Everyone came to this site with expectation, and if he/she leaves, there must be something disappointing here, albeit other positive things exist as well.

In most cases, when one leaves a comment, it means he/she cares about this site and is willing to spend time to discuss about it. But what I have seen lately is quite a few comments have been deleted implicitly by moderators, without proper reasons. Such as the deleted dogmafrog's comment on one moderator's response to his post Is cleaning yourself with toilet paper cleaner than using water?

I understand some comments are not praises with which you may not agree. But my opinion is that everyone should has the right to voice his/her own opinion. I hope comments can be kept and respected as much as possible.


5 Answers 5


The purpose of the site is Q&A. It's not actually here just to have a place for everyone to voice his or her opinion. That's what wordpress is for. Comments (afaik) are intended to be a support method for Q&A.

So to the point that comments are working to improve a question, or working to improve an answer, they are good. But the idea that people should be able to use comments to say whatever they want is not a premise I agree with.

If you truly want to voice your opinion, post an answer. I think quite often people post questionable things in comments to avoid getting downvoted.

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    Comments are intentionally a second-class citizen on SE sites, this is not a discussion forum, but a Q&A site. If the valuable content is in the comments instead of the answers, something is going wrong.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Mar 23, 2011 at 17:25
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    This is an concise, accurate, and awesome answer. I wish I said it myself. Mar 23, 2011 at 18:39
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    My idea is not that people should be able to use comments to say whatever they want but that to say valid opinions, because they have the right to, and their comments should be respected regardless if the moderators agree with them. Read my post carefully.
    – Tim
    Mar 23, 2011 at 18:55
  • @Tim - "But my opinion is that everyone should has the right to voice his/her own opinion." -- My apologies, I liberally interpreted this to mean that. As soon as the word "valid" is added, it just becomes a question of "what is valid" which I hope is addressed with the rest of my answer. Mar 23, 2011 at 18:56

We expect users to behave civilly and treat each other with respect. Comments that are inflammatory, disrespectful or are deliberate attempts at provoking another user will be deleted.


•Do: use comments to discuss the question directly.
•Do: use comments to explain edits, closure votes, deletion votes and similar.

How were my comments on the poop question not EXACTLY related to these two things? I was a tiny bit snarky, but didn't insult a specific person, didn't use profanity, didn't flame the site. The comments always directly related to the question, its closure and or deletion. I think I've been very good about moving the larger discussions about the questions to meta.

The worst think I ever said about any specific moderator is when in CHAT, I JOKED to borror that we clearly didn't see eye to eye, and I thought if we met in real life we'd have a Streets of Fire-esque sledgehammer fight. I always said I respected people's intellects and opinions and rights to post.

  • This isn't an answer, but a comment on @Sklivvz answer. I would convert it to a comment, but it will be inevitably truncated, and I don't want to be accused of censoring...
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Oct 19, 2011 at 0:48

In addition to what Borror0 is saying, in my opinion we should follow these guidelines for commenting:

  • Do: use comments to discuss the question directly.
  • Do: use comments to explain edits, closure votes, deletion votes and similar.
  • Consider: transforming a good comment in a great answer
  • Consider: moving the conversation to meta
  • Consider: moving the conversation to the chat
  • Avoid: exceeding 20 comments per item or 30 overall, otherwise pages become really slow otherwise.
  • Do not: use comments for off-topic meta-discussions.
  • Do not: use comments like a forum, they don't thread and the conversations soon become illegible.

Introduction: Two problems of critique are:

  1. If I complain about the behaviour of a specific moderator, it can easily be banned as provoking, offensive or insulting, but if I don't, it is called a generalized attack, and banned therefore.
  2. If I try to avoid a generalized attack, and substantiate it with citation, it can be banned because I can be accused to repeat an already banned statement. Psychologists call this a double-bind situation. Whatever you do, it's wrong.

I try to rescue my former posting, which was banned for unspecified, generalized reasons. One moderator found it personally insulting, the next one too generalized. (Yes, I know, you don't need two moderators to close a posting, so every single closing is sufficient). I would have preferred it they pointed on specific sentences, so that I would know, what they feel offending in particular. So, I have to guess, or further inquiry. Not so fine. (This is not only a meta-comment, but also already on topic: How to treat comments (answers, postings in general) more productive and constructive.

I had a lot of comments of mine deleted and distorting modified by some moderators in the past few days.

My critique on this kind of behavior was modified again, so that it seems to me, that every critique at moderators is taboo, and to discuss this is taboo as well.

IMHO, moderators should stand more dissent.

If I criticize a moderator, and he answers my critique, then changes my arguments, I get the Orwellian feeling, that the documentation of the past is changed to make it look nice. Of course, this discourages me in further critique.

I called a moderator a moderator, which was removed away as provoking, offensive or insulting. I protested, and now the protest is edited away, as if there has never been anything. This complain was again removed.

If you edit something, there are some hints on the right:

How to Edit

    * fix grammatical or spelling errors
    * clarify meaning without changing it
    * correct minor mistakes
    * add related resources or links
    * always respect the original author

Are this fake-advices, or are they for real? The meaning of my posts were changed. Of cause I don't feel respected - how could I?

From the FAQ:

Dr. Phil Plait defines Skepticism this way: It’s really easy to fool people, and it’s really easy to fool yourself, [...]

If one believes a moderator can be neutral enough to edit the arguments of his opponent in a dispute, he disqualifies, in my opinion, for the job.

I don't like to always control, whether the meaning of one of my posts in younger and older history was changed. My name is coupled to the text, and there is no indication who edited the post.

Sklivvz wrote:

Consider: moving the conversation to meta

If I move every comment about comments and edits to meta, I would have had 20 new topics yesterday on meta. Chat-login didn't work for skeptics for some reasons (while the SE-chat works), and often the person isn't in the chat. However, this posting is in meta, so it looks as if a text module was used to express the problem of my post.

My impression is, that there are double standards here. Some moderators expect respect, but don't stick to the rules themselves. They act autocratic, are averse to critique and can't stand dissent.

This is a mild critique, to make them feel more comfortable. If it is closed again, I would like to receive a more concrete advice, which sentences aren't acceptable, so that I don't need to guess.

I admit, that the former version contained some rhetoric pepper, which is due to my nature - I don't like to bore the audience. :) But to avoid being accused to write inflammatory, I removed some peaks of irony, changed some sentences from second person singular to third person, and emphasized what's my personal viewpoint and experience, and might be seen different from a different viewpoint. Of course, a too much softened critique isn't a critique anymore, it's doxology.

Thank you for spending your time on this.

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    Comments are deleted for being spam, offensive or noise. If enough people flag them, they are automatically deleted by the system. We only edit comments to remove offensive parts, which changes the tone of the comment, but not the meaning. Included in that is also anything that can be seen as a personal attack on other posters, we're trying to keep a civil tone here.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Mar 24, 2011 at 6:16
  • If you have an issue with a particular action, feel free to bring it up on meta where it can be discussed. If you believe a moderator is abusing his rights as a moderator, feel free to contact the SE team. Generalized attacks, however, are unacceptable.
    – Borror0
    Mar 24, 2011 at 6:27
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    I cannot judge the veracity of this answer. However, if the claims are actually true then this is a serious breach of trust. It must be possible to criticise, both in particular and in general. Mar 25, 2011 at 11:54
  • Well, I'm now chatting with Borror0 on this topic. It's taking an constructive way, IMHO. Mar 25, 2011 at 13:22
  • @KonradRudolph: As I explained to user unknown in chat, the problem was not criticism. Criticism is, in fact, welcomed. The problem was the tone used. There is a difference between "I disagree with this decision" and "you deleted my post because you're all biased." The former is welcomed and constructive. Moderators are not infallible. If we make a bad decision, we want to be called out on it. The latter is not: it's confrontational and nonconstructive. Needless to say, it is not welcomed.
    – Borror0
    Mar 25, 2011 at 13:25
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    My summary in this case is, that I agree that my post was of more polemic and irony than other, unclosed posts, but IMHO something in the green area. I can accept that a less aggressive tone is wanted, and I will try to work on that. However, the situation was heated, and I don't think I was the only person with debatable behavior. However, I wish that moderators don't close postings with generic comments, but with clear indication, which statement is beyond the lines, and why. Mar 25, 2011 at 13:46
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    @user: which is why feedback - not ranting, and in the proper venue is vital: the moderators are learning and working to shape the site just like everyone else here. If they fail to fulfill their role by using the tools given them, then they've failed everyone, because the site will die without active moderation. The decisions made, and the lessons learned now will be invaluable if and when this site makes it out of beta - so look at each disagreement as an opportunity to shape the future.
    – Shog9
    Mar 25, 2011 at 14:33

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