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I've added this question, which early on received the comment "IMHO this is silly." This comment led to a lengthy discussion about it, meanwhile partly erased by (I presume*) a moderador.

I would like to discuss this case here as I believe it is very related with a thread about controversy of comments.

I have to be honest, I have absolutely no problem that the question can be considered silly by some people.

However, I have a problem that

  • (A) this comment should not belong to this website
  • (B) a moderador, which in some form represents us, erased the discussion but not the comment, neglecting (A).

Arguments leading to (A)

  1. The comments are intended to be constructive and not offensive.
  2. That comment is not constructive by any definition of "silly"
  3. That comment can be interpreted offensive by some, by the definition of "silly" interpreted as "absurd and foolish."

At most, this comment should not have been made and instead a downvote should have been casted, even though the author of the comment misunderstood the question in the first place.

Furthermore, he ended up arguing, during the discussion meanwhile erase, that everyone has right to his opinion, which I believe it does not imply that everyone has the right to express it in this website. I mean, are comments meant to express personal opinions on subjects of history.stackexchange?

Arguments leading to (B)

  1. The comment lead to a lengthy discussion about it.
  2. A moderador read the discussion and erased what he/she considered irrelevant, keeping the comment.
  3. Today, after 2., there was a another comment also about the comment in hand.

In light of this question, I open this thread to ask whether we should or not decide to erase the discussion without taking into account that the problem may not be on the discussion itself, but also on the comment that gave rise to it, as demonstrated in this case by a new comment from a person that did not participated in the erased discussion.

I don't know how to do this, but I would really like to notify the author of the comment that also participated in the discussion, Drux, and the moderator, which I don't know who he is, about this thread. It only makes sense to discuss this with these persons here.

  • I presume it was a moderator who erased the comments because a comment of mine was erased. If not, substitute "moderador" by the role/person that has permission to erase other's comments.
  • Typically, moderators respond to flags. This is pure speculation, but it might just be that the moderator involved only deleted flagged comments, and didn't see the rest of the discussion. – yannis Mar 26 '14 at 11:11
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Mostly agreeing with Yannis's comment above. Moderating comments properly is really a deceptively involved and time-consuming process, and one in which all the SE tools and constraints of Real Life are encouraging moderators to take shortcuts.

I don't believe I did anything on that question personally. But I know that when I log in and decide to take care of flags, and see a flagged comment, the temptation is to just delete the danged thing right there and move on.

Generally, its better to go read the comment in context (which means reading the question, the post the comment is attached to, and all the other comments). The next temptation is to just delete the thing there, and go on my merry way. However, if you do that often the ensuing comments become senseless. Also, sometimes (particularly if the problem is that post changes have made it obsolete), there's prior comments, or even portions of prior comments, that need to be removed as well. Occasionally it gets so complex that I don't think straightening it out is worth anyone's time, and I'll just "declare comment bankruptcy" and purge them all.

Analyzing all this properly frankly a lot of the time ends up requiring a greater time investment that I really have available when I was just popping in to see if there was any quick maintenance needed. Again, that adds to the temptation to just delete the flagged comment and move on. Personally, I try to leave thorny flags for later (or someone else with more time) if I don't have enough time to properly analyze them, but I can easily see where someone else (or even me on a bad day) might occasionally end up cutting corners.

And then there's always the possibility that the user who posted the comment deletes it. In fact, if the reason for the comment gets addressed (or you just think better of saying such a thing), that's highly encouraged.

As a user (aka: victim), I think the takeaway should be that comments, unlike proper posts, are not meant to have any permanence. They are writing in the sand. They could stay up for years, or they could be purged tomorrow. If you have something important to say on the subject at hand, you probably ought to try to make a proper post out of it.

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I agree with T.E.D.and Yannis. The comments section is not intended to be a discussion board. We have a history specific chat room called "The Time Machine." I understand that history is contentious, but users should not be debasing the comment sections with personal attacks, and bickering.

That said, I make mistakes sometimes, but often comments are not really contributing to the understanding of the question/site in general.

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