I am not a contentious type of person. Maybe I'm missing something. But here are two examples.

  1. I asked this question, but it appeared to some users as too broad. Since this concept of "broadness" is quite obscure to me (it didn't look to me as overly broad), I offered three options for potential responders. @Philipp picked one of those options, the most basic, edited out a significant part of my question, and reopened it (it had been closed). I didn't like the edit and told so. @Philipp just flipped out and closed it again. I said nothing. I'm sure a lot of people would find my question interesting too.

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  1. Just recently, they dropped an A-bomb in the comment section to this question. They said comment sections are not a place for debates. To me, it sounds horribly similar to the infamous quote attributed to one of our crooks who said, "A parliament is not a place for discussions", or something to that effect (including the Russian parliament). But okay, I'm ready to accept it, maybe it's in your rules or something (which doesn't change the fact that it's, in my opinion, slightly odd). But earlier, on other SE sites, people would just move comments to the chat if such an issue arose, not just obliterate everything (example, see Alec's answer). I'm used to calling @Philipp's type of behavior "being a dick" (as a relatively neutral, matter-of-fact description, albeit slightly informal) so I told @Philipp just that.

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Am I misunderstanding something or there's really something unusual, if not inappropriate, about the behavior of @Philipp? Is it par for the course here?

  • 15
    I'm not sure I understand the issue here? Your question was closed - correctly. Philipp did their best to focus it and get it re-opened. You don't have to agree with his edit, but you have to at least recognize the effort. And comments are absolutely not a place for debates. I understand that this might feel a bit odd, especially to newer users, but it is a rule. Philipp graciously added a link to the help center explaining all about it in his comment. Finally, nothing "neutral, matter-of-fact" about calling someone a dick. That is a very inappropriate comment.
    – yannis
    Mar 19, 2020 at 23:33
  • 8
    It's taken me all day to realise that by "Philipp dropped the A-bomb", you meant "he nuked the entire comment thread", not "he said 'arse'".
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 20, 2020 at 14:11
  • @yannis My issues are (as I clearly said in my publication, I believe): 1) Philipp didn't "do his best" but picked one of my three variants that made my question too narrow, boring, and technical; he closed it back after I expressed my dissatisfaction although one of my options was still that narrow, boring variation of the question. 2) Why didn't he transferred the comments to the chat, as another moderator in my example did? Mar 20, 2020 at 15:19
  • 1
    @yannis Gosh, Philipp did just that merely a month ago (see Ted Wrigley's answer): politics.stackexchange.com/questions/50280/…. It's clearly evidence of his or her bias Mar 20, 2020 at 15:41
  • 9
    Fixing your question to fit the community's guidelines is your job @SergeyZolotarev, not Phillipp's. He tried to help, if you disagreed with his edit all you had to do was to roll it back. That's it, plain and simple.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 15:42
  • 4
    As for moving comments to chat: Moderators are under no obligation to move comments to chat. We do so if - and only if - we decide there's something valuable in the discussion we wish to preserve for future readers. If the comments are not following the community's guidelines the default action is to remove them. Comments are meant to be temporary, don't get overly attached to them.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 15:44
  • @yannis 1) It makes no sense whatsoever. My edited question CONTAINED that option. Based on simple logic, it can't be that Philipp's edition fitted the guidelines, but my edition didn't. 2) It's clearly a biased situation. The rules must contain the requirement that all comments deemed to constitute a "debate" (as if it's some dirty word, but okay) can only be moved to the chat. Not "I move what I like, I delete what I don't like". It's totally not okay, it's a conflict of interests Mar 20, 2020 at 15:58
  • 1
    @SergeyZolotarev Your question was closed as too broad. Simple logic dictates that for it to be re-opened, it must be narrowed down. Some parts will be kept, but some must be thrown out. That's how narrowing down works, and that's all Philipp tried to do. As for comments, I repeat: The default is to remove all comments that don't fit the guidelines. Plain and simple. You were not somehow wronged here. The content simply didn't merit preserving.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 17:33
  • @yannis "The content simply didn't merit preserving." How can you say that if you haven't even seen them! How were they different from the comments from the other question I mentioned above? Mar 20, 2020 at 18:50
  • 2
    I can see deleted comments @SergeyZolotarev.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 19:44
  • @yannis Then you can answer my second question Mar 20, 2020 at 20:34
  • 1
    I think I have already done that @SergeyZolotarev. I see nothing in the deleted comments worth preserving for future readers.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 21:11
  • @yannis Was there something worth preserving in that other question's comments, applying the same standards? Mar 20, 2020 at 22:01
  • 1
    That is irrelevant to this discussion. The comments under your question were correctly deleted. That does not change just because some other comments were preserved - even if incorrectly.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 22:21

2 Answers 2


1) I would tend to agree with you that the question was fine, but so were Philipps actions.

The community obviously disagreed about the question being fine, 5 members closed the question and it was heavily downvoted.

Philipp tried to help by improving the question and using his mod-powers to reopen the edited question.

You didn't want that help and rolled back the edit, so the question was returned to its previous, community-designated status as well (closed), with an offer for you to improve the question yourself.

2) Comments are indeed not a place for debate and can be deleted easily.

You may not like it (and I feel that sometimes comments are deleted a little to easy, and sometimes they remain even though they devolve into needless arguments; it's a fine line to walk for mods), but that's how it is at stachexchange.

3) Your comment was in violation of the Code of Conduct:

No name-calling or personal attacks. Focus on the content, not the person. This includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to content (e.g. “lazy”).

Consequences are generally a warning for first-time offenses and suspensions for repeat offenders.

  • I did improve it by offering as many as three options to approach my question so it became, so to speak, telescopic. Why was it still "too broad"? You can pick the option that meets your notion of appropriate broadness; at the same time, the question is not butchered beyond recognition Mar 20, 2020 at 15:03
  • "The community obviously disagreed about the question being fine, 5 members closed the question and it was heavily downvoted." Most (if not all) votes to close the question were cast BEFORE my edit. Philipp closed it back single-handedly (you can look back at the screenshot above to make certain of it) Mar 20, 2020 at 15:24
  • 2
    @SergeyZolotarev It's still in line with a complete reset to the state before Philipps edit, which seems reasonable. I didn't see the comments, so can't say why they weren't moved to chat, but deletion is always an option.
    – tim
    Mar 20, 2020 at 15:52
  • That's exactly the problem. He nuked them all (except for one). There was nothing inappropriate in those comments. He was just biased. It's not okay when moderators move the comments they like and delete what they don't like, even if they are fine (or based on whether they like the respective questions/users or not). It's a conflict of interest. Debate? Ok, move them to the chat as Philipp himself did here: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/50280/. Besides, I can point to numerous comment sections that also contain discussions, he doesn't obliterate them Mar 20, 2020 at 16:10
  • 1
    Please use your comment flags to point us to those comment discussions @SergeyZolotarev. We can't possibly read every comment on the site, there's only two of us. We rely on community members like you to flag them for removal.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2020 at 17:38

"comment sections are not a place for debates"

That is correct. If you want to debate, go to reddit or a forum. The StackExchange sites (of which this is one) are descended from StackOverflow and share that site's goal to be a repository of specific and objective (as much as possible) questions and answers, not a place to discuss, debate, or hang out (the meta sites like this one being the exceptions). As a moderator, it's Philipp's job to keep this site focused on this goal as much as possible and, in my opinion, they do a great job keeping this site from descending into total chaos.

If you want to answer a question, do it in an answer, not a comment. If you just want to chat or debate something, join a chat room or create one of your own. But if you put it in a comment you should expect it to be deleted either by a mod or by regular users.


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