I noticed that comments to questions or answers just disappear and it seems to me that the user whose comment is removed does not get an information or explanation about that.

Is this normal?

Is this volitional?

It's perfectly ok that the moderators invest a lot of time and effort in the coherent structure and content of this site.

However it would be IMHO useful for the users whose contributions are changed or removed to be aware of what happened and why

  • to know what they have "done wrong" (maybe violated the netiquette)
  • and to get a change to do it better next time.

This is often the case but not always.

  • 2
    Generally, I try to put some sort of comment explaining why the comments were removed. Can you point us to a specific question or answer that you've noticed this happening to?
    – user420
    Aug 9, 2011 at 22:22
  • @Beofett: I asked the original poster of this question (parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/2402/…) how she finally proceeded (as I found it really shocking to read that a child threatens the nanny with a knife). I assume my question was considered too chatty or somehow inappropriate?
    – BBM
    Aug 9, 2011 at 23:22
  • @BBM I deleted that comment, and you are right, it's chatter, which belongs in chat, not on the site. See my answer below for information on why you weren't approached about it.
    – HedgeMage
    Aug 10, 2011 at 2:53
  • @HedgeMage: is there a way to contact another user directly (like a private message in a forum) at Stackexchange?
    – BBM
    Aug 10, 2011 at 15:46
  • @BBM No. Moderators can email you via the mod interface, but there's no user-to-user messaging infrastructure. If it's me you want to reach, I'm susan ^AT^ stackexchange.com
    – HedgeMage
    Aug 10, 2011 at 15:53
  • @HedeMage: thank you - no, it was not you. Is there a reason for no private messaging being implemented in SE? I think in each community where people exchange information and opinions, it can be helpful to contact someone directly and privately (and if it's not wanted to do so by comments, how else should one do?)
    – BBM
    Aug 10, 2011 at 19:27
  • 2
    @BBM Private messaging is something that has been discussed many, many times. You can review the reasons against it at SO Meta.
    – user420
    Aug 11, 2011 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


When moderators delete a question or answer, they have the ability to leave a comment that the author will see even after the material was deleted. Stack sites are all about questions and answers, so in these cases it's important to us that the author knows what happened and why so that we can all improve the quality of content on this site. In other words, they aren't comments.

Susan's Law of Arbitrary Destruction:

Comments are trivial and transient; information belongs in questions and answers. If it matters that a comment is deleted, it shouldn't have been a comment.

Comments, on the other hand, are temporary -- they are used to clarify or improve the question or answer they are attached to, and in rare edge cases to add a valuable link/tidbit of tangentially related knowledge that doesn't directly answer the question, but provides insight/context/whatever.

So, to answer your question:

No, it is not accepted practice to notify users when their comments are deleted, unless there is a serious pattern of abuse (spam, trolling, other noise) going on. Don't get attached to your comments because they are subject to arbitrary deletion.

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