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September 8, 2010 7:48 PM   Subscribe

why was my AskMeFi response deleted?

And with zero notification? It's...just...gone.

Shouldn't I have been informed of some violation? Or, something?

Feels crappy.
posted by mizrachi to Etiquette/Policy at 7:48 PM (72 comments total)

At the lower right corner of the page is the word "contact". If you click it, it opens a page where you can send a private message to the mods.

Use it in good health. Especially for this kind of question.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:51 PM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Feels crappy.

Apparently so did your answer.
posted by phunniemee at 7:51 PM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think the mods really have the time to explain the reason for every single deleted comment.

Can you provide any more context? Maybe some of us might be able to suggest a probable reason.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:52 PM on September 8, 2010


Was it an comment that didn't help answer the question? That's usually why they're deleted.
posted by iconomy at 7:54 PM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Your answer was first-out-of-the-gate "I don't know why you think what you think, asker" stuff, which may be totally true but isn't really an answer to the question; if you feel like you've got a substantial comment about why the premise of a question is problematic or flawed, it's okay to try and explain that to an asker, but just throwing their question back in their face is not helpful.

As for notification: we sometimes, not always, leave a note in a thread if we've had to delete something. It'll usually be when we had to remove several things or there was something complicated or unusual going on with the thread; if it's just one answer deleted for not being a very good answer, a note's not particularly likely.

We do not routinely contact people about the deletion of comments. Again, if there's some strange extenuating circumstances, then we may, but that's the exception, not the rule. If you haven't made a habit of leaving problematic comments—and to be clear, you haven't, mizrachi, this is the first comment of yours we've ever had to remove—then our assumption is that it was probably just a one-off thing, not something you need a talking-to about or anything.

I'm sorry it feels crappy, but this is how the site works and has for a long time. The bar for askme is fairly high in terms of what flies for answers, we delete stuff from that part of the site every day to try and keep the signal high. It's nothing personal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 PM on September 8, 2010


Double.
posted by Eideteker at 8:14 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is very disorienting, because it's like it just goes poof down the memory hole. "Didn't I make a comment in that thread? AmI losing it?"
posted by smackfu at 8:29 PM on September 8, 2010


Yes. That is how this site works.

What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:30 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes. That is how this site works.

Making people feel crappy is not how I want to participate.
posted by polymodus at 8:33 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't I have been informed of some violation? Or, something?

The link to the FAQ at the bottom has been very helpful when I first began my non-lurking existence on this website.
posted by polymodus at 8:37 PM on September 8, 2010


Making people feel crappy is not how I want to participate.
posted by polymodus at 8:33 PM on September 8


Then don't delete mizrachi's comments.
posted by grouse at 8:40 PM on September 8, 2010


Making people feel crappy is not how I want to participate.

Then you must feel very disappointed in yourself right about now.

*feels crappy*
posted by Sys Rq at 8:45 PM on September 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


AskMe tends to be a lot more strict than the rest of the site -- if your answer isn't explicitly an answer, it does not compute, and goes away. It's a little shocking the first time it happens, but from there you either play by the rules and elect not to answer if your answer isn't a clear-cut answer, or you elect to not visit AskMe. (It gets fuzzier when people choose not to read the inevitable more inside and elect to answer the question they think is being asked, which is almost always not the question.) It seems as though the people who participate in AskMe do so heavily, often to the exclusion of the rest of MeFi, and everybody else drops in once in a blue moon. The heavier moderation may be off-putting, but on the other hand, it's something you'll probably be grateful for if you ever ask a question and your responses fill up with people who want to either question your motivations or answer the question they want you to have asked rather than the one you actually did.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:48 PM on September 8, 2010


Would an automated or semi-automated feedback memail for deleted comments be appropriate?

If it could be done in an informative and constructive way it'd be educational and positive for the site.
posted by loquacious at 8:49 PM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Would an automated or semi-automated feedback memail for deleted comments be appropriate?

We've discussed this before. For everyone who was like "oh, that explanation was informative and useful to me" there would likely be another person who was like "my precious snowflake, omg" and be annoyed and/or inclined to argue. Maybe it's more like one in ten. In either case, we sort of figure that it's a rare event when someone truly has no idea why their comment was removed [and we're happy to let you know either personally or in MeTa] and we don't want to give late night drive-by "couldn't help myself :)" commenters a reason to get fighty.

Put another way, most people never have a comment removed from AskMe. The people who have comments removed frequently are either sort of serial problem people or truly clueless. Automated messages wouldn't really help either of those cases and the odd case like this one it's better to just explain it. If there's someone who is new and we think will be confused about a missing comment, we'll send a note. If there are a lot of comments that we remove, as cortex says, we'll leave a note in the thread
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:54 PM on September 8, 2010


Actually, this is why I love ask.mefi.

For every time I've been grumpy as hell or had too much to drink and left nasty traces around the internet, there's another instance where a mod's humanely deleted my flame. That confused "am I going mad? I'm sure I answered in that thread" thought is the lasting kindness of the memory hole.

Hooray for ask.mefi, the inverse square of drunk's regret!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:33 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moderators: please follow me around the web and clean up my ill-advised comments everywhere. Thanks!
posted by bluedaisy at 10:07 PM on September 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


Making people feel crappy is not how I want to participate.

Can I have your spot then?
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:18 PM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Moderators: please follow me around the web and clean up my ill-advised comments everywhere. Thanks!

Fact: Whenever the mods delete a comment, it's shuffled away in a little animated pooper scooper.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


How did you guys know I crapped my pants today?

(I mean, it's warm and nice at first, but then it gets cold and clammy. And with the smell, it's not like you can just up and pretend like nothing happened. And don't get me started on the inevitable rash...)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:38 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, MeTa, the way that every MeFite learns that there's a whole world of people who don't care about his or her owwies.
posted by klangklangston at 10:45 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


There should be no explanation, as with life in general so with AskMe deletions.
It's a religio-moral test: sometimes higher forces acting in obscurity alter things in ways that you must come to understand and adapt to. In this task you are alone and without guidance other than the accumulated experience of generations past and the sacred texts handed down to us by our wiser forbears in the form of the holy FAQ. Some say this represents the unalloyed words of our maker but recent textual scholarship has revealed syncretic elements; the tome we know today has developed considerably over time, as evidenced by comparisons with the proto-HTML scrolls discovered by a young content developer plying his trade by caves in a dry riverbed south of the barbarian citadel at eBaum's World.
posted by Abiezer at 11:04 PM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Look, you can go read the FAQ if you want to, but some of us are trying to ascend the honest way, without spoilers. If that means that every so often, one of our comments or posts is deleted without reason, well, we mark that down in the ever-more-forked notebook file, and vow next time to comment as a Valkyrie because everyone says those are a lot easier.

(I think I've found a way out of religious discussions with strangers…)
posted by klangklangston at 11:16 PM on September 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


It is very disorienting, because it's like it just goes poof down the memory hole. "Didn't I make a comment in that thread? AmI losing it?"

Whenever I've had a comment deleted I've always deserved it enough that I'm in no doubt as to what happens.
posted by atrazine at 11:48 PM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fact: Whenever the mods delete a comment, it's shuffled away in a little animated pooper scooper.

Aw, plastic comment baggies!
posted by katillathehun at 12:02 AM on September 9, 2010


Give the mod interface a list of deletion reasons they can select from (and leave space for optional additional text). When the mod clicks Delete, put a little notifier in the commenter's mailbox with a copy of the deleted comment, a copy of the deletion reason, and a link to a "Common reasons for comment deletion" explainer topic. At the same time, automatically replace the deleted comment with a line repeating the deletion reason so everyone is told that a comment was deleted, told why, but not told who.

More information and less confusion for members. Less work for mods.
posted by pracowity at 12:53 AM on September 9, 2010


I thought I posted a comment, it was gone, I MeMailed jessamyn, she said it seemed like a better comment for MeMail to the poster. The last time a comment from me was deleted was when I was bickering with someone and knew the derail was going on too long. I appreciated the lack of a big deal. The system seems to work okay. I vote for the status quo.
posted by salvia at 1:25 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?

Sense of entitlement?
posted by rodgerd at 1:46 AM on September 9, 2010


How do you know if your comment has been deleted? Is there a little air raid siren? Maybe I've been making crappy comments and been unaware all this time.
posted by arcticseal at 2:06 AM on September 9, 2010


What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?

People generally don't ask questions to which they already know the answers. There may be a failure to clearly communicate the answer to this "dead-simple n00b question" before the question is asked. Putting the answer in the FAQ is a start, but explaining it (with examples, entirely automatically, with zero additional effort required) when a comment is deleted, right before a commenter might start to complain, would restate the point exactly when it is needed and to whom it is needed. And automatically mailing a copy of the deleted text back to the commenter should eliminate the frustration of having to retype the whole thing when the comment might have been OK in a slightly different form.
posted by pracowity at 2:14 AM on September 9, 2010


Fact: Whenever the mods delete a comment, an angel gets its wings.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:10 AM on September 9, 2010


...Yeah, and I'm a rather sensitive sort who needs to communicate about every misunderstanding, and I still feel like there's some things you need to learn the hard way. Don't answer an AskMe post according to guidelines? You learn the hard way that your comment can go away and no one gives a shit. That's a community boundary. Deal or find a different community.

I stopped using AskMe for a while until I got my head right about it. Maybe you need to do the same thing?
posted by kalessin at 5:36 AM on September 9, 2010


The FAQ is pretty crazy by now. 29 pages if you printed it out, and a wall of text.

It almost needs an "actual frequently asked questions" part at the front, that people could read. Some of the stuff in there is so esoteric, about time zones on previewed posts and intricate details of how to setup your profile with other sites, like how to find your Flickr ID.
posted by smackfu at 6:00 AM on September 9, 2010


The FAQ is pretty crazy by now. 29 pages if you printed it out, and a wall of text. It almost needs an "actual frequently asked questions" part at the front, that people could read.

I've been thinking the same thing for a while now.
posted by Gator at 6:11 AM on September 9, 2010


I appreciated the lack of a big deal [when my comment was deleted]. The system seems to work okay. I vote for the status quo.

I concur.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:31 AM on September 9, 2010


jessamyn: What about a note the first (and only the first) time someone has a thing deleted with some basics. "Hey you've had something deleted, no big deal but just so you know deletions work like this and in the future you won't get any notice. Cheers, modsquad."
posted by Skorgu at 6:53 AM on September 9, 2010


I've had comments deleted, FPP posts deleted, and anonymous askme's pre-deleted. It stings, but you know what? Every single time...thank God. It's a blessing in disguise. You just can't see why yet.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:59 AM on September 9, 2010



Look, you can go read the FAQ if you want to, but some of us are trying to ascend the honest way, without spoilers. If that means that every so often, one of our comments or posts is deleted without reason, well, we mark that down in the ever-more-forked notebook file, and vow next time to comment as a Valkyrie because everyone says those are a lot easier.


Somewhere, someone has the cheat codes.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on September 9, 2010


Give the mod interface a list of deletion reasons they can select from (and leave space for optional additional text). When the mod clicks Delete, put a little notifier in the commenter's mailbox with a copy of the deleted comment, a copy of the deletion reason, and a link to a "Common reasons for comment deletion" explainer topic. At the same time, automatically replace the deleted comment with a line repeating the deletion reason so everyone is told that a comment was deleted, told why, but not told who.

More information and less confusion for members. Less work for mods.


I appreciate the brainstorming instinct, but I guarantee you we are not going to do this and I disagree strongly with your final sentence.

What about a note the first (and only the first) time someone has a thing deleted with some basics. "Hey you've had something deleted, no big deal but just so you know deletions work like this and in the future you won't get any notice. Cheers, modsquad."

Again, we'll do this for situations where it seems like there might have been a weird misunderstanding or the situation was distinctly goofyfooted or the user is clearly greener than a sapling or something. But given the long-tail distribution of commenting behavior on the site, a lot of deletions would be first-deletions; this would not be a small uptick in the amount of mail we sent, and as Jess noted the general feeling we have is that it'd be asking for unnecessary work and potential GRAR to basically autospam deletion notifications compared to our current volume of sent mail on the subject.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on September 9, 2010


What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?

What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine?
posted by fuq at 7:32 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


we're more charming and attractive.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you told people about deletions, you would get a lot more pushback, so the solution is to not tell them?
posted by smackfu at 7:38 AM on September 9, 2010


If you told people about deletions, you would get a lot more pushback, so the solution is to not tell them?

If we told every single person whose comment was the subject of a routine, hardly-worth-discussion deletion, we'd spend a lot more of our available time and energy having unnecessary discussions about those deletions.

We're not worried about critical feedback—the existence of Metatalk and our attentiveness to the contact form both exist as explicit counterarguments to that idea—but we have no desire to invent work for ourselves by inviting some larger additional fraction of the people who run gently awry of the site guidelines to have arguments with us about something they otherwise might not have bothered even to notice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you told people about deletions, you would get a lot more pushback, so the solution is to not tell them?

And it's a little more sideways than that. If we told people about deleitions via email or MeMail that's sort of opening up a conversation about the deletion that all happens behind-the-scenes and doesn't benefit any other member of the community. Having a bunch of back channel discussions about individual comment deletions is a terrible use of our time. Having general discussion about comment deletions in MetaTalk benefits all the members of the site who choose to get involved in the meta-workings of the site.

The bulk of comment deletions in AskMe are by people who are making dopey jokes, people who are drunk/angry/sad, or people who are brand new and maybe don't understand how things work. We try to email people if we think it's the latter, it usually does't go well when we email the drunk/angry people [I used to email people a lot more about comment deletions, now I email a lot less] and the jokesters usually know their comments are headed for deletion.

This also gets into an additional level of accountability where if people assume we're going to let them know if and why a comment was deleted, it will become a site expectation meaning that if something goes kablooey with MeMail or email or who knows what people will expect us to find them and tell them about it. This again, multiplies the workload. Or it becomes a back channel way to get mod attention. Make a deleteworthy comment and wait for the email/memail.

So, I know it can be sort of mystifying when a comment just goes away but for most users it's something that pretty much never happens, enough so that we don't want to make a more complicated mechanism for dealing wth it when it does happen.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:40 AM on September 9, 2010


we're more charming and attractive.

You... can't count, can you.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:00 AM on September 9, 2010


I had a comment deleted from a blue thread by jessamyn one time and I asked her why, because it seemed harmless, and she said if I was really bent out of shape about it she could put it back but I didn't really think it was that important, because, uh, you know?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 AM on September 9, 2010


I said I wasn't sure and I could go look. I think you were making a joke about the spoiler aspect of the post and once we fixed the spoiler post your ALLCAPS comment no longer made sense. You said it was no big deal, so I didn't go back and look to figure out exactly what happened.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 AM on September 9, 2010


Your likely-more-accurate recollection of the events described doesn't quite so easily lead to my pithy half-considered point, though, so I like my fantasy version better.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:36 AM on September 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?

Well, I think I might fit that category as I've been around since 2001, so maybe this will help:

Some of us come and go. We may have joined up eons ago, but disappear for a year or two at a time, or maybe several months, and then come back. OR, we may just be the type that rarely comments or answers questions - then pop one off without really thinking about all the intricacies of proper MeTaquette (I'd like to TM that, please). The culture around here has changed subtly over the years as it's evolved, as has the quality of commentary.

While those aspects of the site may have evolved for the better, I've pretty much stagnated when not staying actively engaged - so I've had to learn my lessons the hard way. Sometimes I've been clueless as to how my responses have come across, and other times I've just been a jerk - but the mods have kept me inline. Other times I'd like to think I'm a nice guy?? :-) As a military person / veteran / back in the military participant on here, sometimes I have a much more direct and intolerant attitude for people and their issues/beliefs than I should - the mods have, in their own way, helped me adjust that attitude.

None of us are perfect when it comes to our self-representation on here. I'd like to think we all get better over time, but active engagement (for me) is what improves my skills on here. To me, it really IS a learned skill on how to answer and responds appropriately at all times on here - not just something innate that I should automatically 'get'.

The FAQ may answer everything, but that doesn't mean it's gonna sink in on the first read.
posted by matty at 9:39 AM on September 9, 2010


jessamynAdmin: Put another way, most people never have a comment removed from AskMe. The people who have comments removed frequently are either sort of serial problem people or truly clueless. Automated messages wouldn't really help either of those cases and the odd case like this one it's better to just explain it.

FWIW, I have had (that I know of) maybe three comments removed from Ask? Granted, I have a rather uh, extensive Ask history but I would be mortified if I was considered a problem poster.

Or at least I think I've had replies removed. Generally, I do a round of replies with my coffee, go do some work, and may or may not return to Ask at the end of my day to scan over new questions and then hit Recent Activity. Where I normally get distracted by one active thread, but not always - so sometimes I've had the experience of "hey, why isn't that interesting thread from this morning in my Recent Activity? Wait, where'd my comment go? Did I not press the button?"

So just so you know, I have learned nothing from having comments removed with no notice. Generally I am unaware or unsure when it happens, and when I am cognizant of something missing, I can barely remember what the comment was, let alone fathom where I went wrong.

While I could email you every time this happens, having already caused trouble and taken up your time in a given day, I am uninclined to take up more of it by requesting a private review of what I said and a tutorial on where it fell foul.

Of course, if I've actually had zero replies removed, the lack of a flagging system is just confusing. If I've had 30 replies removed, then that is perhaps not having the impact on my newly discovered penchant for problematic posts we both might hope.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:42 AM on September 9, 2010


The FAQ may answer everything, but that doesn't mean it's gonna sink in on the first read.

Also, not everybody (not a lot of people?) hangs out in MetaTalk. The OP of this thread doesn't appear to have been here before today, for example.
posted by Gator at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2010


What's the deal with folks with lower user numbers than mine asking the same dead-simple n00b question over and over?

How about we avoid bringing user numbers into an honest question like we're an offshoot of the Stonecutters?
posted by cgomez at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've objected to deletions of my comments, and at some level I stand by those objections, but looking back on it, I think those deletions have made me look better than I would if they'd stayed.

I could've stood a few more such deletions, in fact.
posted by jamjam at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2010


How about we avoid bringing user numbers into an honest question like we're an offshoot of the Stonecutters?

Easy for you to say, Mr. 68,000.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:38 AM on September 9, 2010


Who keeps spammers off the site?
Who gets into endless fights?

WE DO!

WE DO!
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on September 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've had a few comments axed from Ask. Once I got unaccountably pissed off and bitched out another commenter. Helpful! Another time I quite literally forgot I was on the Green instead of the Blue and told a non-hilarious little story. They were quietly dispatched, and deservedly so.
posted by Skot at 10:49 AM on September 9, 2010


I can't believe Admiral Hardcock has a lower user number than I do...
posted by Mister_A at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2010


You know I was wondering about this also. Cortex removed the first couple of comments, one of which was mine, from this thread a couple of days ago. Now, my comment was specifically about leasing versus buying. I backed it up with a great article from the simple dollar, a blog that is well respected and an authoritative voice that wasn't just an opinion.

The question the OP posted didn't ever suggest that he/she had not looked into purchasing until the OP later came on and specifically said I have already weighed the pros and cons and made the decision to lease. I wrote cortex a me-mail expressing this very thing, and didn't expect, or ask for, any sort of response- just a basic "I disagree with your decision."

To me, the deletion of my comment felt like over-moderating. I didn't deviate from the core of the question, I raised very valid concerns, and I backed those concerns up with an authoritative source. This, to me, is the foundation of what ask metafilter is about, providing more information, and different points of view- am I missing something here?
posted by TheBones at 12:03 PM on September 9, 2010


Yeah, and I'm sure I'm one of the ones they are keeping their eyes on. I post ALOT of answers, a few have been deleted, some for obvious reasons. Some, like this one, for not as obvious, at least to me, reasons.
posted by TheBones at 12:05 PM on September 9, 2010


the OP later came on and specifically said I have already weighed the pros and cons and made the decision to lease.

The OP's question was basically about them signing a lease tomorrow. You told him he was getting screwed and basically implied that anyone who leases is an idiot. I'm not saying you might not be correct in that assessment, but it's definitely off-topic for the thread. We do the same thing when people are considering abortion and someone's like "please adopt!" or if they want to buy an iphone and someone's like "iphone users are tools!" or other variants on that theme.

In cases where the OP is not anonymous, if you want to keep the thread from getting derailed into an argument about the merits of leasing, dropping an email to the OP is a nice thing to do. If you feel that you must comment, doing so with the "I'm being helpful" approach and not "you're an idiot" approach is usually preferable. We don't know what motivates people and, if they don't fill in the blanks some people fill them in uncharitably and some don't.

So, something more along the lines of "You seem pretty set on a lease but are you aware that there are serious downsides...?" gives people a graceful out "yes I was, thanks" as opposed to "you are getting screwed" which basically sets them up oppositionally to you "um, I don't think I'm getting screwed but thanks for getting all up in my business." So by the time we saw that thread there were bunch of LEASRS-R-LOOZERS comments which had reached the not-helpful stage and so we removed a few comments.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:16 PM on September 9, 2010


This, to me, is the foundation of what ask metafilter is about, providing more information, and different points of view- am I missing something here?

What Jess said; you seemed explicitly "I don't need a response" about it in the mail, so I just left it alone, but if I'd written back it would have been to underscore the difference between your read ("who knows if the asker will lease or not?") and my read ("the asker is specifically intending to sign a lease immediately barring some serious surprise"). A bit of a reference to the considerations of leasing-vs-not in an otherwise on-topic answer is okay-ish, and I think I left a comment or two like that in the thread, but a long-form This Is Why Leasing Is Bad sort of thing felt it was really just missing the mark of what the asker was after.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:40 PM on September 9, 2010


I completely understand your points of view. I don't agree with them, but I do understand. Since you guys are the mods, you win every time.
posted by TheBones at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2010


I think it just illustrates that the line is a lot fuzzier than some of the earlier commenters suggest, where you should be glad that your deleted comments are deleted.
posted by smackfu at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2010


DarlingBri wrote: "So just so you know, I have learned nothing from having comments removed with no notice. Generally I am unaware or unsure when it happens, and when I am cognizant of something missing, I can barely remember what the comment was, let alone fathom where I went wrong."

I have precisely this experience. On the one hand, it would help if I could see the comments I have made that were deleted (I don't think it's very many), so as to learn what I did wrong, and confirm that I did in fact do something wrong and am not just losing my mind or having a browser fart.
posted by wierdo at 2:12 PM on September 9, 2010


Mizrachi, the first time you have something deleted, it always hurts. I know you would prefer the mods be a bit gentler, but believe me when I say, as a user who also came in whining the first an answer of mine was deleted, that this is a rite of passage, and not any kind of personal attack, and no one thinks less of you, inclduding the mods, for the deletion.

Tomorrow, or the next day, you will feel a little sheepish about this callout, and soon enough all will be forgotten. You'll go on, make more comments and maybe even some posts on the blue, and some of them will be deleted, too. And you'll learn how to better edit yourself as a result.

And one day, a seven-digit user will make this very same callout, and you'll find yourself thinking, fondly, "Huh. I was once a noob like you' back in the day...."

TL;DR version: You are now an official Mefite. Congratulations!
posted by misha at 4:21 PM on September 9, 2010


feels crappy, man.

I have precisely this experience. On the one hand, it would help if I could see the comments I have made that were deleted (I don't think it's very many), so as to learn what I did wrong, and confirm that I did in fact do something wrong and am not just losing my mind or having a browser fart.

Me too. However, I've come to the conclusion if one of my comments got deleted but I can't remember what it was, it was probably some hunk o' junk I rattled off without thinking, thus making it a sweet candidate for the garbage bin. That is, deleted for general lameness. I don't have a problem with that, and if that's how it's going then I have to apologize for contributing to excess street sweeping.
posted by rhizome at 5:13 PM on September 9, 2010


first time you have something deleted, it always hurts

Well no, unless you're the sensitive type perhaps.

What it does do is raise questions if you notice - did my post fail for some reason? etc.

The first time it happened to me I almost re-posted, because I'd spent quite a bit of time writing a careful response, and couldn't figure out why it wasn't there.

If users could find out if a post was deleted [if they cared] it would probably result in less traffic to the admins wondering what went on. The opening up a conversation reasoning is an argument for not notifying deletions by mail - that doesn't preclude making deletions knowable by some other means.

To the people who say "That's the way the site works" - I'm glad you feel this site has achieved the pinnacle of perfection and couldn't possibly be improved, but I beg to differ.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2010


that doesn't preclude making deletions knowable by some other means.

Well the general system now is that you can ask us directly over IM, or email and we'll get back to you within a few minutes [if we're awake] or within a few hours [if we're sleeping] and let you know. We also have a standing offer to send people the list of all the stuff they've ever had deleted, if they're curious. Right now this approach seems very functional and also not threatening to bury us with work.

So I don't mean to just blithely be all "well that's the way we've always done it" but that usually unless people are really in MeTa clamoring for some sort of a change to how the site works, it's actually sort of labor intensive to change the way the site works and educate and inform the users and all the rest.

Add to this that some people will flat out not LIKE how the new way works and we don't take such steps lightly. I realize this does mean that we'll tend toward the status quo rather than implementing changes and this can make the site feel stagnant especially as other sites redesign every year or so but we're of the opinion that it does mostly work.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:31 PM on September 9, 2010


I do not want to see my personal deletion hall o' shame. It's like seeing you ex-girlfriend you drunk-dialed that one time.
posted by Mister_A at 5:40 AM on September 10, 2010


One time there was an askme about books that helped developing a personal philosophy. I suggested The Book Of The Subgenius. I was serious. But my answer was deleted. Amazingly, I did not complain about this.

True story.
posted by waraw at 12:51 PM on September 10, 2010


To the people who say "That's the way the site works" - I'm glad you feel this site has achieved the pinnacle of perfection and couldn't possibly be improved, but I beg to differ.

Whoa, buddy. No one said anything about perfection, least of all the guy you're paraphrasing. (Hey, that's me!) There's always room for improvement; for example, getting rid of that hideous white ellipse in the logo would be a start.

In this instance, the OP's quandary betrays a lack of understanding with regard to the way the site operates. The simplest solution would be for that user to learn how the site operates, i.e., read the FAQ—an action that, it just so happens, is suggested right there as the second bullet point of an easy-to-read list of five on the page for a new MeTa post . Reading the FAQ may be a very mild inconvenience for that one user. Occasionally having to clarify routine operating procedures to users who forgo a simple perusal of the FAQ may be a slightly larger inconvenience for the moderators. Changing something so fundamental about the way the site is moderated would impact tens of thousands of users and would be a huge pain in the ass for the moderators.

Frankly, I'm a bit puzzled by this thread's continued existence. That a nearly identical post from two days earlier is also still around compounds my puzzlement significantly.

[On preview-ish:
Oh, well what do you know, the question isn't even answered in the FAQ!
Um, it probably should be. But fix the logo first, m'kay?]
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on September 10, 2010


Everytime a deletion is made, a kitten dies.
posted by stormpooper at 8:45 AM on September 14, 2010


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