Suppose there is a question in GIS Meta with two or more answers. One of them is an answer of mine, and another one is a competing answer from a user who has the privilege to delete comments.

So, I post a comment beneath the competing answer expressing why I disagree with it. Something along:

-1, because [reason to downvote].

The comment is not rude or abusive.

However, the user with the delete comments privilege who is also the author from the commented answer silently deletes my comment*. At that point, it was the sole comment beneath that answer.

I realize the comment is deleted by chance when revisiting my post, and I know it is the post owner who deletes it because he/she tells me after I ask him/her.

This is unethical to me, as I believe there is a conflict of interest deleting a contrary opinion from an owned post.

Is such behaviour unethical or I am overreacting? If something, what to do?

  • 1
    Could your comment have been written without the -1? Start a discussion without indicating that you had downvoted? The -1 and reason to me seems quite negative, so I'm suggesting perhaps try with some more constructive criticism? Please note I haven't seen your comment yet, this is my first thought from reading your question – Midavalo Jul 27 at 0:56
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    Good question. I've experienced this myself, although I didn't even have a competing answer in my case. – Evil Genius Aug 7 at 18:48
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    I experienced it on an answer to this question :) – dbaston Aug 8 at 14:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Deleting critical comments from one's own posts would be a pretty clear abuse of moderator privileges. If a comment is believed to violate the "Be Nice" policy, it can be left for another moderator to deal with. Simple as that.

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    A moderator cannot flag a comment for moderation by another mod. When a moderator flags a comment it is instantly deleted. So if the moderator in question had done as you suggest the outcome would have been the same - deleted comment. See Allow moderators to flag comments normally – Midavalo Aug 7 at 22:59
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    Thanks @Midavalo. Updated to reflect that. – dbaston Aug 7 at 23:15

Meta is different from Main in that questions seeking discussion answers are permitted, but on both Meta and Main sites of the Stack Exchange network the purpose of comments is universal, with the comment privilege information of, for example, Meta Stack Exchange and GIS Stack Exchange both saying:

...

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

...

Comments are not recommended for any of the following:

...

  • Criticisms which do not add anything constructive ("-1, see previous comments you scallywag!"); instead, down-vote (and provide or up-vote a better answer if appropriate);

...

You said that your comment started with:

-1, because [reason to downvote].

You also said that you had already provided an answer, that you had already downvoted and that the other answerer had already read your comment, so I think your comment had already served any of the purposes above.

In such situations users are encouraged to flag comments for deletion.

The case for deletion of a comment like the one you describe is not an invocation of the Be Nice policy, but even if it were, moderators do not have an option to flag comments so that they can be dealt with by another moderator. Every flag cast by a moderator on a comment instantly deletes it.

For a lengthy discussion on SE comment moderation I recommend reviewing Comment moderation policy?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – PolyGeo Aug 7 at 23:33

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