I am tired of seeing my on-topic comments deleted when they are not

(1) rude or offensive (2) not constructive (3) obsolete (4) too chatty (5) other...

This is not the first time that I witnessed comments are unduly deleted by moderators on ELL.

I expressed my opinion on why the third link in @NathanTuggy's post should be closed and I don't understand why the comments must have been deleted. I think it is nothing but abuse of power and there is no clause in Who are the diamond moderators, and what is their role? or A Theory of Moderation that justifies the deletion of the comments made by myself and @NathanTuggy.

@NathanTuggy also states in the ELL chat room that he can't understand why they were deleted as indicated in the image below.

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My comments to @NathanTuggy's question, If there's only two or three possible contexts for a question, don't vote to close it as unclear, too broad, or Details Please.

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3 Answers 3


Moderators on graduated sites are elected to the position. We don't remove moderators except for:

  1. voluntary resignation,
  2. inactivity over long periods, or
  3. serious problems, such as violating the moderator agreement.

Deleting a handful of meta comments might be a low level abuse of power (at least potentially), but not something we'd remove a mod for. Demanding that is jumping ahead a few steps. Instead, I'd suggest having a calm discussion about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of these comments.

If it were me, I'd probably have left your comments. But the are a bit distracting from the main thrust of the question, so I don't fault the moderator for making that call. Certainly, I don't see any abuse of power here; the moderator who deleted the comments is not the same as the one who answered the meta question.

  • 4
    I like your suggestion to calmly discuss the comments themselves, and I've done just that in my answer to this question. Thank you for taking the time to intervene here, and for your support.
    – J.R. Mod
    Nov 5, 2016 at 22:52
  • Don't forget that you are assuming this is the first time moderators on ELL abused their power, low level or not. My question is this, "What difference would it make if they didn't delete my comment?". Did ELL users elect moderators to delete comments? Do you know how many questions and answers need comments and deletion on ELL? ELL is a weird place where moderators care more about comments than quality of questions and answers. Do you want me to give you more examples? I am doing it step by step, but don't forget. You need to watch what ELL moderators are doing. They do have problems.
    – user24743
    Nov 6, 2016 at 19:29
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    @Rathony I am not sure, but it is probably the case that Jon is not familiar with you, a user that the moderator J.R. has described as "a bit of a reputation for being a little zealous, heavy-handed, and legalistic at times." And I think that characterization is generous. Which is probably why your question has, of this writing, 18 downvotes. Nov 7, 2016 at 16:05

I think the "constructiveness" of that last comment in particular is tenuous at best. I see rather hostile accusations about "reading the OP's mind" along with allegations that one of our most respected members effectively "doesn't understand the way SE works." Moreover, calling an OP "lazy" is borderline rude. Even the rhetorical question in the initial comment ("Do you really believe the OP knows what he is talking about?") could be regarded as belittling.

I won't delve into details here, but I will say that the mod team discussed these comments privately and there was widespread agreement that, in this case, comment removal resulted in an overall improvement. The main concern was not whether or not Nathan might be offended by the comments, but how others in the community might perceive these comments, to include the so-called lazy OP who presumably "does not know what he is talking about." Coupled with the belligerent and authoritative tone of these comments, we felt it was better to simply remove them than to make a sidebar conversation go on even longer.

I think a better response to the comment deletion would have been to take a more balanced and objective look at the comments, rather than republish them here, and see if maybe they were perhaps not quite as polite and constructive as maybe they could have or should have been. I would suggest that a little more humble openness, and a little less belligerent insistence, could go a long way.

As for that "demand" of a resignation, I don't think any in the mod team plan on stepping down. Personally, I am rather saddened by that knee-jerk reaction. Since our recent election, I feel like the moderation team is stronger than it has ever been. I'd like to take this opportunity to laud the rest of the moderation team, and add that it's really a shame when such acrid comments are made toward a small team that is working so hard to keep things running smoothly.

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    I'm sorry for being a pest, but here for example, Rathony left a comment which has since been deleted. Did he delete that comment himself? Which in my mind redeems him. Or was it deleted by a mod? I know the tone was extremely argumentative, it was an attack but it was on topic and it was related to the post. "Free speech", et al, etc., I'm speaking here about the principle, not if that comment was particularly "good" and worthy of preserving. BTW I haven't DV or UV Rathony's question because although it is worded horribly, and I disagree with the title 100%, he does have a point.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 7, 2016 at 9:13
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    @Mari - I talk about this in a related meta question and don't want to belabor the point here. Meta is not a free-for-all forum where divisive seeds of discord can be scattered about at will, and I don't think the mod team is out of order for deleting comments that are vitriolic or accusatory. Remember, one reason to flag comments is "not constructive"; constructive means "serving a useful purpose; tending to build up", and synonyms include productive, positive, and encouraging. Constructive comments are much less likely to be deleted.
    – J.R. Mod
    Nov 7, 2016 at 9:16

I agree with others who have already provided answers, but I would like to suggest that Stack does seem to have evolved in a direction where moderation has almost become a greater barrier to enjoying the site than the alternative. Shouldn't we be having a broader discussion about loosening up the mod criteria?

  • 6
    Perhaps so – but that should be its own question, not discussed beneath this one. And if you think this is becoming problematic across the exchange, that discussion belongs on meta.SE, not on ELL.
    – J.R. Mod
    Nov 6, 2016 at 8:01
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    No, quite the opposite. Moderation is why these sites feel more enjoyable than Yahoo's wasteland.
    – M.A.R.
    Nov 11, 2016 at 11:41

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