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I realise that comments are only supposed to be temporary, but they exist to serve a purpose: improving posts. Comments often point out flaws in an answer and end up being highly upvoted, i.e. considered valuable by the community. Some comments are so valuable that they deserve to stay indefinitely.

I have noticed lots of other users' comments being deleted all over the Stack Exchange network over the last few weeks. Is my observation accurate? If so, what is the reason for it?

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    Are the comments you're referring to posted on this site (Meta), or a different site? Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 0:49
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog All over the network. It seems to be global.
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 0:50
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    @JakeGould I didn't think I was demanding, and now I can't see the comment to see if it could be interpreted that way.
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 1:08
  • Comments are disappearing quickly these days and suspensions seem to be handed out much more too.
    – Script47
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 1:55
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    @Script47 ... and suspensions seem to be handed out much more too... Like candy. We need evidence (data) though. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 2:02
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    Comments in what context? Here on Über Meta? On Stack Overflow? For questions? For answers? For everything on all of Stack Exchange, both actual content and meta sites? Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 2:04
  • If it is only about comments here on Über Meta (my guess), this question should probably be tagged with "meta". Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 2:07
  • "they exist to serve a purpose: improving posts" Not only for that, though. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 6:32
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    @πάνταῥεῖ Data... well, I don't even have to mention Robert Harvey... when I was suspended, GhostCat fell with me... then there was Mari-Lou A, then Mari-Lou A again, then gnat, then Fermi paradox (I don't remember all), currently there are at least two suspended users on "Agreement" question... it goes around like candy... I am not going into whether people really deserved that candy.... but every once in a while I bump into someone suspended I know and I wonder what they did to deserve the candy... Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 8:04
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica How about answers should be on-topic?
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 20:15
  • @CoolFool that's fair, as long as that standard is applied with reasonable flexibility... My example question had the topic of electronic design, which the answer did not nearly comply with, but in that case it should not. Indeed, the question was migrated from the electronics stack to the fix your house stack. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 21:14

2 Answers 2

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1I posted a comment yesterday on an answer pointing out that the answer had mostly strayed from the topic in my question and requesting that the user actually answer the question I had asked. The answer has not been updated but my comment has been deleted.

As mentioned by other's in comments your comment seems to be overly demanding, and doesn't bring more relevant information, why your question isn't answered by the given answer.

Alternatively you could have edited your question, and put more focus or details what exactly is asked. It's appropriate to notify the answering user about your question update, but will be also deleted as no longer needed in the longer term.

This kind of comment might well be flagged (and subsequently deleted) as no longer necessary or even unfriendly / unkind.

I have noticed lots of comments being deleted over the last few weeks. Why the war on comments?

I don't see any war about comments raising recently. Do you have some evidence (data)?

The comment flag choices changed a bit, maybe that has some influence to observations that comments are deleted more quickly.


1)Emphasis mine.

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  • I'm not a high rep user. I have no access to any data, I'm just a user who notices things. I'd take screenshots except I can't predict which comments are going to get deleted.
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 1:35
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    @CoolFool - Assume any commentary you submit will eventually be deleted since the temporary commentary itself will eventually no longer be needed
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 20:29
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Note that per the comment privilege page, comments are "temporary 'Post-It' notes left on a question or answer." The very nature of comments are to be transient clarifications or constructive feedbacks1. Once the comment has served its purpose (ie: the feedback/criticism has been taken into account or decided not to be acted on), the comment no longer has any purpose.

If you truly believe that a comment is "so valuable that [it] deserve[s] to stay indefinitely," then that comment should either be edited into the question/answer or made an answer in its own right!

In that light, let's take a look at the comment you left. It read:

Only your first two paragraphs are responding to the question. I see no difference between "educating" and "making aware". The rest is a rant about the new Code of Conduct and off topic. I agree that it was rolled out abysmally, but I also agree with its aim of treating people with respect and allowing them to be comfortable participating on all SE sites. I didn't mention the CoC at all, and we should all be promoting respect anyway, not just because some lawyer speak CoC tells us to. So, can you answer the question in line with the spirit of the CoC, i.e. treating everyone with respect? — Cool Fool 2 mins ago

As others have said, if you want your question to be answered in a certain way that you find answers are not addressing, that usually means that your question needs to be edited. But even disregarding that and the way this can be read, it looks like in the end, you're making a request of the answerer.

If I were the answerer and I am given feedback I choose not to act on, then the comment has served its purpose. I'd flag it as "No Longer Needed," since I'm choosing not to act on that advice. It sounds like OP did something similar in this case.

If I were the commenter and I saw my comment had been deleted (in other words, my advice is not going to be taken) and I felt the answer was still not up to snuff given my question, I'd flag the answer as "Not an Answer," which will throw it into the queue and let the community decide whether or not it actually answers my question.

TL;DR/Conclusion: At the end of the day though, you can't simply make demands of answerers and expect them to be followed through on every time. The best you can do is to politely give constructive criticism and if they refuse and their answer is still lacking, then let the community decide whether or not the answer is complete enough without your suggestion.


1. Note that this is a little more lax on meta, as the goal is to promote more back and forth exchanges.

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    Since that has always been the case (comments are "temporary 'Post-It' notes left on a question or answer."), why does there now seem to be an increase in comment deletion? What's changed recently?
    – Cool Fool
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 2:46
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    Assuming you're talking about Meta.SE, @Cool and assuming there actually has been a rise in comment deletion (not just your own confirmation bias, which will be hard to prove given that deleted comment data is not available in SEDE), then I'd guess that it's due to the insanely inflated traffic the site has been receiving since drama started a few months ago. More users means more comments means more no longer needed comments means more comment deletion. But again, there's no data to prove either way, so this is all speculation (which is why I didn't address this in my answer).
    – scohe001
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 3:30
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    I can say unscientifically there's both been a rise in volume and temperature of comments in the last few months. A significant number of these, I would not say all is a result of flagging. I do try to read and decide on every comment I review, sometimes more than once. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 8:43

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