There was an incident today where a user posted something... untoward in the comments. I deleted the comment, but luckily I also copied the User's profile link to a new window before doing so. Once the comment was deleted, it no longer shows up in the user's profile under the 'comments' section of the 'activity' tab.

Now that comments are undeletable, it would be nice (as a moderator) to see all comments a user has left, deleted or not, in their user profile activity page. Why?

  • It helps us easily track a pattern of behavior (leaving mean comments for other users)
  • It also lets us easily copy examples of this behavior to the moderator message section when sending a message to a user that has a history of being mean to other users through comments.
  • It's much more discoverable than the 'mod' -> 'info' -> 'comments' way that was raised below.

You can already do that, but it is a separate moderator tool at user profile -> mod -> info -> comments. You can see either all comments of that user there or only deleted ones.

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  • 2
    Oy. That's easy to find. – George Stocker Jul 8 '13 at 12:46
  • I absolutely loved it when I found that tool! – Andrew Barber Jul 8 '13 at 13:55

Maybe there's a scenario I'm not thinking of, but... I don't really love this idea.

For starters, it adds noise to the already very noisy activity feed. Not a lot maybe, but every little bit hurts - and how often do you really want to see someone's deleted comments?

Beyond that, I would really prefer not to encourage mods to spend any more time micromanaging comments. The intent of the recent changes was reduce the time spent doing this on posts - you can now delete comments faster, and quickly revert deletions if you hit a useful one accidentally.

The purpose of the mod->info->comments screen you note is twofold:

  • Provide evidence when handling users who have a history of leaving abusive comments, even if they've been cleaned up piecemeal in response to flags, etc.
  • Provide evidence when handling rare "comment ragequit" users. You can literally count these on the fingers of one hand, but it has happened and been semi-disruptive.

Finally, there's a small danger in making deleted comments too visible: I've seen moderators get a bit too worked up over a single brusque comment before, something I tend to put down to spending entirely too much time looking at the worst side of people... If a comment is deleted, and inappropriate commentary hasn't become a habit for a user then it's probably better to just ignore it most of the time. For the sake of everyone's sanity.

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