I asked the question "Why do I pronounce "horrible" so harrhibly?" a while back.

It hit the HNQ and generated a lot of attention and chatty comments. Those comments were subsequently removed by a mod as distracting (I assume), which is to be expected.

But there were a couple comments posted under the question which I found helpful, and now I need to reference them to research a new question.

Can a mod post a screenshot of the deleted comments here, or move them to a (frozen) chat room, or otherwise make them available to me? If the comments were removed because someone got nasty later on, or something, feel free to redact at your discretion.

Not sure if this is the best way to ask, but I figured the "contact us" form is to get in touch with SE, Inc., itself, not the local EL&U mods.

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    You can view some of the top comments on Archive.org.
    – Laurel Mod
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 1:56
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    @Laurel Oh, thank you, but sadly, "show 25 more comments" failed. Stupid Web 2.0.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 2:00
  • Dan, you might have better luck (not sure though) just popping into chat, pinging a mod, and asking for the deleted comments. This is something I always do (on another site) if asked, and which mods have done for me. And another good reason to move comment threads into a chat room rather than deleting them. Good luck. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:22
  • Oh, and you don't have to wait for a mod to answer. They'll ping you when they've done so. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:26
  • This makes a strong case explaining why users should clean up after themselves; comments which are obsolete, non-constructive, off-topic or chatty should be deleted by their owners once their purpose has been served. Otherwise the entire stream either gets shunted to chat, or worse, deleted by one or more exacting mods. If high rep OPs had the "privilege" of deleting comments they saw as being fluff (excluding those >2+ ) mods would have a little less work on their hands. And users would not despair when they see helpful comments suddenly disappear.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 9:19
  • @Mari-LouA Every user can flag comments as "too chatty", "not constructive" or whatever. Two or three users flagging a comment will remove it. Some comments (generally containing 'trigger' words) only require one flag.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 9:23
  • @AndrewLeach sometimes this works, and sometimes this backfires on the OP who flags comments which they consider irrelevant to the question, because when a mod happens to see such a long trail of comments they then think that the entire "thread" should be migrated to chat. (Or, worse, deleted).
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 9:25
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    @medica Thanks, I probably should have done that, asking here in a public venue probably caused the mods unease in that it might set precedent. Problem is chat is godawful on a phone. Good to know mods will ping me when they get back, that does leave me the option of only popping into chat to write a one-liner and then leaving. I agree with Mari that the default for deleting non-offensive comment chains wholesale should be to archive them to chat. Them they're out of the way, not bugging anyone, but not lost forever, either.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 11:32
  • @Mari-Lou A - far too many users are of the mind that their comments deserve to be immortalized for your proposal to work. See the stink(s) posted in metas across the network titled "Why was my comment removed?" Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


Regrettably, the answer is No, a screenshot is not possible. A screenshot will contain information which has never been publicly available; moderators don't release such data.

Moving deleted comments to a chatroom is not technically possible. In that regard, once they're gone, they're gone.

Undeleting comments is technically possible in some — but not all — circumstances. Generally the text of comments needs to be manually copied and pasted somewhere else. It may be possible and appropriate to do this for one or two identifiable comments.

There were getting on for three dozen chatty comments, so it's unlikely that any moderator will have the time (or the destination) to copy them all, particularly since that effort is largely wasted effort as you might only find one or two useful, if that. Comments are ephemeral. They should not be treated as important or retrievable under any circumstances. If the information is either important or necessary, comments are the wrong place for it.

  • Hmm. Can you put the comments RegDwight made somewhere? I think he made only a few. I wish there were a way to contact a mod privately without chat, or chat worked less obnoxiously on a phone....
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 11:29

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