Deleted comments? June 19, 2011 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Was there stuff deleted out of this thread? There appear to be comments referencing material that's nowhere to be found.

Specifically this and this. If there's pruning in a thread could we maybe get a marker or something so it's obvious?
posted by mr_crash_davis to Etiquette/Policy at 3:56 PM (35 comments total)

I believe this is a re-do of an older thread that was deleted for editorializing.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:59 PM on June 19, 2011


Oh, hey, yeah. There was some "I'll make the obligatory apple hate comment" stuff at the beginning - three comments - that got pulled quick. Didn't see the follow-ups, although they're sort of problematic to delete as it is.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:05 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I scrolled back and forth for a bit while pondering whether something was missing or early dementia was setting in. Glad to know it's probably not the latter.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:13 PM on June 19, 2011


Yeah, I was wondering if DoctorFedora had an imaginary friend named "Kittens".
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Comedian Greg Proops uses "Kittens!" as an exclamation along the lines of "Great Caesar's Ghost!", so that's how I read it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:58 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


A lot of threads start with a couple of kneejerk one-line comments about trivialities of the post. (Kinda reminds me of what in poker is called a feeler bet.) I appreciate that, from a moderator perspective, these are sometimes impossible to tell from a thread going totally off the rails right off the bat (although I happen to think this particular thread was going to be fine with or without intervention).

Mostly I'm just glad the link in my comment was fixed quickly; it was supposed to go to a tech opinion piece but instead originally linked here and seriously, like, what the hell, how am I even allowed to try to operate a computer, I'm terrible at this.
posted by churl at 4:58 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The proto-thread was here in case anyone missed it.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:01 PM on June 19, 2011


I read "Kittens, ..." as a term of affection for us all, a bit of a Southern drawl peppered in.
posted by maryr at 5:24 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


This comes up regularly; in that previous thread jessamyn said they'll usually leave a general 'comments deleted' note if they pull multiple comments. That's probably still a good idea.
posted by mediareport at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just randomly yell "KITTENS!" at passersby.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:30 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOU'RE A KITTY!
posted by loquacious at 9:50 PM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


... pondering whether something was missing or early dementia was setting in. Glad to know it's probably not the latter.
The explanation does not eliminate the second possibility, it only confirms that the first applies as well ;-)
posted by dg at 11:16 PM on June 19, 2011


I once fucked a test so hard, it had kittens a few days later.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:05 AM on June 20, 2011


I was like "wait a minute, is Tom and Lorenzo on metafilter?!" But then recognized the lack of unborn fawns.
posted by Tawny Owl at 4:06 AM on June 20, 2011


I believe this is a re-do of an older thread...

That explains why I saw that title in the top pages snapshot in Safari, but it didn't actually appear on the site until 2 days later! I thought I was either going crazy or had some sort of new Safari beta that could actually browse into the future.
posted by TedW at 7:59 AM on June 20, 2011


I'm really disappointed that this FPP was allowed to remain. A link to an opinion piece and an old MeFi thread? Thin gruel.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:31 AM on June 20, 2011


Mmm, thin gruel (/makes a nutritious breakfast)
posted by jtron at 8:50 AM on June 20, 2011


A link to an opinion piece and an old MeFi thread? Thin gruel.

The subject matter saved it, probably. Imagine the uproar if it had been deleted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on June 20, 2011


It was deleted the day before.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:10 AM on June 20, 2011


If there's pruning in a thread could we maybe get a marker or something so it's obvious?

Exactly. I think this should be policy. Not every deletion needs to be argued and defended, but quick note that something has been deleted is not a heavy burden.
posted by spaltavian at 9:23 AM on June 20, 2011


It's something that's always been a judgement call; the majority of the time we do not leave a note, is my gut estimate; the many times we remove a comment or two and there isn't any scar tissue go unremarked upon because, well, there's no scar tissue.

When there is some bumpiness as a result of clean up, we'll pretty often leave a note, but assessing the weird little details of when to do that is a learned thing so I wouldn't be surprised if restless_nomad takes a while to get it tweaked. Certainly I've missed the occasional reference to a deleted comment in one that's still standing; it's hard to be perfect about that stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:31 AM on June 20, 2011


the majority of the time we do not leave a note

That seems like a change from what was said in 2007. Good to know.
posted by mediareport at 2:03 PM on June 20, 2011


talking only about deletions of multiple comments at once, to be clear
posted by mediareport at 2:03 PM on June 20, 2011


Ah, one-off deletions are especially unlikely to produce a note, but it's still not a gimme that there'll be a note for multiple deletions, yeah.

Really depends on the situation: is there something explicitly significantly confusing about the remaining comment content after the deletion that needs explaining, is there an actively-developing derail in progress that might stop sooner with a "hey, cut it out" note, is there some sort of recurring behavior from one or more users evidenced in the deleted stuff, etc.

We've talked in the past about part of why we aren't more liberal with notes and deletion alerts and so on: it's easy to say "no harm in letting folks know", but in practice it generates further work, and we mostly want to avoid getting in unnecessary arguments about deletions that aren't complicated stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2011


We've talked in the past about part of why we aren't more liberal with notes and deletion alerts and so on: it's easy to say "no harm in letting folks know", but in practice it generates further work, and we mostly want to avoid getting in unnecessary arguments about deletions that aren't complicated stuff.

I think this is sort of the opposite of what a lot of people here imagined, moderation-wise, including me...but that could just be because most of us are only aware that a message has been deleted if the mod posts a note to that effect? It kinda caught me off-guard to see something I wrote casually disappeared, because even when what you've posted isn't deathless prose by any stretch of the imagination (it was me replying snarkily to someone else's pre-emptive snark, basically), when it's deleted, you start thinking of all the things you could be doing that aren't posting stuff to a site that gets deleted, and it turns out that's a lot of stuff, actually. I took it in stride and did what I wanted to do, which was continue to post in the thread; but someone else might not have done that, and I would have understood that, too. I think deletion notices are a good idea -- brief deletion notices that don't cause their author a huge ton of anguish but do explain why something was deleted -- but that's me.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:35 PM on June 20, 2011


I think this is sort of the opposite of what a lot of people here imagined, moderation-wise, including me...but that could just be because most of us are only aware that a message has been deleted if the mod posts a note to that effect?

It's a tricky thing, because we want discussions about the site to be about whatever they're about, not about moderation, which is a big part of why we're pretty consistent about the whole Metacommentary Goes In Metatalk thing—arguing in a thread about the moderation of that thread takes away from people's ability to do what they are ostensibly there to do, whether it's answer a question or talk about the links or whatever.

That said, stuff we delete remains a teeny minority of what gets posted, and most of it is one-off stuff where a person said something shitty and we caught it promptly, or some spammer dropped a weird farmed link into a thread, or there's a double comment or display error, or some made a random joke in askme instead of answering a question.

The stuff that's multi-comment pileups is a subset of even that, and that's the stuff that's more likely to get a note, but depending on what was removed and the timing we end up doing some internal calculus to decide what's going to be less disruptive: cleaning up and letting things proceed, or cleaning up and leaving a note to try and ward off further weirdness.

If we don't find ourselves having to remove a bunch of comments by a given user, we probably aren't going to make a point of being like Dude, What's Up about it because it's not looking like some systemic problem. In which case we're talking maybe a comment or two deleted, ever, for most folks affected. Maybe more if it's someone who is one of the more high-volume regulars.

I think deletion notices are a good idea -- brief deletion notices that don't cause their author a huge ton of anguish but do explain why something was deleted -- but that's me.

Which I can totally dig, yeah. Unfortunately, our experience has been that while there are folks who would really appreciate a heads up on every little deletion with no complaint, there's also folks who really, really don't deal well with even routine or textbook deletions and want to get in a fight with us about it. The latter stuff is a big time and energy suck, to the point that we're going to aim more for the middle ground of only really bringing it up if it looks like it's already a problem.

It's very much a compromise, but it's a sane-making one on our end, and being allowed to remain sane is one of the unspoken demands we make of Matt as employees here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:52 PM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


My impression has always been that it's only when there's been a dust-up that the moderators drop a note, eg. [a few deletions.. Pithy admonition -- mod]

many times we remove a comment or two and there isn't any scar tissue go unremarked upon because, well, there's no scar tissue.

sensu stricto, there's no visible scar tissue. Those of us who remember the removed comments morn for the lost words, and for the rest of our lives try to cope with the additional increase in the ever-mounting evidence that we're losing our minds/memory/cognition. But, although there's no cure for senescence, there is beer.

As one of the cohort that would prefer more deletion information, it's disconcerting to remember a comment in a thread, and then try to verify, and find that the comment is no longer there. Admittedly, this disconcertion rarely rises to the level of inquiring about it..
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2011


Yeah, and for what it's worth, it's always totally okay to drop us a line to be like "am I crazy or did something get nixed" on those occasions where it does rise to the level of inquiry on your end.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2011


How much specific information would you need? Would there be any hope for something as vague as "In the Bowling in a Submarine thread a while back, was there a comment about some clown in a wetsuit?" -- which might (repeat: might) be a successful query in Metatalk, but obviously there's extra work involved in looking for a deleted comment.

I don't have an actual query, I hasten to add.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 1:26 PM on June 21, 2011


Sending us a note to the contact form or me a mefimail directly saying "hey, I think a comment was nixed from this thread (URL), is that so or am I nuts?" is fine. Much better to drop it into email than to make it a Metatalk thread, that's pretty much always overkill for a minor inquiry like that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2011


OH SO NOW MY THREAD IS OVERKILL? WELL THANK YOU VERY MUCH MISTER.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:40 PM on June 21, 2011


YOUR THREAD IS A FILTHY OVERMURDERER
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:50 PM on June 21, 2011


OH IT IS ON
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:40 PM on June 21, 2011


Hey everyone! Bitch-fight behind the bike sheds after school! Pass it on!
posted by dg at 4:07 PM on June 21, 2011


I like the MetaTalk threads where the question is all "Oh hi, here's a reasonable little inquiry I was curious about!" and then the pile-on is all "Hey yeah, I see where you are coming from and would like to respectfully add my nuanced take on it!" and then cortex is all "Oh hey, those are valid and reasonable and here's a thorough and respectful explanation of how this works!" and stuff.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:43 PM on June 23, 2011


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