Though it's a niggling thing, it seems so out of the blue that I'd like to know why.

I commented on this answer to this question asking for clarification about the time frame some of the graphs represented. From memory

Unless I missed it, what is the frame of reference or time frame for those gun death graphs? Number of deaths in X year? Average deaths over X Years? Total deaths in X Years?

Since the question has not be updated to include that information, I don't think it was removed due to it being unconstructive.

Some of my guesses:

  • The number of comments has grown so large that server deleted to oldest comment(s) to make room.
  • Someone misconstrued my comment as being sarcastic or antagonistic.
  • Someone tried to up-vote the comment (there was at least one up-vote on it last I saw) and accidentally flagged it without noticing their mistake, and a mod (primed by said flagging) deleted it.

Why I consider my comment constructive, based on the current state of the question:

  • the graphs have no correlation to one another, one states the USA's gun deaths per 100,000 to be 3.25, one at 9, and the final at ~11 (eyeballing this one).
  • Having that information would also be a strong defense against (or condemnation of) cherry-picking.

2 Answers 2


Comments are notoriously second class citizen in the Stack Exchange network. When a moderator found a thread of comments degenerating he deleted all comments to stop the argument. I also had to do the same today.

While we understand it's a little bit unfair to you, who did not take part into any argument, nuking all the comment indiscriminately is often much more effective than surgically removing the bad ones because it leaves no impression that we are taking sides (which we aren't!)

  • It would have been nice if the previous moderator had indicated they had done so. It might (might!) have slowed the second wave.
    – Tory
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 20:20

I purged all comments on that post at that time. Yours wasn't one of the really problematic ones, but as Sklivvz mentioned, picking individual comments to keep or delete can be rather problematic.

If I hand-pick the comments to delete, it's easy to remove one side of an argument and not the other, and that is likely to cause a strong reaction due to the appearance of bias. I'd also have to check the comments closely to avoid breaking conversations, and making the whole thing less useful than if there weren't any comments.

This questions is close to the worst-case for comments on our site. It's an extremely controversial topic (in the US), and the answer included a rather inflammatory statement in the first version, which was referenced in some comments. The discussion there wasn't about to stop, and it would likely only get more heated, so removing all comments was my preferred choice.

I personally tend to delete comments silently. I don't like to draw attention to the deletion, and add clutter myself with such a meta comment. For users familiar with how comments are handled on SE sites this should be fine, but I admit that it can be a bit confusing for users unaware of the typical way we handle comments. I'm not entirely sure yet if that actually works better than posting such comments, but I my experience it also doesn't really help if I leave comments asking people to stop commenting, it's just one comment more to delete later.

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