In a recent question about the word elicit in a Forbes article, I supplied the meaning of the word (not its usual one) in a comment, and then remarked to the OP that consulting a single dictionary, especially a "learner's dictionary", wouldn't do for the kinds of texts he was reading, that checking a learner's dictionary and going no farther was like "bringing a knife to a gunfight, as the AmE saying goes".

The comment, along with the definition, was deleted, making subsequent comments in a chain of comments appear to be nonsequiturs.

I want to know what was objectionable or offensive about that comment. On what grounds was it deleted?

  • 4
    I didn't delete that comment, but I don't see any reason to leave an answer in a comment above the two answers that have explanations instead of just "it means this". Your point about the learner's dictionary was made more clearly in a comment by userr2684291. It's fine if you want to dash off a comment so that Haile can get some sort of answer quickly. I wouldn't expect it to stick around if detailed answers are added (it might, but I wouldn't expect it.) I don't see much of a discontinuity in the comments below the deletion.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:31
  • "much discontinuity"? A comment of mine refers back to something which doesn't exist any longer. And the "detailed answers" were wrong. The OP has a habit of consulting learners dictionaries and then giving up when they don't answer the question. OP needs to consult better dictionaries, given the nature of the texts his questions are about. Perhaps we need a policy that more clearly explains what is meant by "dictionary" in our policy against asking questions that a dictionary could answer.
    – TimR
    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:44
  • 5
    I have removed the other comments. I've left the chat link and a comment about the limitations of learner's dictionaries. You know why answers in comments are discouraged, so if you put an answer in a comment you should expect that it will be removed when real answers that can be voted on and discussed have been written. If the answers are wrong, you know how to address that and it's not with a comment under the question.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:46
  • 1
    @ColleenV I agree with your comments. But the irony is that your comments here actually answer this meta question from your perspective as moderator. Why not post it as an answer below so that it stays? :)
    – NVZ
    Jul 10, 2017 at 15:55
  • 3
    @NVZ I don't see this as a Q&A in the same sense as "What should our standard be for closing questions as proofreading?" that needs an accepted answer. This is a specific issue that I've tried to resolve. I haven't had a chance to discuss it with rest of the moderation team (although I don't believe they would object to what I've said or done here or I wouldn't have done or said it). If an answer is necessary, I would like the rest of the mod team (especially the moderator that actually deleted the comment) to weigh in before it gets written.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:24
  • 1
    IMO, this "housekeeping" where comments are deleted when votable answers appear is a form of mindless idiocy. We might as well have a bot do it. What is the purpose of having humans do it?
    – TimR
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:43
  • 8
    Because comments are necessary even though they are temporary, and a bot can't tell whether they've outlived their usefulness, or whether their content is disruptive, or productive debate. We could just wipe comments without looking at them at all, but we want to make sure that the author of the question gets helped. A giant thread of comments under a question suppresses answers, and voting on answers. It might be fine on ELU where the community is larger and more fluent, but it doesn't work great here.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 10, 2017 at 17:19


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