The text "comments disabled on deleted / locked posts / reviews" is misleading. It requires a second reading to understand that "deleted / locked posts / reviews" doesn't mean "deleted, locked posts and reviews".

Could you please change it to something more easily parsable1 like the following?

comments disabled on deleted/locked posts/reviews

Or, preferably, get rid of the ambiguity altogether. As hjpotter92 said in the comments:

It should only show "locked" on locked posts, "deleted" on deleted ones and "reviews" for reviews.

1 In general, there shouldn't be spaces before or after a slash that's between two words (source).

  • 4
    Lists are separated with commas, not slashes, so I'm not really sure I'm getting this. Your complaint is that the slashes are separated with spaces? Jul 26, 2013 at 14:18
  • 2
    He means it looks like deleted, locked posts, or reviews Jul 26, 2013 at 14:19
  • Which is incorrect, since lists are separated by commas, not slashes.
    – Joe
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:20
  • 3
    "Comments disabled on deleted or locked posts/reviews" might be more clear....?
    – Bart
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:21
  • btw, the "add comment" link just disappeared on me just now. What the heck, that was so random. Jul 26, 2013 at 14:22
  • 20
    It should only show "locked" on locked posts, "deleted" on deleted ones and "reviews" for reviews. Lazy Stack Overflow team :-|
    – hjpotter92
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:22
  • @Joe - It may be incorrect, but it's still an easy mistake to make. I misread it myself at first.
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:22
  • btw guys, what does "reviews" mean in this context? Jul 26, 2013 at 14:23
  • 2
    @OldCheckmark When reviewing close votes in the review queue, this appears in place of "add comment" on the "duplicate" questions for questions in the queue as potential duplicates (you can comment on the closure candidate, but not on the proposed duplicate). I'm not sure where else it shows up (or if it shows up anywhere else).
    – yoozer8
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:25
  • 1
    @CodyGray & Joe: Wikipedia says for slashes “The slash is most commonly used as the word substitute for "or" which indicates a choice”, so I guess you could argue that this is indeed a list. Furthermore a space is usually not used except when one of the items contains a space as well. So the grouping of “locked posts” definitely makes sense. In any case, I agree with hjpotter92 that the message should just be specific here.
    – poke
    Jul 26, 2013 at 17:55
  • "deleted/locked posts/reviews" is worse than "deleted / locked posts / reviews". Is it only the spaces or am I missing something? Or was it recently changed? Jul 27, 2013 at 13:58
  • How about "comments disabled on reviews or deleted/locked posts" or "comments disabled on deleted/locked posts or reviews"? Jul 27, 2013 at 13:59
  • Why does "reviews" appear there? Are there reviews that can be locked or commented on?
    – wimi
    Dec 9, 2020 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


When in doubt, remove the shortcuts.

comments disabled on deleted or locked posts and reviews

Of course, the ultimate in unambiguity is to use software to remove the "and" and "or" and select the correct statement to display depending on actual context:

  • comments on locked posts are disabled
  • comments on locked reviews are disabled
  • comments on deleted posts are disabled
  • comments on deleted reviews are disabled
  • Though I'd love to read the discussion where this decision was made. Sounds like a lovely way to decrease transparency, and increase confusion as to why an action might have been taken.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 29, 2013 at 15:38
  • 1
    Still kind of ambiguous Jul 29, 2013 at 15:50
  • @OldCheckmark Only ambiguous for those with a poor understanding of english - there is no way to group portions of it incorrectly without leaving sentence parts out, so it is technically unambiguous. However, we do have a lot of users where english is not their first language, and making it overly clear is useful, so I've edited my answer with another single sentence option, as well as the ideal situation.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 30, 2013 at 15:36
  • Haha I don't know about the new one, I read "reviews that have been locked or deleted", which doesn't make a lot of sense, especially in view of what Jim said here Jul 30, 2013 at 15:37
  • @OldCheckmark You're right, removed.
    – Pollyanna
    Jul 31, 2013 at 13:50

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