First, I must indicate that I'm new on this stack and may not be aware of how it works here.

I'm referring to this question where all comments seem to have disappeared: Is it possible to run Internet Explorer on OS X El Capitan?

I have looked around this meta and understand that comments are meant to be temporary and deleted once included in the question, answer or no longer relevant.

My concern is that there were some comments on answers that have not been addressed yet :

  • A comment on this answer (by someone else) pointing out potential license limitation which is not included in the answer.
  • A comment on this answer (by me) pointing out that a part of the answer is not technically correct which was acknowledged but not included in the answer.
  • Another comment on the same answer (by someone else) pointing out that the proposed solution doesn't answer the issue.
  • Some comments on my own answer (by other people) with some additional information not included in the answer.

I understand it's the choice of the author of an answer to address a comment and edit or not its answer accordingly. But if a comment has not been addressed nor included in the answer, doesn't it constitutes valuable information for future readers, especially when it's highly upvoted?

I have two questions :

  • Is this standard practice in this stack to delete comments even if not yet addressed and/or still relevant? In which case, what is the maximum allowed lifespan for a comment?
  • Would it be acceptable to rewrite the same comment if the original one has "expired" but was not yet addressed and thus the point still valid?

2 Answers 2


Zakinster - first off - thank you so much for coming to the site to help answer that question. Secondly, thank you for asking here.

I'd like to flip your question back and ask - "what is your understanding on why you would comment on an answer?"

If you're not sure of commenting - here are some guidelines I like to refer to when I get flags on comments or see someone deleting a post with +15 upvotes when the comments are really not serving an appropriate function.

So to summarize, comments are not made to be addressed. They are temporary pings to the poster and they get deleted and don’t come back when they are deleted. Don’t put anything in a comment that you’re not prepared to lose when comments are deleted.

  • The four comments I refer to in my question were either written (by me or others) to "Leave constructive criticism" or "Add relevant but minor information" so they seem to fit in the guidelines.
    – zakinster
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:11
  • @zakinster sounds good. Feel free to post further comments if they are appropriate
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:48
  • I did lock one post. It had some not nice comments and I don’t want that user to get pinged for 24 hours. No worries here - this is a great place to comment and figure out things. Just try not to worry too much about one specific post. After you’ve been here for a month, you’ll have a much better feeling for how the flow of this site goes. That one question got a ridiculous amount of attention and needs to cool off - don’t try to form general rules from an exception would be my advice.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 16:18
  • See above @zakinster - it’s not you, it’s the situation. It needs to cool off a bit.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 16:25

Generally speaking comments which adhere to the principles described in the FAQ are always welcome. They can help in clarifying both questions and answers, and/or provide feedback to the author. But please keep in mind that there is no obligation on the side of the original author of a post to react on the feedback received through comments, neither is there a guarantee that any answer on AD (or any StackExchange site) is correct. Voting can be used for answers which you consider not to be correct.

Also, we tend to delete comments (or move them into a chat room) if they divert from the guidelines, lead to controversial discussions, are not related to the topic of the question etc. Especially extended discussions in general should be help in chat.

Specifically to the question you've linked to we found comments which should have been answers, comments in which people where told they were wrong, also some had other issues not related to the related post. To keep quality up, and avoid bad emotions on any side, we choose to delete all comments. Further discussions can be done in the corresponding chat room if necessary.

  • I wasn't referring to the comments in the question (which hasn't been deleting but moved to chat, which is less of an issue) but comments in the answers which provided useful information. In this case, would it be better to rewrite the same comment or just downvote the answer? Even if it doesn't necessarily deserve one (needing more information doesn't mean entirely wrong)?
    – zakinster
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 14:55
  • @zakinster The alternative to purging the comments would be locking the posts to unravel what's going on. I chose to not lock since I was hopeful that edits could get answers in to the answers and that process can happen right away. Please feel free to make edits to any answers that are not complete in the linked post.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:00
  • @zakinster If posts can be improved while keeping the intention of the author in place, an edit might be an option. Emphasis intended :-) as I do not fully agree with your assessment of the comments you laid out in your question. You pointed out issues with the answer, the OP explained why they have a different point of view, so an edit probably doesn't really improve anything.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:16
  • @zakinster Having said that: If you need the comments beneath your own answer back so you can incorporate them into your answer, I can easily undelete them for a while.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:17
  • @nohillside for the assessment, I did it by memory of things I didn't wrote myself so it's a mix of what I remember and what I think is currently missing in the answers. And indeed if "relevant minor information" comment can be incorporated in an answer with an edit while keeping the original intention in place (even if I prefer to leave that to the original author), "constructive criticism" comments can not unless taken into account by the original author himself. If not taken into account, should they be deleted?
    – zakinster
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:26
  • 1
    @zakinster Deleting comments is always an option of course.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:29
  • @nohillside Ok so since constructive criticism doesn't fit as an edit and since the points I refer to in my question still stands. Should they be written as comments or constitutes (potentially unfair) downvotes without comments?
    – zakinster
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:39
  • 1
    @zakinster I'm not sure I understand you correctly on this. Comments are not here for eternity, the poster has acknowledged your comment the first time you posted it, so what do you expect to happen if you post it again?
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 15:53
  • @nohillside (Please note that they are not my comments) Yes comments are not meant to last for eternity, they are meant to last for as long as they are relevant. If the answer is not updated, downvoted to the ground or deleted, the comment should last as long as they have some pertinence.
    – zakinster
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 16:12
  • @zakinster I understand your position, it‘s not the general policy though. Answers are as they are, comments can be deleted anytime. If you want to propose a different comment policy please raise the point on meta.stackexchange.com.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 16:24

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