Some comments made on Skeptics.SE are appropriate and helpful. Some aren't. What are the qualities that a good Skeptics.SE comment would have?

Ground rules:

  • One quality per answer
  • Provide a brief explanation of why it is important.
  • If you don't agree, downvote the attribute. If you agree, upvote.

Related question: FAQ: What are the attributes of a good question?

Related question: FAQ: What makes an answer good on Skeptics.SE?

3 Answers 3


No unreferenced significant claims.

It isn't in keeping with the skeptical philosophy to make significant claims without providing evidence. We do not accept such behaviour in answers. We have seen some users try to use comments as a low-risk way of answering a question while evading our need to comply with our demand for references, and without the attendant risk of downvotes for poor answers.

While the rules for comments are more relaxed than for answers, unreferenced claims should be called out.

Comments can be used to point towards directions answers might be found where the commenter hasn't found the evidence or isn't sure, but the tentative nature of such conclusions should be indicated.

Related question: Unreferenced answers in comments

Related Question: Should claims made in comments be supported by a reference?


Nothing too valuable/permanent.

Comments can be used to ask clarifying questions, or to warn about ambiguities. However, there is a general practice to delete comments once the issue has been resolved and the question updated appropriately.

Entire comment threads may also be deleted when they get off-topic or descend into slanging matches. (The chat system is designed to handle the former. Almost the entire rest of the Internet is available for the latter.)

Comments are designed to be disposable. [Ref] Avoid putting important information in comments.


The question should be phrased using respectful language.

While there are no taboo topics here, all comments must be written about in respectful manners. It is hard to know what people find offensive, but it's a lot easier for a reader to understand if the language of the question is respectful.

Profanities in comments will be removed. They are not allowed here.

[This answer cribbed from this related answer]

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