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I understand that comment cleanup is important. I also get really frustrated when I'm trying to find content I know I posted and it's just gone. Sometimes ideas percolate and I want to jump off of something I previously wrote, except I need to read it again first.

So I look for it and can't find it. And eventually I realize it must have been a comment and it's probably been deleted. But I'm not sure because there's no mechanism for clarifying that.

Personally, I'm super frustrated about mod deletes right now. Yes they are necessary but they are also just kind of rude on the face of it. IMHO they should be undertaken with the greatest reluctance and consideration, not with efficient zeal.

So my request is that mods will wait more than 12 hours perhaps before summarily deleting stuff, they might comment before deleting saying something like "this needs to be cleaned up - if it stays here another 24 hours I'm deleting it", and please, please, please leave a comment behind saying "comments cleaned up" or something like that. It would be nicest to always move comments to chat instead of just sending them to nowhere so anyone looking for that thing that person said can still find it for a little while.

Unless it's offensive, can we just move a little more slowly and politely maybe?

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  • What question was it? – Dom Feb 9 '17 at 13:37
  • @Dom music.stackexchange.com/questions/53161/double-inverted-chord/… The question itself is only seven hours old. – Todd Wilcox Feb 9 '17 at 14:00
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    @ToddWilcox It seems like the comments that were deleted just referenced a question you addressed in your post and served it's purpose and was removed because your post now contained that information as was intended by comments. I personally try not to delete comments like this on an active post, but I can see why it was done. We do tend to be pretty lax on comments here and this and the other recent incident are very much outliers. If you need some of the information, I can see if I can retroactively export it to chat. – Dom Feb 9 '17 at 21:42
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    I'm ok with the comments being deleted because the information was folded into the answer. My feeling is that no matter how good a reason there is for deleting content, it's still a deletion, and warrants some extra care and attention. I suppose a counter-argument to me would be that I should have the same attitude about deletions that I have about down votes: it's necessary and part of the system. Still, I do think down votes should be accompanied by an explanatory comment and I feel even more strongly that deletes should also have such comments (where possible). – Todd Wilcox Feb 9 '17 at 22:37
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    Down votes add content (in the form of opinion), while deletions remove it. Down voters may be almost any user and it's harder to expect every user to always comment on every down vote. Deletes are done by mods who should be held to a higher standard. So the comparison (which, yes, I made) between down votes and deletes isn't really apt. That said, I think the politeness factor of a comment when down voting applies doubly so when deleting. It's part of "being nice". – Todd Wilcox Feb 9 '17 at 22:40
  • Totally agree! And the downvoting, mainly because it's opinionated, can be and is done by any old Tom Dick and Harry. I've occasionally felt that the downvoter didn't actually understand what the content of the answer was about. 'Doesn't make sense to me, so I better downvote...' – Tim Feb 10 '17 at 16:31
  • @Dom - wrong place to post, but congrats on becoming second on the vote list. Slim's held his place for a very long time! – Tim Feb 10 '17 at 16:34
  • @Tim thanks for that. I honestly didn't notice that I took that spot. – Dom Feb 11 '17 at 16:59
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Ahh - my apologies. I went there because of a flag, and saw the info had been rolled up into the question so just cleaned up - so no info was removed. I hadn't thought that would be an issue.

I can certainly leave a comment to explain that (and for bigger issues we already do that) and in return I think we'd need to rely on the community to ensure that we delete our explanation later (by flagging as obsolete) as otherwise it may sit there for an extended period of time if a mod doesn't see that post again for a while.

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    Fair deal. I don't see unnecessary comments lingering on long after their usefulness as a big risk because I can't think of any negative consequences of that. We are we so motivated to keep the absolute minimum number of comments on the stack? Especially when other stacks seem to care so much less about lingering comments. – Todd Wilcox Feb 10 '17 at 12:50
  • Some SE sites are much faster to remove comments than us, but I get your point. How about two triggers: the automatic one when comment threads get too long, and flags from the community? Plus one more around age of post... – Doktor Mayhem Feb 10 '17 at 14:36
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    To me, how quickly comments are deleted is secondary to having some feedback about the fact that comments were deleted and maybe why they were deleted. – Todd Wilcox Feb 10 '17 at 14:38
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    Okay. That seems like a way forwards then. When deleting comments, leave a note as to why. Not just for the major ones. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 10 '17 at 15:30
  • Thought - why can comments attract an upvote only? – Tim Feb 10 '17 at 16:33
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    @Tim Potentially a separate meta question, except it's already several separate meta questions: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3615/allow-downvoting-comments Highlight: "There's an asymmetry between agreeing and disagreeing though: just saying "Me too" doesn't actually further the discussion. If you disagree, you have a different point of view, and therefore more information (your view). It's therefore a good idea to provide a comment when you disagree, but often that would just be redundant when you agree." – Todd Wilcox Feb 10 '17 at 16:41
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I think comments should mostly only be deleted if:

  • they seem mean-spirited
  • they have been dealt with and are no longer serving a function - e.g. if they suggest an edit that has been made, and they aren't part of a continuing conversation that would be 'left hanging' without them.

I also think it can be OK to move long streams of comments to chat, although even then, the SE UI itself condenses large comment chains down, so even this isn't always particularly helpful.

Apart from that, I don't see much reason to delete comments on this site. Most are made by people who are trying to help one way or another and they contribute to the community feel of the place.

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  • Again, just for reference, our full policy on comments and what they are for/not for is here: music.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/comment. – Dom Feb 9 '17 at 21:29
  • I don't mind comments being deleted. I just feel... frustrated when things are deleted very quickly and without anything left behind about the fact that comments were deleted. The mods on all of the other stacks I'm on leave notes when they delete comments. Here's a perfect example: networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/38789/… – Todd Wilcox Feb 9 '17 at 21:32
  • @Dom although I agree with much of what's said on that page, there are points where I think it diverges from how this community tends to want to use comments. It's a standard wording that is the same across all SE sites; it's not really "our policy" as such. – topo Reinstate Monica Feb 9 '17 at 22:05
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    That is our policy and like I've said before we're pretty lenient on it, but at the end of the day it's how we treat comments. If we don't do this, it leads to a lot of content that could be (and should be) part of questions and answers get buried by comments. – Dom Feb 9 '17 at 22:13

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