9

Questions on Academia.SE are often closed, and then reopened after they have been edited and improved (either by the original poster or by other users). Usually this involves an extended discussion in comments about whether or not the question should be closed, reasons it should be reopened, how to improve it, etc.

Once the question has been fixed and reopened, the comments are no longer pertinent for purposes of improving the question. They don't directly relate to the subject of the question, and they make it more difficult for readers, who have to review a long, obsolete comment thread before getting to more recent and relevant comments. Therefore, they are typically flagged as obsolete and deleted, or deleted proactively by a moderator who happens to see them.

However, Pete Clark has suggested in an edit to another post that this may not be desirable behavior:

A comment of mine was recently deleted without warning or acknowledgment. This comment was pertaining to a question that was unilaterally closed by a moderator. My comment expressed -- wholly civilly -- an opinion about in what circumstances moderator closure was appropriate. It included the information that I had been typing an answer while it was unilaterally closed (another user had just said the same). Thus my comment about how moderator intervention literally wasted my time and nullified my actions on this site was deleted by a moderator. I have made my views on this clear in this question. When moderators delete relevant comments which pertain to them, they participate in the most troubling form of censorship.

I think this is a sufficiently important question to be asked separately from the post it was just added to. So:

Should moderators delete comments that are about moderation, once they become obsolete with respect to the question they're posted on?

For the sake of transparency, here is the relevant comment thread (from this question). The pink comments are the ones that were deleted by me after I reopened the question:

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  • I think the fact that a moderator deleted a comment (without notifying the author) about his or her own unilateral moderation adds a slight twist to it, especially when the commenter is known to have a strong opinion about deletion of comments in the first place. – Yuichiro Fujiwara Dec 5 '14 at 15:57
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    Perhaps, it would have been a little nicer if you had let another moderator (or moderators) handle it and let Pete L. Clark know that his comment was going to be deleted if the other moderator(s) agreed to do so or if users flagged it. I'm not saying this should be the standard procedure. But I think it'd be nice to at least let the other party know your action in a bit tricky case like this. – Yuichiro Fujiwara Dec 5 '14 at 15:58
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    Use meta for content about moderation that you want to be kept around. Comments can be deleted for any reason and for no reason. – Akka Demic Dec 9 '14 at 1:00
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Obsolete comments relating to moderation of questions are one of the primary reasons why comments should not be viewed as permanent. Comments such as "I think this should be reopened" serves no use once the question has been reopened.

If there is "non-meta" content in the comment, that's a different issue, but purely meta comments shouldn't be regarded as "privileged."

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    I think that generally it's worth leaving some delay before acting, however. Otherwise it can be confusing and cut off conversation while it's still happening. – jakebeal Dec 3 '14 at 3:58
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    @jakebeal: Irrelevant. Comments are not for conversation. If you were having a conversation in comments and your conversation was cut off, that is not only your fault but also a good thing! Moderators are supposed to stop comment conversations in their tracks. Can't really emphasise this enough. :) – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 10 '14 at 0:06
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    I highly disagree. At most, they should be moving conversations to chat. – jakebeal Dec 10 '14 at 1:02
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: Since we do have chat rooms, it certainly makes more sense to move conversations there when appropriate. – aeismail Dec 10 '14 at 3:54
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    @jakebeal unfortunately, moderators do not generally have the ability to move comments to chat, except in a few situations where the (highly capricious) system presents it as an option to us. – ff524 Dec 10 '14 at 7:27
  • @jakebeal Sorry that you disagree but reality and policy appear to be at odds with your opinion. – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 10 '14 at 10:23
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    @ff524 That's frustrating... I'd thought that mods had the option more generally. I do feel that commentary has more value on a site like this, where many of the answers are built on personal experience and judgement: to extend the metaphor, many feel more like footnotes than sticky notes, and I appreciate the moderators general light hand in managing them. – jakebeal Dec 10 '14 at 14:01
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    @jakebeal Just modifying my previous comment for the record (this is a really old question): moderators have the ability to move a comment thread to chat on demand now. (We can still only do it once per question, though.) – ff524 Dec 31 '15 at 20:35
  • @ff524 Thank you for adding the update: it's good to have the record here. – jakebeal Dec 31 '15 at 20:36
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I only come to Academia occasionally, but I moderate on another SE site.

I think moderators have the right to edit comments in a way that they deem best for the site, and I don't think they should be handcuffed into making a group decision before deleting a comment. The Stack Exchange is pretty clear on this one: answers are permanent, comments are temporary.

When I'm moderating, I treat each situation as its own case. Sometimes I'll delete an obsolete conversation, sometimes I'll leave it as a helpful guide for new users. (Comments explaining why a question was closed might help new users learn more about the standards for a site, even when there's some disagreement and debate among regulars.) Sometimes I'll leave part of the conversation there, and trim the excess. Every once in a while, I'll combine two comments into one.

Overall, occasional deletion of comments is healthy for the site, particularly when they become too "chatty," too distracting, too hostile, too lengthy, too sidetracked, or unconstructive. Of course, everyone has their own dividing line. One man's trash is another man's treasure (or, as George Carlin once remarked, "Ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"). The crowd doesn't always agree with the umpire behind home plate, but the game would take forever if everyone had to vote on each pitch. In the same way, some moderator decisions won't please everyone.

In short, I try to do what's best for the site as a whole. My vote would be for that to be the prevailing guidance: let the moderators do their job, and don't make mountains out of molehills when comments get deleted.

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    "The crowd doesn't always agree with the umpire behind home plate, but the game would take forever if everyone had to vote on each pitch." Your use of the conditional is at odds with the fact that several SE sites are moderated in the way I am advocating for. It is pretty strange to see people arguing that what is actually happening is impossible or impractical. Also, your metaphor suggests that this is a game. As I said in this answer, I view participation in this site as part of my professional development. I hope that helps to explain why I take it seriously. – Pete L. Clark Dec 9 '14 at 14:16
  • "and don't make mountains out of molehills when comments get deleted." You have the right to the opinion that deletion of comments is necessary or helpful for the site to run. Your mountains and molehills comment suggests that you don't take the matter very seriously either way. Can you respect that I and others do? If not, why not? What is your background? Are you an academic? Do you take academic matters seriously? – Pete L. Clark Dec 9 '14 at 14:17
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    @Pete = RE: your metaphor suggests that this is a game... Really? Sports metaphors are often used in business, psychology, etc. You've drawn an unfair conclusion. I don't see this as "a game," but I do see a situation where it's impossible to reach a concensus. Some comments should stay, some comments should go, and some are on the border where there's bound to be disagreement. Similarly, a pitch "down the pike" is a strike, a pitch over the batter's head is a ball, and a pitch on the corner may be subject to interpretation – but only one opinion matters: the person who was hired to call it. – J.R. Dec 9 '14 at 15:39
  • Suggests to me. I find it highly tedious to have a discussion in metaphors: one spends too much debating the appropriateness of the metaphor. Also, my idea of a discussion is that people listen and respond to my points, and either answer my questions or explain why they have chosen not to. I am not going to have a discussion that could be deleted at any time, but please feel free to contact me to continue the discussion. Also, please be aware that as a professional rule I do not respond to anonymously sent emails. – Pete L. Clark Dec 9 '14 at 16:55
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    I find it highly tedious to have a discussion in metaphors. That's cool; my answer was directed at the O.P.'s question anyway. As I said, "Some moderator decisions won't please everyone." You can ignore the metaphor if you'd like; I'm sorry it was misinterpreted. – J.R. Dec 9 '14 at 19:18
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Comments are designed as ephemeral. So deletion is almost always a valid option, and very often the preferred option, with some exceptions.

Any comment should stay, as long as it doesn't break any guidelines, if and only if:

  • it requests clarification, and that clarification hasn't happened yet;
  • it identifies a significant extant flaw in a question or answer;
  • it provides guidance on editing, and that editing hasn't happened yet
  • it forms a live part of a short live discussion about the post's status (on hold, to be reopened, to be deleted)
  • it is addressing some other live aspect of the post that is better served in comments than in meta or chat

(I might have missed some other corner cases - I'll be happy to add other sensible exceptions, so please suggest some in comments below)

But in this particular case, a prolonged discussion took place about a question's status: that might be best placed here on meta, where the moderators and the rest of the community can have space to explore the issues.

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    Exactly this: if you have a concern you wish to discuss beyond directly resolving the localized issue, you should create a question here in meta. Comments should not involve meta-discussion of anything that is not question specific and happy to have removed after the issue (close/open in this case) is resolved. – Joe Dec 4 '14 at 17:36
  • Excellent summary – Charles Stewart Dec 9 '14 at 13:56
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Pete wrote in his answer:

I am aware that the current SE party line is Comments are ephemeral, and I think that people here are aware that I and many other users find that position to be highly obnoxious: deal-breakingly so in some cases. If you want to delete my comments, ask me first: that way, at least I get a chance to preserve my own text for my own use!

My impression is that if you have content in comments that is so valuable to you that you desperately need to preserve it, it maybe really shouldn't have been a comment in the first place. I don't find the SE mandate that important stuff should go into answers "obnoxious", but a pretty nifty design decision.

That being said, I really don't have a strong opinion on this. By and large, I think removing comments is perfectly in line with how SE sites are supposed to work, but I also have to say that generally leaving comments in place does not seem to have a huge downside either. If it is in fact the case that this policy keeps valuable, high-profile users such as Pete and JeffE (as indicated by his support in the comments) from contributing, I could definitely see this just not get enforced on Academia.

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    We've always had a few very active, valuable users who are vocal about not liking comment deletion, yet the community majority has generally supported the "comments are ephemeral" thing (as per votes in meta). I'm pretty uncomfortable with the idea of following a few highly valued users' suggestions over a clear community preference. (I'm also pretty uncomfortable with setting a precedent where threatening to leave becomes a way to influence site policy, though I'm sure that's not Pete's intent.) – ff524 Dec 3 '14 at 8:35
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    @ff524 Fair enough. However, I am not sure whether we actually have evidence that "the community majority has generally supported the comments are ephemeral thing". If we have this evidence, I agree with you. – xLeitix Dec 3 '14 at 8:36
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    Along the same lines, my personal opinion about comments is that I really don't care about them one way or the other; but since becoming a mod and seeing how many people flag comments, it seems to me that this community is in favor of comment deletion, and I should honor that. – ff524 Dec 3 '14 at 8:37
  • Re: evidence, I was referring to meta votes on answers to this and this. Answers in favor of comment deletion get up votes; answers against (if anyone even posts one) get almost no support. If that's not evidence of the community majority, I don't know what is... – ff524 Dec 3 '14 at 8:42
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Removing the comments was entirely appropriate, specifically because of the quantity of comments on the question. If there were two or three total comments it would make sense to leave them for a while perhaps - but with 10+ comments on the question, removing the ones that don't really provide useful context immediately makes the remaining comments more useful.

ff524 wasn't hiding anything, after all; the edit history clearly shows who closed the question. If Pete's comment was intended to convince ff524 to not close questions quite so quickly in the future, well, in order to delete it she must have read it - so it served its purpose.

If the point was to have a larger discussion about when it is appropriate to close or not close a question, that should happen in meta and not in comments on a single question.

Either way, it needed to go (as did most of the other comments about closing/reopening) once the question was improved and reopened.

3

In my interactions on this site last night, twice in one hour I spent time and effort putting content on this site, and both times that content was nullified or erased by immediate, unilateral moderator intervention.

This started with a question that was closed by one person as "unclear" while two other people were answering it. That one person then proceeded to explain precisely what steps the other two people could do in order for her to reopen the question. When moderators unilaterally close questions and then administrate the reopening process, they take away the agency that is supposed to lie with all sufficiently experienced users of the site. Whether questions get closed or reopened is supposed to be a vote, after all. The model of a site in which moderators feel that they know better than the other users which questions should be opened or closed and act immediately and unilaterally to me is strikingly different from the other SE sites on which I've been one of the most active participants over a period of five years: too much so for me to want to participate.

I then expressed concern over unilateral moderator closure in a comment recorded above (and described how my time was wasted by the closure). This comment was deleted within an hour without being responded to. In my opinion, it is alarmingly disrespectful to remove someone's comments while they are engaged in a discourse with you and others -- comments which express civil, reasoned criticism of your own recent actions in a way which obviously has a larger scope than any one question. I'm not going to argue that anymore: I think that the moderators here understand this opinion and just disagree with it. I am also not going to further argue that "comments need not be permanent" is very, very different from "Any moderator who feels in the moment that a comment is no longer relevant or on-topic -- even if the comment pertains to them or to something they have been directly involved with -- can freely delete it without consultation or notification of the commenter". I am aware that the current SE party line is Comments are ephemeral, and I think that people here are aware that I and many other users find that position to be highly obnoxious: deal-breakingly so in some cases. If you want to delete my comments, ask me first: that way, at least I get a chance to preserve my own text for my own use!

I feel a bit like I have a World of Warcraft avatar who is a math professor named Pete L. Clark. I can play whatever character I want, but I am still subject to the local and changeable metaphysics of the site, just as any orc (or whatever: in case it's not clear, I have never played WoW) would be. The similarity between my SE avatar and its controller may well have lulled me into a category error: I think of this site as being part of my professional life. Because of that I expect to be treated as I would in my professional life (which is not with any kind of royal respect, but in fact with the same courtesy that all academics are accustomed to, no matter their seniority). Every once in a while I get singed by a fireball and realize that this is not the real academic world. When that happens, I think the only sane response is to log off. I will now do so for a period of time. If anyone wants to have further discussion with me, I will be happy to have it in the real world, where my name is also Pete L. Clark, I am a professor at the University of Georgia, and my contact information is publicly available. My only requirement is that since I use my real, professional name, I ask you to do the same, in order to receive a response.

P.S.: Since this will be my last content posted on this site for (at least) a little while, let me say that I do not think that ff524 is a bad person, a bad academic or even a bad moderator. The first two things I really don't know about but the available evidence is to the contrary. For the last, I think that 99.5% of the time she is an excellent moderator: she puts in so much time and effort into this site. The moderators here do a lot of great work: they just seem to fall into the practice, from time to time, of doing too much. When you spend time doing something that nullifies actions, deletes content or wastes the time of some other experienced, committed user, you're spending your time working against someone else. From one academic to another: it's so easy to work against each other, and the effect is always one of at least partial cancellation of time and effort. Please just do a little less: this leaves room for other people to be involved in a way which feels meaningful to them, and after all there is always more academic work to do.


Added: Thanks to all those who have responded. I wanted to further respond to some of these issues.

  1. There is an issue contained in the very title of this post. When do comments become "obsolete with respect to the question they're posted on"? This is not obvious. In the case at hand, I think that comments which discuss the history of closing, editing and/or reopening a question do not soon become obsolete: certainly not in the space of less than an hour and while the question is experiencing all three of these activities. The sentiments expressed in comments like these -- should the question be closed again, etc. -- may or may not be supported by others who come across the question later. Expressing carefully and politely why you think a question should be closed, for instance, takes time and effort. I don't think it should be deleted immediately after the question is reopened.

    The site has a mechanism for users to express that comments are obsolete: they can flag them for that purpose. (Unfortunately users cannot see how many flags a comment has and thus cannot precisely express the opposite opinion. They can upvote, which is not exactly the same thing.) The comment in question was there for well under an hour and had received one upvote. How many users flagged it as obsolete? If the answer is more than one, then that is something I will have to take into account. But if the answer is none, then that means that moderators are taking it upon themselves to decide what content is acceptable for the site or when an interchange has run its course. That's certainly unnecessary, and to me it's unacceptable.

  2. EnergyNumbers wrote "Comments are designed as ephemeral."

    I have two issues with that statement. My comments are created by me, so I get to say whether they are designed as ephemeral. I have been clear that they are not. What is probably meant is that the platform was designed so as to make comments ephemeral. I don't think that is quite historically accurate: I have been using SE sites for more than five years, and the push to limit the number of comments is much more recent than that, but that seems more like a quibble. The point is that the platform itself doesn't want anything. This site was created by a specific set of users for a specific purpose, so we get to decide how to use it. There are several other SE sites -- highly correlated to be the ones most closely tied to academia -- where comments are handled in the way I am used to. So it is obviously our choice how to treat comments: it is not an issue of "design".

  3. D.W. wrote that I have misunderstood something about how SE sites work. He doesn't explain exactly what I've misunderstood or why he thinks that. In my line of work, it would be a little less than collegial to suggest misunderstanding so casually. All I can say is that I've been involved with four different SE sites over a period of five years. The idea that I simply "don't get it" after all this time simply does not seem very plausible to me...so much so that I do not feel compelled to further defend myself or rehearse the depth of my experience here (you can certainly see it for yourself).

    However the comment that "It's entirely standard for moderators to unilaterally close or re-open questions; that is not illegitimate in any sense. The moderators job is to act to enforce the site policies, as set by the community." seems at the very least to lack nuance. Yes, it is entirely standard for moderators to unilaterally close certain questions: they should (ideally: this is a service they provide for us, after all) do this when it is completely clear that in doing so they are enforcing the site policies. They should not take a role as people who understand the on-topicness or off-topicness of a question better than any other experienced individual user. But that's what has happened. Other users have called attention to the problematic nature of this, and there has not yet been any response.

  4. I am aware that I (or someone) could write a script that would save my comments. Or this could be done in other ways: I could create a separate account Pete_L_Clarks_Comments, direct every comment to this account, and in this way have the SE engine automatically mail me all my comments. I think this is a bit of a hack and a use of a site that would be at least somewhat disruptive to other users, so I would hesitate to do it, but I suppose it is an option. But doesn't it say something that the site already has all this infrastructure for others' comments to get emailed to me, but it doesn't even save my own comments?? I find that totally bizarre. Also this approach would not alert me to the deletion of my comments. The fact that I am not even alerted to the removal of my content is very jarring.

  5. Others have emphasized that the model pursued by the moderators here is similar to that of most other SE sites. They have said this so much that I feel that I should reply: yes, I know. Not all SE sites though: I have been active on MathOverflow, math.SE, mathematics educators, and the moderation style is the one I prefer. To all accounts the same holds on the tcs site (I say this because one of the formerly top users on our site is Suresh Venkat, who is a moderator on tcs. The last time these issues came around, he expressed great surprise that on-topic comments ever needed to be deleted. I note that he is no longer very active on this site). Many people seem to hint or occasionally implicitly say that the moderators have to behave as they are or the site could not thrive. I think it's clear that is not the case. It is our choice.

  6. I don't think we know how the majority of users feel on this issue, because the majority of users are not at all active on meta. We had a recent poll on "winter bash", and the number of participants was obviously a tiny minority of the total number of users of the site. The people who show up to vote on meta may be those who are used to frequenting SE meta sites (that includes me). For instance one of the answers to this question is from someone who has zero questions and three answers on the main site. He is certainly entitled to his opinion, but it is coming from someone who has put in a lot of time on SO itself and orders of magnitude less time here than I have. So my honest appraisal of the community response to these issues is: the community as a whole does not have strong feelings either way. I haven't heard anyone say that they would not like to participate in a site in which deletion of comments is done more rarely and gingerly than is currently the case.

  7. I find the sentiment "I'm also pretty uncomfortable with setting a precedent where threatening to leave becomes a way to influence site policy" a bit surprising. My leaving this site could only be a "threat" if my contributions are so valuable that leaving it would jeopardize the site's well-being. I think that is clearly not the case: I am one of the most active and highly reputed members of this site, but not the most and not uniquely so, and my particular areas of expertise are represented by others. Rather I think that when someone has been a member of a group for a long time and had a significant amount of group interactions, it is the honorable thing to do to vocalize any discontent they have with the group that reaches the level which makes them seriously consider leaving the group. That is what I am doing here. If no one else feels the way I do about these issues, then the mere matter of my departure is no great tragedy to anyone. I am slightly disappointed not to have heard from anyone about these issues "in real life". It would be nice to hear personally from people who are involved in doing what they certainly think is in the site's best interest. I would like to think of the serious users of this site as being my academic colleagues.

It seems that I still have some things to think through.

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    That's quite a lot to absorb. I think you've misunderstood how SE sites and drawn some unwarranted conclusions based on that misunderstanding. (Yes, I know you have lots of rep. I still think you've misunderstood.) It's entirely standard for moderators to unilaterally close or re-open questions; that is not illegitimate in any sense. The moderators job is to act to enforce the site policies, as set by the community. They're just enforcing the rules established by the community and established by Stackexchange; you shouldn't be blaming them. (cont.) – D.W. Nov 30 '14 at 7:24
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    For anyone who wants to preserve a copy of all their own content, might I recommend taking a copy at time of posting? There's probably a way to write a script to do that, and there are probably folk around who would help in writing that. Alternatively, one could draft in an application that auto-saves (e.g. onenote), and then paste into this site. – EnergyNumbers Nov 30 '14 at 7:24
  • (cont.) If you feel that the moderators have made a mistake in closing or opening a question inappropriately, the next step is to take it to this site's Meta, and make your case, and let the community speak their voice. This is routine and standard, and I've seen it done many times. My experience is that moderators are glad to abide by the decisions of the community. – D.W. Nov 30 '14 at 7:25
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    You should also understand that Academia.SE is not unusual -- most Stackexchange sites do work this way. (Yes, MO works very differently from most Stackexchange sites, in many respects. My sense is that Math.SE also works somewhat differently.) If you don't like this model, that's entirely your call -- that's understandable and I respect it. But please understand that the SE model exists for good reasons (to enable the platform to scale). And these policies have been discussed in great detail on Meta.Stackexchange. It's not about respect or courtesy; this is just how the site works. – D.W. Nov 30 '14 at 7:28
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    I think it's unfortunate to see the negative votes here. But I do think it's important to remember that MathOverflow and math.SE have very different practices than most (all?) other SE sites. – Oswald Veblen Nov 30 '14 at 15:21
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    +1 for "When moderators unilaterally close questions and then administrate the reopening process, they take away the agency that is supposed to lie with all sufficiently experienced users of the site." And no, I haven't misunderstood anything. – JeffE Dec 1 '14 at 4:11
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    Although I agree that the closing of the question and the reopening of the question could be discussed, any argument about moderating should be brought to meta, and not left as a comment. Deleted comments are visible by the mods, so the content is never really lost. – user102 Dec 2 '14 at 8:35
  • I believe that "comments are ephemeral" is hardly a reflection of the facts and is more of a excuse for arbitrary behavior, just like certain laws in restrictive countries. Comments can have significant value and deleting them unexpectedly leaves a bad taste. – Anonymous Dec 3 '14 at 1:08
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    It's also discouraging to put time into helping someone, an almost entirely altruistic act, and then to have someone else destroy that effort for seemingly no reason (whether there is a good reason or not). Especially when the author is unable to view his own work. Moderators being able to see deleted comments is hardly a solution; the content is for all purposes lost. – Anonymous Dec 3 '14 at 1:13
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    @Anonymous "comments are ephemeral" is one of the cornerstones of how StackExchange sites work. It's put in place not by mods wishing to have an excuse to delete stuff they don't like, but as a mechanism to force people to formulate things they want preserved as answers rather than as (un-downvotable) comments. – xLeitix Dec 3 '14 at 7:37
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    @Anonymous Having a comment removed does not destroy that effort, only the record of it. If the act is worth doing, it's worth doing. – Fomite Dec 4 '14 at 4:15
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    I understand your concerns about meta participation, but we don't currently have a better way to share site governance. Realistically, those who choose to participate in governance are going to be the ones who influence policy, and I don't know any way to make that group more representative of main site participation. – ff524 Dec 5 '14 at 1:05
1

To look at the specific situation, ignoring comments made by ff524, the comments that were deleted are:

User A: Did you submit a paper to the journal, or did the email come unsolicited? If you did not submit to the journal, I would not recommend doing so.

OP: yes , i submitted my paper to this journal online , after 10 days i received the cited email below

Note that user51189 is the OP and he/she made an edit that appears to address the comments making them obsolete. I don't see any question that they should have been deleted.

OP: I see it a spam

ff524: "Spam" is unsolicited communication (by definition). If you submitted a paper to this journal, than their email to you is not "spam," because you contacted them first. Please [edit] your question to clarify what you are asking.

OP: ok, thank you . Then i can pay to this journal for publication

OP: and telling me pleas , what do u know about the publisher cited , is he a predatory ?

I am not sure where the "I see it a spam" comment originated from, but the question was edited to remove references to spam and after ff524 deleted her comments, the remaining comments seem obsolete.

User B: I have voted to reopen. The OP has asked whether a particular mathematical journal is reputable or not and also how to tell whether a math journal is reputable. These are both good questions for this site, I think.

This comment is clearly valuable while the question is closed and votes are being made to reopen the question. Once the question is reopened it seems obsolete to me.

User B: Let me say that I was also writing an answer to the question when it was closed, and in my opinion the question is not so clearly inappropriate as to warrant moderator closure. Moderators should close questions only when the vast majority of serious users of the site would agree that the question should be closed or when there is something truly exceptional or pressingly problematic. If a question is really "unclear", then five users of the site will think so. There is no hurry to close it unilaterally.

This comment is very chatty and discussion oriented and not directly related to the question. Any discussion arising from that comment would be better held in meta or chat. Since the relevant portion of the question is on the closing of the question, once the question is reopened, the comment seems obsolete.

While I agree that moderators need to exercise caution when deleting comments, I really do not see any comment that was deleted that should have been left.

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