According to this meta post, the SE staff has implemented for a couple of communities a post notice for sensitive, possibly controversial topics.

The notice recites:

Controversial Post — You may use comments ONLY to suggest improvements. You may use answers ONLY to provide a solution to the specific question asked above. Moderators will remove debates, arguments or opinions without notice.

We sometimes receive questions about gender issues, harassment etc. that generate many debates: Would such a notice be useful for our community as well?

  • I would add a note saying why this notice has been added. Something like "In the past, other questions about {race,gender} have been derailed in the comments." Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 18:37
  • 3
    OMG, this is about trigger warnings??? Please DONT,
    – SSimon
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 14:19
  • 7
    @SSimon no, it's not, but feel free to believe otherwise.
    – barbecue
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 19:49
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    @barbecue lets vote
    – SSimon
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 7:09
  • 2
    @SSimon We are already voting. The answers down below are in favour of such a feature: upvote them if you want it implemented; downvote them if you don't. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 9:19
  • @MassimoOrtolano I dont understand? this is official voting??? really? why not polling? it is better..
    – SSimon
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 10:52
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    @SSimon The title asked a precise question: Do we need a post notice for possibly controversial questions? Two people answered that, yes, it'd be useful to have it, and several other people approved. If you don't want such a notice, write your own answer, explaining your reasons. That's the poll, as "official" as any other meta post. If you want a more explicit, separate poll, write it yourself, but it will be probably closed as duplicate of this one. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 14:22
  • @MassimoOrtolano I would suggest poll since 12 ppl are not representative of the whole community.
    – SSimon
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:23
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    @SSimon I don't know what you have in mind for an "official" poll, but there's no way other than writing a post here to make a poll. People who are interested in the development of the community usually participate in meta. Those who didn't vote probably simply don't care whether this feature is implemented or not. If you look around, you will see that for many other decisions the voting rate is similar. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:33
  • @SSimon 12 ppl is a pretty good response for us on meta. Especially when the voting skews to +14/-1.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 20:07
  • @StrongBad is decision made yet?
    – SSimon
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 1:39
  • 1
    @SSimon we now have the above example mentioned post notice. As for how and when mods will use it, it will probably be reserved for the worst case scenarios to make it easier for users to understand why their comments were moved/deleted. I doubt it will change eour behavior much. I tested it out on academia.stackexchange.com/questions/102698/… if you want to ask a new meta question about when it should be used.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 1:48
  • I am sorry, maybe I wasnt clear. @StrongBad what is decision on OP question? Is there will be such a notice?
    – SSimon
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 2:28
  • @SSimon yes, diamond mods now have the post notice that the OP requested.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 2:44
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    @MassimoOrtolano - Sure, ELL it is. Here's the new question: ell.stackexchange.com/q/155543/18523 Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 4:07

2 Answers 2


I would expect that such labels should be applied rarely, if at all. But it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to have the option available to us.

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    I'm taking this as a "yes I want this", which is why I upvoted. FWIW, over just the past few months I've seen quite a few questions that could have used this notice.
    – eykanal
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 23:54
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    Feel free to just ping me if/when you have occasion to use this. Takes very little time or effort to add. aeismail, @eykanal
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 15:17
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    I upvoted this answer instead of the one by xLeitix because I don't believe such a label should be applied "aggressively", but I do think that "rarely, if at all" is underestimating it. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 2:40
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    By "rarely," I mean on a small percentage of posts. But if we're running into that problem daily or even weekly, we'll need to take stock about what's going on.
    – aeismail
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 2:42
  • I'd say that the consensus tends toward the implementation of the notice. Shall we have to ping Shog9, or you have already asked? Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 22:37
  • I'm assuming that in "Controversial Post — You may use comments ONLY to suggest improvements" the 'suggest improvements' bit also allows for 'requests for clarification'? A strict interpretation does not allow for asking for clarification, currently.
    – TylerH
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 22:07
  • What's the best way to suggest that a post be declared controversial? Commented May 10, 2018 at 0:15

Yes, please add this. And no, I don't think we should add this sparingly. I would propose to aggressively add this to questions that have a potential to be controversial. If used too much it does not matter (the warning does not say anything that's not true for all questions anyway), and if it salvages just a few questions that would otherwise get derailed it's a win.

(OTOH it will only help if the diamond mods actually do end up aggressively removing argumentative answers and comments without notice, as the warning would indicate - in my opinion this has not really been the case in the past)

  • 2
    “in my opinion this has not really been the case in the past”. It actually is... and not only comments that are argumentative, but any comments that are not liked by them. If you look at HNQ on Academia.SE, Travel.SE or Interpersonal.SE you can see a constant show of mods deleting whatever comment they stumble across. Except theirs, of course. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 16:13
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    @AndreaLazzarotto Here moderation is fairly unaggressive with respect to other communities, and our mods tend to remove comments only exceptionally when there are flags (see this chat discussion). And the last sentence is definitely unwarranted for this community (yes, I'm quite happy of the mod team here ;-) ). Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 16:36
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    @MassimoOrtolano I am also quite happy of the mod team here. Saying that they delete comments does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with it. Of course the situation is quite worse on Travel or Interpersonal, but Academia doesn't rank so bad wrt HNQs as was originally mentioned. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 20:24
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    @AndreaLazzarotto What's HNQ? Anyway, personally I have never really understood why people get so hung up on deleted comments - y'know, them being defined as volatile and so on ...
    – xLeitix
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 9:24
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    @xLeitix Hot Network Question. About comment deletion, it depends on the context: for instance, on Electronics.SE, I once wrote a comment pointing out that a certain answer was technically wrong and the discussion was later moved to chat. I think that comments that point out potential mistakes should not be moved because most of the readers don't check the chats. Usually, this kind of moderation reduces my interest in a community. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 11:52
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    @MassimoOrtolano indeed. Not to mention mods who prune all the comments and then bash at you if you ask for clarification that was "already asked" (according to them). Then they go on pruning your comment but leaving their rant against you. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 12:43
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    @MassimoOrtolano I feel the spirit of Stack Exchange is that you should post your own competing answer rather than post meta-info about an existing answer in a comment. Personally, I feel more aggressive deleting of comments, maybe even automatically after some time, would actually help in the way that it would train us all that comments are indeed not meant to be permanent. At the moment comments are in a weird state where they usually stick around but sometimes get deleted (for usually not very clear rules), and then people like Andrea seem to get mad.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 20:52
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    @xLeitix If there is already a correct answer, there's no need to post another one, but technically certain answers can be subtly (very) wrong and non-experts might not be able to catch the error, especially if the answer comes from a high-rep user. Comments can have an important function, and regardless of their original temporary status, I think they should be deleted with care. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 21:10
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    The main issue is that, afaik, mod tools don't allow much flexibility in handling comments. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 21:12
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    @xLeitix Usually yes, but sometimes you know an answer is wrong but can't find the correct answer yourself. Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 12:41
  • 1
    @xLeitix "for usually not very clear rules" partially yes, but what I dislike the most is that I could even start to recognize some specific mods in some communities who I know would delete a lot more comments than others. It looks like these few people don't care if comments are being left to add a contribution (whether it's an edit suggestion or a clarification request) but they just want to pick what stays. Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 22:15
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    @AndreaLazzarotto - I agree there is a serious problem with SE. The moderation style varies so much from one site to another. I have participated on a site where moderators delete comments without warning because they should have been posted as an answer, deletes answers because they should have been a comment, edits answers until they are unrecognizable because ... well, I have no idea why. And if you contact SE with an objection, lo and behold, you are banished for a year fro mthat site. When your year is up, you try again to try to understand their "rules," but they ... Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 2:46
  • ... pounce on the slightest infraction in order to ban you for another year. Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 2:47
  • @aparente001: Does that site to which you refer to happen to start with an "I"?
    – user21820
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 5:22
  • @user21820 Parenting Beta. Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 21:27

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