2

I added a comment to the question on Why is a lion not evil?. There was already a "Comments are not for extended discussion;" link there when I added my comment.

My comment was a direct question to the OP which more or less said: "do you believe humans that eat meat are evil?" It was later removed by a moderator (I presume.)

I am really puzzled by this:

  1. It's a perfectly reasonable question. A significant number of people believe eating meat is wrong (for humans).
  2. The answer to that has a major impact on the context of the OP's question.
  3. It was not in response to or attempting to start an extended discussion.

What gives? It's this kind of arbitrary and destructive moderation that creates the unwelcoming feeling of forums that has been discussed lately.

  • I assume the above point #1 is supposed to read "A significant number of people **believe** eating meat is wrong (for humans)." [emphasis added]. – O.M.Y. May 11 '18 at 23:20
9

I removed the comment, not for its content but for its place. Over the past months, we have experienced more and more lengthy discussions in comments. I am now being very strict with this: any comment that is added after a "this discussion has been moved to chat" is removed. The trouble is that one extra comment invites more comments, especially when at some point the "moved to chat" comment gets hidden.

I created a SE Data Explorer query to find these cases, because we do not get automatically notified about cases like this and because I wanted to verify my gut feeling. Below is a screenshot with the results, because the results will be different once the data gets updated on Sunday. You can see that over April this happened much more than before, and this does not even include the 1000 comments that were already removed during the past month (to compare: 1300 over the past 3 months). (To further illustrate the problem: this question received around 35 comments after the "moved to chat" comment which was even edited to explicitly state that further comments will be removed.)

This is in part related to a couple of recent questions we had that gained a lot of traffic because they appeared in the Hot Network Questions list on the right of every SE site. But it is also because over time we have stopped educating new users about the purpose of comments. So I think that for now we have to be a bit more strict than before, and when the majority of users understands again when to comment and when to invite others to chat we can be a bit more lenient again with cases like yours.

And just to be sure: this is not your fault. Under normal circumstances, I would not have removed the comment, but right now I believe we need to be a bit strict to get on the right track again.


  • I have upvoted your answer for taking the time to respond. I have to say however, this seems really counterproductive. Privileges clearly states: "You should submit a comment if you want to: Request clarification from the author; ..." My comment was a yes/no asked for a yes/no clarification from the author. I find it hard to understand how deleting comments that are in line with the rules is going to help educate people and get comments on track. It sure confused me. – JimmyJames May 3 '18 at 20:33
  • @JimmyJames I agree it is not ideal. The reasoning was: this question has received many questions and comments; its details should have been fleshed out to some extent and comments for clarification are not that necessary. If the author is still interested in the question they will pass by in the chatroom and you can ping them there; if not, comments for clarification aren't going to help much (and this user had not replied to any of the responses he got(!)). Sorry for the confusion. – user2953 May 3 '18 at 20:38
  • I guess you have your reasons but asking for clarification from the OP in a chat doesn't make any sense to me. When comments are moved to chat, its because there's a conversation going on. Popping in to a chat and randomly posing a question that has nothing to do with that conversation seems not aligned with the purpose of chat. – JimmyJames May 3 '18 at 20:46
  • One more thing (I promise). I know moderation isn't easy but when you deleted this, I had a strong sense of being singled-out and picked-on. I know it's not completely rational. The point is that, in my opinion, this is the kind of thing that contributes to people feeling like this is a hostile place where the 'elites' of SE control censor opinions they disagree with. – JimmyJames May 3 '18 at 20:55
  • 2
    @JimmyJames sorry, that was definitely not the intention. In the future I will edit the "moved to chat" comment to add a link to this meta discussion, for explanation. As for clarification in chat: you are right that that is not really the place for it either. – user2953 May 3 '18 at 21:08
  • @Keelan - I find it ironic that the comments on this metaAnswer are in fact a discussion. This is not a criticism but rather an illustration that avoiding discussion in comments is extremely difficult even for the most dedicated followers of the SE guidelines. – O.M.Y. May 11 '18 at 23:37
  • Perhaps what is needed is a means to selectively send some comments to chat while leaving others in place under the Q/A they belong to? – O.M.Y. May 11 '18 at 23:38
  • @O.M.Y. Well, this is meta, we are not so restrictive here. We can leave some comments on the post, however, the problem is that the comment with the link to chat becomes buried under the rest. – user2953 May 12 '18 at 6:17

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