I haven't been active on this site until recent months so I'm not accoustomed yet. But I have been in Stack Overflow main site for a few years and I have not experienced there anything like this.

Point 1

A few weeks back I noticed that some comments were being deleted for no apparently reason. They contained no bad language nor spam. They belong to people just talking politely about the topics established in the question or some of the answers.

Point 2

Today I suggested an edit to this question Can I say "I have been dedicated my work" ? (edit link). My edit was rejected but just below a moderator applied almost all my suggestions to the post. I suggested minor grammatical improvements (replace "i" by "I", replace "sentense" by "sentence", remove extra blank spaces, ...) AND include the particle "to" in the title.

OP was not asking if the complete expression was syntactically correct. Let me quote

there any other appropriate sentense? I want to focus on " I did it for a long time, until now"

So I interpreted that the missing "to" was just a typo. It was not relevant to the question. But the rewiewers' opinion was not the same so she rejected my edit.

Well, they seem to be native English speakers and they got more reputation. Fine. And now my questions ...

Question 1

Is there any written rule [Please include link] about arbitrarily deleting comments in this site?

Question 2

Do all reviewers know that there is an option to improve an edit? If there are ten suggestions and nine are valid (ten, in my opinion), why do anyone have to reject all the modifications?

EDITED: Ey, I've just remembered why I linked these two subjects. I wrote a comment addressing the editor because she has left some blank spaces that I suggested to remove. Can you see my comment? ;-) Blanks are still there.

  • Two people rejected that edit, not just the moderator. Also, after you earn 2000 reputation, you no longer earn reputation for edits, so the moderator didn't earn any reputation for editing the post. ell.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/71746
    – Catija
    May 10, 2018 at 20:12
  • 2
    There is a written rule that comments are ephemeral everywhere. If there is really crucial information, it should, ideally, be ultimately added to the post. It sounds like the comment chain you talked about could have been a distraction from the contents of the question and the answer, hence being "too chatty" and "no longer needed".
    – M.A.R.
    May 10, 2018 at 20:17
  • @Catija I'm not taking about the reputation points earned by editing. Two people got a different opinion from mine and got more reputation. Do you approve their behaviour? Do you agree with their opinion? Deserves my edit a complete rejection?
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:20
  • @M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ Written where? It does not happen just in one post.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:21
  • 1
    The comment guidelines are here: ell.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/comment It's pretty common to remove comments that are no longer serving any purpose.
    – Catija
    May 10, 2018 at 20:22
  • Regarding your edit, well, you can see what it looks like in the review queue. I would improve the edit, or maybe not. What matters is I won't overthink it, because there are more productive uses of my time. It's really not a big deal. As long as the final revision is improved, doesn't matter who does it.
    – M.A.R.
    May 10, 2018 at 20:23
  • @Catija Thanks for the link. I don´t found anything about been removed arbitrarily by moderators. But as I've mentioned, I'm not familiar with this site.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:25
  • @M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ I'm not arguing about my authoring nor overthinking anything. I'm taking about being rejected for almost no reason when there are other ways of action. I think only that in this case improving is better than rejecting.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:30
  • 3
    Well, I wouldn't say 'no reason'. Changing the sentence the OP asks about could render the question nonsensical. Colleen could have improved the edit, or rejected it. She chose the latter. It's perfectly okay as long as the question is improved and in shape. It's a decision that was made, and it's over. It might as well have been a regular non-moderator user's decision. I don't see the problem here.
    – M.A.R.
    May 10, 2018 at 20:41
  • @M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ I've edited my question. No specific mention to moderators. I think that my edit does not change the sense of OP's question at all but that's just my opinion. Thanks for your comments.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:50
  • 2
    Let me be clear that I do agree with you that "improve edit" would have been a better option, but 1. The way it looks in the queue trips you into thinking too much has been changed, and 2. What's done is done. We can't do anything about the review that would make sense right now, because the positive changes have been done to the post, so this isn't a case of rash reviewing, and 3. If anything, this leaves two things for you to do in the future: Make sure not to change example sentences, and get the dang 2000 rep. ;)
    – M.A.R.
    May 10, 2018 at 21:04
  • @M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ 2. and 3. I'm not looking for any change in this particular edit. I have learned my lesson, I will try to improve my suggestions following your tips. Thanks a lot.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


Please ask one question per question.

When you put multiple unrelated questions together into a single post, as you've done in this meta question, you create a problem. What if I answer one of your points well, and another poorly? What if I only want to answer one of the two questions because I don't have the knowledge to answer the other?

The question of removing comments has very little to do with why your edit was rejected. In the future, I would suggest asking these as separate questions so the answers can be posted and voted on separately.

Comments are ephemeral.

Comments aren't designed to stick around forever. Since you haven't really asked about any specific example I can't give a specific response, but I urge to read the text in the Help Center about comments.

When do moderators delete comments? Most often when they fit into one of the categories the help center says not to use comments for: thank-you comments, back-and-forth discussion, answers in the comments section, meta discussion, and so forth.

Here on ELL, we're actually a bit more lenient with comment deletion than the SE network-wide policy would suggest. That's because our community has grown to expect a bit of leeway with comments, which we're willing to accommodate as long as it's helping people learn English. We have to use our judgment as to where to draw the line; we often delete answers-in-comments when they contain outright misinformation, for example, or when they duplicate information that is already contained within the existing answers.

Your edit made it impossible for answers to address the OP's concern.

Your edit changed the sentence the OP was curious about:

I have been dedicated my work for 30 years. But now I think I should quit my job and spend my time with myself.

You changed this to:

I have been dedicated to my work for 30 years but now I think I should quit my job and spend my time with myself.

But the thing you changed is exactly what they were asking about! Please be careful to avoid making this sort of change. With your change, the question no longer made sense. Worse, if someone did try to write an answer, that answer couldn't possibly address the OP's concern. They'd end up wasting their time writing answers about something the OP wasn't asking about.

The rejection stated this reason explicitly:

Breaks the usage the question is about.

So it should be clear to you why the edit was suggested. I appreciate you taking the time to suggest edits to make the site a better place, but in this particular case rejecting the edit was the right thing to do. Please be careful not to change things like this in future edits.

Choosing 'edit and improve' is also an option, but in this case it would have been a mistake. The edit had a major problem with it, and 'reject' is how that problem is reported to the person who suggested the edit.

  • Thanks for your answer. I'll be careful about adding special particles. No irony. But I have highlighted part of OP's question. I think that he was asking if he can use "have been dedicated" and other alternative ways of saying the same and that the lack of "to" was a minor mistake.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:47
  • About the comments, as I've stated, I'm an active user of StackOverflow, I don't know the other sites very well, but your policy is less lenient, in my opinion
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 20:56
  • 1
    @RubioRic - We don't have a "policy", but the community does have its own customs and norms. Whether these are less lenient or more lenient than other exchanges doesn't concern me. Each exchange evolves to best meet the needs of its primary base, and I think ELL does a good job of doing just that.
    – J.R. Mod
    May 10, 2018 at 21:27
  • @J.R. Eh, it was snailboat who mentioned the leniency. I think that in this case is not the ELL community (which I'm part of as anybody else) but some ELL moderators. But it's just my impression, I may be wrong.
    – RubioRic
    May 10, 2018 at 21:45
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    @RubioRic The mistake was made in three places in the post, so we can't be sure it was a typo. It's better to ask the author for clarification than assume you know what they're asking. I chose "reject and edit" instead of "improve", because I wanted to be certain I had the exact wording that the question's author used. If I don't reject it, all of your edits are applied, and I have to undo the troublesome ones. I did restore most of the edits you suggested because I thought they were good. I didn't get any rep and I already have the Copy Editor badge so there's nothing nefarious going on.
    – ColleenV
    May 11, 2018 at 0:20
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    @RubioRic - Snail mentioned an SE-wide policy; you mentioned “your policy.” I was merely clarifying that ELL doesn’t have any formal policy of its own.
    – J.R. Mod
    May 11, 2018 at 1:20
  • @ColleenV First of all thanks for the comment. As I mentioned above I'm not talking about gaining or not reputation. Let me paste what you explained to me in the original rejection: "". Nothing. Zero. How can I know what was my mistake and learn from it? Instead of appliyng almost all my suggestions, you could just undo the disputed "to". Or reject it and include some of the explanations gathered here. I'll be more careful in the future with my suggestions and ask for clarification.
    – RubioRic
    May 11, 2018 at 3:38
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    @RubioRic If I reject and edit, there's no place for a reason for the rejection, just for the description of the edit. As I said, I wanted to start from the original text. Undoing your edit could have introduced the same problem I was trying to solve. If you had just missed something, I would have done an "improve". You had feedback about the rejection from Nathan. It's one well-intentioned suggested edit on a collaborative site. I didn't see it as a big issue that needed correcting.
    – ColleenV
    May 11, 2018 at 11:22
  • @ColleenV It's not a BIG issue for me either. I got poor feedback because I didn't understand how I was breaking anything when I read his response. Until some other user mentioned the preposition in his comment, I got no clue. Let me insist for the last time, as I have highlighted above, OP was asking about "have been dedicated" being applicable in his described context and about some equivalents. Including or not the preposition "to" is important, you're right, but no so relevant, IMO. Thanks for your comments.
    – RubioRic
    May 11, 2018 at 11:46
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    @RubioRic Asking on meta is the right thing to do if you don't understand (although it helps if we can focus on one thing at a time as snailboat mentioned). You might look through some of the other discussions we have had here to get an idea of what the community's expectations are. There is some debate about how much we should correct a question, but most agree fiddling with the text being asked about (unless it is a quote from another source) isn't a good idea. Because folks have to ask their question about English in English, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding.
    – ColleenV
    May 11, 2018 at 11:56
  • @ColleenV I've edited my question this morning. There was a link between my two points but snailboat and you are right, I should have centered my question just in the rejected edit. I've learn my lesson, I'll be careful with my next suggestions.
    – RubioRic
    May 11, 2018 at 12:02

Concerning your edit:

EDITED: Ey, I've just remembered why I linked these two subjects. I wrote a comment addressing the editor because she has left some blank spaces that I suggested to remove. Can you see my comment? ;-) Blanks are still there.

Your exact comment was:

@ColleenV You know that an "Improve edit" option exists, don't you? You missed some blanks before '?'

Maybe you meant that to be helpful, but it came across as snide to me, which is why I opted to delete it when the question was flagged.

I think a more constructive way to handle that situation would have been to simply edit the question one more time and remove those blank spaces, and forgo the comment altogether.

  • Thanks for your answer. Well done (not been ironic). You are right, it was snide. That's the reason I linked the points but that was not the only time I have appreciated comments disappearing.
    – RubioRic
    May 13, 2018 at 10:23
  • 3
    There are many reasons comments may disappear: too heated, too controversial, too chatty, too frivolous, too many of them in one place, obsolescence, going down a side path and deviating from the main question, etc. Basically, if it’s deemed unconstructive, it may disappear. (Definition of constructive: serving a useful purpose; tending to build up.) One of my favorite quotes on comments came from a moderator on Stack Overflow: Comments are deleted for a lot of reasons. Since comments can be deleted for just about any reason, we may not always see the connection between deletions.
    – J.R. Mod
    May 13, 2018 at 10:38
  • Good quote. Thanks :-) The problem is that sometimes only a handful of comments are deleted on a conversation and this left the thread broken, it remembers the action of a troll and instead it's moderation. Well, it's hard being moderator, I recognize that
    – RubioRic
    May 13, 2018 at 10:46
  • 3
    If you ever think some deleted comments break the flow of a discussion to the point where they make the remaining conversation incoherent, you are welcome to flag one of the remaining comments and say as much. The moderation team won’t mind taking a second look.
    – J.R. Mod
    May 13, 2018 at 10:48
  • I shall do so next time
    – RubioRic
    May 13, 2018 at 10:54

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