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Some time ago I left a comment next to this question explaining why I didn't think it was appropriate for this site.

The question had a bounty so it could not be voted to close. I voted to close as soon as the bounty was awarded (roughly a week later).

A different user decided to challenge my comment in a comment of their own. Since this was mostly rehashing of an argument we already had in response to their answer to that question, I decided to cut it short. They replied with a curt and a mildly rude response. I flagged it.

In response to which the moderator moved all comments to a discussion. Which resulted in the reason for voting to close not being visible. While it is expected that comments can be removed at any time, it is also expected that reasons for closing should remain prominently visible so that others, who are prompted to decide whether or not a question should be closed, can readily evaluate these reasons as valid or not so much.

I asked the moderator why the comment explaining my reasons for closing was moved to chat. The a moderator removed my question. This is a fairly curt behavior.

Just to sum up, the reason for closing is now obfuscated behind the "moved to chat" link. The "chat" is not long enough to justify being moved to chat (4 or 5 messages altogether). And the rude personal comment addressed to me remains in the chat. This put on equal footing a comment which was well within the parameters of acceptable behavior and a comment which was out of line. It seems personal.

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While a close (or reopen) voter should, ultimately, act on the voter's own judgement, it is often helpful to have a comment explaining exactly why a user thinks that the question should, or should not, be closed. The standard close reasons can be rather vague, and having specific reason why one does (or does not) apply to a given question is often useful. I have left many such comments myself. When another user disagrees, such comments naturally lead to a rebuttal, and perhaps to a back and forth exchange, as happened in the linked question.

It would be better practice to start a discussion here on Law.Meta, rather than an extended back-and-forth in the comments. But it is easy to respond quickly in a comment, and not as obvious to start a meta question, and takes more effort. I don't think we can reasonably expect that such a practice will be followed in all cases.

When a comment indicating why (or why not) has been left, I for one do expect that it will not be deleted or moved to chat unless it is in rather blatant violation of other principles, and that in any close case, it will be left unchanged. If it is moved to chat, a comment beyond the standard automatic "moved to chat" should be left, indicating that the comment gave a reason for closing (or not closing) the question.

I think the same expectation applies, although to a lesser degree, to any exchange started by such a comment, and that the mods should err, if at all, on the side of not moving such an exchange.

On the exchange posted to the linked question, all comments were rational, giving possibly valid reasons to close or not to close, until the final message in the exchange, which in my view got rather ad hominium. I think a warning to take the exchange to chat or meta, possibly along with deletion of that final comment, would have been a much better response, and I would like at least the first two comments in the exchange restored to the question.

As it happens I disagree with the stated reasons to close the question, and favor keeping it open, although I do not fully agree with the reasons given in the linked exchange. But I think anyone considering whether to VTC on the question should have the stated reasons from the first comment, at least, at hand when making that decision.

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  • IMO this: "a comment beyond the standard automatic "moved to chat" should be left", if implemented, would be a major step in the right direction.
    – Rock Ape
    May 14 at 16:01
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so that others, who are prompted to decide whether or not a question should be closed, can readily evaluate these reasons as valid or not so much.

When deciding whether to VTC, a user should think for himself and not depend on comments that others post.

Only if a user is on the fence on the matter and really senses the need to take sides, he might want to ponder others' remarks. But given such "need" to take sides about something where that user is undecided in the first place, it seems largely irrelevant whether those comments have been moved to chat: they are just one click away from the undecided decision-maker(s).

Is this personal or legitimate?

I disagree with many decisions both of the new mods make, but it is quite doubtful that this specific matter amounts to "personal". Hopefully you will notice how a higher propensity to flag is likelier to result in annoyance on both ends.

Furthermore, considering that unfortunately this mod's style often consists of removing comments/content altogether, the fact that yours were preserved by moving them to chat reflects a more appropriate approach on this particular occasion that how ours are wiped out.

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    I think it's clear that you and I have different opinions on the purpose that VTC comments should serve. Is the opinion you expressed here yours or are there guidelines from which it derives?
    – grovkin
    May 14 at 5:11
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    @grovkin "Is the opinion you expressed here yours or are there guidelines from which it derives?" It is common sense. No need for guidelines. Generally it makes no sense that a user with no take on whether to VTC a question (to the extent that he depends on "readily evaluating " what others say) would need to decide whether to VTC it. But even in a scenario where he feels pressed to make a decision, the hassle of clicking on a chat in order to "readily evaluate" others' opinions is surely the least of his troubles. May 14 at 10:45
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    I disagree with thsi answer strongly. I think that evaluating exactly why another user thinks a question should be closed, and even more what evidence that user presents to indicate why it should be closed (or not closed, or reopened) is often high useful when deciding how to vote on closure. And i think that every user with the rep to do reviews should feel not pressed, but encouraged, to express a view on whether a given question should or should not be closed. May 14 at 14:20
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    @DavidSiegel "i think that every user with the rep to do reviews should feel [...] encouraged, to express a view". Luckily this preference is not commonplace. Otherwise every post on SE would have lengthy discussions as every user with enough rep chimes in on VTCs. BTW, your comments on whether or not to VTC are missing on most of Law SE posts, whence I don't see that "encouragement" you promote. Knowing others' reasons for or against VTC is useful in some cases, but grieving because of their moving to chat (plus in a context of the OP's abusive flagging) reflects too thin skin. May 14 at 15:11
  • @Iñaki Viggers I see that I was unclear, I apologize. By "express a view" here I meant choose "close" or "leave open " in a review, not automatically leave a comment. A comment is only warranted IMO, when there is a detailed reason or supporting evidence on the issue that one wants to share with others, often there is no need for that. But when someone has voted toi close a question i think the ideal user will review and agree or else vote to leave open, or perhaps edit to improve the question. In doing any of those, the original voters detailed views are often helpful. May 14 at 15:38
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    @DavidSiegel "In doing any of those, the original voters detailed views are often helpful". I agree, but those detailed views are equally helpful regardless of whether they are in chat or in the main post. The OP's overstated dependency on others "to decide whether or not a question should be closed" changes nothing. Also, the OP benefits from this mod's more decent approach toward him than what many of us experience when same mod removes our content, yet the OP makes too much about the moving to chat. Apparently the trick is to overwhelm the mod(s) by flagging for just about anything. May 14 at 17:49
  • If thee is no indication that a comment about a reason for closing or not closing is in the chat session, there is no reason to look there. Personally i find the chat interface sufficiently hostile that I will look at a chat session only on necessity, and will under no circumstances post to one. I see only limited difference between moving to chat and deletion. I am concerned with what should be done in future to benefit users, not with what has been done, properly or improperly, in the past. May 14 at 17:59
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    @DavidSiegel "i find the chat interface sufficiently hostile". Hopefully that prompts mods to exercise more self-restraint. Although equally helpful whether in chat or in the main post, I agree that not moving the comments to chat helps keeping the post more self-contained. "I see only limited difference between moving to chat and deletion". The difference is actually huge: Unlike moving to chat, deletion singlehandedly deprives everyone of the opportunity to read comments no matter how thoughtful they are and regardless of readers' tolerance to, or comfortability with, the chat interface. May 14 at 20:04
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... it is also expected that reasons for closing should remain prominently visible so that others, who are prompted to decide whether or not a question should be closed, can readily evaluate these reasons as valid or not so much.

There's you problem - your expectation isn't a general expectation.

Further, a link to your previous question on this topic was provided: why do you keep erasing my comments?

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    I don't think the expectation that mods would behave reasonably and consistently is outside the norm. What that entails can be explored in discussions such as this one. Simply dismissing it outright amounts to throwing away an opportunity to add clarity.
    – grovkin
    May 14 at 5:14
  • On the other hand, I guess I have my answer. Since you linked to a question about answer (also tagged specific-question), you are treating this as a me issue rather than as a lack-of-clarity issue. So it is personal.
    – grovkin
    May 14 at 6:13

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