Recently, I've seen comments get deleted but the context around them aren't:

(For clarity, the above comments are all responses, 4 initial comments were deleted, the top one is in response to another user who's comment has been deleted, the rest were in response to my comments)

Clearly, without my original comments the context is lost and so is the value of the responses.

I know I can flag those as NLN ("no longer needed") but I feel that isn't ideal:

  • It uses up the amount of flags I have
  • It doubles the work load involved

Can mods start to contextually delete all comments instead of certain comments?

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    Yes, it's fine to flag orphaned comments. Use a "in need of moderator intervention" and use the input box to prompt the moderator to examine the whole stream. That way you only use one flag to enable many to be removed. – user351483 Oct 21 '19 at 14:53
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    Can mods start to contextually delete all comments instead of certain comments? -- They already do, in some cases. You don't see it because, well, the comments were deleted. – user102937 Oct 21 '19 at 14:53
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    Also, what you might be seeing is that the original author of the deleted comments deleted them all themselves. – user102937 Oct 21 '19 at 14:54
  • @RobertHarvey in this instance (and others from what I've seen) they didn't otherwise none of the comments in the image would've survived. – Script47 Oct 21 '19 at 14:54
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    @RobertHarvey I was the author of the 3/4 comments that are no longer present. I concede that the other one might've been deleted by the OP but I did not delete mine. – Script47 Oct 21 '19 at 14:54
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    Just flag each comment with a custom description: "These comments no longer make sense out of context; the comments they refer to were already deleted." – user102937 Oct 21 '19 at 14:55
  • @RobertHarvey Thanks, I've done so now but I'm guessing that still costs flags, right? – Script47 Oct 21 '19 at 14:59
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    You can also flag the post and ask for a general comment cleanup or flag one of the comments and say "some of the comments below this were removed and the conversation doesn't make sense any more... can the other side of the discussion be removed, too?" :) – Catija Oct 21 '19 at 15:01
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    To stress a technical aspect that might not be apparent: a reason why this can happen easily is that moderators can delete flagged comments quickly seeing essentially only the flagged comments without visiting the thread (and at least I do so frequently if the situation seems clear enough seeing only the flagged comments). Thus, either flag each comment, or say that there is more in the thread. – quid Oct 21 '19 at 18:00
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    Yes, they can. I've seen it on here, it seems that some moderators (not all) are operating under a clear bias. – Hugo Zink Oct 22 '19 at 7:53

Usually moderators will delete orphaned comments unless there is good reason not to

Firstly, moderators definitely have the option of deleting comments in a targeted way, but we really only have two options: delete them one-by-one or delete all of them. When we delete all of them we can go back and undelete some if we desire, but many times that (like single comment deletion) is very time consuming for very little gain (the vast majority of comments contain very little to no value).

At least on sites where I mod or hang around, unless there is a compelling reason, all sides of a discussion are removed so as not to leave out of context messages around.

However, one way out of context messages might have been left is if the moderator handled comment flags and only one side was flagged (and the moderator didn't jump into the question to take a look at everything). This can happen a lot when only one side of the conversation flags messages as NLN because you can't flag your own messages.

If you see orphaned comments you can (as noted in and below the question) flag them all. Or, if you are concerned about the number of flags, you can always flag one comment with a custom message to saying something like "all these comments are out of context now the other side has been deleted and can be removed". This will cost you only one flag and will prompt a moderator to check out the full post and clean up what needs to be.

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