History On November 8 came this question Mimsy were the Borogoves - why is “mimsy” an adjective? for which I provided an answer that I consider was fair to good. Over the course of the next two days came a series of comments directed at various parts of the answer, comments that led me to sharpen my presentation, add necessary missing information, and provide citations for the argument.
The comments were then moved to chat by @tchrist. My request to restore the comments from chat was ignored, and the comment itself deleted. Two further substantive comments were deleted on the grounds that once a comment thread is moved to chat, further comments cannot be moved there.
Another mod contacted me privately to admonish me for violating the "Be Nice" in my objection to tchrist's action. I rejected the charge and asked whether it might be possible to see this admonishment as objectionable. Let me be clear that the private communication was couched in the mildest possible terms and was accompanied by flattering comments about my contributions. (I would prefer that all mod actions be public, but this communication was private, so I will neither identify the correspondent nor quote the correspondence without permission. I don't believe my public comment in any way violated this site's etiquette, but I won't repeat my words. No matter of principle is involved in such forbearance, and to do otherwise would be a gratuitously insulting rejection of a polite request.)
The Commentary I am going to detail as best I can how the commentary improved my answer. I do this for two reasons. First to demonstrate the nature of the contributions and their importance in improving the answer. And secondly, to give contributors due credit, the documentation for which is now either missing or sidelined to chat. Anyone not sufficiently interested in the question itself may skip this section.
- Unknown. (Sorry, I can't find this in the chat transcript.) My discussion started at the lexical level, describing the formation of adjectives from nouns with the suffix -sy. The suggestion is instead to start at the syntactic level to demonstrate how English grammar dictates the possibilities. This emendation starts with At the suggestion of a kind commenter and ends with the first list of adjectives.
- @PJTraill. Who notes a missing discussion of the word all in the line beginning All mimsy. The addition is an explanation of all as either a universal determiner or an intensifying adverb, and you may find it following At the prompt of a second kind commenter.
- @Andrew Savinykh, @paolo. Who take issue with my argument that mim must be the noun precursor for the adjective mimsy, noting that words in the adjective list may have no such precursors. This prompts me to make the following necessary changes: note that I'm arguing for the weight of the vocabulary evidence, note every adjective that has either no precursor or only an obsolete one, describe how I came up with my lists to assure readers that I haven't place my thumb on the scale.
- @echristopherson. Who notes the rarity of nouns ending -ms. I haven't incorporated this observation.
- @paolo. Whose comment allowed me to note the difference between fluency and knowledge. Also unincorporated.
- Unknown. Sorry, dropped or never made it to chat. This was a note about the possibly anachronistic use of all as an intensifier. The response in the answer appears at Note the ambiguity.
Thanks to all and sorry for any omissions.
There appears no necessity for removal. Extended commentary appears scattered about site unmolested. Go hither, thither, and yon. Yeah, comments shouldn't be relied on to track useful contributions answers, but that's not the case here.
This is exactly what commentary is for. Discussions of specific points raised in questions and answers.
This is exactly what chat is not for. Chat is for extended and discursive ramblings peripherally related to a question or answer. I find chat utterly useless -- hard to use and hard to read. I doubt I'm alone in this opinion. It's a place where substantive discussion goes to die. And so it was in this case. (Sorry @Malvolio.) In addition, commentary goes astray, either in the move or during the after-the-fact deletion.
This commentary provided an exemplar of the kind of collaborative and informative work involving posters of varied rep levels and seniority. I submit visibility for that kind of effort helps encourage the process of providing for that supposed valuable repository of answers so cherished by some here.
This commentary allowed me to credit contributors without cluttering the answer with asides or further footnotes. For all practical purposes, that's gone.
What I Expect
After perusing the site during the composition of this post, I am somewhat surprised to find that the answer is nothing. (Well, nothing beyond the customary.) I do, however, wish to renew one further objection. Commentary on mod actions is clearly off topic, but mods should realize that summary deletion of such is a serious conflict of interest. For holders of power come responsibilities, and one of those is to forbear the erasure of criticism directed at oneself no matter how ill-founded that criticism is felt to be.