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I have been active on SO for many years and never knew about this site. It popped up in Hot Questions and I left a comment to participate in the discussion, a few weeks ago. Revisiting the discussion, it appears all the comments have been deleted on this post (including mine): https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/76597/5129

I have little to no desire to be active on this site, I just think it would be pretty embarrassing if moderators are using their political bias to delete content. Comments stick around every where else I've participate on SE.

I hope that my fellow intellectuals on this site understand that if you have to delete opposing or contrary opinions, that it is very revealing of the stance being protected.

Edit by Philipp: Here is a screenshot of the deleted comment thread: screensho of deleted comments

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    "...to delete content" There is content and there is content. And in principle comments below questions and answers should not be used for political discussions. People nevertheless do it sometimes. In order to keep the length of comments reasonably (and I think this is a worthy goal) moderators sometimes delete comments and often they do so in a summary fashion. It may be possible to be more selective there but it would also mean much more work. Usually, the request is that people put the substantial things they have to say in an answer, not in comments. Nov 19, 2022 at 13:29
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    "are using their political bias" That is jumping to conclusions. Maybe the comments (can't see them) weren't that great and worthy to be kept. Maybe a screenshot of them could be made available for the purpose of this question here. Nov 19, 2022 at 13:31
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    "comments [...] should not be for political discussions?" That is the general rule on the stackexchanges network. Comments are for clarifications only. If you actually object to content, then you should rather think about writing your own answer. We do not really discuss forth and back here (and the irony is that you and me are doing it just now, but then I don't mind if my comments vanish), at least that is not the idea. We should only write questions and answers to questions and use comments sparsely (which I'm not doing at the moment). This site is not suited well for debates. Nov 19, 2022 at 15:57
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    @Trilarion "the irony is that you and me are doing it just now" - Meta is different. Discussion is more permitted here (heck, this Meta question is tagged "discussion"). But you're right about the main site: comments are second-class citizens on the main site, and may be deleted if they've served their purpose, are being used for arguments/discussions rather than to improve the post, or are completely irrelevant to the post.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 19, 2022 at 18:08
  • We nuked comments quick and hard on skeptics.stackexchange.com too, so there's probably plenty of sites that are tough on comments.
    – user2578
    Dec 16, 2022 at 18:53

3 Answers 3

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I left a comment to participate in the discussion

I think this is where your impression of the purpose of this website could be incorrect. Let me point you to the "What topics can I ask about here?" section of the help center:

Politics Stack Exchange is for objective questions about governments, policies and political processes.

It is not a place to advance opinions or debate, but rather for exchanging objective information about the policies, processes, and personalities that comprise the political arena.

The purpose of this website is not to discuss our political opinions. It doesn't matter if our opinions are left, right, progressive, regressive, authoritarian, libertarian, globalist, nationalist, secular, theocratic or centrist. They don't belong here. We want to teach people about politics from a neutral point of view. We are not here to tell people that we think that a country is "much worse before/after [politicians]" or that another politician is "an embarrassing excuse for a public figure" in our opinion. This does not belong here.

Then what else are comments on this website for? This is explained in the help center article explaining the commenting privilege (which is the same as any other stack exchange site, by the way):

You should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

None of the comments I deleted under this answer were really doing this. They were:

  • Discussing the 2020 election results (irrelevant to the question)
  • Affirming things already said in the answer
  • Wondering who else in the Republican party could be considered an ideological leader (irrelevant to the question)
  • Opinions on Donald Trump's work as a president
  • Opinions on Joe Biden
  • Comments responding to other comments which were already irrelevant.

So I deleted them. This is standard practice on this site. When comments don't fulfill these purposes, they get deleted. Not always and not in real-time, because we moderators can't read everything. So it can sometimes seem like the comment policy isn't applied in a consistent manner. But you can help us by flagging comments which do not fulfill these purposes.

Don't get me wrong: I believe that freedom of speech is important for a working democratic society. But what a democratic world also needs is the availability of resources that provide the necessary information to build an informed opinion without being influenced by rhetoric. Politics Stack Exchange wants to be that resource. If you want to exchange opinions and participate in debates, then there are already more than enough websites for that: Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr etc.

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There are plenty of reasons a comment thread would get nuked. excessively long, concerns have been addressed, etc... But it also happens, esp on contentious subjects, that it has degenerated into "you suck!", "no, you suck!". On this particular subject you can add "Trump sucks!", "Trump is awesome" to the menagerie.

I know I've done a few of those myself - and I usually feel a bit sheepish when I've contributed to a mess sufficiently messy to need moderator time (not that I won't do it again, only that I don't have an inflated sense of my comments' importance).

There is no particularly great reason to leave the mess laying around - it just encourages more. Unlike questions and answers, regular users can't vote to delete, only flag (which might have happened there).

It is quite possible, likely even, that your comments weren't particularly targeted at all and that other folks' comments motivated the purge. Incidentally - regarding your claim of intentional bias - all comments were deleted. So does that mean all comments were only on your side of the political fence to start with? Or maybe both sides got nuked, hmmm?

"My fellow intellectuals" is a pretty shallow attempt at gathering support against cleanup procedures that -as a long SE user on other sites - should not surprise you.

We all know comments are impermanent. If you feel you truly had something to contribute: post an answer.

As per comment below

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    p.s. looking at that now published list, it was just a looong list of chit-chat, by that time not particularly relevant to the question. This is something that will happen every so often on a site like SE.Po, unlike StackOverflow, except for apocryphal VIM-Emacs and systemd mega-threads. in other words, many other, more technical sites will see little need for moderator attention. Nov 21, 2022 at 17:45
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    As to Jesus and faith comments: I have no business pushing my atheism/agnosticism onto others and I would fully understand mods deleting any comments I or others would make in that direction. This is not a religious site, nor is it an anti-religious site - it is just not concerned with religion except wrt its intersection with politics (at which point people should still remain non-pushy). Keep personal faith/atheist beliefs out of it. Nov 21, 2022 at 17:50
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Since my comments keep getting deleted everywhere, including above on my own post - and the common response is "post an answer if you want it to stick around", I will do that.

There is a clear theme that can be found in [deleted-comments] that is obvious and does not need to be explained. You can sift through posts throughout this site and see many posts where comments remain, so to claim there is not bias or targeting is silly, not factual or scientific.

I do not care if we agree, I'm not seeking to "get people on my side", I just advocate a forum where there is not blatant bias and targeting. I expect that my fellow intellectuals on this site have studied history plenty and understand where this type of behavior always leads.

It's unfortunate that decadence has infiltrated our cultures and blinded us from what is important. I look forward to the renaissance which always follows, and hope that we all survive to build great things that define a better future.

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    Insulting/attacking people for taking actions that you do not like isn't going to get you any support and it will likely convince others that the deletions are justified.
    – Joe W
    Nov 20, 2022 at 17:50
  • @JoeW I agree - the problem is a community member is unable to decide for themselves if the deletions were justified. This is what happens when you unfairly target an individual. It would be greatly appreciated if a mod could attach a screenshot of all my deleted comments, then the community can have the fair context for this discussion.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 17:58
  • Also, I am not intending to attack anyone - everything I mentioned is provable fact.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:01
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    Don't feel obliged to stick around hanging out with us losers. Surely you have better things to do with your time, valuable insights to share and wrongs to set straight with "the truth". As to the screenshot of your comments, if the provided sample data in this page is any sign, most of us will sleep just fine: not much is being missed. Nov 20, 2022 at 18:20
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica I don't think the people on here are losers, I think there is cowardly bias occurring. But this is an open community and I would like to be a part of it - and think it can be a great community if the bias is removed. SE is one of the few communities on the internet where content is not manipulated or artificially boosted, and can provide a very unique/accurate picture of global thought when it is allowed.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:28
  • I obviously see value in all of this otherwise I would not be spending time here. I am confused, along with many other people in [deleted-comments] why a certain type of voice is silenced by a minority of moderators/participants.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:30
  • @SamBerry I will grant you one thing - as someone who loathes Trump myself - I have noticed on many occasions that the bar on getting DVs/closes etc on pro-Trump Qs and As is pretty low - the Q has to be of really high quality to avoid people piling on it. In the meantime, rather stupid Qs in the vein of "Is Trump a fascist?", survive much longer than they ought to, because they stroke the community's narrative. Typically however, that bias is much less manifest from the moderators than it is from regular users. Nov 20, 2022 at 18:33
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica I am not pro Trump either, I'm not really pro anything US gov't related but also am not anti-government. I think there are a lot of people like me who are just disappointed in the system as a whole, and it is really frustrating to be shut down on a site like this where literally just trying to connect an engage with other intellectuals. SE is not a representation of the entire population, only a certain type of person participates on these sites - it is a really unique group that I want to be able to converse with.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:42
  • I would really appreciate someone to please post my original deleted comments that kicked all of this off - I do not remember what they even were and it would be greatly insightful to learn from. Otherwise, this type of treatment will result in people becoming trolls and bad for community, like when I posted an ukraine flag in a comment (mocking).
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:44
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    Calling people cowards and accusing them of being afraid of the truth is attacking and insulting them. If you want support on this issue you should provide examples of comments that got deleted and explain why they should not have been. As it stands you are making this about other people rather then the comments that got deleted.
    – Joe W
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:47
  • @JoeW as the 3rd person asking me to provide my comments - I have no way to access them. I would love to see them, I don't even remember what they were. I had no expectation that they would be deleted. I've been on SE 10 years and never had this happen. I am calling the attitude and the people subscribed to the targeted deletion campaigns cowards, not as an insult but as a statement that I see as provably, logically factual.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:52
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    Just because you don't have access to them now doesn't mean it isn't possible to remember what you had posted. It is also possible for you to request screenshots of those comments from a moderator that does have access to it. The main point of my comment was to make your question/answer about the comments themselves instead of using it to attack/insult others for what you perceive as bad actions.
    – Joe W
    Nov 20, 2022 at 18:56
  • @JoeW is there a way to submit that request outside of a comment/question/answer? I have requested in many comments, some of which have been deleted. I think the best way to close this discussion would be with a screenshot of the deleted comments.
    – Sam Berry
    Nov 20, 2022 at 22:09
  • I would suggest flagging this question for moderator attention explaining what you are looking for with links to the questions/answers that have deleted comments that you want to show.
    – Joe W
    Nov 20, 2022 at 22:24
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    I wonder which comments you are referring to. You have two deleted comments on main, which are political commentary that became part of a discussion. I didn't delete them, but I feel they were deleted correctly. You have some more deleted comments here on meta. I deleted most of those for a variety of reasons. One consisted of a single flag emoji, two others advocated for Jesus Christ and "faith", and others were unfriendly. In all but one case, the comments were flagged by other users and I agreed by validating their flags.
    – JJJ Mod
    Nov 20, 2022 at 22:59

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