In a comment to my question, user surfasb made a flattering remark.
It has just been deleted, a few minutes ago. Did a moderator erase it? I don't think the compliment was deserved ("best question in a year"), but since I know that, for example, addressing users as "dear XXX" is frowned upon and edited away, I am curious about the origin of this suppression .

2 Answers 2


I deleted that particular comment because it was simply noise and brought nothing to the table. We don't mind comments such as +1 for research because that explains why the question is good, but

OMG, best qestion [sic] THIS YEAR!!!!

is not a constructive comment. In addition, the caps, multiple exclamation marks, and misspelling of question didn't help.

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    I beg to differ: I think that it is extremely interesting and constructive that a user judges that an apparently flippant question can have real linguistic content.Your deleting a comment without acknowledgment and your decreeing that it is "noise"and "not constructive" is not very convincing nor very polite to surfasb . Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 20:48
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    @georges On SE, a good question is upvoted. 13 users, including me, agreed that your question is good and interesting—I'm not trying to censor "that's a good question" views here. Looking at the comment specifically, I'm going to break the comment down: (1) OMG (2) best qestion (3) THIS YEAR!!! #2 translates to an upvote, #1 and 3 are pointless. In addition, I deleted the comment without acknowledge because a comment "Please note that your comment was deleted because it was noisy" doesn't improve the comment thread. I would be happy to ask another mod to review this deletion if you would like.
    – waiwai933
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 21:36
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    @jasper I've just taken a quick glance through heavily commented posts and found nothing that I would consider as noisy. Perhaps a few examples? (I promise not to delete them before discussing them)
    – waiwai933
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 21:39
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    @jasper The difference is that the comment originally discussed essentially translates to an upvote, so I don't see how the actual comment text itself contributes. And per general SE policy, comments are allowed to have jokes. I see no reason to override this policy for English.SE specifically, so I'm fine with those comments.
    – waiwai933
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 21:51
  • @waiwai. Your proposition to ask another moderator to review the deletion shows a sense of fair play that I appreciate, but this is not necessary, thank you. Actually, it was only with your judgment on the quality of surfasb's comment that I disagreed and I was definitely not pleading for a reversal of the deletion. Anyway, you have answered my question, stated your point of view and I think we can live in good intelligence despite our little disagreement.Ah, and thanks for the upvote! Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 22:15
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    OMG, best anser of THIS YEAR!!!! (but to nit-pick: slapping [+/-]1 in front of a comment is pretty much noise too - if you can write a constructive compliment without it, please do)
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 2:19
  • Thank you (and all the others) for the upvote, Jasper. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 9:26

Network policy on comments has always been that there has to at least be some bare minimum contributatory (contributionary? contributing?) nature to it. That's why they have a reputation requirement:

So by the time they earn 50 rep, they should have learned roughly how things work, and be in a position to offer a useful comment and not a "+1 AWESOME ANSWER" sort of comment. - Jeff Atwood

An earlier discussion on Meta Stack Overflow, less about deletions but more about good comments, sheds some light into this particular scenario. I won't point at any particular answer in that thread, but rather, the general sentiment expressed in nigh every answer.

Support is good. I think everyone appreciates being told that their question or answer is helpful, that someone is finding their content meaningful in some fashion. But we have a resource to perform exactly that - upvotes, which are possible long before you gain the privilege to post comments on the vast majority of the site (and on anyone else's questions, for that matter). They indicate to the author of the post, that a user has found their stuff useful (and in the context of the site, they give a little more bonus to the user in the form of reputation).

Usually, these kind of comments get flags on other sites, if it states nothing more than a rough equivalent to "I love this answer!". Had it a smidgen of maybe a "why" or something else to add, even if just to get a wry giggle, then I don't think it would've been struck so fast.

I hope it's understood that in general network policies, this kind of deletion is not about censoring courtesy or silencing compliments as much as it is just removing something that can be considered redundant and non-contributing.

  • contributory is a word, but not exactly what you want it to mean. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 6:11

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