I'm sure simply opening a post even vaguely related to the recent heated comments will raise hackles, but I'm not interested in the inflammatory language here. What I'm interested in is the comment by Keelan that "There is, especially because this is a meta discussion, no need to discuss whether this post answers the question, considering it has been accepted by both the community and the OP". This raises two related questions.

If one disagrees with an answer but only in that it lacks clarity, or requires further explanation (i.e doesn't fully answer the question), what exactly is the appropriate way to express that if not in comments? I'm struggling to see how one can hold a "discussion" as per the tag, without raising issues in comments. A whole series of answers without any attempt to resolve differences is not, by my understanding, a discussion.

If this restriction on comments is indeed somehow based on the fact that "it has been accepted by both the community and the OP", what level of acceptance by the community is being used as a guide that further discussion is to be circumscribed? My own answer had only one vote, is that not enough to prevent the disagreements with my conclusion being aired in comments? In a community of nearly 2,000 users, I'm not sure I see how 3 people agreeing is really of any significant difference to 1 person agreeing.

1 Answer 1


Sure, comments can and should be used to clarify posts. In this particular case some of the comments did no longer serve the clarity of the post, so I removed them to keep the discussion readable.

An example of a comment which I don't believe is helpful to clarify the post and which I therefore removed:

And genuinely the petty comment about Philip as well as your mentions of the zeitgeist just shows how much contempt you have for either me or the people who agree with me. I answered the question and people responding positively shows they agree with me (which was part of my conjecture). You can disagree all you want, that is perfectly fine. But I did answer the question that was asked, you just disagree with the answer. I only mentioned Philip at one point, if anything this is just me lauding myself for being an upstanding citizen, I don't know why that didn't upset you more.

The comments on the post in question ended in a yes-no debate about whether it answers the original question. That debate is not useful as I see it, considering that the answer has been accepted by the OP and the community.

You mention three upvotes and a 2000 user community. That sounds like Facebook claiming their number of "active users" with some vague measure. Of course, the number of active users on meta is much lower than 2000. Compared to your post, the other post got more upvotes in a shorter time and was accepted by the OP, so yes, I would say it better represents the feelings of the community. But we are not here to compare; nobody sad that your answer wouldn't fit (it does).

All I really meant to do was remove some comments that did not serve the post, leaving the gist of the relevant discussion.

As to the question here, judging from that I think you understand very well how meta works but somehow in this case lost sight of the goal of the discussion.

  • Thank you, I think I at least understand now what you are getting at and it is a perfectly reasonable position. I don't agree with it though. I think that us having only one serious candidate in a supposedly elective process is a problem, and what three people in the community "think" is the reason is not, in my opinion, a satisfactory investigation into the problem. I think it is and entirely necessary debate to question whether what people "think" the reason might be is, in fact, what it actually is.
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:32
  • While that is a relevant discussion, that on whether a post answers a question in the strict sense is not..
    – user2953
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:35
  • That's the point I was trying to make by suggesting that these same reasons are present on other sites without the same problem. We could construct a perfectly reasonable argument that Usain Bolt won the 100m because he had some training. Without training he certainly would not have won, but the point is that all the other runners had training too, so the reason is not sufficient. The answer (to my mind) simply said that moderating is hard), because it is hard on all sites, this cannot answer the question alone simply by logic, whether three people think it does is immaterial.
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:36
  • The corollary of all this is that we have a potentially serious situation where only one person has actually put themselves forward to moderate and we're not even having the "relevant discussion" because everyone is hiding behind the self-evidently insufficient explanation that moderation is 'quite hard' and my attempt to demonstrate the flaws in that argument are being shut down as confrontational.
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:42
  • To put it another way (as misinterpretation has been a significant problem in this discussion). Someone asks the question "Why do have so few candidates", someone answers "Because moderation is really hard", and people agree with that answer. I think "but hang on, moderation is hard on all sites what is it about Phil.SE particularly, and what can we do about it?". I put that thought in the comments and get reprimanded for being "offensive". Where am I supposed to put that thought?
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:57
  • @Isaacson well, yes, that you can discuss there. Just two thoughts: 1. Framing it as 'does not answer the question' makes it sound like you want to flag it as not an answer / disagree with the acceptance by the OP, which is, as I understand now, not what you mean. 2. Considering OP has accepted the answer it seems his question was answered, so perhaps yours is a different one ("is moderating harder on Philosophy.SE than elsewhere?", "why does a relatively small percentage of active users nominate?") and may be better as a separate question.
    – user2953
    Aug 4, 2017 at 12:32
  • @isaacson: The objection is certainly valid in and of itself, as reflected in the fact that your second comment remained undeleted. I really think it comes down to the aggressive/derogative/offensive/whatever feeling of your (now deleted) first comment. I, personally, can relate much better to your valid objections, now that I am not distracted by unnecessary, problematic content.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Aug 4, 2017 at 14:15
  • @PhilipKlocking Yes, i'm very much getting that impression, the trouble is it was intended to have the exact opposite effect. I felt that a good deal of what had been written implied a sense of gratitude to anyone who was prepared to take all this on (yourself) and I didn't want my criticism of the answer itself to undermine that sentiment (with which I entirely agreed). I'm still reeling that anyone could read "I don't want to undermine the long thank you" as anything other than an endorsement.
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 17:07
  • Either I'm really bad at writing clearly or there's some prejudicial interpretation of what people are expecting me to say. If the former then I must have had an extremely lucky run of editorial staff and clients thus far, in my career, if the latter then I'm not sure how I come back from that.
    – Isaacson
    Aug 4, 2017 at 17:14
  • @Isaacson " I felt that a good deal of what had been written implied a sense of gratitude to anyone who was prepared to take all this on" this is exactly what my issue was with your comments. I do not for a second understand why you think that had any sort of large presence in my answer. There are two sentences that mention Philip. You read anything else into the answer that was not there; everything else in the body of that question is describing why I do not want to be a moderator and suggesting that other people feel the same. Anything else is your own reading.
    – Not_Here
    Aug 4, 2017 at 19:33
  • The reason I read "undermine the long endorsement" is because it was not an endorsement of someone who wants to be a moderator, it was a statement of why I do not want to be a moderator.
    – Not_Here
    Aug 4, 2017 at 19:33
  • @Not_Here So I credited you with an expression of gratitude that was not there. How exactly is that insulting?
    – Isaacson
    Aug 5, 2017 at 15:50

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