I had an old question that I revisited in order to link it in a new answer. I noticed that in the comments Steven A Lowe had a funny comment that I -- at the time -- had responded to with "why can't I upvote comments?"

Well, of course, now I can. So, I voted Steven's comment up then went to delete mine. I got the warning box that I can only submit comment votes once every 5 seconds. This seems like a bug to me. Deleting is not the same as voting.

  • 3
    I noticed this, too: adding a comment also sets vote timer. Commented Aug 13, 2009 at 12:41
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    Wish I could add a new tag..."bug-by-design". Nothing wrong with the concept of rate limiting...just needs a tweak in implementation.
    – Gerrat
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 16:00
  • 32
    IMO if I'm cleaning up my own comments (e.g., removing obsolete comments) I should be able to do so without counting to five between each delete. Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 15:51

7 Answers 7


I came here to log this as a bug and found this question - surprised it's still not addressed.

If comment deleting and upvoting are to be considered similar actions for the purpose of throttling, then I think the message to the user needs to be modified to better reflect what's happening. "You are only allowed one comment action every 5 seconds" or something like that. The message is simply saying the wrong thing, from a user-experience perspective.

  • 2
    But it was addressed - by Jeff Atwood on Aug 14 '09. I personally think it's the wrong answer, but it's not my site. Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 18:45
  • 1
    I think this only really bothers people who are also bothered by the pluralization "bug"
    – bobobobo
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 16:57
  • It sounds to me like the throttling engine (no pun intended) watching comments was poorly written in the sense it views all comment actions as a whole and not what the action is, therefore making it "difficult" to nail down the appropriate message.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 17:57
  • A "comment action", however, is not entirely accurate, since comment creations are throttled differently. My guess is, as @bobobobo, alluded to, that nobody really wanted to fix the messaging to be longer and technically accurate, for minor benefit. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:55

Nearly 4 years later, and this bug is still in place.

Simply change the message as follows: "Comment votes, edits, and deletions may only occur once every 5 seconds"

Steps to reproduce a bad message:

  1. Post a comment "this is a test" underneath another comment.
  2. Upvote the comment above
  3. Within 5 seconds, try to delete your test comment

This results in the nonsense message:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Have fun posting a comment this is a test, it's too short. ;)
    – user153011
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 14:44
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    This is patched; it's 2016 now, 7 years later!!
    – EKons
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:07
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    @ΈρικΚωνσταντόπουλος Yep, just tested it on your comment! Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 20:50

The entire idea of rate limiting comment deletions is redundant. Why? Because we already rate-limit posting comments. Comment deletions are, in effect, rate limited as a result.

Rate limiting is intended to prevent DOS on the SE servers. However, this can't happen with comment deletions for two reasons: First, because there are only so many comments to delete, and second: because adding comments is rate-limited, inherently rate-limiting comment deletions.

I think this should be reconsidered entirely, as it's completely redundant in its current form (ideally removed).

  • 1
    hmm ... don't think that the delete limit is a directly related to the comment limit: posting a comment has 15s, while deleting is 5s
    – kleopatra
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:10

As I've started to comment more often, I stumbled upon this "by-design" bug quite naturally.

The scenario is that I add a comment and, as the comment gets added and the comment section refreshes, I notice someone else made a similar or better comment. So I want to remove mine and upvote the other's.

For anything else, the throttling is fine as it is, but I honestly think an exception should be made for deleting one's own comment.


Due to changes elsewhere, this is no longer really a problem (and the scenario described in the OP can no longer occur; both the vote and delete would be allowed within 5 seconds of each other). In August 2014, the rate limit on comment actions was changed to "30 total comment votes and comment deletes per day"; however, the deletions and votes can occur arbitrarily close to each other in time. (I've verified that by upvoting and deleting a comment within 5 seconds of each other on this question.)

So although comment deletes and comment votes are still being treated as the same for rate-limiting purposes, it no longer really has any negative consequences.


Deleting a comment is like voting to delete. Only it takes just one vote.

  • 9
    But voting for a comment is not like voting for a question/answer -- you can't delete anyone else's, just your own and you can only upvote a comment.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Aug 13, 2009 at 15:11
  • If you have a high enough arbitrary number, you can delete other people's comments.
    – random
    Commented Aug 14, 2009 at 4:47
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    @random -- I don't think I can delete anyone else's comments and my arbitrary number is pretty high.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 0:31
  • 1
    Hmm, then it's probably just the mods that can "vote" to delete other people's comments.
    – random
    Commented Aug 25, 2009 at 10:44
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    It may be "like" it from the code's point of view, but that's the wrong point of view to be using. To a user it's a completely different operation. Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 18:42

rate limiting requires this. Everything is rate limited for a reason; explained in podcast #65.

  • 23
    But it's a different thing. That's like saying you can't submit an answer for 30 seconds after you add a comment. Or is it the case that you can't do anything for 30 seconds after you do something?
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Aug 14, 2009 at 13:39
  • I confess that I don't listen to the podcasts, but I do read your summaries. I just had to wait 30 seconds to add this. Yuck!
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Aug 14, 2009 at 13:40
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    There's no question that throttling is needed, it's the messaging that's wrong...
    – RedFilter
    Commented Apr 26, 2010 at 14:26
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    Convenience link: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/08/podcast-65
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 26, 2010 at 15:26
  • I wasn't aware there were podcasts...where can I see them/hear them if I don't have an iPod?
    – JPM
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 18:52
  • @JPM, there's a Flash-based player embedded on the blog post, as well as a download link for the actual MP3 file.
    – Charles
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 20:30
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    "rate limiting requires this". ...more accurately: "this is the way we've implemented rate limiting...we consider voting to delete your own comment the same type of thing as voting on others comments.
    – Gerrat
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 15:58
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    I suspect the truth is somewhere between "Jeff wrote that code" and "ugh, don't really want to add another field to the dbase table". Practical stuff. Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 0:05
  • This looks like a great example for codinghorror or thedailywtf.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 18:12

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