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I posted three or maybe four comments beneath this question

How to tell a non-muslim friend that "Inter-faith Marriage not gonna work"?

The first one, which seemed to have met up with some consensus, mentioned that the OP's questions had planted the seed of doubt in his friend's mind, and that it was important to discuss religious differences and the upbringing of children before marriage (or words to that effect).

Another comment asked the OP to reflect back on how he talked to his friend, and that tone of voice and body language is important in communication. Anyway, I'm used to EL&U deleting off-topic comments, but the comments today were on topic, and the OP's reply, which is still present

@Mari-LouA Exactly Mari and that's what I wanted to convey but I lost a friend in the process (she never talked with me again)

does not make sense without knowing what was said previously.

Were my comments offensive or inflammatory? Were they deleted because they were considered "answers"?

They must have been flagged by more than one member of the community, so can I ask why those comments were flagged and subsequently deleted?

Thank you.


Here is a screenshot of the comment section as it appears now. You can tell comments have been deleted, the thread is interrupted and disjointed as a result.

enter image description here


UPDATED 9th september 2017

The two comments were deleted by a mod. The reason for the deletion is mentioned in HDE 226868♦'s answer, which states the following:

  • Comments can't be downvoted; answers can.
  • Comments can't be edited, corrected, or in any other way modified (except by mods, and we don't do that except for extenuating circumstances)
  • Comments are temporary and are used to improve the post. After that they should be deleted.
  • Answers should be written as . . . answers. Answers written in comments will likely be deleted.

The two comments were received positively. In fact, neither one was flagged by anyone in the community. The comments were not misleading, inaccurate, or false. Comment No. 1 was my modest attempt to connect to another human being. I wanted the OP to be aware that his (gentle?) inquiry could not be lightly brushed off or ignored (the seed of doubt). By itself comment No.1 does not constitute a fully fledged answer, it was meant to comfort more than anything else.

Besides, if I had posted an answer the following would have happened: Someone would have posted a comment asking me what experience I had with interfaith marriages, what evidence was there to support my answer, whether I was qualified to answer, and why I thought my suggestion would work.

Those kinds of comments have effectively discouraged me from answering more questions on this site. I suppose the commenters might argue: "Mission accomplished!"

Comment No.2 was left because it was important to know how the OP spoke to his Christian friend.

Funnily enough, mods leave comments all over the place on ISP, so it's one rule for the community and another for the moderators. All users are equal, but some users are more equal than others.

  1. Catija ♦ has posted 315 comments
    Were these comments asking the OP to clarify? No, they can also be answers. Below is just one example ...

A similar poster, in English: http://everythingfunny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/1bbb18.jpg Also, in English we say "put it out", not "put it off". (1 upvote) link

  1. HDE 226868 ♦ has posted 125 comments

Does he post comments that ask the poster to clarify? No, not always. Admittedly the comment below was posted two days ago and in response to Catija's. However, may I suggest that both comments served their purposes, and should have been deleted by now.

@Catija Heh, my sister's done that to me in the past. :-) To be honest, in a situation like this, playfulness can be really good at some ages and not-so-good in others. For a teenager (even a young one), I'm imaging mixed reactions. (0 upvotes) link

  1. John ♦ has posted only 25 comments since he joined IPS.

Obviously, he doesn't fall in the chatty category. In fact, you barely feel his presence on the site, I suspect he works silently in the background whereas @Catija ♦ and HD 222...♦ seem to be very hands-on type of mods. Nevertheless, no one is immune from leaving off-topic comments or helpful suggestions...

Practice, Practice, Practice – John♦ Jul 30 at 23:53 (14 upvotes) link

How many comments have I posted? Well, not counting all the comments I have deleted, and those that were deleted by others the grand total is 37 comments but I have been a member for only 27 days.

  • 1
    They must have been flagged by more than one member of the community Not necessarily (and probably not likely). The system automatically flags posts for moderator attention if more than a certain number of comments are made, if I remember correctly. No user-submitted flags are necessary. – Beofett Sep 8 '17 at 23:26
  • @Beofett ok, busy comments, too much chatter (but they were connected to the question) et al, so why weren't all the comments moved over to chat? Why were some of my comments deleted? Why leave the comment about texts alone? I find this all quite odd. – user3114 Sep 8 '17 at 23:30
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    I can't answer why. All I can say is that sometimes mods are hesitant to delete comments that they think add value, and sometimes mods take a more strict stance with comments. Neither is wrong, but the inconsistencies between the styles of different mods can certainly be confusing. It could be something as simple as the mod not wanting to delete comments from the OP. – Beofett Sep 8 '17 at 23:39
  • @Beofett you're essentially telling the moderators "encourage people to abuse the comment system, and work harder, while you're at it!" I am doing nothing of the sort. I am saying that HDE 226868♦'s edit is poor and could have been done a lot better, I have edited thousands of posts on EL&U, so I actually know something about improving them, trying to save questions from imminent closure, etc. – user3114 Sep 9 '17 at 1:21
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    Then after 48 hours delete every single comment because every single comment posted is meant to be temporary and It's just occurred to me, you could have just copy and pasted the OP's comments in the post itself. Kept the comments integral. That would have been the best approach, the most respectful and sensitive one. So yes, that's exactly what you're doing. The fact that you are willing to make thousands of edits on a site is wonderful. But its not okay to demand that moderators, who are frequently too busy cleaning up the site to participate as much as they would like, do so too. – Beofett Sep 9 '17 at 1:50
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    See also: Why was my comment deleted? – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 4:36
  • @Beofett deletion can be done automatically, it can be programmed, the mods would not have to lift a finger. If comments are not meant to last for posterity then why doesn't SE delete each and every one after 48 hours, or 72 hours? – user3114 Sep 9 '17 at 6:24
  • @Mari-LouA RE: Why doesn't SE delete each and every one after 48 hours, or 72 hours?. I think that's a question for MSE. – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 9:15
  • @Mari-LouA Your comments are quoted in HDE's answer here. Those are good suggestions, but they are not requesting clarification or suggesting improvements to the OP. So, a mod that chanced upon it deleted it. I have nothing more to say about that. I have seen some of my comments removed almost immediately by a mod, or I think it was a mod, but I'm kinda used it now. This site isn't as relaxed as ELU regarding comments. – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 11:27
  • @Mari-LouA I see. Your second comment does ask for clarification. Only the mod who deleted can actually answer you. I'm just giving you my thoughts. I'm obviously just a regular user like yourself. :) – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 11:47
  • @Mari-LouA I can only imagine what goes through a mod's mind at the time they delete comments. Although I do nominate myself, I never was a mod. – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 13:02
  • @Mari-LouA It's the truth. I can preach all I want, but unless I actually become a mod, I'll never know what goes through a mod's head when they do stuff. So, I'm not picking sides here about your comment 2. But your deleted comment 1 was clearly delete worthy. :) – NVZ Sep 9 '17 at 13:09
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    Voting to close. Your edits have changed this from a question to a rant. – Beofett Sep 9 '17 at 14:09
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    "Someone would have posted a comment asking me what experience I had with interfaith marriages, what evidence was there to support my answer, whether I was qualified to answer, and why I thought my suggestion would work." I think you're right on this point. – anongoodnurse Sep 9 '17 at 15:42
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    I remember the comments; I was one of the upvoters on your first comment. The second one is an answer, which is accepted (as you know) on a lot of sites. But not all. Skeptics, Health, and a very few other sites are really sticklers about this. This is a new site, still feeling it's legs. It's also a very busy site already, and the mods have other things to do. But I am agreeing with you that there is a valid reason why you hesitated to post in an answer format. – anongoodnurse Sep 9 '17 at 15:46
11

I'll post the text of the two comments of yours that were deleted, just for posterity:

You've planted the seed of doubt, she'll probably not admit it, but she's already thinking about what you said. Religious differences and the upbringing of children should be discussed before committing oneself to marriage.

and

I'm sorry to hear that. Give her time and space she might come round. In the meantime think back to when you told her. Were you clearly concerned, or did it come across as being harsh and critical? The tone of voice and body language speaks volumes in these situations.


Both comments were manually deleted by a moderator early today (not by the system). I wasn't that moderator, but I'm about 95% sure that they were deleted because they were partial answers to the question - something we're really trying to discourage.

I'm not going to rehash the whole "don't-answer-in-comments" policy; that's been outlined in detail before. But here are the key takeaways:

  • Comments can't be downvoted; answers can.
  • Comments can't be edited, corrected, or in any other way modified (except by mods, and we don't do that except for extenuating circumstances).
  • Comments are temporary and are used to improve the post. After that they should be deleted.

TL;DR: Answers should be written as . . . answers. Answers written in comments will likely be deleted.

For what it's worth, I've now deleted the comments made by the OP in response to yours, just to tidy things up.

  • I couldn't post an answer to that question. And I tell you why. Someone would have posted a comment asking me what experience I had with interfaith marriages or what evidence could I produce that would support my answer or whether I was qualified to answer. Those type of comments have discouraged me from answering, and now the comments I posted, which were not offensive in the slightest, which were on-topic, and were meant to help the OP were arbitrarily deleted. – user3114 Sep 8 '17 at 23:40
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    @Mari-LouA Comments aren't for answers, period. They're not there so people can feel comfortable writing posts that wouldn't be well-received as answers. – HDE 226868 Sep 8 '17 at 23:42
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    @Mari-LouA Why? This is the site's policy. – HDE 226868 Sep 8 '17 at 23:49
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    @Mari-LouA I did not receive any such comments on my answer, although I know what you are referring to. I dislike the... aggressiveness that those comments sometimes convey, and I am sorry that they have discouraged you. However, if you're not going to answer, answering in comments is not a valid workaround. – Beofett Sep 8 '17 at 23:49
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    As I said, @Mari-LouA, regardless of whether or not they were on-topic, they were improperly used. Comments don't have to be offensive or off-topic to be deleted; they've always been intended to be temporary. The point here is that you used comments for something they should not be used for. – HDE 226868 Sep 8 '17 at 23:55
  • Then after 48 hours delete every single comment because every single comment posted is meant to be temporary. – user3114 Sep 8 '17 at 23:58
  • @Mari-LouA I already edited that information into the question. – HDE 226868 Sep 9 '17 at 0:04
  • I've deleted comments which have become obsolete and in order to declutter the thread. – user3114 Sep 9 '17 at 0:40
  • The comments are in a right shambles now, why would you delete the OP's comments saying that he has lost a friend and she no longer speaks to him? Why delete the theological question he posed to her? These comments were relevant, they enriched the post, they gave readers and visitors an insight into the OP's personality. (...*shakes head*....) It's just occurred to me, you could have just copy and pasted the OP's comments in the post itself. Kept the comments integral. That would have been the best approach, the most respectful and sensitive one. -1 for poor editing. – user3114 Sep 9 '17 at 1:01
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    @Mari-LouA By suggesting that moderators should manually edit every post to include all comments made by the author during the process of deletion, you're essentially telling the moderators "encourage people to abuse the comment system, and work harder, while you're at it!". Comments are for requesting clarification. Period. Everything else is subject to removal. This topic has been discussed at great length, and not just on this SE site. I encourage you to take a look at some of the other meta discussions on comments here, and participate in those threads, if you haven't already. – Beofett Sep 9 '17 at 1:08
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    @Mari-LouA Because the comments have been deleted and are not readily available, I have made the edits to include the details you noted. You are always welcome to ask questions of the OP to get additional details and (if they are absent and do not edit them in) please feel free to edit the question yourself. We certainly want to keep the information but it's best done in the question rather than in comments, which not everyone reads, particularly when they are collapsed. And note that, once the details have been added, the comments are no longer needed. – Catija Sep 9 '17 at 1:23
  • @Catija yours is the first comment and "answer" which I have upvoted since I posted my query. – user3114 Sep 9 '17 at 1:25
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    I'm starting to wish there was no ability to "upvote" comments. It seems to encourage the idea that comments can be "answers"... even when the comment is explaining why that isn't true. – Beofett Sep 9 '17 at 1:54
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    @Mari-LouA That comment doesn't answer the question asked here, it merely responds to your concerns as posted on this answer. It's also worth noting that comments on meta, much like voting on meta, are different, so one can not expect the same treatment of comments here as on the main site. – Catija Sep 9 '17 at 2:08
3

I think a more precise understanding should be that back and forth discussions should be avoided in comments (the whole "comments are temporary" topic that is often discussed).

As mentioned elsewhere, comments should be directed at the OP (or answer writer) for the purpose of clarification or improvement. Then it is the responsibility of the OP (or answer writer) to edit their Q or A appropriately.

Another issue is that the additional information from the OP (the second comment in your screenshot) should have been added to the question, but wasn't). So later answers might not pick up the additional information unless first reading all of the comments.

A third point is that this avoids question unrelated (and sometimes heated) discussions in comments that maybe should be separate questions, or put into an answer. The handling of these (questions and answers) is better documented and more precise than for comments.

0

Thanks to the Almighty Internet, I found the Original Post and the two helpful comments. They are not meant to be answers to the question. They are not harmful to the OP. They are not detrimental to the site. They were simply meant to lend moral support.

screenshot of OP and example of helpful comments (not answers)

HDE226868♦, who is one of the three mods assisting IPS, in an answer to this question wrote in an impassioned plea (emphasis his not mine):

If you're too lazy to write out a full answer, or can't be bothered to think things through fully, or think it's just not going to matter . . . then don't write an answer in a comment. link

The same mod in a comment written on this page argued:

Comments aren't for answers, period. They're not there so people can feel comfortable writing posts that wouldn't be well-received as answers

but in response to a user's answer, not a comment, scolded

So . . . why do you think this method would work? What do you have to support it? It seems more like conjecture.

The following screen capture shows what the post looked after the comments had been arbitrarily deleted by a different mod.

enter image description here

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