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I've had comments deleted before due to the be nice policy. Won't argue against that - if it's the rules, it's the rules.

However, a few hours ago I posted a comment which I believe did not violate be nice and it got deleted.

It was in this question: Mobile Hydroponics Vehicle

I like the question and I am trying to be helpful. I did an edit to fix formatting and left my vote. I also did a comment which has been deleted. As I recall, these were the exact words, which start by quoting a piece of the question:

"Farmland needed to sustain one person ≈ 5 hectares" - where did you get this quote from? Just curious.

When I came to the question later, the comment was not there. I didn't see any "comments are not for extended discussion" notice. I also did not see any room for this question in the chat.

I have been told time and again that I may come across as offensive. I am curious whether this was the impression with the comment above (I would not be surprised). I just need to know so that I can adjust my manners to what is expected. If it wasn't a case of someone feeling offended, I would like to know what other mistake I may have done.

P.s.: in any case, I made another comment along the same lines, trying to be more polite now.

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Comments are second-class citizens, so they may be deleted without any explanation and any reason and no-one will care. They usually are not, but they may.

That said, reasons to delete comments are:

  • No longer needed - in your example, source have been added to a question as a link, so that's probably what happened. Confirmed by Monica Cellio♦.

  • Rude or offensive - this one is obvious

  • A whim of comment author

  • Extended discussion - moderators can move to chat, but only once, and they are not forced to do so, they may simply delete if they feel it is a right thing to do.

  • SPAM & vandalism

  • Totally off-topic

  • et cetera

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    $\begingroup$ "No longer needed - in your example, source have been added to a question as a link, so that's probably what happened." Makes total sense. Thank you :) $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '18 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Glad to help :) $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jun 20 '18 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ To confirm: there was a post-edit "no longer needed" flag on the comment, and a moderator agreed. $\endgroup$ Jun 20 '18 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ If not for the actual reason in this case (that the answer to the comment's question was added), then I find this answer here to this question to be distressing, because for example, the person asking the question in this case cares, and I'd care too, because it's an interesting side-question. The idea that mods can/should just randomly delete comments without reason "and no-one will care" is pretty annoying and a discouragement to participation. $\endgroup$
    – Dronz
    Jul 2 '18 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Dronz that's the point! On many stack sites "add a comment" was already replaced by "suggest an improvement", because comments and forum-like discussion is a form of participation Stack Exchange model wants to discourage. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jul 3 '18 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ Frankly the "No longer needed" reason should ONLY be used if the OP being commented on addressed the comment. However, having one of my own comments deleted using that flag sometimes feels like an act of suppression against opposing viewpoints so that they post can continue to get positive/negative votes without others seeing the comment that would otherwise invalidate it. $\endgroup$
    – mkinson
    Nov 4 '21 at 11:22
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    $\begingroup$ @mkinson if OP is not going to use your comment, then it is no longer needed. Stack is not a discussion forum. If you have an opposite view about the answer, what you really should do is to post your answer, and downvote the one you think is wrong. With questions, close votes, downvotes and flags, whatever appropriate, are way to go. Comments are not for presenting your viewpoint, so if you feel deleting comments oppresses your viewpoint, then you are using them wrong in the first place. Use them only to improve post you are commenting on, please. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 4 '21 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Molot Doesn't that go counter to the idea that people want a comment when a post is down-voted? If a moderator removes a comment to a post and that comment addresses why the post was down-voted I am certain the poster would appreciate seeing it. $\endgroup$
    – mkinson
    Nov 4 '21 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ @mkinson No. If reason for downvote is something OP can and might want to fix, then comment is a good thing. But OP is free to ignore it, and then comment no longer serves any purpose (again: not a forum!) and should be removed, because it is no longer needed for anything, go write your own answer if you can do better. Trying to force your idea into someone else's post is a bad form. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 4 '21 at 11:50
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@Molot brought up a point that I found deeply flawed and so I am moving the ideas here to better address why I have a concern over that policy.

I've posted the commentary below to provide context.

Frankly the "No longer needed" reason should ONLY be used if the OP being commented on addressed the comment. However, having one of my own comments deleted using that flag sometimes feels like an act of suppression against opposing viewpoints so that they post can continue to get positive/negative votes without others seeing the comment that would otherwise invalidate it. – mkinson

@mkinson if OP is not going to use your comment, then it is no longer needed. Stack is not a discussion forum. If you have an opposite view about the answer, what you really should do is to post your answer, and downvote the one you think is wrong. With questions, close votes, downvotes and flags, whatever appropriate, are way to go. Comments are not for presenting your viewpoint, so if you feel deleting comments oppresses your viewpoint, then you are using them wrong in the first place. Use them only to improve post you are commenting on, please. – Mołot

@Molot Doesn't that go counter to the idea that people want a comment when a post is down-voted? If a moderator removes a comment to a post and that comment addresses why the post was down-voted I am certain the poster would appreciate seeing it. – mkinson

@mkinson No. If reason for downvote is something OP can and might want to fix, then comment is a good thing. But OP is free to ignore it, and then comment no longer serves any purpose (again: not a forum!) and should be removed, because it is no longer needed for anything, go write your own answer if you can do better. Trying to force your idea into someone else's post is a bad form. – Mołot

Answers to Questions should use factual evidence when possible, and clearly stated. However, there are times when someone’s view on a “fact” can be shaped by their own beliefs and internal bias, and because of that the presentation of that “fact” is flawed. The suggestion that the comments are not for presenting a viewpoint and that addressing those flaws should be handled within your own post has two major setbacks. The first is that your post will likely get flagged as off topic, and the second is that a post with incorrect information is allowed to continue presenting itself as factual when it is not.

Comments should absolutely address posts directly with opposing viewpoints, because that’s how we are able to promote critical thinking in others who are reading the post for the first time. If you block opposing viewpoints because the comment section is “not a forum” then you’re effectively suppressing dissent and promoting opinion over fact, which fundamentally goes against the spirit of why this site was created.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments being ephemeral and intended to be deleted without warning is built into the design of every site in the network. An impassioned plea, on WB isn't going to change this. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 4 '21 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ From Worldbuilding's help center, on the subject of When Not to Comment "Criticisms which do not add anything constructive ("-1, see previous comments you scallywag!"); instead, downvote (and provide or upvote a better answer if appropriate);" and "Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point;" $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 4 '21 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings Aren't impassioned pleas exactly what begin the discussion needed for change? How else does Stack grow, if not for suggestions on improvement? $\endgroup$
    – mkinson
    Nov 4 '21 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ Comment policy is standardized across every SO site. If you want to change policy that spans every site you should post on meta.stackexchange.com. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 4 '21 at 13:52

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