This question Should I answer this question about diversity? got both positive ("Use the opportunity") as negative answers ("Leave it blank").

Now comments sections have been replaced with

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

This indicates clearly that the comment section is not for (extended) discussion irrespective of reasons, no matter if they are good or bad. This is something we could all live with.

But if take a closer look, there is something strange.

Positive answers:
+22 accepted by xyz123: 13 comments starting with Dec 12th.
+14 by Anna SdTC: 17 (!) comments starting with Dec 12th.

Negative answers:
+104 by kingledion: Comments section moved to chat, started with Dec 12th
+8 by Nat: Comment section moved to chat, started with Dec 12th.

Elizabeth Henning has also a positive answer with +33 which have been moved to chat, but she was also criticized in the comments.

Every (!) answer so far who was negative or where the comments showed strong criticism over the diversity engagement had its comment section removed while positive comment sections were unscathed. None of the comment sections has any difference in starting time etc. which would explain this behavior.

Again: The given reason for removing a comment section is that is not for (extended) discussion irrespective of reasons, no matter if they are good or bad.

So if there are comment sections which are comparable in length, I suggest that we are treating them equally. The presented behavior really looks like that a moderator could abuse his power to foster opinions (s)he likes and suppress opinions (s)he dislikes by treating comment sections differently.

3 Answers 3


I really did not pay attention to whether the answers were positive or negative, when moderating the comments section. At 00:30-00:40 on December 12, I moved all the long comment threads that existed at that time to chat.

Here is what happened that day: I opened up the moderator section of the site. In the diamond moderator interface, it shows flags that have been raised by ordinary users, grouped by post (so if many flags are raised for a single post, or comments on a single post, it shows them all together). There were a large number of flags on that diversity post. (I don't know how many there were at that time, but as of now, 29 flags have been raised on that post and its answers, which is a very, very, very large number for a quiet site like Academia.SE.) I clicked through to the main post, moved all of the long comment threads to chat, and that was that.

You mentioned two "positive" answers where the comment threads were not moved to chat. I moved comment threads to chat on December 12 between about 00:30 and 00:40, according to the timestamps. I didn't move comments on xyz123's answer because it wasn't posted yet then (the timestamp on that answer is December 12 at 8:54). I didn't move comments on Anna SdTC's answer because at the time there were only two - one from the OP, and one by Anna directly addressing the OP's comment:

Thanks. I am the opposite - high GPA but totally bombed my Biology GRE. So I'd like to take any opportunity - like this one - to boost my application. I just felt that this question really wasn't intended for me. But I guess you're right. Congrats on your success – user84325 Dec 12 at 0:01

I am not sure if you can or want to repeat your GRE, but of course take any opportunity to boost your application, such as mentioning that you learned early on to be responsible. That is absolutely relevant to the process! – Anna SdTC Dec 12 at 0:05

the other comments on that thread were added later - the third comment, by Dilworth, was posted Dec 12 at 01:06. (I prefer to leave the OP's comments, if productive, and any direct response from the author of the answer to the OP's comment. I also left undeleted the OP's comment on Elizabeth Henning's answer.)

Edited to add: I have since gone back and moved other comment threads on that post to chat. As a general rule, diamond moderators mostly moderate comments that are brought to their attention via comment flags, either flags raised by individuals or the automatic flags mentioned by StrongBad. If you're concerned that some comments on a post were deleted/moved but others that should have been deleted were not, please flag the comments that should be deleted for moderator attention, using the "flag" button.


The community bot raises an automatic flag when a question or answer receives 20 comments. I almost always move the comments to chat at that point. The only time I tend not to is when the question is on hold or has multiple votes to close and I think the comments might help resolve things.

In the absence of the auto flag, I almost never move the comments to chat.

When moving comments to chat, ideally I will read through them and maybe hand select a few to save that seem important for improving the question/answer. More often then not, by the time I see the flag, things have gotten so out of hand I just bulk move everything.

I like to think my decision to move things and which ones to save have nothing to do with my personal opinions of the comment content, but rather if the comment is secondary discussion or not.

Looking at the timeline od the specific question shows that a number of flags for rude comments were raise around Dec 11 23:59. At that point a moderator ff524 moved almost all the existing comments to chat. It does not appear that post had the auto comment flag, but it did have flags raised by users. When dealing with flags on some comments, is basically the case where I might move other conversations to chat in the hope of keeping everything working smoothly.

  • +1.The problem is that I was personal witness that the comment section of kingledion was removed with less than 10 comments and many comments were completely removed. While I normally abstain from presume intent, it was so drastically obvious that this should be addressed now. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 21:22
  • Thanks for admitting that the section was moved before hitting 20 comments, but sorry, I still cannot let the moderators off the hook. The kingledion section had highly upvoted comments and I know that some of the missing comments were not flagged, so I must ask how the moderators discern "inappropiate content". If you look also at the xyz123 section...if that is not secondary discussion, I do not know what "secondary discussion" means. I mean, it really, really stands out. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 22:18
  • @ThorstenS. I checked the timelines some more. Basically a mod came in and cleaned house. She move almost all the exisiting comments at that time. From the flags and existing comments and past history it was clear the question was going to lead to discussion in the comments. So everything got moved independent of the content.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 22:34

Many of the comments "showing strong criticism over the diversity engagement" were repeated comments coming from a few individuals which contributed nothing to the discussion. There were also many abusive and inappropriate comments, some of which used vulgar language. In other words, this is not about politics, it's about bad behavior.

  • Again: I do not want to debate diversity here. I saw the discussions and I have other opinions about it. It might be shocking, but saying "You are wrong because A" is not abusive and inappropiate. "You are wrong because A" does contribute something to the discussion even if you suspect or even know that A is false (it can be corrected then). And I observed that both you and Nicole Hamiltion are insinuating that opponents do not understand diversity correctly otherwise they would strongly support it, which is quite bad style: Contra principia negantem non est disputandum. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 22:02
  • 3
    No, I believe that most "critics" of diversity don't understand it, which is the converse. Non sequitur. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 22:28

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