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See "WCF WebInvoke problem getting WSDL". David, the questioner, is clearly responding to a comment which no longer exists.

This is not the first I've seen today. "WSE 2.0 SoapHttpRouter: Is it possible to route soap messages with already attached client certificate?" is a question where I would certainly have commented that WSE is obsolete. In fact, the OP appears to be answering a comment like that. Yet there is no visible comment he could have been responding to.

Are these comments actually being deleted, and if so, should they be deleted?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's quite rare for a comment to be deleted by flagging.

We actually made it a bit more difficult recently for comments to be deleted by flagging; as comments get upvotes they become (somewhat) more resistant to automatic flag removal.

As Jonathan Sampson stated, it's frequently the owner who withdrew his or her own comment. That should be your first assumption when a comment disappears.*

* at least one that wasn't comically, egregiously offensive. Again, and thankfully, quite rare.

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It's very likely that they are being deleted by the authors. Many comments are based upon an earlier revision or the question. For this reason, the authors of said comments decide to delete their statements to keep the flow intelligible. If somebody had fixed spelling errors, a comment saying "Whoa...learn to spell" wouldn't make much sense.

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@Jonathan: thanks, but "it's very likely to have happened" doesn't answer the question, "did it happen?" – John Saunders Aug 29 '09 at 22:04
That's what happened with the qestion referenced by Shog9's answer and the reason the comment was removed. The only way to answer the "did it happen" question would be to have history on the comments, which I don't think is worth the effort. – Scott Dorman Aug 29 '09 at 22:15
@John Nobody here can tell you "it happened this particular way." None of us could possibly know that - we can only theorize :) – Sampson Aug 30 '09 at 3:31

There's no threading (by design) and thus no way for the system (or in some case, the readers and participants in the discussion) to associate comments with their responses.

Therefore, while this may be an annoyance in some cases, it should be considered "by design" as well. Thank Lord Atwood, Hater of Threads! ;-)

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For the record, I provided an explanation as to why the comment was removed and the original content of said comment. That being said, I don't think threading would have helped in this case, since even with threading the original comment to which you replied would have still been removed. – Scott Dorman Aug 29 '09 at 22:13
@Scott: right, but in that case the system could - and probably would - be designed to remove replies along with the comment they reply to. This specific example is just a tad contrived - normally, i would have deleted my comment upon seeing that the comment it was placed in response to was removed, but I wished to use it as an example for this discussion. The more common case is that the authors of reply comments simply do not revisit the post they commented on. – Shog9 Aug 29 '09 at 22:22

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