A few days ago, I posted an answer on meta. A moderator questioned the accuracy of aspects of the answer. I had an interesting discussion with that moderator in the comments.

It was a very sober, technical conversation. Purely reasonable. No ill-will or even emotional comments. It was quite productive and constructive, and I enjoyed the discussion quite a lot. Moreover, all the comments were perfectly on-topic and technical regarding the answer. No off-topic talk. In other words, quite a serious and productive discussion.

Today I noticed that my comments were gone. Yes, yes, I know comments are only temporary and may be removed at any moment, and I totally support that idea. I like comment cleanups quite a lot. What I find interesting here is that several of the other comments (arguing the other side of the discussion) are left on there, while mine are gone.

This is a bit of a trivial matter maybe, but anyhow, wouldn't it be better to:

  • Delete the whole conversation? (Comments for both sides of it.)
  • Move the whole conversation to chat?
  • Leave both sides up?

Also, I believe comments are slightly more important on meta than on the regular site. After all, meta is a place for discussion. (Although clearly, comments can be deleted on meta too.)

IMO removing all the comments on one side of the discussion while leaving some of the "other side" comments on there seems a bit strange. After all, the comments are presenting counter-arguments to my answer. If they are being left on there then it's natural to also keep my counter arguments (those defending my answer.) Or, of course, to move/delete the whole conversation (which I would certainly not object to either.)

There is a common argument (which I quite agree with) that all information important enough not to be deleted should be incorporated into an answer. It's indeed a good principle. In this case, there was a two-sided discussion, one side of which has been deleted. Perhaps it was because my side was already covered in the answer itself? And the moderator's comments were seen as too important to be deleted? Well, it may indeed be, in which case that important information too could be incorporated into its own answer. In this case, such an answer could point out that there is a possibility that the Hot Network Questions had something to do with it. Thus, all comments could be deleted since both answers would then speak for themselves. This is a consistent, neutral approach to deleting a discussion. This is especially important on meta, which is for discussion. It seems more reasonable to me than to delete comments from only one side of the discussion.

I don't mean to present this as if it's a big deal or anything. I just thought it was worth bringing up.

  • You left out the "incorporate the points from the discussion into your answer" option in your list of possibilities. Discussions in comments are great, but they are difficult to search (I hate to say impossible just because I don't know how to do it). I assume that J.R. left certain comments alone because he felt they had valuable information relevant to the discussion, like the link to the hotness formula. Keep in mind that anyone can delete their own comments, so it can happen that a few comments are out of place. Just flag them as obsolete if you come across any.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 0:20
  • 1
    I want to make sure to say I think this is a good discussion to have. Sometimes I can't make the tone of comments sound as nice as I'd like because there isn't enough room for how verbose I am :)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 0:27
  • @ColleenV Well, the link to hotness formula is not in any of the remaining comments. Yes, I believe incorporating everything into answers is indeed a great option. So, for example all comments here could have been deleted. And the possibility that the HNQ might have been a factor could be discussed in an answer. That sounds consistent. That way, both sides of the comments can be removed rather than just one.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 0:28
  • The comment with the link in it was deleted by you, not the moderator (I assume because you felt like it was obsolete when the other comments were removed). Anyhow, I don't want to speak for J.R., but I will say that comments are kept or deleted based on their content, not because of who posted them.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 2:04
  • @ColleenV Yes, yes, that comment is not important. I'm not talking about that comment. I'm talking about the whole conversation. Regarding obsolescence, I think that sounds fair and wonder if it may apply to the whole conversation. ("Repeating myself here, sorry.,)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 4:52
  • 2
    It is difficult to remember at times but mods are not robots, they are human beings. And there will always be differences in opinion. One man's "fluff" is another man's "treasure".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 7:44
  • 2
    It was an interesting conversation, but it strayed from the main point of the question. When three or four comments turn into 18 or 20, don't be surprised if a lot of them get removed. I removed my two remnant comments, since you seem to object to that in principle.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 8:51
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    @J.R. Excellent. Thanks for hearing me out and thanks again for the discussion that day. :)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 9:10
  • 2
    @ColleenV Data Explorer makes searching in comments a breeze! Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


The whole conversation has now been deleted. I am quite satisfied with this outcome. Thanks to those who engaged in the conversation here. It's great that I could get such a quick response on meta in just a few hours.

  • 2
    Aww man, I came here late and missed the joy or reading meaninglessly arranged comments.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 10:27
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    @Rubisco Let's provide our own, then. I have a dog named Dave! Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:49
  • @P.E.Dant Really? That's very interesting and off-topic indeed. Actually, my mom has a dog named Jack. Please discuss various aspects of this fact.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 11:18
  • "There is nothing in the desert, and no man needs nothing." Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 19:51

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