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Why does, after an argument or exchange of comments between two users is over, one user, finding that he was on wrong track, delete his comments?

With one user so deleting his comments, the comments of other user remain. The reader who has not read the comments earlier (that is, when the comments of both sides were present on the site) finds the remaining comments unmeaning. He is simply at a loss what the remaining comments mean. He has no clue that some beads of the actual string which once consisted a complete whole with all the comments being present are missing and, that is why, the remaining beads do not make a sense.

Is it not advisable that a user be restrained from deleting his comment(s), unless the other user also deltes his comment(s)?

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    There can possibly be no systematic way to detect comments whose deletion would leave out context in the others. Yes, it's nice if people don't do that, but they're not prohibited to do so. – M.A.R. Aug 9 '16 at 18:12
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    A user should feel free to delete any of her/his comments at any time for any reason, or no reason at all except whim. If this makes a discussion seem odd, so what? – ab2 Aug 9 '16 at 21:47
  • @ab2 I usually let someone know if I'm going to make some of their comments obsolete when I delete mine, then come back a couple days later and clean up my "letting you know" comment. I think it's just common courtesy, but I agree with you that there is no obligation. – ColleenV Aug 10 '16 at 2:41
  • @ColleenV I do the same, and I agree with you that it is common courtesy. I was feeling curmudgeonly when I posted my comment. – ab2 Aug 10 '16 at 17:49
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Comments are ephemeral. They are not intended to be permanent. When a comment is found that is no longer relevant, such as the ones you describe, they can be flagged as obsolete for moderators to delete them. Leaving wrong comments up can be a recipe for misleading future readers who don't notice that they're wrong.

  • And if another user (or maybe two) joins you in flagging the comment, it's deleted without moderator intervention. – Andrew Leach Aug 9 '16 at 18:32
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    Perhaps one of the things that needs to be considered though, is that the principle of transience should probably be applied to the comments made in response too. A correction with nothing to correct seems comparatively useless and may hide more constructive comments. – Tonepoet Aug 9 '16 at 18:51
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    @Tonepoet When a person deletes their own comments because they feel the comments are no longer needed, they are free to flag other comments as obsolete at the same time. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Aug 9 '16 at 20:59
  • Good point about flagging dangling/vestigial comments as obsolete. Otherwise, it can look very much like a one-sided conversation. – Lawrence Aug 10 '16 at 1:00

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