This question has a few votes to close.

There is also a comment under it arguing that it should be closed. Regardless of whether the question should be closed or not, I left a comment explaining my opinion that this was not a good reason for closing any question.

To be fair, I also addressed a point which the same user made in a different comment. And I addressed it in the same comment.

While comments can come and go, the bulk of the actions on questions happen when they 1st attract attention. And erasing the comment which gave the reason for not closing the question, while keeping the comment which expressed the opinion that the question should be closed, tips the scales somewhat.

I don't believe my comment was rude (if it was, please, let me know because I certainly didn't mean for it to be rude). And obviously it was not outdated or irrelevant. When there is a process in progress to close a question, comments explaining why the question should stay open are very relevant.

3 Answers 3


I wasn't the one to delete it, but I don't think it helped the discussion on whether it should be reopened. So for context, this is the comment you wrote:

@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica it may be an issue in many places, but that doesn't mean a question can't be asked if it's an issue in this place in particular. As for the US politicians, there are any number of Congress members who have served in armed conflicts. Despite the fact that the US hasn't had a draft since the Vietnam. Joe Biden's son served in Iraq (7 month in combat zone).

I think you meant to address the close reason in the first sentence. All that first sentence does to me is rebut Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's comment in favor of closing but it doesn't provide an argument why.

The conversation basically reads (these aren't quotes but they are simplifications of what the comment exchange look like to me):

I think it should be closed because it's highlighting a specific country within a much more general issue.

I still think it's okay to highlight a specific country within a more general issue.

I would have expected your reply to provide an argument seeing that you are trying to argue for it to be reopened. So I would expect something like:

I think it's okay to highlight a specific country within a more general issue because (reason)

The reason is missing, it's not clear what underlying reason you have to disagree with the comment advocating closing the question.

The last three sentences in your comment are a continuation of a sideline discussion, which is probably why it was deleted. The comment was not flagged as rude, I don't think there's a rudeness issue here.

Anyway, it's probably more interesting to discuss whether the question is on-topic or not. I guess I can see both (or all three?) sides.

On the one hand, I agree with the 'push question' close reason because it seems to be taking a cheap political shot of the kind:

Oh, how many of these politicians actually had to deal with Issue X on which they are making policy?

You can fill in any controversial issue on X, but in the end I think we can agree that politicians will have to make policy on matters regardless of how many of them have close-up experience with the issue.

The question doesn't go there, though there might be an inference of identity politics with the mindset that one should only have an opinion on things they that concern them at some personal level.

On the other hand, I can see why some might be interested in the comparison and the statistics in general. If you think of the question as 'how well are the armed forces represented in the Duma' then it takes a different approach. Similar question, similar statistics, less of a push question issue.

To complicate matters further, another close reason would be that it's too broad. There's probably no complete overview out there, so this is a bit of a list question. The composition of the Duma changes over time and there are probably quite a few who have children in the armed forces. With that you're going to get multiple answers among which you can't pick a single one as the best, so there's a bit of a 'too broad' issue.

So it just depends on the perspective you stick with if and how the question should be closed or not. I'm just going to comment a link to this meta question and let the community figure it out. :)

  • re: "I still think it's okay to highlight a specific country within a more general issue." Honestly, that's an odd way to read what I wrote: "but that doesn't mean a question can't be asked if it's an issue in this place in particular." The question doesn't highlight the country within a trend as much as it asks whether the country happens to be part of the trend. And I think there is at least one answer arguing that it's not (by giving an example of a politician whose child is in the military).
    – wrod
    Sep 25, 2022 at 8:18
  • I know mods sometimes edit comments on stackoverflow.com to remove the rude parts (while preserving the relevant parts). If the point of removing the comment, in this case, was to remove the sentences which were part of the side conversation, then everything after the 1st sentence could have been removed.
    – wrod
    Sep 25, 2022 at 8:25

I deleted a lot of comments below that question because they didn't fulfill the purposes of comments stated in the help center.

Comments on questions are supposed to help to improve the question. However, the comments I deleted were:

  • Speculations on what the answer could be
  • Comparisons with politicians from a different country than the one the question was about (aka whataboutism)
  • Redundant points the comments before had already made
  • Outdated comments which apply to previous revisions of the question
  • General complaints about the politics stack exchange community in general (that's what this meta-site is for)
  • Responses to other deleted comments which no longer made sense out of context
  • I can't say I am really attached to that one comment. I am curious to see opinions about the titular question of the meta question though. If there is a VTC process in progress, then shouldn't the comments pushing back against VTC (as long as they are not rude or just poor quality) be preserved? Clearly, I personally think they should. Because anti-VTC position should be explained as much as the pro-VTC one. But maybe I am just not aware of some community-specific reasons why pro-VTC comments are considered more valuable than the anti-VTC ones. My ignorance on this is entirely possible.
    – wrod
    Sep 26, 2022 at 9:21

Comments are transient. Let's say your comment is the vital bit of information that will make those who voted to close change their mind - then the close process will stop, the comment will become outdated and it will be deleted. And then nothing will stop someone from starting the close vote again, because the information in the comment is still not in the question itself and the initial reason for thevote still is not resolved.

The help center outlines the usage of the comments - to offer constructive criticism, to request clarification or to add links to relevant questions. In each case, when the reason for the comment is addressed, it should be removed. Your comment does not fit either of those. Opinions and discussions are not for the comments, they are to happen either in chat or on meta. In your case, since you intended to add some information that demonstrates that the question should not be closed - it should be edited into the question. That would apply to any other information that would improve the question, really - it should not be in a comment. Pro-VTC comments that actually point out faults fit into "constructive criticism" clause; anti-VTC comments that could potentially counter them should be question edits, because if they have information pertinent to VTC, it should be in the (permanent) question, and not in a (transient) comment.

In this particular case, you pointed out that this case is just a single example of a trend, correct? Then editing in some other examples of this trend from other countries would both demonstrate your position and address the close reason the other commenter put forward.

  • I am not sure why you posted this answer. It's unrelated to this question.
    – wrod
    Sep 26, 2022 at 22:49
  • The topic here is not whether any one specific comment should have been erased. The topic here is whether, or not, it's a good idea to erase some specific kinds of comments.
    – wrod
    Sep 26, 2022 at 23:23
  • 1
    @wrod I disagree that "some specific kinds of comments" (i.e. "this question is fine, no reason to close") are an exception to the general rule. Pro-VTC comments that actually point out faults fit into "constructive criticism" clause; anti-VTC comments that could potentially counter them should be question edits, because if they have information pertinent to VTC, it should be in the (permanent) question, and not in a (transient) comment. And if there is a discussion to be had (for example, because pro-VTC comment makes no sense) it is to be had on meta or in chat, not in comments. Sep 27, 2022 at 2:03
  • re: "anti-VTC comments that could potentially counter them should be question edits" Not if they challenge the frame of pro-VTC comments or point out the weakness in the pro-VTC comment's argument. Pointing out that a pro-VTC argument is weak is not relevant to the content of the question. Meta discussions on this site are often post-mortems of the process. Until the site gains more regular users, it can be expected to stay that way.
    – wrod
    Sep 27, 2022 at 8:12
  • @wrod but comments on closing questions are also usually post-mortems. Close process only requires 5 votes, and usually they are collected shortly after the vote is started; and anti-VTC comments end up being calls to reopen. This question is a good case study of what happens next - it was already reopened once, and now it is on close vote again. IMO comments are not effective at preventing this behaviour - they do not address the reason why close votes are started, and lead to a close/reopen cycle (and more comments) until one side of discussion loses interest and is unable to win a vote. Sep 27, 2022 at 9:43

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