I think there should be a way to know what happened to our own comments when they disappear. If I have made comments on a post, I might never go back and check, or I might not notice that the comment was deleted. And if I do notice that it was deleted, I might not remember if I had deleted it myself, or it might have been deleted for me. If it was deleted for me it'd be great to see confirmation of that somewhere - not just for my own sanity (and faulting memory) but also to learn from it. If I know I didn't delete it myself, it would be good to know what the flag/delete reason was. Perhaps others saw something in my comment that I didn't, and knowing how it was perceived can only improve future comments.

I've seen this and this. The question was not migrated, I just really don't remember if I deleted the comment. If it was flagged or a moderator decided to delete it, it would be useful to have some type of accounting for that (especially if I can only see my own) instead of just purging them from the database and pretending they never existed (and coming here to harass the moderators on a case-by-case basis). I realize that comments are not the be-all end-all of the site, but I have this tracking for questions and answers, why can't we keep some kind history for comments as well (aside from the migration scenario, where I think it is often fine to blow all the comments away)?

We want people to use comments wisely, right? If we just delete them and don't tell anyone, the user may never notice they were deleted. So you succeeded in cleaning up that particular question, but you haven't succeeded in preventing that user from posting the same kind of comment tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, until they finally notice you're quietly cleaning up after them (or you send them a mod message to cut that sh*t out).

  • 1
    I like this idea for its instructive potential. My main negative thought about it is that for some, it might just cause them to stir up trouble about the deleted comment, whereas now they might blissfully be unaware it happened. Then again, if they go off about a comment being deleted, perhaps that's just hurrying along a higher-grade corrective action they were destined for sometime, anyway... Aug 30 '12 at 16:20
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    All for not harassing the moderators on a case-by-case basis. We don't need a specific-comment tag.
    – casperOne
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:22
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    Oh, and comments are not permanently lost. We (diamonds) can read them even after they're deleted, but we can't restore them, or view history on them.
    – casperOne
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:23
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    @casperOne true about being permanently lost. I meant for all intents and purposes to the peon users. Aug 30 '12 at 16:24
  • @AaronBertrand Why do I feel that your statement is going to come and bite me in the ass? I can see the meta post now "Moderator calls regular users peons, strip him of his diamond". =)
    – casperOne
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:25
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    @AndrewBarber yep, it's not all flowers and unicorns, but I think it is better overall. Most reasonable people will see the reason, re-read their comment, and agree - and not post the same type of comment again. The troublemakers are going to be troublemakers eventually no matter what you do, but they're more likely to become repeat offenders as long as they're blissfully unaware there's a problem. Aug 30 '12 at 16:26
  • I think deleted comments are not purged from the db, but rather marked as deleted. If that's true, there is a chance of this being implemented retroactively, if the db is also storing who deleted each comment.
    – bfavaretto
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:26
  • @bfavaretto yes, I think that's true. But I'd be okay with it just being implemented going forward. Aug 30 '12 at 16:26
  • @casperOne - How does a moderator get to view deleted comments? I'm pretty sure I don't see deleted comments on the site I moderate... Aug 30 '12 at 16:35
  • @ire_and_curses Messaged you in TL.
    – casperOne
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:45
  • @casperOne I was trying to goad you into saying something like "well, peons don't need to see deleted comments." Then I'd have all the power. :-) Aug 30 '12 at 16:46
  • @AaronBertrand You don't understand, I have the power
    – casperOne
    Aug 30 '12 at 16:50
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    @casperOne yes but even Skeletor was able to win a battle here and there. :-) Aug 30 '12 at 16:51

You cannot also say when a post was deleted because it was flagged, users voted to delete it, or a moderator deleted it.
With questions, if you have the link, you can see if the question was deleted from the user who asked it, or from moderators. If you are not a 10K user, the page you will see following the question link contains one of the following phrases (if you are not a 10k user).

This question was voluntarily removed by its author.

This question was removed from [site name] for reasons of moderation.

For posts, which are first class citizens, you are notified when they are deleted. Comments are second class citizens, and I don't see the need to be notified when a comment I wrote is deleted.

Comments are deleted in the same way posts are deleted: They are not deleted from the database. The difference is that deleted comments are visible only to moderators, but even to them, they are not shown in the question page with a different background color; they are shown in a different page accessible from a link for moderators.
This tells me comments are not so important.

I also think it is contrary to the Stack Exchange spirit to notify users of something negative they could have done, such as in the case of the notification about a suggested edit being declined.
This seems the case with comments too: If my comment is deleted, it means I should not have written it.

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    I'm not asking for notification (I'd be fine with a list somewhere I could go manually research when I want to), and I understand comments are less important. But moderators still have to deal with them and they are very much a part of the site in spite of the desire for them to be unimportant. If your comment is deleted, and you don't know it happened, you don't learn that you shouldn't have written it. Aug 30 '12 at 17:06
  • Users don't know why their posts are deleted too. Until they don't ask a question on the meta site, they don't know if their question was flagged, somebody voted to delete it, or a moderator deleted it. If users don't know why their posts were deleted, I don't see why they should know why a comment they posted was deleted.
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 17:12
  • But I can tell if I deleted my post or someone else did. And it's always a moderator for a question or answer, and I can ask the moderator directly if I don't understand it (but usually it's pretty obvious). Aug 30 '12 at 17:13
  • Yes, but you still don't know if it was voted to be deleted, flagged, or simply a moderator deleted it. Also, for questions, you should have the link to the question; without that, you cannot know if the question was deleted from you, or somebody else (and, in the latter case, why).
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 17:16
  • If your question is deleted, unless it had zero up/down votes, it shows up in your reputation. Even if the link isn't there, it is pretty obvious if it was deleted and you didn't delete it yourself. I don't know what all these edge cases have to do with your objection to being able to discover, on my own, whether a comment was deleted by me or by someone else. Aug 30 '12 at 17:17
  • It shows in your reputation, even in the case you deleted your question, if the question's score was not zero. Therefore, you don't know who deleted it, and why, just watching your reputation page. I object that it would be more important to know why a post I wrote was deleted, and that is not implemented. Comments are less important than posts.
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 17:26
  • If you see it in the list, that should trigger your memory if you deleted your own question. I think that's a pretty rare scenario and an edge case. Smells like filibustering to me. Aug 30 '12 at 17:29
  • Anyway, your objection is noted. You haven't convinced me and so far you are the only one who seems to think this is a bad idea. Aug 30 '12 at 17:30
  • If I read the question title, I could remember I deleted it, but it could happen I don't remember I deleted it. Even in the case I remember I didn't delete it, I still don't know if the post was flagged, and for which reason. You are saying that there is a difference between posts, and comments, but that is not really true. I am objecting because there are other things that cannot be done on comments, and we should accept that: Comments are second class citizens. It would also be useful to read the comments left for a question I asked, and that was deleted, but even that is not possible.
    – apaderno
    Aug 30 '12 at 18:06

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