Once again, we have a particular moderator deleting an answer that (IMHO) is perfectly responsive to the question. Granted, it is brief, but I can hardly write an entire text on epidemiology as an answer, even if I were qualified to do so.

Ordinarily, I would simply post such an answer as a comment, but this particular moderator has a long history of deleting any such comments.

So what exactly is going on here? Is this moderator just deleting things he disagrees with? (He has said not, but the appearance is there.) Does he have something against me, personally? (I don't see why he should, and he does sometimes do wholesale comment deletions when I haven't commented.) Or does he just like being obnoxious, and trying his best to destroy any interest this site might have for those of us who participate?

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    Can you provide a link the the answer in question so that users with permissions to see deleted questions can see what you are referring to? – Joe W Oct 12 '20 at 17:33
  • @JoeW those users can always find deleted answers in the toolset for 10K users (2K since we're still in beta). – JJJ Oct 12 '20 at 18:11
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    @JJJ That may be true but it is still useful to have the link in the question and not make have to search for it and possibly make an assumption about which one it is – Joe W Oct 12 '20 at 18:16
  • I did you the favor to add a link to the answer I believe you are talking about (the last deleted answer you posted). This makes it much easier for everyone to judge the decision to delete the question. When I picked the wrong one, I apologize, but would like to ask you to replace it with the answer you are actually talking about. – Philipp Oct 13 '20 at 8:07

Assuming you are asking about the deletion of your recent answer to the question on COVID lockdowns, I was not the mod who deleted your answer, but I have looked at it.

The post was flagged as 'not an answer'. There were two other users who cast delete votes and two other users who recommended deletion in the low quality post queue. Another mod cast the third and final delete vote.

I think there are two main reasons why the post was deleted with proper justification:

As one comment pointed out, the answer reads like you're saying, and I quote from that comment: ""Because Science" though".

So, no, I'm sure that this is not a vendetta against you.

This site only works if we try our best, as answerers, to address the questions asked. Partial answers are accepted, but it really is upon the answerer to try and address the question. If something is unclear to someone (which happens to be the case in this question), then a link to a general Wikipedia article probably isn't going to clear up what was asked. If it did, the appropriate thing to do would be to quote a relevant excerpt from the linked page.

In this case, though, I don't think there is such an excerpt on that page. After all, public health policy is fairly complex, and different countries have implemented different levels of travel restrictions. With the latest edits, it actually seems like a fairly nuanced question about public health policy, and its intersection with political decisionmaking.

  • Yes, "because science" is EXACTLY what I was trying to say. There are some questions to which that is IMHO the only proper answer. I only provided the link in case the asker might actually want to read up on the subject. And to repeat myself, I would have made it a comment on almost any other of the SE sites where I participate, because the moderators of those sites don't seem to feel it necessary to do frequent wholesale comment deletions. – jamesqf Oct 13 '20 at 3:20
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    "because science" is not a proper answer to any question on this or any other Stack Exchange site @jamesqf. Nor is it a helpful comment. Next time you feel like posting it, either as a comment or an answer, please don't. If you feel the question is that undeserving, downvote and/or closevote it and move on. – yannis Oct 13 '20 at 16:43
  • @yannis: I disagree. It's an appropriate answer (or comment) to many questions, both on SE sites and in real life. Simply voting to close a question, without giving any reason, is less than helpful. In any case, it's not this one instance that presents a problem, but an apparent pattern of repeated deletions, not just of my answers/comments, but of other people's as well. – jamesqf Oct 14 '20 at 4:22
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    I am sure you fully realize this @jamesqf, but if there's a pattern of you posting non-answers then a pattern of your non-answers getting removed will follow. – yannis Oct 14 '20 at 7:55
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    @jamesqf I think the 'because science' response normally includes a link to the science you're referring to. In this case, you included a link, but it was too general to address the question. If you had quoted a public health expert or a research paper (there are many seeing how the virus is a hot topic) directly addressing lockdowns then we could verify the argument and context in which it was made. More importantly, it helps others reading the answer understand why and maybe under which conditions lockdowns are effective. – JJJ Oct 14 '20 at 9:26

First of all, I did not use my moderator powers to delete the answer. I cast the 3rd delete vote, which any user with 2k+ reputation could have done. So I did not act in my capacity as a moderator here, I acted in the capacity of any regular high-reputation user.

Is this moderator just deleting things he disagrees with?

No, I do not. I voted to delete because I considered it a low-quality answer. It was just two lines, basically telling the reader to look up the Wikipedia article on epidemiology. I considered it a very unsatisfactory answer to a question which was well-researched and had a lot of specific examples and sub-questions asking for details.

A better version of that answer would have been how various governments applied findings from epidemiology to come to the decisions they made.

But just telling the reader to read the Wikipedia article on epidemiology if they want to understand complex government decisions is not just oversimplifying the problem, it is flat out rude.

To be fair, the question was edited a lot and I am not sure if the answer was posted on an earlier version of the question which was not nearly as good. But that does not matter. Community delete votes are an instrument of content curation which is used to remove inappropriate answers, regardless of why that is the case. And anyway, even the first version of the question would have deserved a better answer, in my opinion.

Does he have something against me, personally? (I don't see why he should, and he does sometimes do wholesale comment deletions when I haven't commented.) Or does he just like being obnoxious, and trying his best to destroy any interest this site might have for those of us who participate?

I do see why this moderator should indeed have a good reason to have something against you, considering that you just called him obnoxious and insinuated that he tries to destroy the site. But luckily for you this moderator is able to ignore personal abuse directed at himself. So this moderator will continue to do his job and judge content by itself, not by the person who wrote it.

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    I disagree with your opening paragraph. First, as long as we have a diamond attached next to our names, everything we do will be viewed in a different light. Even if it's something any regular user (of sufficient reputation) could do. Second, a post deleted by a moderator - even if it's the third vote - cannot be undeleted by the community. When deleting content it's not technically possible to act in the capacity of any regular high-reputation user. Of course, that certainly shouldn't stop you from voting to delete content you feel should be removed. Just something to keep in mind. – yannis Oct 13 '20 at 16:24
  • FWIW, I've seen a lot of people claim that you're a biased moderator here on Meta, and I disagree with almost all, if not all, of those claims. I for one appreciate everything you do for this site. Thank you for being able to ignore those personal attacks on your character. – user29681 Oct 17 '20 at 2:28
  • @Chipster, "...being able to ignore...": sorry, no. Philipp's last "...luckily for you this moderator..." paragraph is an inverted ad hominem. – agc Oct 24 '20 at 15:33

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