Automatically indicate deleted comments? June 17, 2016 11:25 AM   Subscribe

We often see people in emotionally charged threads attempting to reply to comments that have already been deleted, which perpetuates unproductive fights and stresses out the mods even more. Might it help to provide some sort of automatic indication (that is, one that activates without having to refresh the page) that a comment has been deleted? For example, fading out the comment to a light gray, or whatever color would be appropriate given the active theme.
posted by J.K. Seazer to Feature Requests at 11:25 AM (86 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I sort of dig the thought, but it's not something we have any plan to pursue, no. We've aimed in general to keep the core thread views lightweight and non-AJAXy where doable and this'd involve tacking in the other direction for a problem that's mostly human rather than technical to begin with and is, as much as it can be annoying for mods and users both in the moment in a fast-moving thread, not a huge deal in practice.

If we have to delete some aftershocks and leave a followup note, that's a little bit of work but not one that's taking up a big chunk of time out of any given work week.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on June 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like this isn't a problem unless it's a problem for the mods. They're the ones who take the brunt of dealing with that kind thing, and they seem to do a good job of it. In really contentious threads the cleanup isn't always perfect, but I feel like the real problem there is all the fast-paced internet knife-fighting, and the people most likely to be inconvenienced are the people who are in so much of a rush to fire off their latest salvo that they can't be bothered to preview. I've been that person before, but I don't feel like MeFi should cater to my needs when I'm in that mode. It's really on me to just do less of that shit, since it's not great behavior to begin with.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:07 PM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: the real problem there is all the fast-paced internet knife-fighting.
posted by Melismata at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2016 [18 favorites]


I find it works better to flag the objectionable comment, breathe deeply, and refresh to watch the magic disappearance happen.
posted by bearwife at 12:17 PM on June 17, 2016 [14 favorites]


Deleted comments are like Tinkerbell. They only exist to the extent that we continue to validate them.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on June 17, 2016 [12 favorites]


Tinkerbell is super racist?
posted by French Fry at 12:30 PM on June 17, 2016 [36 favorites]


Clap if you believe.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:32 PM on June 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


BTW if you find you've replied to a comment that has been deleted and now your comment makes no sense you can flag your own comment.
posted by Mitheral at 12:36 PM on June 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


The mods have been pretty receptive to deleting my nonsense comments regardless of whether they were in response to something that was deleted.
posted by ODiV at 12:45 PM on June 17, 2016


[A few comments deleted. Stop linking to Stormfront, Tinkerbell!]
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:45 PM on June 17, 2016 [22 favorites]


"Tinkerbell is super racist?"

Well, she swears like a sailor, I know that. Not that this has anything to with racism, just an FYI.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:48 PM on June 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


you can flag your own comment

Just be aware that Ceiling Cortex is watching you do it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on June 17, 2016 [35 favorites]


Have totally flagged my own comment and even sent a note to the effect that I got mad, said something mean, and would like my words to be unsaid now please. The mods were very understanding and nonjudgemental, and deleted both my snarky comment and the comment that had me all bent out of shape, so double win!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:53 PM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


#notallfairies
posted by Chrysostom at 2:42 PM on June 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


I would like to be able to favorite my own comment as well until this happens I will not be posting in Metatalk ever again.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:57 PM on June 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


We secretly replaced Tink's fairy dusk with PCP. Let's see if she notices.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:11 PM on June 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


you can favourite your own comments (sorry if i am missing a joke).
posted by andrewcooke at 5:23 PM on June 17, 2016


(i reported it as a bug once and was told it was a feature)
posted by andrewcooke at 5:24 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


The fairy dusk?
posted by clavdivs at 5:25 PM on June 17, 2016


Near-dark magic, clavs.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:45 PM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


you can favourite your own comments (sorry if i am missing a joke).
posted by andrewcooke at 5:23 PM on June 17 [+] [!]

(i reported it as a bug once and was told it was a feature)
posted by andrewcooke at 5:24 PM on June 17 [+] [!]


I'm can't remember for sure if it made it to MeTa, but I think some one (besides Scott Adams) was called out for favoriting all of their own comments in a contentious thread.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:03 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


A reason why I would call it 'feature' rather than 'bug' is because of the dual nature of favourites. While there's the case of favouriting your own comments just to make it 100% clear just how much you agree with yourself, there's the far more mundane situation: "I posted a recipe for raspberry cheesecake in that ask thread, and I want to be able to find it again easily," for which the favourite search can come in handy.
posted by frimble (staff) at 10:13 PM on June 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


your comment makes no sense you can flag your own comment.

I know. I flag and favorite all my own comments. It's a love/hate thing.
posted by bongo_x at 1:19 AM on June 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would like the ability to flag favorites. And possibly favorite flags.
posted by quinndexter at 2:50 AM on June 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tinker Bell. Two words.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:45 AM on June 18, 2016


It takes one hell of an ego to favourite oneself IMHO.
posted by comealongpole at 5:40 AM on June 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you don't favorite your own comments it makes your other favorites seem insincere.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:26 AM on June 18, 2016 [12 favorites]


If you favourite any of your own comments, you have to do all of them, really
Why would I read one of your disingenuous, lesser comments that you don't stand behind?
posted by Dysk at 6:44 AM on June 18, 2016 [11 favorites]


I only favorite my own comments when they were actually posted by a Mirror Universe me. That way, after the inevitable knife fight atop a rickety structure, I can go back and get the Mirror comments sent back to Mirror-MetaFilter. Not that the comments posted by me from Bizarro MetaFilter don't have this problem, because Bizarro-Favorites am deleted.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:06 AM on June 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't favorite my own comments because I am wracked with self-hate.
posted by dersins at 8:47 AM on June 18, 2016 [8 favorites]


I find it works better to flag the objectionable comment, breathe deeply, and refresh to watch the magic disappearance happen.

Yes. I understand the urge to get the kicks from internet arguing and "be right", but if something is really that devoid of content or downright stupid, just flag it and move on. Trying to engage is putting out a fire with oil-soaked rags.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:46 AM on June 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Please don't take this in the direction of analyzing suicides.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:40 PM on June 18, 2016


Well, this got weird.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:13 PM on June 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


Ironically that's one of the reasons it can be sort of weird to always identify deleted comments.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:47 PM on June 18, 2016 [10 favorites]


I recently responded to someone else's comment only to discover upon posting that the comment I was responding to had been deleted. In my haste to flag my own comment for deletion, I misclicked the "favorite" button on my own comment.

It was an embarrassing 30 seconds.
posted by biogeo at 4:19 PM on June 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


i        should            only      offensive          part     deleted.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:01 AM on June 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


The beans or the plate?
posted by Namlit at 8:38 AM on June 19, 2016


I'd like a quick, auto responder memail that says this comment of yours on that fpp was deleted at date and time. If you'd like to know more, please use the contact form.

Sometimes I'm not always clear if my comment was deleted, or that maybe I forgot to click "Post" or whatever.
posted by notyou at 10:08 AM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


I second this. A comment that just doesn't even say "poof" when it evaporates always feels a little like "owww what happened to my little puppy?" which applies even to silly or thoughtless comments. Better to be able to see its last *blip* before it vanishes forever. Closure, is what I mean.
posted by Namlit at 10:24 AM on June 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


notyou: I'd like a quick, auto responder memail that says this comment of yours on that fpp was deleted at date and time. If you'd like to know more, please use the contact form.

That pony has been asked for before, but it never came out of the stable. It seems likely that this would result in a lot more fighty 'why was my precious comment deleted? Well? Huh?' messages to the mod team.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:25 AM on June 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


Somewhat like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, if your comment is deleted and you can't remember what it was, it may not have been worth posting it in the first place.
posted by zamboni at 1:12 PM on June 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


A deletion notification feature has been a non-starter so far, and I hope it remains that way. I can only imagine such a feature intensifying overall angst and indignation in the community, which is in opposition to the community-level calming effect that deletions are meant to have. Moderators should be allowed to do their business quietly, without having to be constantly second-guessed any more than they already are. I might feel differently if the mod team hadn't earned my trust with their long record of transparent, careful, and effective work, but they have. I respect their need to just get on with it sometimes, without actively inviting questions and challenges from those who are being moderated. I think it's better for conversation and community goodwill, both of which are essential ingredients of MeFi.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:46 PM on June 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Somewhat like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, if your comment is deleted and you can't remember what it was, it may not have been worth posting it in the first place.

Since this is true for 100% of what I post, whether I am able to recall it or not, I'd doubly appreciate a heads up when one fails to reach the floor. Just as a reminder that I am, in fact, here.
posted by notyou at 9:32 PM on June 19, 2016


For me the notification issue is nothing about justification, it's just so I know. I don't think I've had that many deletions, but a couple of times I've thought I posted something, didn't see it, and started to post it again. I'm sure that would be taken the wrong way if I did.
posted by bongo_x at 9:59 PM on June 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah but if they fear that a notification only stirs the pot, I see how that can be a problem. I stand corrected...
And also, if I look back at the history of my deleted comments, the less I see of them the better, t'is true.
posted by Namlit at 12:39 AM on June 20, 2016


I think the approach does make sense when you imagine someone that is attached to all their posts, of course notices the deletion, and is seething afterwards. But for those of us with less emotional investment and terrible memories it's sort of a weird mind game being played.
posted by bongo_x at 8:58 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


It would be cool in the future of mefi to be able to highlight, italicize and link a portion of comment you're replying to (if you are). That way if the first comment gets deleted upon preview or post you get a "the fighty shitpost comment you are referring to has been unceremoniously destroyed, this comment will not be posted."

Then have only have a single button option to delete their account.

Ya'll, I'm being playfully snarky here so please don't take me seriously thanks and hugs.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


but really though people, "preview" is a good buddy when commenting in fast moving and contentious threads for checking if the comment you're replying to instead of flagging has been deleted.
posted by Annika Cicada at 11:23 AM on June 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how not providing notice of deletions could be seen as a "weird mind game." Like, I'm not being fighty, that's just a viewpoint I've never considered and I don't understand why you would feel that way. If I get a comment deleted and fail to notice, how am I harmed? It's not like it's personal—it's about the comment and/or the context, not about the poster.

I guess there are probably edge cases where it's somewhat personal, like if someone is commenting in a type of thread that they've been specifically instructed to stay out of, but that kind of thing must account for a very, very small percentage of overall deletions. Generally it's just done to help the conversation flow and to keep people from getting mad at each other.

I truly am having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea, and would like to understand better. I'm sure I've had more comments deleted than I've noticed, but it's never occured to me that this might be a problem.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2016


I don't understand how not providing notice of deletions could be seen as a "weird mind game."

I think I posted something. I don't see it, so I assume I forgot, or got distracted or something. But I'm not really sure what happened.

I think you're taking a different perspective on what I said.
posted by bongo_x at 11:34 PM on June 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This has happened to me too because my browser tabs would reach from here to Venus if they were stacked end-to-end. So I think I posted something, but it didn't appear and it turns out I just tabbed away from it or closed it by accident. I sometimes ask the mods about this if I'm not sure, and they've been nice about responding.

Incidentally, if your comment gets deleted you lose the favorites too, which is totally not fair. Worse, if a FPP gets deleted I think you lose your favorites from any comments EVEN IF IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:25 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


You people are always complaining about "deleted comments" but you can't even link to ONE deleted comment.

Sorry, but some of us base our reasoning on an examination of the EVIDENCE - we don't believe that conversations here are dominated by "ghostly, ectoplasmic emissions" from the spirit world, or other super-duper-stitions.

Basically, there is no proof that any comments have been deleted from MetaFilter. Posts? Sure - there's a whole blog full of deleted posts somewhere, with funny deletion reasons and everything. But as far as I can see, the mods have NEVER deleted any comments from MeFi. Which just makes me wonder: what the hell are they doing all day? I say, vote #1 quidnunc kid for Deleter-in-Chief and I will start deleting every comment that doesn't contain the words "vote #1 quidnunc kid". And then we'll ALL agree that quidnunc kid should be in charge - because I'm a uniter, not a divider. Well ... technically I'm a subtractor, not a divider - but the point is I HATE multiplication.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:02 AM on June 21, 2016 [20 favorites]


If I get favorites, it's also not my fault...
posted by Namlit at 2:35 AM on June 21, 2016


Nah Namlit, the Great Mefi Favourites Lottery has been rigged so only the deserving get favourites. It's been an open secret for years, though the mods still officially insist that clicking the little plus actually does something.

This sort of corruption is why I think it's time for a change - I'll be voting #1 quidnunckid.
posted by Dysk at 2:40 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Aha so the + is like those tourist-entertainment buttons on pedestrian's traffic lights? I see.

Also: most obscure sock ever, or what
posted by Namlit at 3:10 AM on June 21, 2016


MetaFilter pays the EU over 315 favourites A DAY in taxes. Vote Metaxit and we can return favourites stolen by the bureaucrats to their rightful owners!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:39 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Aaand the farmers in the North can go back to their traditional favorite-growing methods, without all the paperwork.
posted by Namlit at 3:41 AM on June 21, 2016


That's so misleading a figure, EndsOfInvention, that it may as well be a lie. You've completely neglected to account for the favourite rebate mathowie negotiated back in the day, as well as all the programs that distribute favourites back to mefites.
posted by Dysk at 4:10 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did you know that the EU are planning to allow Reddit users to access Metafilter? Do you want Redditors logging in here and stealing YOUR favourites?
EU regulations state that from 2018, the "$20, same as in town" joke will have to be altered to "€20, an equal amount to that charged in the nearby metropolitan area before any local Value Added Tax is applied".

The moderators are helpless to oppose this outrageous bureaucracy while we remain part of the EU. VOTE MEXIT.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:25 AM on June 21, 2016 [12 favorites]


The moderators...helpless.... i haven't laughed so much in a long while
posted by Namlit at 4:53 AM on June 21, 2016


Basically, there is no proof that any comments have been deleted from MetaFilter.

All sorts of proof.
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2016


If you're going to take the word of some so-called "moderator", then you are unworthy of the blessing of voting #1 quidnunc kid.
posted by Etrigan at 7:48 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


vote #1 quidnunc kid for Deleter-in-Chief

Make MetaFilter Great Again!
posted by cooker girl at 8:09 AM on June 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I voted #1 quidnunc kid for Deleter-in-Chief, and that's how I know my comments will still be around at the heat death of the universe. Some of you are not thinking ahead. Vote #1 quidnunc kid!
posted by languagehat at 8:26 AM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, if your comment gets deleted you lose the favorites too, which is totally not fair.

But understandable, because if you kept the favorite it would be broken-linked to a comment that doesn't exist anymore.

Worse, if a FPP gets deleted I think you lose your favorites from any comments EVEN IF IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT

If you have favorited non-deleted comments in a deleted FPP, you keep those. The comments still exist and you can click on their links.

If your post is deleted, I believe you lose its favorites.
posted by zarq at 9:55 AM on June 21, 2016


Worse, if a FPP gets deleted I think you lose your favorites from any comments EVEN IF IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT.

This why I cash my favorites in right away. Sure, I lose the potential interest, but in this volatile economy I'm risk averse.
posted by bongo_x at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


At least until the favorites default swap market gets up and running.
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2016


...which reminds me that last weekend at the yard sale, there was a huge pile of elderly favorites, for almost nothing. Just to say, it's kinda easy these days to stock up if you've lost some favorites on the front page and it wasn't your fault.
posted by Namlit at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


They were kind of moldy, though.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:55 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just a word of caution: if you fall short on favorites be careful about unscrupulous mefites who will advance you favorites at predatory rates.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


No Taxatermnation without favouritetization!
posted by clavdivs at 2:41 PM on June 21, 2016


Hardcore taxtatermnations?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:32 PM on June 21, 2016


Last year I created a bookmarklet to watch for deleted comments. It needs to be manually invoked like any bookmarklet, but once you do it'll keep checking for deleted comments in the thread and gray them out. It'll also check to see if you're in the process of quoting a deleted comment and give you a heads up.

This type of thing would probably work as a Greasemonkey script but any 3rd party solution is going to involve a lot of unnecessary overhead (the bookmarklet repeatedly downloads the rss feed to check against the current thread). The only way to do it efficiently is to integrate with the AJAX call that the site is already using to check for new comments. Sending back the IDs of deleted comments would be trivial; the only hard part would be marking them on the page and that's only difficult because of the patchwork HTML structure.

For what it's worth, I originally created the bookmarklet because it annoyed me to see moderators periodically admonishing people for failing to reload the page. I don't think that's a reasonable expectation, particularly for long threads, but an automatic "watch for deleted comments" notice by the comment box would at least let people know whether the disruptive reload was actually necessary.

You can see a slight indication of deleted comments if you allow the official new comments AJAX notification to stay on the page. Occasionally the number will go down rather than up, sometimes to zero. I've always assumed that it was because the new comments got deleted before the widget could add them to the page.
posted by Jeff Howard at 8:57 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I originally created the bookmarklet because it annoyed me to see moderators periodically admonishing people for failing to reload the page. I don't think that's a reasonable expectation, particularly for long threads...

Yeah, this is annoying! I'm not going to reload long threads on my mobile devices, I'm just not.
posted by lalex at 9:53 PM on June 21, 2016


They were kind of moldy, though.

It's a good mold though! Like blue cheese.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:12 AM on June 22, 2016


Depends on the way they've been stacked. I've seen the weirdest things on antique markets. Still, the question of whether you Still Can Eat repurposed favorites should be considered here, obvsl.
posted by Namlit at 2:20 AM on June 22, 2016


What's the current "It has been ___ days since the last MeTa post" record?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, now you've jinxed it.
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


New records need a * anyways because of the queue. Not only could there have been a dozen metas that have been rejected; the queue adds an unknown delay to the posting cycle of up to a couple days depending on anticipated GRAR and staffing levels.
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on June 22, 2016




Etrigan: "Well, now you've jinxed it."

I did indeed. Sorry, mods!
posted by Rock Steady at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2016


Always with the jinxing, these kids today!
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:12 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


So I ended up re-reading a thread from 2013 where I complained about silently deleting posts.... which is totally non-expected behavior, at least in my mind... and am at least bit relieved to see I'm not alone in this... whenever my comment just isn't there... I wonder about the consistency of my monkey brain for a bit, get confused... then remember this whole thing again... you'll probably hear from me about this again in 2019, if I'm still around.
posted by MikeWarot at 9:40 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know it was like five days ago, but can I just say that I am still beaming from the fact that a mod made an example of me? I now understand why kids act up, even negative attention is amaaaaazing! Seriously, it made my week.
posted by Literaryhero at 12:47 AM on June 24, 2016


It wasn't meant to be negative! Just acknowledging one of the weird little paradoxes about this issue - sometimes we delete something because it's on a subject that really shouldn't be introduced to the thread in the first place. It can be hard to phrase a note about such a deletion that's (a) clear to people who missed the comment, but also (b) doesn't just re-introduce the subject that you were trying to not introduce.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:06 PM on June 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


(But I'm glad it made your week! )
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:07 PM on June 28, 2016


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