The first question I ever asked on a Stack Exchange site (Stack Overflow) had about 5 comments with 2 of them being mine. Supposedly a moderator deleted the comments, however the comments held some information for me. I can also see why he would have made the decision to remove them (it was mostly me apologizing for not keeping to the questioning format).

My question: Why can't I see that a moderator deleted comments on my own question and why can't I search back the comments? The comments were just gone all of a sudden and I didn't understand how that happened.

  • 1
    Not sure if it's a duplicate exactly, but this question is definitely related. Take a look and see if it helps clarify things for you.
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 14:07
  • @David not a duplicate, since this one here asks "Why is X", while the other is "Please make X" Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 14:43
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    What would you do with that information? Comments are meant to be temporary. Deleted comments have either outlived their usefulness or never should have been posted in the first place. What would being able to see them afford you?
    – ale
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 15:43
  • You can't even see deleted answers on your question (if you don't have the rep to see deleted posts in general), and answers are more important than comments. (Comments are second-class citizens, by design.) So you might need to first ask why you can't see deleted answers. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


As for why, it's generally to prevent arguments from simmering. If someone left rude or otherwise not constructive comments on your post, and you could still see them after deletion, every time you'd come back to that post you'd be reminded of them.

For example, all but one of the comments on that post of yours were too critical of your question and devolved into an argument about how appropriate it was. They were purged by a moderator, as they didn't add anything to the question. If you could see those, you might be irritated with the user who left them whenever you came back to that question. That's how feuds start, and we want to stop this if we can.

I did find a single comment in that group that had useful information within it, so I undeleted that one. The others really didn't have any redeeming value, so they're better off deleted.

Moderators operate under the assumption that all deleted comments are invisible to anyone but themselves. There have been some horrifying things left in comments that no one should see, and we would have needed to manually purge or edit them if they were to be left visible to everyone.

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