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Firstly, thanks for the thankless work, moderators! I am truly sorry if asking these questions on comments removal create more work and headaches for you. But I would like to clarify a few doubts.

  1. I recall receiving a system prompt upon downvoting a while back. (Sorry, no screenshot and it didn’t appear again subsequently. Maybe it only does so when you first downvoted?) So, I thought the system is kindly reminding us to leave a constructive comment as part of our downvote. It makes sense as it would help to improve the quality of postings if taken positively. Therefore, I had the impression that this is an encouraged thing albeit controversial.
  2. To clarify the tolerance level in buddhism stackexchange. It is a bit confusing as I have seen different treatment in different stackexchange forums. There are some that appears to allow long list of comments (left alone even years later) like this, here and there (I do read many of these comments especially on topics I am interested in to get a range of objective (or not) views. Sometimes, I find it helpful as it helps to shape a more objective and balanced perspective, maybe?
  3. Lastly, why I asked if comments can be removed after a period of time was due to this. As recent postings maybe more actively read (and updated) than older ones. Would it be a good idea to only remove comments for postings after a certain age?

Personally, I will refrain from downvoting if comments are not encouraged. As I am not in the habit of downvoting a post without leaving a reason (as it can be puzzling and confusing). E.g. there were 5 downvotes in a day (Mar 19) for postings in 5 different areas (sometimes, months apart) all without a comment which left me totally clueless.

With Metta.

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Therefore, I had the impression that this is an encouraged thing albeit controversial.

You may be right.

OTOH this site has a lot of conventions which aren't common to other SE sites. Many of the users are or were not also users of other SE sites (I'm an exception with some experience of the other sites, which was a reason why someone asked me to help moderate here). So unfortunately you can't assume that what's encouraged elsewhere is encouraged here.

Some of the most notable oddities are:

I tried to summarize them here, they're the topics tagged :

And a few more which explain how moderators behave but which don't have the votes to be considered official FAQs, they're tagged .

It is a bit confusing as I have seen different treatment in different stackexchange forums.

Yeah. They're different.

To the extent that we have trouble with moderation, it's often trouble with comments -- comments along the lines of "your answer's wrong" or "you're wrong" which can upset people after a while.

I too enjoy reading friendly dialog, and wouldn't delete it -- I just don't often see it, users don't seem to make a habit of it here.

The Chat site is empty too, which may be related.

This is a much smaller site -- fewer topics/day, fewer users -- than the others you referenced.

Lastly, why I asked if comments can be removed after a period of time was due to this.

Yes I assumed this might be in reference to that.

So did I already answer your question about comments, there?

In reply to this question:

@ruben2020 Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post is this considered met? Should reasons for downvoting be left in comments as well for reference?

... I answered:

  • Stack Exchange assumes that people don't want to read a lot of comments.
  • When a moderator does "move comments to chat" you shouldn't post another comment after that.
  • As for "comment as a reason for downvoting": maybe not.
  • If it's a friendly or inquisitive comment then it may be welcome.
  • If it's a less-than-friendly comment, then maybe -- but be sure it's about the answer (not about the downvote, nor about the user) -- and maybe no more than one comment, occasionally, or it can get to be too much.

Some users might welcome an occasional comment on their answer. Another not so -- and might flag any comment for moderator attention!

And your comments weren't deleted -- they were "moved to chat" (the phrase "Comments have been moved to chat" includes a hyperlink to the chat topic).

More interesting (for others) than a critical comment might be to post a better answer instead.

Would it be a good idea to only remove comments for postings after a certain age?

I often do -- leave it long enough for an active user (who visits the site daily) to have seen it.

Personally, I will refrain from downvoting if comments are not encouraged.

That's respectable/defensible.

There aren't many users who do downvote.

I downvote without a comment sometimes, reasoning, "I'd like to signal that this answer isn't trustworthy -- see Why is voting important? -- but my comment wouldn't be welcome, and be more trouble than it's worth".

E.g. there were 5 downvotes in a day (Mar 19) for postings in 5 different areas (sometimes, months apart) all without a comment which left me totally clueless.

That pattern sounds like "serial downvoting" aka "revenge downvoting" -- i.e. someone doesn't like something you posted, therefore found your past answers and down-voted them too.

It's a known thing on SE i.e. sometimes a topic on the main Meta site.

My advice -- for me, you, every user of this site -- might be to happily ignore any single downvote. It means that someone else (one other person) is having a bad day, not community/consensus opinion of your answer. Two downvotes on an answer are much rarer.

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  • And your comments weren't deleted -- they were "moved to chat". If I am not wrong those chat links become invalid after sometime. Perhaps, I should paraphrase as: Can moving to chat for comments be delayed esp. for postings still in the active or hot list? Sorry if it was not clear and thanks a lot for the clarifications.
    – Desmon
    Mar 27 at 2:38
  • If I am not wrong those chat links become invalid after sometime. I think the chat rooms "freeze" after a while i.e. they become read-only -- but the links and the rooms remain. See chat.stackexchange.com/…
    – ChrisW Mod
    Mar 27 at 8:03
  • Can moving to chat for comments be delayed esp. for postings still in the active or hot list? I don't think that's practical. a) If we want to move comments it's for some reason e.g. because it's annoying someone. b) I don't want to spend time reviewing weeks-old comments threads to see whether there's something to be moved -- instead I'll do it, or not, when it's brought to my attention, which usually means while it's "active".
    – ChrisW Mod
    Mar 27 at 8:07
  • The process is clearer now after your explanation, thanks. I am currently unable to find an example of links to chat that turned out to be broken but I chanced upon this explanation and it clarifies how things work...even the broken ones. So, all’s clear now.
    – Desmon
    Mar 27 at 10:47

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