Has the standard for deleting comments changed? It's been clear for a long time that early comments in a thread that tend to poison the thread ("This will end well"; "Getting popcorn," etc.), and comments likely to provoke a fighty derail, will be deleted. But is it now mod policy to delete jokes
on the grounds that there are enough jokes already? Are we required to have serious discussions? This is the first time I've seen inoffensive jokes deleted on the blue, and I think it's something worth talking about.
One thing to consider is that humour has social value, and that you learn something about a community by seeing how its members use humour to deal with the world. Given the despair I think many people in that thread are feeling, I don't see the extensive use of humour as noise, but as an expression of helplessness. That people would respond with humour says something about who they are, how they interact with the political system, and how they view the world.
Even in threads where humour is just humour, I worry that deleting jokes because they're not serious enough is not conducive to fostering a community where people want to hang out and comment, sometimes lightheartedly. In short, it will annoy people unnecessarily and make Metafilter a less friendly place. Discussions should be allowed to evolve organically as much as possible, even if that means that some users miss out on the discussion they would like to have.
I'd be interested to know what other people think.