I remember having written a comment to this answer, which seems to be gone. As far as I can tell, it wasn't off-topic, chatty, offensive or spammy. It even was upvoted. But now it's gone.

Since the answer borrows content from my comment, I suppose the comment was considered redundant and removed for that reason. However, I'd like to know for sure:

  • Is my guess correct? Is this a standard practice?
  • What comments are eligible for deletion? should I flag such comments whenever I come across one?
  • Do I get to be mentioned in the answer? It's my content after all.
  • 2
    "Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer" (from the help page, which applies to all SE sites). If you want your contribution to last, you should make it an answer. Mar 2, 2016 at 18:31
  • Isn't posting an answer to argue with another answer a bad idea? I'm pretty certain such answers end up in low-quality queue and are deleted. Mar 2, 2016 at 18:57
  • 2
    Yes, such an 'answer' would be deleted. But that doesn't mean it would be welcome as a comment; this is not a forum, it is a question and answer site. The rules are more relaxed on meta, but I fully expect to see this exchange deleted; I suggest you read all of the help section if you are confused. Mar 2, 2016 at 22:22
  • So, what should be my reaction to incomplete or partially wrong answers? Should I downvote and walk away? Edit the answer to my likings (what about the author's intent then)? Mar 3, 2016 at 6:54
  • 1
    "If you want your contribution to last, you should make it an answer." @TimLymingon, you should totally convert that comment to an answer. Mar 23, 2016 at 16:47

3 Answers 3


I looked into the flag history for this: one of the other reasons a comment can get deleted is if it's "obsolete". This is what happened in your case, and yes this kind of cleanup is sometimes done if (for example, in this instance) there's elements rolled into an answer.

  • OK, I'll stop being worried then. I have never seen such cleanup done before, but I'm OK with it. Mar 5, 2016 at 16:59
  • 1
    @pnuts Yes, thanks for the reminder. Dec 21, 2016 at 9:22

Is my guess correct?

I don't know as I don't have enough reputation here to find out. However, in stackexchange sites generally, I think it is rare for moderators to step in and clean up comments - unless there has been some complaints due to significant overuse or misuse of comments.

Is this a standard practice?

Comments are mainly for suggesting improvements to an answer or for requesting clarification of a question. Once the answer or question has been updated accordingly, I often then delete my comments.

What comments are eligible for deletion?

You can delete any your own comments.

You can flag anyone else's comments for deletion.

should I flag such comments whenever I come across one?

You should use the flags in good faith. I very rarely flag comments. People who misuse the flags, may lose the right to use them - or face other consequences.

Do I get to be mentioned in the answer?

Not unless whoever edits the answer makes an attribution in the answer. I sometimes do this if someone suggests an improvement or correction to one of my answers.

It's my content after all.

If you are confident the change, or additional material, you are suggesting fits with the author's original intent, go ahead and edit the answer. Your name then appears in the edit history of the answer.

It is worth remembering that this site is for people who want to share their knowledge freely. You may need to occasionally let go of proprietorial feelings you may have about small contributions.


Is my guess correct?

Most likely, considering a mod has confirmed. We have to take the mod’s word at this; no non-diamond users can see deleted comments (there is no priviledge level that unlocks it).

Is this a standard practice?

Yes. To quote from the help centre:

You must specify a reason for each comment flag. The most common cases are listed in the comment flag dialog box:

  • rude or offensive
  • not constructive / off-topic — a comment that does not try to improve the post it appears on, or which introduces a topic unrelated to the question or answer
  • obsolete — a comment that is no longer relevant because it has been addressed by an edit to the post, clarified by additional comments, or contains no context because it references deleted content
  • too chatty — anything that's not relevant to the question or answer

Thus, if you commented and the content of your comment has been edited into the post, your comment became obsolete and should be flagged for deletion. Last year’s Winterbash even had a hat for that.

What comments are eligible for deletion?

Every comment. ‘Comments are temporary “Post-It” notes’ (source: help centre), i.e. every comment should be removed once it served its purpose (or if it never had a purpose).

However, we do like a bit of fun, so the highly-upvoted joke comments often stay around as long as they do no harm.

should I flag such comments whenever I come across one?

Yes. Any comment which requests edits or criticises things that have since been addressed in the post in question can (and should) be flagged for deletion. That is what the obsolete flag is for. Since it is sometimes quite a lot of work for mods to determine whether something is obsolete (or so I was told by a mod at Chemistry.SE), you may also choose to leave a custom flag quickly stating why.

The same thing goes for comments saying ‘thanks!’ or ‘great answer!’ — that’s what voting and accepting is for.

Do I get to be mentioned in the answer? It's my content after all.

In an academic world with a strict peer-reviewing system you would. But here, it’s at the discreetion of the post owner to cite you or not if they include your suggestion.

The difference is that in academia you actually get reputation for being cited. Here, you get reputation for votes on your post. If you suggest an improvement to a different person’s answer, you are doing that out of philanthropy — effectively allowing someone else to gain reputation faster. The Stack Exchange code does not search through posts looking for @somebody sequences, does not ping you if you are mentioned and does not give you any benefit.

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