At least some of the comments I posted on Medical Sciences SE since Nov 25 disappeared - there is no mention of them being deleted, and I'm sure I haven't deleted them. Is there some function where this happens automatically?

  • No, that doesn't happen automatically but any mod can delete comments at any time and sometimes we do. The reasons vary, so you'd have to give a specific example to know why. The most common reason (for me) is because the comment has become wrong or irrelevant as more information has come to light. – Carey Gregory Nov 29 '20 at 16:36
  • Personally, I would say deleting a comment without giving a reason and/or informing whoever wrote it is Bad (mind the capital B). – Thomas Nov 29 '20 at 17:49
  • @Thomas Welcome to SE, get used to it. – paulj Dec 9 '20 at 18:36
  • Thank you for your comment. Please be bitter elsewhere. – Thomas Dec 9 '20 at 20:46
  • I’m voting to close this question because further discussion is unlikely to yield relevant contents. – Thomas Dec 9 '20 at 20:47

There are a few situations where comments are useful, such as improving the clarity of questions/answers, providing transient (i.e. non permanent) information, etc. Comments can be deleted by owners, moderators or the system if it is flagged enough. Comment chains can also be moved to chat if that is deemed warranted.

From the Stack Exchange Meta on commenting:

When should comments be deleted?

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. You should not expect them to be around forever. Once a clarification has been made, an edit added to the post to include new information, or the issue in the comment is otherwise resolved, it can be deleted. Additionally, any comment that violates the comment guidelines listed above or the Code of Conduct is subject to deletion.

In reality, on most sites, many since-obsolete or guideline-violating comments don't end up being deleted due to the high volume of comments posted, but this does not mean that they can't or shouldn't be deleted in the future.

If you encounter a comment that has since become obsolete or that violates the commenting guidelines above or the Code of Conduct, you can flag it for deletion.

If you believe it was deleted in error or still provides some use, you can link to the question and it can be looked at again.

  • Unfortunately, it still does not explain where or why my comments are gone. These are possibilities, and I'd like a concrete answer. That aside, my opinion on deleting them without informing the author and without giving reason stands. – Thomas Nov 30 '20 at 17:43
  • "Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer. You should not expect them to be around forever." With regard to that I'd add I do not expect any content posted here to be around for any given amount of time at all. What I had hoped for was a bit more transparency with regard to editing in general (although I understand this is not Wikipedia). That said, and as it's not that important a subject, I consider this topic closed. – Thomas Nov 30 '20 at 17:55
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    @Thomas There isn't really a mechanism here to inform when/why comments are removed. That goes hand in hand with them being ephemeral. If you have contributions you want to keep record of those should be in posts, perhaps by editing. – Bryan Krause Nov 30 '20 at 19:40
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    @Thomas - Any time a post is edited, it floats back to the front page. Any post has an edit history that is plainly visible for anyone to see. And if you feel strongly about comment deletion needing author notification and such, you are welcome to post that as a suggestion on the main meta. That's what it is for. – JohnP Nov 30 '20 at 19:42

Is there some function where this happens automatically?

No, there is no script comments that automatically remove comments (unlike questions, which are removed automatically). Comments are manually removed by moderators. Personally I find it very disrespectful that deleted comments can't be accessed by the authors and that SE lacks a convenient way for mods to give some reason for comment deletions.


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