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I was informed after a deleted comment that a moderator cleaned up the comment section. As comments can (and should for certain circumstances) be cleaned up could we add a message for the comment section:

This comment area has been cleaned up by a moderator.

which is pointing to the comments link as shown.

It avoids the surprise and anger for newbies if comments mysteriously vanish, and with the link people understand that it is allowed and even required without any personal attack involved.

COUNTERARGUMENTS TO THE GIVEN RESPONSES:

  • "Many mods are good about posting a message manually". Some are not. And as mods are humans, they are prone to forget it. Worse, some cannot even be sure if, when and why they have removed a comment, especially after a prolonged time. In fact this is the exact reason because in the case which triggered the feature request the mod unwillingly modified the wrong comment.

  • "Comments are meant to be temporary, so no one should be too surprised if they vanish." But people are surprised and angered simply because noone looked up how comments work in Stackoverflow. They should look up ? Sorry, how many duplicate questions over crystal clear answers occur every day in meta ?

  • "Not every comment deletion warrants notification". This notification has a very conspicous advantage: You can be sure that the comment section is in the original state if the message is missing and you can also be sure that the comment section has been modified if the message occurs. You have NO idea what is the state currently because noone can look in the head of the moderator. Did he modified it or not ? Is this strange answer a answer to a question or a now missing comment ? Moreover, it has pretty advantages for the mod, too: He can see at a glance if someone already cleaned up a comment thread.

When a 20-comment messy argument gets cleaned up a mod will often add a new comment saying "Comments deleted; take it to chat" or some such.

So he adds instead "Cleaned up; take it to chat". It's shorter, convey the same message and is therefore preferable. So what is your argument ?

At the other extreme, if somebody adds a comment saying "your link is broken; try this (URL here)", the author responds "thanks, fixed it", and somebody then deletes those comments, there is no point in saying anything more, and a "comments deleted" notice would just make people wonder what happened.

So you are aware that "people may wonder what happened" because you are using it as argument against the notice, but the very same notice that could prevent the worse case, angry and surprised people, is not accepted as argument by you ? In fact, if the mod cleans up, he can add something like, "Link was fixed" to the message so everyone knows.

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  • It's not about notifying every user, but add a message to the comment section. Apr 1 '14 at 16:10
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    For everyone thinking its a dupe: No, it is not. The other question asks to inform comment posters to be informed. Apr 1 '14 at 16:10
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In addition to what Laura said, not every comment deletion warrants notification. When a 20-comment messy argument gets cleaned up a mod will often add a new comment saying "Comments deleted; take it to chat" or some such. At the other extreme, if somebody adds a comment saying "your link is broken; try this (URL here)", the author responds "thanks, fixed it", and somebody then deletes those comments, there is no point in saying anything more, and a "comments deleted" notice would just make people wonder what happened.

Since it has to be a human decision anyway, that human decision can include adding a new comment. If this happens a lot on your site, somebody might even have a comment template for this (meaning it's pretty easy to do).

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  • I tried to answer your argument above in the question. Apr 5 '14 at 2:03
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I don't think it's necessary to have a message automatically inserted here. Many mods are good about posting a message manually (either just before, or just after cleaning up the thread), and comments are meant to be temporary, so no one should be too surprised if they vanish.

(Side note: I'm not sure what you mean when you say "pointing to a link to the comments section".)

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  • I tried to answer your argument above in the question Apr 5 '14 at 2:04
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It avoids the surprise and anger for newbies if comments mysteriously vanish

No it doesn't. That's not how surprise and anger works. If I take something away from you, either you don't notice / don't care, or you're upset... Now, if I take something away from you and tell you "Hey, buddy, I just took SOMETHING away from you!" you're still either not gonna care or be upset about it, but since I'm rubbing your face in it there's a lot less chance that you won't notice and a lot more chance that you're gonna be pissed off about it just on principle.

The link to more information about why comments are removed isn't a bad idea, but I doubt many would follow it. We might be better off expanding the existing guidance that we display in the entryfield itself:

COMMENTS MAY BE REMOVED AT ANY TIME WITHOUT WARNING

...but, that'd be a separate .

See also:

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  • Users do notice and do care if something is taken away from them, this is (I think) the reason we met the first time and why there are extended discussions in meta about deleted answers/questions. And I am pretty sure you know it, too. If I throw something into the trashcan, lo and behold, I do not feel that sth has been "taken away" from me. So how the user learns that comments are a trashcan ? By visiting stackoverflow and seeing the notification: "Uh, I see that comments can be removed because this message says so.". Even without ever posting a comment. Apr 5 '14 at 22:20
  • I have the feeling that you all who reject the idea are too burned by experience and believe that anything notifying the user about sth bad will cause too much trouble. In fact, I do believe the exact opposite, the user is ok about negative experiences if he knows that it is to be expected and not personal. Apr 5 '14 at 22:25
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    I'm 100% in favor of anything that will help folks realize ahead of time that comments are often temporary, @Thorsten. But littering the site with "comments removed" messages does that at the cost of greatly increasing noise (which negatives much of the purpose behind removing the comments in the first place) without guaranteeing that someone new will see them before commenting (which is the only sane reason to add them).
    – Shog9
    Apr 5 '14 at 23:15
  • I believe that analogy is flawed @Shog9. Comments aren't like toys. You don't get attached to comments, but you do get attached to toys (as a kid). I seriously doubt anyone in their right mind is going to get mad for a mere comment getting deleted. I don't support the proposal, but I'm not against it either. Sep 5 '17 at 15:44
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    You've missed the numerous complaints about deleted comments here (and on other meta sites) then, @Unitato...
    – Shog9
    Sep 5 '17 at 16:20
  • @Shog9 Hmm, I guess I was wrong. I take back my comment. Sep 5 '17 at 16:32

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