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There was a number of comments in this question, at least nine or ten, two of which mine, that were deleted completely not long ago. When I entered the question again, there were no comments at all. I clearly remember the points discussed in the comments and my replies. Those replies are gone from my own activity tab as well.

I think none of the comments were particularly offensive, and the wholesale deletion struck me as odd. I'm 100% certain I didn't delete my own comments. What happened here?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I was the one who deleted them. There were a couple that were flagged, which is what got my attention in the first place. None of the comments were extremely offensive, but none of them seemed to be on the topic of the question either. Most were replies to the couple of mildly rude comments that were flagged.

Sorry if I mistakenly deleted something that was on topic, but I didn't think that was the case.

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You should definitely post a comment detailing why you cleaned them up, so that people aren't confused. Confusion can easily be misdirected towards anger. –  John Gietzen Jan 1 '10 at 0:03
    
@John: It is easier to silently delete sometimes. On a local news board, however, whenever a comment is deleted by a mod it says "[Username] comment was deleted for violating the terms of service" –  staticx Jan 1 '10 at 0:42
    
Thanks @Bill for clearing it up. The ones in question were not important, but are comments generally fair game for deletion without notification when they are off topic, even if they are not extremely offensive? I think that would be a bit disrespectful of the users involved, no matter how trivial the actual content. Is this normal on SO? –  Pëkka Jan 1 '10 at 1:06
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@Pekka: It's usually only offensive content that gets deleted. Overly long off-topic discussions that distract from the question are also deleted sometimes. I admit that I may have pulled the trigger a little early on this conversation, since it was only around 10-12 comments when I deleted it. That was due to the fact that multiple comments in the conversation were flagged, and the others seemed to be just responses to those flagged comments. It's not very common at all for comments to be deleted for being merely "trivial". –  Bill the Lizard Jan 1 '10 at 5:39
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@John: If people are engaged in an off-topic conversation, they're usually aware of it. If they're using offensive or abusive (or even just mildly insulting) language, they're aware of that too. I don't want to invite further off-topic discussion by posting a message that says I deleted some comments. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 1 '10 at 5:46
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Agreed. I don't always comment on my actions. I handle around 20 - 30 flags a day on SU, I can only imagine how many Marc and Bill handle on SO, and if we had to stop and comment for every single one, we will never have time for anything else. If something is queried we will take the time to respond however. –  Diago Jan 1 '10 at 7:26
    
Thanks for the information folks. –  Pëkka Jan 1 '10 at 19:51

Individual comments might get deleted automatically if it attracts enough flags, but that wouldn't explain all the comments disappearing. The ♦ mods can delete comments (usually when an off-topic squabble starts between two (or more) users in the comments).It is possible this happened in this case, but it wasn't one of mine, and I didn't see the comments in question, so I can't say.

If I delete a block of comments I generally leave a comment saying why... All the primary ♦ mods have been active in this interval.

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