-19

Sometimes I get stealth censored, mostly on smaller Stack Exchange sites. Moderators will delete part of a comment or sometimes just the whole comment. I get no warning when this happens and there is no evidence that my comment was edited or deleted. For example, I will read a comment I made and notice, "hey, wait a minute, what happened to the second sentence?" or whatever.

So, my question is: if I get enough rep do I either:

(a) become immune to moderators censoring my comment, or

(b) will I get a notification when a moderator censors a comment

By censorship I am not talking about editing. I am talking about situations where the moderator appears to have deleted my comment for point-of-view related or political reasons, not bad grammar.

12
  • 4
    censorship? Don't you mean editing? Editing exists on all sites not just small ones and anyone can edit or suggest an edit for review.
    – Taryn
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:44
  • 1
    Damn moderators have been playing too much Deus Ex!
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:45
  • @animuson: I'm sure Adam Jensen will get to the bottom of this.
    – Jamal
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:47
  • I have updated the question to be comment specific, posts are notified my mistake. I have also clarified what I mean by censorship. Jun 6, 2014 at 20:49
  • 2
    @TylerDurden Comments are considered for lack of a better term second-class citizens and can be removed at any time.
    – Taryn
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:50
  • 10
    There is no UI for this, but we do keep a revision history for comments. If you think a moderator is abusing their privileges, give us a shout via the "contact us" link at the bottom of any page, include links to the comments and the description of what happened, and we'll review.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:52
  • Looks like I struck a nerve with this one. Is there a badge for "Legitimate Question with More than -50 Votes"? Jun 6, 2014 at 21:04
  • ^^^ Example of comment that might get deleted on a smaller SE forum. Jun 6, 2014 at 21:12
  • 6
    @TylerDurden It should get deleted on any site, honestly. That comment adds nothing constructive and only seeks to aggravate folks reading it by implying that they're somehow behaving in an underhanded manner. shrug
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2014 at 21:23
  • @AnnaLear The arbiter of what is, or is not, constructive being... you? Jun 6, 2014 at 21:31
  • 9
    Other community members, generally. They are the ones who flag comments for moderator review.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jun 6, 2014 at 21:42
  • 4
    Sometimes comments do not add anything constructive and generally detract from the fact that his name was Robert Paulson. His name, was Robert Paulson. His name was Robert Paulson. His name was Robert Paulson. His name, was Robert Paulson.
    – Travis J
    Jun 7, 2014 at 7:32

4 Answers 4

14

Sometimes I get stealth censored, mostly on smaller Stack Exchange sites. Moderators will delete part of a comment or sometimes just the whole comment.

This is not "censorship;" it's called "editing," and it's a central part of the Stack Exchange model. If you don't want your posts or comments to be edited, then you won't be happy using the Stack Exchange network. (In serious cases where you think a moderator is abusing privileges, flag the post/comment as "other" and explain the situation or post on meta.)

(see also: the help center on editing; it's about post edits but also applies to comment edits)

I get no warning when this happens and there is no evidence that my comment was edited or deleted.

Comments are like temporary "sticky notes" attached to post. They're second-class citizens by design, and they're treated very lightly, as the main focus of Stack Exchange sites is questions and answers.

(a) become immune to moderators censoring my comment

No, you cannot prevent edits or deletion (there is no "censorship" happening here) of your comments. Again, if you're not comfortable with this, perhaps Stack Exchange isn't right for you.

(b) will I get a notification when a moderator censors a comment

<cheeky-answer>No, moderators do not censor posts or comments.</cheeky-answer> No, and again, this is because comments are treated as "second-class citizens."

0
11

The only "stealth" editing that can happen is to comments. The alternative is to delete the comment completely. So if it's relevant apart from some snark or swearing (say) a moderator may edit it to preserve the other, useful, parts of the comment. You don't get notified if a comment is edited or deleted because as others have pointed out they are second class entities. If something's worth keeping it should really be in the question or answer.

Moderators don't go looking for comments to edit. They'd rather do something else. It's only when it's been flagged by another user that they'll act.

All edits to questions and answers by other users - including moderators and employees - are clearly marked in the revision history for the post, so there can be no "stealth edits" there.

None of this is censorship.

1
  • I only experience "comment deleting" on the smaller, lower activity forums where it is usually a mod acting on their own initiative. For example, I might see a mod make a comment, and then a minute later my comment has disappeared. Its obvious it never got flagged. The guy just saw my comment and deleted it. Jun 6, 2014 at 21:10
2

Comments are only intended to be used for clarifying questions and helping refine answers. If your comments are overly political in nature or seeking to have a debate, then they would be rightfully removed as this is not a forum and the point of comments is not for discussion or debate.

If you want to have a debate about something, the best bet is to move it to chat and the other involved parties can join you there if they want to. Alternately, if it is a question about site procedures, then Meta for the site can be the appropriate place to take it to get it addressed as a general issue.

3
  • 1
    I said removed for political reasons, not that the comment was political. I am using the word "political" in a loose sense, meaning basically that the mod just didn't like my comment. Jun 6, 2014 at 21:08
  • This occurs frequently, it is censorship, and it is politically motivated. What I have observed is that moderator action against political activism is political activism. Comments meant to change minds are often deleted as inconvenient, that is, as soon as someone makes a good point, it gets deleted. Not only is that censorship, but it is also disruptive. Many have noticed how one can stay in a bubble, all you need to do is cut off dialogue. Note the context here, second class thoughts are unworthy. And what of the people having those thoughts, are they expendable as well?
    – Carl
    Jan 20, 2022 at 19:19
  • @Carl - I can't think of almost any situation in which Stack Exchange is the correct place for anything that would be considered something that would be "censored". If you use a site for something it is not designed or intended to be used for and it gets removed, that's not censorship. Moderators are not omniscient though, they don't see every comment, but if a long thread of comments happens, then the system recognizes it is probably incorrect use of comments for the site and asks a mod to check. That's probably what is happening. This is not a forum, comments are just for improving posts Jan 22, 2022 at 2:22
1

So, my question is: if I get enough rep do I either:

(a) become immune to moderators censoring my comment

No, never.

(b) will I get a notification when a moderator censors a comment

No, never.


Comments are second class citizens. They can be deleted by a moderator at any time, without any notice. If there is content that you feel is vitally important to share with others, you should do so through an actual post. Posts have much stricter guidelines for when they can be deleted, and you can recover the content from your own deleted posts, unlike deleted comments.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .