10 days ago I asked this one well received question:

To avoid repeating "one"

As you probably know, there are a lot of questions on Stack Exchange sites that have dozens of comments. 20-30 comments and even more.

That one question had only about 8 comments, but tchrist moved them to a chat room.

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

Well... OK. Though is was really weird. I had noticed it about 9 days ago.

Some of the comments were really useful. Right then I left two additional comments there:

  • Wow, it is really strange that comments were moved to chat room. Someone was in a bad mood?
  • I should say "thank you" to all you guys! The suggestions above are really useful.

There was no spam, no flood, no violence etc. in that chat room. And only 8-10 comments. And some of them were really useful.

And as I discovered today, that chat room was deleted. For what reason? Could it be restored?

  • 2
    The standing rule to remember is that comments on Stack Exchange are ephemeral. Anything of substance in a comment should be integrated into the question or an answer as any comment may be removed at any time. Comments cannot be downvoted or edited and have no effect on scoring, and so their ephemeral nature is a feature of the Stack Exchange system, not a bug, as the saying goes.
    – choster
    Jun 23, 2020 at 17:01
  • The comments in the deleted chatroom are still visible, maybe because I have > 10K rep, I'm not sure but I never heard that comments disappear if a chat room was closed for inactivity. There would be a huge outcry, if that was the case.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 24, 2020 at 8:57
  • @Mari-LouA The chat room is now visible because Andrew undeleted it, see his answer. (I consider the above-mentioned tchris actions as vandalism.)
    – john c. j.
    Jun 24, 2020 at 9:42
  • 1
    @johnc.j. if you stay with us long enough, there will come a day when you'll ask a mod to either delete or transfer the comments to chat. Transferring comments, is the least harmful, and until today I thought preserved them for eternity. Vandalism is something quite different, and tchrist deeply cares about the health of EL&U, it doesn't mean mistakes are never made but he has done a tremendous service for the site. Look at his profile, and you'll see.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 24, 2020 at 10:27
  • @Mari-LouA Fair enough. Yes, it's not vandalism (I was angry), but I think this case is still a little weird and careless. I don't see the real necessity to move 10 comments to chat; and if the moderator does move them, he/she should ensure the chat room willn't be deleted, i.e. it has at least 15 comments. Your research on this topic is just great.
    – john c. j.
    Jun 24, 2020 at 15:15

2 Answers 2


I appreciate the OP's bewilderment, I do. A similar thing happened to me some years ago: I had posted a question which attracted a fair number of comments, the comments were nearly all on-topic and I thought really useful for anyone intrigued by my question. But the list of comments continued to grow until a moderator transferred all of them to chat.

When I look back at the chatroom created in 2015, there is the following public message:

This room has been automatically frozen for inactivity
The last message was posted 1669 days ago.

Instead, if I visit the OP's chat room I can see the system has deleted it again. And yet, I can read all of its contents. I have no idea why this is so, maybe because I have >10K in reputation?

enter image description here

So, I look back to the 2015 chat room, and find a valuable clue

enter image description here

Bingo! If numerous comments were posted and transferred to chat, the room will not be deleted, it is, instead “frozen”.

Further digging reveals

From the Chat FAQ: (emphasis mine)
Rooms will exist indefinitely, so long as there is at least one person actively talking in the room. A room is considered worth retaining if it has more than 15 messages by at least 2 users.

Rooms not worth retaining which are inactive for 7 days will be deleted. Rooms worth retaining which are inactive for 14 days will be frozen. Frozen rooms do not allow any new messages to be sent, and are not shown in the default room list to prevent cluttering the rooms interface.

Quoted from userZizouz212's answer on Stack Exchange Meta (2015) Things may have changed since then...

However, I think the OP's recent edit replicating the very comments which he found most helpful, is rather distracting and a reader might be forgiven in thinking that they are part of the answer. Speaking personally, if the contents of the room are visible to everyone, I would leave them in the chat room or I would write an answer which also acknowledged the help of different users.

  • 2
    Thanks for the research! I've added a couple of lines to the chat room, which I think takes it over the 15-message threshold. And I agree about the comments. Adding comments to a question is not helpful (so they're not there any more).
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jun 24, 2020 at 13:02
  • 1
    You need 10k network reputation to see deleted chat rooms. So a hypothetical user with for example 5k ELU rep and 5k ELL rep could see the room when it was deleted. meta.stackexchange.com/a/321067/323179
    – Laurel Mod
    Jun 25, 2020 at 0:22

The chat room was deleted automatically for lack of activity. I'm a little surprised that that happens.

It's been undeleted, since that's possible, but there's no guarantee it won't disappear again. Comments are ephemeral.

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