What would you prefer I do about the comment that's repeatedly being applied to this answer?

People keep making the same comment, I object to the comment and/or warn against using the phrase being suggested, that causes some inflamed discussion, the comment and/or discussion is deleted, and then someone makes the very same comment again (this is the 3rd such comment).

Alternatives I can think of are:

  1. Delete my answer
  2. Flag the comment as offensive
  3. Post a comment in reply (same as previously) to explain why I don't think it's a good suggestion
  • 1
    You could probably make a case for "author's prerogative" in respect of the actual text of your answer (i.e. - no-one is likely to argue with you if you "revert" an edit that you don't approve of, even if most other users endorse it). But I think you just have to accept that any comments underneath the answer are no more "yours" than anyone else's. Jul 14, 2015 at 18:08
  • If you want to post a suggestion as a new answer you could do that; but they were posting a comment as an alternative version of my answer and IMO it's not a useful alternative. Because qui tacet consentire if that phrase were added to my answer then I want to express my disagreement of it. But having already gone through two rounds of deleted comments, on seeing it for a third time I sought advice on the least objectionable way out of that impasse (i.e. continue to flag the comment, delete the answer which attracted that comment, or post to explain why I don't recommend that alternative).
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 11:15
  • 1
    Well, I see your original answer never mentioned the variant you take exception to (because it's "profane"?), but much of the revision is taken up with "publicizing" it. No-one has posted the variant as an independent answer, and any upvotes for a comment suggesting it just disappear each time you get it deleted. I imagine some proportion of the upvotes to your answer endorse the variant (since it is mentioned there, even if you don't approve of its use), but it seems to me the net effect of the post history is simply to obscure the extent of others' endorsement of the variant. Jul 15, 2015 at 12:11
  • I don't understand why you posted that recent comment. Shouldn't a comment be for suggesting some alteration to the text of this meta-question? If you have a thesis about voting on comments versus voting on answers perhaps that's some different meta-topic altogether.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 12:18
  • Anyway what I did eventually was accept Andrew's suggestion i.e. I edited my answer to reference the "other similar phrase".
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 12:23
  • 1
    My "thesis" on the matter is as stated in the first comment (comments under an answer don't "belong" to whoever posted that answer). Others may feel differently, but I'm not really interested in arguing the toss there. The point I'm making in my second comment is that if you'd simply rejected the "profane" variant in a comment (and left the first such suggestion intact), we'd be able to more easily see how people felt about it. And in those circumstances someone might actually have posted it as a separate answer to clarify things even more - but I doubt they will in the current situation. Jul 15, 2015 at 12:36
  • "if you'd simply rejected the "profane" variant in a comment". Thanks. I had previously done that (i.e. post a comment in reply to say that I don't recommend that suggestion) twice, after which the other comment and/or all comments were deleted. When (after both previous sets of comments were deleted) the same suggestion was then posted for a third time I wanted to do something other than post another comment for the third time. I suspect it bothers some moderators to have to fuss with deleting comments so I wanted to find something to do other than get into another comment-dialog. :-/
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 12:43
  • Well, I have great faith in Andrew's judgement (all the mods, to be honest), and I see you've "accepted" his answer here, so I assume you're satisfied too. I wouldn't worry about "bothering" the mods though - they do put themselves up for the job, and there should always be more than enough of them so that no individual need feel unduly taxed. Jul 15, 2015 at 13:35
  • You stole that answer, uncharitably denying other people their iterations. Plenty of ELU questions have comments on them like: In my neck of the woods, we call that... I might have to ask if blasphemy is allowed on SE, as that seems to be the root of the problem. AFAIK, anything goes here if you can find it in a dictionary. So long as you're being nice. And so now it is in your answer (even though you don't think it should be), where as it should be a comment at ~+40. Then we'd know what the real answer is.
    – Mazura
    Jul 25, 2015 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


If you find such comments so objectionable that they should be removed then I suggest you carry on flagging. There is no guarantee that a flag on one comment will be accepted, though.

It is possible for moderators to lock an answer to prevent further comments being added, but that also prevents votes being cast on it. Although locks can be (and usually are) temporary, lasting only long enough for the question to fall into relative obscurity, to use the measure in this case would be unusual.

Each of the more-or-less identical comments has been added by a different user.

However, while moderators do remove potentially-inflammatory comments which start a conversation which goes off course — as happened on this answer — this particular comment doesn't actually swear. For myself, I would prefer to let the latest comment stand. At least it's only a comment, and it does document a phrase which seems to be at least reasonably common — since three different users have added it. While it may not conform to the way you would refer to the good Lord, ELU is an academic site which provides and answers and documents the use of English. Such a comment does fit, and people are quite able to come to their own conclusion about whether they would use such a phrase. Or even form an opinion about those who do.

There should be no need to comment on such a comment though. If someone replies to the comment, that response is probably either "too chatty" or "not constructive".

  • Would it be OK to delete my own answer or would that count as vandalism?
    – ChrisW
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:11
  • Alternatively is it OK to explain why I recommend against that alternative, and if so should I do that as a comment or by editing my answer? I fear that (arguing/recommending against that alternative) is IMO necessary, however not OK because it seems to invite dispute and is a bit off-topic.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:18
  • 1
    Removing the answer would be a pity, because it's highly upvoted (because it's a commonly-used phrase). Perhaps you could edit it and obliquely reference "other similar phrases which refer to swing doors hitting various parts of the anatomy on exit" or something.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:21
  • @ChrisW Er... your answer now contains a four-letter word which will cause its own (justified) flags.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:46
  • I thought the word was allowed: english.stackexchange.com/search?q=fuck just not in titles.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:48
  • It's only allowed where it's the subject of the topic. "Go away" would function just as well.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:51
  • Edited it to "begone". I hope it's the best I could do now of a bad job. Thanks for your help.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 14, 2015 at 10:52
  • @ChrisW: Most use of profanity here on ELU observes the "use/mention" distinction. Gratuitously using "fuck off" when non-contentious alternatives such as Go away! Leave me be! Get Lost exist would probably be accepted by all mods as "undesirable". Who on earth still says Begone! ???? Jul 14, 2015 at 18:14
  • "Who on earth still says Begone!" Someone who is not allowed to write "f*** off" and who has already written "don't let the door hit you on the way out". IMO the meanings are similar but a different 'register'.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 11:21
  • 1
    Also, Eowyn: "Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, ..."
    – ChrisW
    Jul 15, 2015 at 11:56
  • Are expletives (cursing, swear words or vulgar language) allowed on SE sites? Abso-#^@!%&-lutely. Especially here.
    – Mazura
    Jul 25, 2015 at 2:33

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