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Summary

Given that I think the point of my question has been lost with the specific example and the further clarifications I proceed to restate my question here in a clearer (hopefully) way:

If an OP has risen many points in his question and the question being too broad got closed, and I have comments, and advise regarding a specific point of that question that could be of use to the OP and other people. How can I provide that feedback if I can not post an answer and I can not post comments either?

Possible takes I can think of, or Catija mentioned:

  • Edit the question to just reflect the one part I want to talk about that would cause the question to be in scope of the site: in this case I don't think I can do that, because the question has many answers already and editing it would probably mess them up, but in other cases it could totally work.
  • Put my comments on a chat and link the chat on the comments area of the question. Would this get deleted?
  • Post a new question with that specific topic, allowing other people to give answers and posting my own answer, although it feels odd asking a question that is not originally mine. And then link the new question on the comments area of the original questions. Will this comment with the link get deleted?
  • Comment Telling the OP to post different questions for each topic, and hoping he will do that and then answer those questions if he posts them. Will those comments get deleted?
  • Nothing: There is nothing that can be done because the current structure of the site doesn't allow it.

Clarification:

I was asked to clarify in the comments what do I mean when I say the purpose of these sites its to help other people. This question actually baffles me a bit, but I will try my best to answer it.

Stack Exchange Sites are Questions and Answers sites. Essentially some people ask questions, some other(or the same) answer them. So you could say the goal of these sites is to help people with their questions. However this is done within a frame, unlike some forums where each question tends to be very specific to the OP and the possibility for it to be helpful to someone else is slim, here we try to make them the most generic so each Question/Answer can be of use to the most people.

However, like in any other place where Human Interaction is present, we need to remember there is a human being on the other side, and I like to err on the side of goodness. So I tend to think that everyone here tries to help others, even if their actual goal is just to rack up points, or to serve their own ego, or who knows what else, in the end whatever their personal reasons, the process allows them to help other people. So I choose to think everyone is here to help, this could be considered a bit naive, but that helps me have a positive mindset when someone seems rude, or not so nice, if I think they are trying to help in their own way.

Also in a case like the question by the OP, although not a good fit for this site, specially because its very wide scope, and it is even closed, the presence of the question itself is helpful to other people in many ways:

  • It is closed: it is an example of a question that is not a good fit for this site
  • It has up-votes: So even if it is closed, the up-votes prove that some people think is useful, it may need rework, but the interest is there.
  • It has some answers: those answers may help people in the future.
  • It is not so specific to the OP as it seems: the problem presented by the op is actually rather common, and it could be open in a bunch of different questions that could be helpful to more people written in a more generic way. Sadly the op didn't do that, maybe he didn't know he could do that, maybe no one suggested it, maybe he didn't want to, but the possibility is still there.

Regarding the specific part of the question that I wanted to give the OP some feedback, is just not to help him, it is actually to help anyone else with the same issue. Because I have seen that problem, long ago in myself, and in many other people (when I had it, this site didn't exist, so I couldn't ask here) so I felt that giving him feedback on that topic could be of help to him and any other people feeling in a similar way.

In any case, these are my motivations, my question is not regarding how I feel on how this site purpose is to help people, or why my comments were deleted, my question is:

If the OP has risen many points in his question, and I have comments, and advise regarding a specific point of that question, how can I provide that feedback if I can not post an answer and I can not post my points in comments either. For example, would it be a valid approach to post a question extracting that specific topic even if I didn't originally had the question myself and then answer it? Or what other approach do you suggest?

In the past, in other sites, when I posted comments like the ones in this post, that mods didn't feel should be in there, they created a chat and placed them there, in this case they were totally deleted. Would it be valid if I created a chat and posted my comments? Or would my comment with the chat also be deleted?

Original post

I think/feel the first purpose of any of these sites is to help other people, but in a frame. So I totally understand that questions need to be closed, etc.

In this context, I am more used to Stack Overflow, where whether for sheer volume or for some "cultural" reason they are not so aggressive with comments like in this site.

In this site I have seen comments get deleted without even leaving a reason left behind. I have gotten comments deleted that were real comments not detrimental, were not an answer but were giving additional information and got deleted without a comment. I don't quite follow how comments here work compared to SO, but feel that for a ISP is a bit aggressive.

As I said I have gotten comments deleted before, and in general, although I don't get why, I don't mind; but in this case in this question where the OP clearly needs some help, my comments got deleted and I don't quite get why, and also I don't see how they were detrimental to the site.

Regarding the question, he is saying he needs help to make friends, he probably feels lonely, and his question is closed and I don't see anyone giving him advice on at least how to open related questions to help him. Maybe there was advice given and someone deleted it? I understand where he is coming from so I read his question and the many answers, and there is a situation he talks about "when his sister asks him how is he doing and he tells her about programming she loses interest" that I didn't see addressed in a way I felt was sufficient.

I wanted to give him tips about how to handle that situation, but since it was going to be a long comment I decided to post a whole answer (answering additionally the other the topics of his question), but I couldn't because the question is closed. So I went back to my plan of posting comments, just about that specific subject, so I didn't address the whole question, I just addressed that specific part and told him not to stop being a programmer, because I felt any opening comment had to say that.

Then my comments were totally wiped and someone posted "Please don't answer in the comments, especially on closed questions." My comments were not an answer, his question is super long and complex, you can't really answer that in comments, or at least I can't. He wasn't even asking what I talked about, I just saw why he was having issues with that specific thing (I have had the same issue in the past) and gave him some advice on how to handle it. My goal here is to help the OP, I wasn't looking for points. And since it is a bit old question I can't image so many people reading that old closed question, so mostly only the OP would be reading my comments. I imagine the mods have some queries or so to detect new comments on post, but I don't think that is the case for the regular user.

So having in mind I want to help the OP, what can I do here? Because I feel bad for him and can not reach him. Should I grab the specific part of the question and post a new question myself? Although I would feel a bit odd doing that, and also there are restrictions about answering your own questions, but if you feel that would be a legitimate way to help the OP I would do it.

My goal is to help him but comments were deleted so fast that I have no way to know if he managed to read them. I mean if they would have been deleted a week later at least, I would know the OP had time to read them and I wouldn't mind, but it was so fast that I seriously doubt he did.

Also I wonder, what do we gain being so aggressive about deleting comments in this site? I think more here than in SO we need to remember this site is for helping people. Unlike in SO that many of the answers to your questions you can read in a manual, for the questions here there are no manuals where you can seek them. I get that people doing this are actually trying to be helpful and is not that they are trying to be mean or anything, so maybe could we have a grace period for comments? Like instead of deleting them so fast, wait a week or so? That way everyone involved has time to react?

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    Have you looked at any of the previous meta discussions about comments? – apaul Apr 9 '18 at 19:21
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    This is not stack overflow. – user4548 Apr 9 '18 at 19:22
  • @apaul yes I read a couple, I read the one that talks about how is important not to answer in comments because this is for the life of people so is important. And I get it, that is why I am pointing out my comments were not an actual answer to the OP, and also that is why I am not asking to get my comments back, but a work around. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 19:23
  • @RichardU I am not sure why you are pointing that out, I get this is not SO, but I think is important that I point out I am used to this site, so maybe I can get advice on how the sites work different. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 19:24
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    Can you explain why you think that our goal is to "help other people" and what you think this means? – Catija Apr 9 '18 at 20:52
  • @Catija would it be ok if I create a chat and answer you there? Because I feel my answer might be a tad long, or create too much clutter here in comments. If you think is better I answer here let me know. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 21:10
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    It'd be better explained as part of your question. You're basing the entire question on that assumption - explain it to us. – Catija Apr 9 '18 at 21:10
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    @Catija I kinda disagree, I don't think my motivation should define how to proceed. I am pointing that my goal is to help people out because I feel deleting comments too fast is actually counterproductive, but in any case I am not asking how to restore my comments, I am asking how to proceed in a case like this. Nevertheless I will try to honor your quests although it baffles me a bit. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 21:15
  • I fail to understand why I am getting down-votes in this question, I am asking how to proceed in a situation. Could you explain why do you down-vote someone asking for guidance in how to proceed on a situation? – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 23:05
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    Downvotes on meta usually indicate disagreement/disapproval.. which I think isn't really supposed to be the case except on feature requests but since the points don't matter here it happens anyways. In this case it might be because we have a lot of discussion on comments already, and because answers-in-comments are always bad manner on StackExchange. – Em C Apr 10 '18 at 13:29
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    Post a new question with that specific topic ... this would probably get closed as it is from your side a theoretical question. – user6109 Apr 11 '18 at 7:35
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In this site I have seen comments get deleted without even leaving a reason left behind. I have gotten comments deleted that were real comments not detrimental, were not an answer but were giving additional information and got deleted without a comment. I don't quite follow how comments here work compared to SO, but feel that for a ISP is a bit aggressive.

We are. For good reason. But I don't think you understand how important it is. Comments are clutter. They're supposed to serve very little purpose but that purpose is very integral to the site - to improve the content that is here. The pre-filled text in all question comment boxes say:

Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid answering questions in comments.

And on answers:

Use comments to ask for more information or suggest improvements. Avoid comments like "+1" or "thanks".

We think very hard before deleting comments, even with so many of them being removed but we're very strict with what we allow because of how many comments are posted here.

As I said I have gotten comments deleted before, and in general, although I don't get why, I don't mind; but in this case in this question where the OP clearly needs some help, my comments got deleted and I don't quite get why, and also I don't see how they were detrimental to the site.

Well, let's look at your comments:

I am a programmer also and I talk with my mom a lot. She certainly can't understand the nuances and intricacies of what I do, but I still manage to tell her about what I do. You can do the same with your sister. I know it is really exiting to share specifics, but imagine you were talking with a person that likes sports and he starts telling you every exercise he did with how many repetitions and so much weight, you wouldn't be interested either. You can talk about specifics with people that understand them, and even then they may not be interested. – Mykazuki Apr 5 at 19:39

So don't give up programming, and you don't really need to learn about other topics if they don't interest you. You just need to talk about your job/interest in a way other people can understand, that is how people usually go about things, otherwise no one would be able to talk with each other, imagine a lawyer and a physician for example. – Mykazuki Apr 5 at 19:42

Everyone in their job/life faces similar situations, so when your sister asks you how are you doing, don't go on specifics, go on situations everyone can understand. If you have a new job and you are struggling with an algorithm, you tell her "I got a new assignment and I am struggling a bit, i am doing lots of research". If you did something super cool that you are super proud about, you don't tell her every line of code you say "I had this problem, no one else knew how to solve it and I worked like crazy 3 days and I managed to solve it, I learnt a lot and I am proud of myself" – Mykazuki Apr 5 at 19:44

And so on and so on, I use a lot of metaphors and parallelism to help her understand, her and anyone that ask me about my job and is not a programmer. In any case, I hope no one deletes my comments as I know they are not for extended discussion, but I wanted to share how i have learn to deal with those specifics situations you talked about. If you want to discuss more about this or have more general questions I would be more than happy to share my experiences/thoughts with you over chat, you can create a chat channel. Hang in there, and don't give up programming if you love it. – Mykazuki Apr 5 at 19:47

You're going to have a really difficult time convincing anyone that four huge comments in a row aren't an answer... particularly when they directly respond to the question. Even if you weren't answering the question, we've previously had discussions about "supportive" comments and the general support is to not allow them. Also, much of what you say in your comments is already stated in the actual answers... which implies that it is an answer, not a supportive comment.

Please note, answers - particularly on complex questions - don't have to answer the entire question, so saying that you weren't answering because you were only addressing part of the question is wrong. If you're responding to the question with a solution, that's an answer, not a comment.

Regarding the question, he is saying he needs help to make friends, he probably feels lonely, and his question is closed and I don't see anyone giving him advice on at least how to open related questions to help him.

That's a good idea... do that. If you think that the question can be salvaged, help the OP fix it. You can even edit it yourself to focus on what you think the central issue is. If the other users here agree, the question will be reopened. This network allows collaborative editing of posts. Some people are really comfortable with that and others do not like it at all. If you really think that the question is of value and should be "saved"... attempt to do so.

So having in mind I want to help the OP, what can I do here?

Other than trying to fix the question, not much. It's really hard. We absolutely do want to "help". But we're not a "we'll fix all your problems" site. When we allow answers in comments, that signals to the person who wrote that question that was closed that we'll still help them even if their question is out of scope here or too broad... which can lead to more bad questions hoping to just get "helpful" comment answers despite their question being closed.

Should I grab the specific part of the question and post a new question myself? Although I would feel a bit odd doing that, and also there are restrictions about answering your own questions, but if you feel that would be a legitimate way to help the OP I would do it.

You could... assuming you don't want to fix the existing question... but the person who wrote the question hasn't been on the site since January... If they have notifications turned off on the email they used, they'll never know about your comments or any future ones. It's likely that question wasn't even from their primary account... Regardless... there's no restrictions on answering your own questions at all. In fact, it's built into the system and encouraged. Some may find it annoying but it's absolutely allowed.

I think more here than in SO we need to remember this site is for helping people.

I know that a lot of people think that and I completely understand and commiserate with that feeling. I want to help people, too... but, we're not here to "help people". We're here to answer questions that solve problems that people have in relating to or interacting with others. If that "helps" them, great... but we can't help everyone. We've closed (and even deleted) many questions that show great need for help but that doesn't make them a good fit for the structure of this site.

Even Stack Overflow has this issue... They get thousands of "my code broke, please fix it for me, I'm desperate" or "My homework is due in three hours and I can't figure out why it doesn't work, help me!!!" questions... and they get closed... because the Stack Exchange Network is Q&A first.

And, no. We're not going to leave comments sitting around for a week in the off chance that the OP comes back and finds them.

  • Well we could agree to disagree on some points, maybe for you some things are more important than they are for me, that doesn't mean I don't understand why you guys delete the comments. Also If I didn't understand why you guys delete comments I would have come here with a rant complaining asking my comments to be put back. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 22:49
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    Of course. That's sort of required. I'm a moderator here, so the health of this site is what I'm tasked to consider as part of any actions I take here. I appreciate that you asked a very detailed question. It gives us much to respond to and explain. I wasn't the moderator who deleted your comments, so they may have a more specific explanation than this. – Catija Apr 9 '18 at 22:52
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    It confuses me how you say we are not here to help people, we are not here to help everyone in whatever they want, but we are here to help people, and thinking that way actually changes your mindset in how you comment and answer, the end game are people, not just having some random information on the internet. We are not posting here so in 30k years the information will be in a hard drive for no one to read, in the future some of these questions/answers may not even apply anymore, were are here so in the near future people get help from this questions/answers. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 22:52
  • As you said, all this is rather subjective, some people will agree I wasn't answering the question, some will say I was answer the question. But I want is a procedure to follow. I feel/think that part of the OP question can actually be useful for other people, even the OP doesn't read it, but I want to post the information in a way he can read it. If i post a new question, and I post a comment linking it, will that comment get deleted? I want to understand how I can reach the OP about this without getting in an endless loop of me posting something and it getting deleted. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 22:57
  • Also, I am not a native English speaker, and the word "commiserate", as you use it feels a bit negative, could you clarify? Because my guess is that you don't pity people that think we are here to help, but that is how I read it. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 22:59
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    I've made some slight edits that may help. "Commiserate" is absolutely not a negative term. It implies sympathy with you... which is generally considered a positive thing. – Catija Apr 9 '18 at 23:08
  • Well in my mind it reads like you feel pity or feel compassion for me, which is not negative per se, but not positive either in this context. Anyways I will take your word for it, it is just a word I haven't ever heard used in any other way than feeling compassion/pity. – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 23:16
  • Reading your answer I feel like somehow I haven't made myself clear on what I want. You answered a bunch of things I didn't ask. What I want to know is a valid approach to give the OP the information that won't get later deleted of the site. Options I see: create a chat and post my comments, and link the chat. Editing the question like you said, but that would mess up the existing answers, so in this case I can't. Create a new question and link it on comments. But you guys delete comments, So If I link a chat or another question in comments, will that get deleted? – Mykazuki Apr 9 '18 at 23:21
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    Commiserate very loosely means together misery. It's used to describe a shared negative feeling. – sphennings Apr 9 '18 at 23:26
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    The purpose of the Stack Exchange network is to create high quality Q&A that will be useful in the future. Helping any specific person is just a side effect of that, not the main goal. – Rainbacon Apr 9 '18 at 23:32
  • Catija how can I get confirmation by the mods whether or not you guys would delete my comment if i added a link to a chat or a link to another question? Is there a chat channel where I should go and ask? Thanks. – Mykazuki Apr 12 '18 at 16:57

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