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I have occasionally contributed some material in the form of a constructive comment, because I didn't feel I had enough information to build into a properly written answer. Moderators have been removing them recently. Sometimes an explanation is posted (as a comment), to explain that I should have written an Answer instead of a comment.

This is diametrically opposed to what I've seen on a dozen other SE sites, where people often contribute via the comment box.

This extreme comment pruning policy doesn't appear to be applied consistently. Various participants have shared information through a comment, attempting to be helpful, moderator Rory included. Example: Baby crying till breathless

It's that much harder to turn a comment into a full-fledged, documented answer if I don't have access to the comment text as a starting point.

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  • And my comment will be deleted very shortly, as it's not exactly valuable.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 19 '17 at 13:58
  • @RoryAlsop - Which comment will be deleted? The one that says "And my comment will be deleted very shortly, as it's not exactly valuable" or something else? I don't understand why you would post a comment that's not valuable. Are you talking about the constructive comments you left about the baby crying till breathless? I thought they were valuable. Dec 19 '17 at 15:58
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    @aparente001 - Comments in meta are distinctly different than comments on the main site, like the voting is. Meta is for discussion; the main site is not. Dec 19 '17 at 16:34
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    @aparente - trying to get a rise is not sensible. You are the one hoping for explanations - when mods remove items without commenting you complain. You cannot have it both ways. Because we went through this at great length previously we are not going to waste the same amount of time again.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 19 '17 at 17:10
  • @RoryAlsop - "You cannot have it both ways" -- I don't understand. Dec 22 '17 at 13:10
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    @aparente - you say you don't understand, but it is plain from your behaviours over the last few years that you do. Numerous flags, 7 suspensions (by not just each of us moderators, but also Stack Exchange employees) totalling 782 days. It is evident that your activity goes through phases where steadily try to find anything you can pick at from moderators. There is no more tolerance here to explain things you have known for years. Stop dissembling and stop pretending you don't know.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 22 '17 at 14:11
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It's that much harder to turn a comment into a full-fledged, documented answer if I don't have access to the comment text as a starting point

If you plan to answer, don't use comments. It is as simple as that. Comments on the entire Stack Exchange network are meant to be temporary for requesting a bit of clarity etc., and will be removed after they have bee in incorporated into posts etc.

Some sites are more relaxed about it, but here, due to the sheer number of comments with opinion, abuse, argument etc., we have a very low tolerance. We have discussed this with you previously, and your behaviour in posts and comments did lead to suspension so please be aware trying to misuse comments will be noticed and acted upon reasonably rapidly.

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Is this personal? No: you don't have visibility of all the comments that get removed for being "too answery". Comments are simply not the place for an answer, whether that's a short "you must be a terrible parent for this to have happened" (lots of those get deleted without comment!) or a constructive, detailed explanation of multiple solutions.

Comments are harder to notice, cannot be voted on, promote extended discussion (or argument), have significant length limitations, and fail to help in the goal of building a Question and Answer reference site. We have Answers and Chat for a reason.

Removal tends to only happen to the most verbose of such "answers", but repeatedly providing such thorough comments tends to draw attention to other comments that may have gone unnoticed. You should by now be familiar with "best practices" for StackExchange, including variations between sites and their respective variations in moderation (including comment tolerance).

If you want to help site policies be applied consistently, a great way is to flag other instances where users are answering in comments instead of writing Answers or using Chat. I'm not able to read every comment, so flags are very helpful.

For a similar perspective from some randomly selected sibling StackExchange sites:

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  • This site design is, constructive ideas should not be presented in comment form. However, if moderators follow a "Do as I say, not as I do" inconsistent implementation with their own comments, things can quickly appear personal. My question is, how can the site design be implemented more consistently? I offered some ideas in my answer. Another idea might be to flesh out the details more. Example: cooking.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2158/51015. Dec 22 '17 at 13:24
  • I responded to the "consistent" portion in my answer above. Are you flagging comments but they're being left in place?
    – Acire
    Dec 22 '17 at 13:28
  • If a moderator has trouble following the site's "best practices," then I wonder how those best practices could be defined more clearly. Note, inconsistency creates an impression the mods are playing Calvinball; consistency helps a site grow quantitatively and qualitatively and hopefully graduate from Beta. Dec 22 '17 at 13:32
  • Are you flagging comments but they're being left in place? (And note I'm talking about main site comments, not meta comments, which serve a different purpose as another moderator has noted above.)
    – Acire
    Dec 22 '17 at 13:33
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The question is, how can the comment policing practices be made more consistent?

By flagging.

The mods don't read every comment on every post. This is something many users - especially those who have had their comments removed - may not understand, then cry "unfair" when it happens to them. (But you have noticed that " Moderators have been removing them recently.")

The truth is, until the moderators read the comments, or see them via a flag, people can write whatever they please, and when it isn't pleasant or helpful, it gets flagged and removed. Ironically, if it's helpful, it often just doesn't get flagged; then it's up to the mods to spot them.

You do not have access to all the comments that have been removed as answers, but it's not uncommon to see a question with a guideline about comments not being for answers beneath it. When we see them, they do get removed most of the time.

So, in short, it will never be 100% fair, and that's only one reason. Everyone has a different degree of tolerance for comments.

All the info needed is already in the help center. The best policy is to apply it yourself.

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  • Clarification: my question cited comments written by a moderator. Dec 19 '17 at 16:24
  • This is the answer to the question I thought you were posing. If it's only about a moderator's actions, it's not a sincere question, and I don't "do" those. As I stated, "All the info needed is already in the help center. The best policy is to apply it yourself." Dec 19 '17 at 16:32
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The question is, how can the comment policing practices be made more consistent? Perhaps it would be helpful to add some material about comments at https://parenting.stackexchange.com/help/stackexchange, with examples of acceptable comments and unacceptable comments. With the goal of working toward greater consistency and increased understanding by the community.

Alternatively, examples could be posted at Meta with a "faq" tag.

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    Seriously - we were very tolerant with you first time around, but now you know better you will not have that level of tolerance again.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Dec 19 '17 at 17:11
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    This already exists. Please note that is a standard template, not a Parenting.SE specific one.
    – Acire
    Dec 19 '17 at 17:19

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