For example,

Looking for London postcode to area mapping data

It provides a direct answer. Provides a link (the only link) to the data. Was upvoted and commented on by the question asker. How is it different from the other answer not changed?

Why would a moderator change such an answer?

  • 2
    It was converted to a comment by one of our mods. I feel only he'll be able to give you a reason why it was done so. For the record, I think that it answers the question, and could have been improved, instead of converting to a comment. Oct 3, 2014 at 17:04
  • 4
    Ordinarily, for specific issues like this, you would just flag the comment with a custom request to undo the change. By starting this meta thread we therefore have to assume you are attempting to raise a general concern, but what is it?
    – whuber
    Oct 3, 2014 at 18:42
  • Ok Bill I changed the wording. Oct 3, 2014 at 20:23
  • I agree Devdatta, can we identify the mod who changed it and ask? Oct 3, 2014 at 20:36
  • 1
    Unless the mod chooses to identify him/herself, this kind of thing is usually a 'closed door' discussion. You can try using chat and inviting/allowing only the mods, but whuber's suggestion of flagging the comment with a custom reason seems more direct (and something I didn't know about). Only mods will see comment flags, so they may either investigate or leave it for the mod who performed the original action to address the flag - in which case the response would theoretically be in your flag summary.
    – Chris W
    Oct 3, 2014 at 20:48
  • It does not sound like an open, honest or sustainable system Chris W but thanks. Oct 3, 2014 at 20:53
  • 3
    @Chris all members with rep >10k ( or is it 15k) can see who converted the answer to a comment. Oct 4, 2014 at 12:05
  • @DevdattaTengshe Interesting, didn't know that. Of course that's about 21 people right now assuming 10k, with a few more almost there. Regardless, I believe it would be a breach of etiquette for any of them to name the mod without prior consent - nor do I think anyone would. My point was that unless the mod who took action chose to publicly respond (as he did), the entire affair as originally presented about a specific issue (that has since been generalized to a degree) was more for private discussion than public argument, as whuber's comment alludes.
    – Chris W
    Oct 7, 2014 at 20:30
  • 1
    OK, 2 mods have suggested this is not the forum for this so I would like to withdraw the Q. Oct 7, 2014 at 20:40
  • 1
    @usertwoseventwothreenine To be clear, are you suggesting deleting the question and all of the answers?
    – Aaron Mod
    Oct 9, 2014 at 15:27
  • It seems that people think this is not the appropriate forum for this question but I am unsure what other one is suitable. Oct 9, 2014 at 15:28

3 Answers 3


I cannot speak to the current question under discussion (where the answer was converted), but I do have an answer for the revised question (this meta question).

Answers can be flagged with one of four canned responses or a custom 'other'. You can see these by clicking on the flag link at the bottom of an answer. However once that flag hits the review queue, users with sufficient rep can vote to delete the answer with several other canned response options (I can't post an image, because there's nothing in the queue right now and I don't know how to access the options otherwise). Two of those options come to mind as being frequently used: not an answer, should be a comment on another post, or is a link only answer. The mod can choose to handle the flag in a few ways, and I can't tell you what all of them are not being that level yet. But I do know one of the options is converting to a comment to preserve the information that might be helpful but not quite qualify as an answer. I believe a mod can also do this without a flag for the same reasons.

With regard to the answer under discussion, I can see it being considered link-only, but I personally think it was fine. I've seen much worse/more truly link only answers of late getting numerous votes. It may have been related to the Wikileaks source, but that did not seem to be a major point when that subject was asked in another question. In any event, it can only be speculation on anybody's part but the acting mod.


I changed your answer to a comment because it seemed to me that you hadn't answered the question. You gave a link to an old PAF which doesn't provide the neighbourhood names the questioner wanted. As the OP says he can already do postcode to district and ward and that this is not the correct answer he is looking for.

The majority of your answer was a note on the public availability (or otherwise) of UK postcode data which is of little value to the OP or future users.

  • 1
    The final part of the question states. "Is there a way to map postcodes to this area, rather than the administrative locations?" The link I gave is from 2009 (why is this old?) and does provide postcodes. Additionally is provides district and ward information and both of these provide highly granular neighborhood names. Every statement in this answer is incorrect. It does answer the question, it is not old, and it does provide neighborhood names. Indeed the originator of the question comments that it is useful and they are going to check out the data. Oct 4, 2014 at 12:47
  • 2
    Actually he says he can already do postcode to district and ward and that this is not the correct answer he is looking for. 2009 is ancient in postcode terms as the paf updates every quarter, with postcodes changing weekly.
    – Ian Turton Mod
    Oct 4, 2014 at 18:11
  • 5
    So add your answer, add a comment, but do not remove other answers as you think it does not apply (again the person who asked the question liked it and upvoted it). This is Stack Exchange not iantexchange!!! Best answers get voted to top not mod remove answers. Oct 4, 2014 at 22:15
  • 2
    As moderator my role is to convert answers that are more comment than answer to comments.
    – Ian Turton Mod
    Oct 5, 2014 at 12:42

Something is wrong here. The mod removes my answer and converts it to a comment, down votes my answer, and then answers with their own weaker answer and link. Actually my answer and the mod are almost identical except my link is far superior. On this board ChrisW, Tengshe and myself (as well as the person who asked a question) all think it is a genuine answer. My answer provides the actual postcodes the actual admin boundaries requested and iant only provides an experimental flickr process. This is poor mod behaviour.

  • 2
    In my opinion it was a clearly wrong answer that was more like a comment than an answer. Your understanding of how UK geography works is wrong - You will find no reference to Belgravia in the PAF file you linked to - the questioner clearly does not want to use the PAF.
    – Ian Turton Mod
    Oct 6, 2014 at 7:44
  • 1
    Then it should get voted down. This its not how stack works. You are not judge. You are mod. Oct 6, 2014 at 12:02
  • 1
    Can you demonstrate how to return Belgravia from the input SW1V1RB with the file you linked to?
    – Ian Turton Mod
    Oct 6, 2014 at 12:27
  • 1
    For the record, I think that it answers the question, and could have been improved, instead of converting to a comment. – Devdatta Tengshe 2 Oct 6, 2014 at 13:14
  • With regard to the answer under discussion, I can see it being considered link-only, but I personally think it was fine. - CHRIS W Oct 6, 2014 at 13:15
  • I added some of the other posts for you to peruse. Oct 6, 2014 at 13:15
  • 2
    I am putting an end to this. What I provided advances the POSTCODE part of the question. The questioner thinks it is relevant, I think it is relevant, the other moderators think it is relevant (none have said you should have turned it to a comment). The point is you should not have turned it to a comment. If you have a “better” answer than post it and let Stack do its job. Oct 6, 2014 at 21:32
  • Fair point Aaron I removed what I think was deemed as the offensive word. Oct 6, 2014 at 21:32

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