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Comments on deleted posts don't reliably notify the owner of the deleted post about their existence, depending on the exact timing the post owner might never be informed about that comment. There is an explicit exception for comments from moderators made in a short timeframe before deleting the post, this allows them to explain the deletion reason and have the user actually notified about it.

Now, the users that flagged the post for moderator attention could have explained as well in a comment what the problem was with that post, this is not something you need a moderator for. But one problem with that is that the moderator deleting the post has to repeat that comment if they want to ensure that the user gets notified. If the post is community-deleted, I believe that no notification at all will happen.

This behaviour hinders a bit the moderation by the community, and makes diamond moderator intervention necessary in cases where they shouldn't be needed. Explaining e.g. that the post is "not an answer" in a commment is something that any established community member should be able to do, no diamond necessary for that.

So I propose that comments on deleted answers falling under the following rules also create notifications like it already happens for comments from diamond moderators:

  • the user making the comment flagged the post or voted to delete it
  • this action happened around the same time as the comment

We should encourage users to take a more active role in explaining our rules to new users, instead we discourage them by never notifying those users about comments from non-diamonds when a post is deleted.

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Heh... Had a note with this very thing on it sitting around from a conversation earlier today. Excellent idea, IMHO. –  Shog9 May 26 '12 at 7:10
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Nice, but curious: wouldn't even a short moderator message make one go to their deleted content, where for deleted answers one can then see all previous comments too? Maybe likewise for a deletion message (which I don't if it exists). I tend to click the Inbox summaries to go to the full post, and to see what else has happened in the comments. To make that work for deleted questions too, that should implement some of Show all of my question/answers to me even if they are deleted. –  Arjan May 26 '12 at 11:11
    
@Arjan Yes, if a moderator leaves a comment on an answer, the user will also see all the previous comments. But if the moderator doesn't leave any comment, the inbox notifications for comments on the removed post will be removed as well, the user will never get a notification for those comments. –  Mad Scientist May 26 '12 at 11:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

This is a good idea, but we want to be a bit careful here - notifying someone of an unhelpful or irrelevant comment on a post that's been deleted just rubs salt in the wound.

With the introduction of our new low-quality /review queue, there's a sufficiently-specific context in which to provide canned comments addressing common reasons for deletion:

low-quality queue auto-comments

If the person deleting (or recommending deletion) chooses any of these pre-written comments, the author of the post will be notified of them, even if the post is deleted.

Note that free-form comments can also be left while reviewing, regardless of which action is taken. These will not notify the author if the post is then deleted.

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I don't really agree with making free-form comments less useful than canned comments. We should encourage users to edit those canned comments and adapt them to a specific situation. But it's certainly better than never notifying for non-mods comments. –  Mad Scientist Aug 15 '12 at 16:57
    
Feature request related to the canned comments: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/143697/… –  ThiefMaster Aug 16 '12 at 0:14
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This doesn't help if the comment is left by the user before they flag the post for moderator attention. The current situation means we should really be commenting on every post we delete to ensure that the OP gets some form of notification. –  ChrisF Mar 26 '13 at 21:48

With all of the questions lately about ways to bring more tools to 3k and 10k users, I think this is a fine idea. Many avid users regularly leave comments to others to help provide guidance, and a nicely-written, polite comment can go a long way to encouraging and reinforcing the types of behaviors that we want to see on the site.

While the community is too large for a small handful of moderators to provide guidance to every user, what we do have is a very large and active pool of 10k users who already do a great job at keeping the sites clean:

At the high end of this reputation spectrum there is little difference between users with high reputation and ♦ moderators. That is very much intentional. We don’t run Stack Overflow. The community does.

The ability for 10k users to leave comments on deleted questions would be yet another supporting step forward towards community moderation. Furthermore, this tool would not just help take some load off of the diamond moderators, it would help provide new users with more guidance from countless experts who value the site and wish to see it continue to succeed.

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