:43
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    Why am I even still here? Workplace.SE is a place that makes many people unhappy, as evidenced by the number that have left in recent times. I think it is time to join them. This is not a good way to spend my time. – user1602 May 6 at 12:49
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    @Monoandale Because this question has only been up 7 hours, and moderators have lives outside of SE? We don't know which mod took these actions, and we have no idea what timezone they are in. There's a good chance they haven't even seen this question yet, and even if they have, they may have other more important things to do first. Magisch's answer pretty well explains our comment policy, and a moderator's opinion probably won't add much more, so I don't see an emergency that needs their immediate attention. – David K May 6 at 15:27
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    @Monoandale I agree that the moderator should respond at some point to address their specific actions here, but I think complaining about a lack of response after 7 hours is unreasonable (I'd probably wait at least 24), especially given that there is already a good answer which addresses how the general moderation policy applies here. – David K May 6 at 16:34
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    It's a workday and the question was asked 9 hours ago. I'd say give it a day or two and someone will give the mod team's response to this. My answer isn't supposed to be comprehensive (as being an outsider's view). – Magisch May 6 at 17:04
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    Wow, when the worst thing you can complain about your mods doing is deleting comments.... – KutuluMike May 7 at 0:57
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You mean the comments speculating about the location and how dangerous it is? Or the ones about the efficacy of guns or karate for self-defense? Or the anecdotes about traveling in another country? Or the many about guns, gun laws, and US culture?

Yeah, none of that's relevant. And any of those participants could have edited the one salient point from the OP, "Michigan", into the question at any time. But the specific location isn't important. The OP did not ask "is it safe to travel to $city?" (which probably isn't an on-topic question here). The OP asked how to respond to being asked to travel to a place that is rumored to be dangerous (and/or the OP is being pranked). That's what answers need to focus on, and comment discussions about specific neighborhoods in a specific city (not necessarily even the right city) do not advance that goal. And armchair lawyers talking about gun laws in those locations definitely don't advance that goal.

Further, I endorse this answer.

12

Disclaimer: I'm not the mod who deleted the comments, I'm not any of the users who could have flagged the comments and caused them to be deleted. I'm not a mod of this site, and have no way of seeing the deleted comments or who deleted them. So take this answer for what it is: The opinion of an outsider to the situation.

Comments are in general ethereal and subject to deletion at any time. They're not meant to be permanent, and as a result can be deleted by moderators or even just enough flags without serious oversight by the community. Indeed, some comments can be deleted by a single flag of a normal user.

Directly from a CM:

Comments are not intended for long-term storage of important information.

source

What happened in this case seems to have been unfortunate since information important to the post was lost.

This question had multiple comments which identified the area the OP was talking about

This information is partially what comments are for, and should have been edited into the question. The comments containing it would afterwards be subject for deletion as "no longer needed".

and had discussions about the relative safety of the US vs. other nations of the world.

This is not what comments are supposed to be. Miscellaneous discussion is not what comments (or answers for that matter) are for. Again quoting a CM directly:

But that transiency doesn't mean you can use comments for random, parenthetical asides. If your comment isn't likely to change the content of the post, please do not post it for someone else to clean up.

source

Not only were those comments summarily deleted, but there's not even an acknowledgement that they were deleted, leaving a lot of people baffled at, for instance, how others know where the OP is travelling to.

The correct method to preserve this (admittedly pertinent) information is to edit it into the question as context, which any user can do. Edits adding such context should be approved readily in review, if necessary, but any user with more then 2000 reputation is able to submit them without going through review. I've done that for the question mentioned above.

But it's totally inappropriate to delete them without even an acknowledgement of the fact.

This has been the source of quite a bit of consternation over the years, the usual reasoning given is that between questions and answers comments are decidedly second class citizens. They're supposed to be used exclusively for improving posts, or encouraging authors to improve their posts, for instance by asking for clarification. As such, they're treated as lesser by the software in many ways: You don't get reputation for upvotes on them, they take less flagging to be deleted, moderators have mass delete options to clean up posts, and you can't even downvote them or edit after a 5 minute grace period.

It justifiably leaves people wondering what other types of participation on the site are going to be abruptly vanished with no notice or record.

While that might be a legitimate worry, it's not well founded in this case. Question and answer deletions can be audited by high reputation community members at any time under the 10k Tools. Users exceeding 10.000 reputation can even straight up see deleted posts.

Whichever mod did this is abusing his/her powers and needs to have them, at a minimum, temporarily removed.

I would argue that no, the mod in question did not misuse their powers and does not need any sanctions (without knowing which particular mod that is). Perhaps they could have edited the clarification from the comments into the question, but the community had that opportunity for a while before they got deleted.

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    Well said sir, well said. – Mister Positive May 6 at 11:27
  • +1. Mods don't need to "acknowledge" deleting comments that need to be deleted. – mxyzplk Sep 15 at 17:25
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Deleting comments is a normal practice here. It’s something you just have to get used to. Remember you are not a paying customer, so we have no responsibility to obey your request. My comments are all but removed by the mods but I never complained.

There is no abuse here. Mods are given administration power. They have the rights to remove anything for whatever reason. It’s part of user agreement you signed for this site. They are doing a great job.

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The important thing is that the comments survived long enough to make some interesting side-points. Whether they're actually relevant to the question or answers is matter of opinion or one's point of view.

I happen to think that the most salient aspect of the question was neither that it was Michigan NOR that it was a "rumored" dangerous place, but rather that it was a place that the OP was unfamiliar with as someone from another country.

Whatever the case, it's just words on the internet. No need to actually get bent out of shape about anything that happens here.

Moderation "privileges", regardless of what online forum you're talking about, attracts folks who have propensity to enforce rules, rigidly, and with little regard to the possibility that there are other interpretations. That's just the reality of this environment. It has plusses and minuses.

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