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I think I'm just about over this. This new newb banner is stupid, and the discussion around it in the main meta section has more or less soured me on this entire platform. If there is some expected user attrition in the apparent quest to entice more question askers then I suppose I'll be one example.


I'm aware that this is wildly off topic for the meta and I apologize for the length but here it is: I started contributing here because I do have an education in finance and some experience in financial industries. I don't get everything right all the time and I have certainly gleaned some great ideas from other users and hope that I've been able to help people make good financial decisions.

I've complained about comments before, and have since flagged a lot of them.

The issue I have applying this format to this topic is that answers to questions that are not not directly related to the definition of a word or something very specific like "given these terms how much interest do I pay in the first year?" have an opinion component. "Should I pay the highest balance or highest interest rate first?"

The comments here are never, "hey you misspelled that word." Comments tend to be "why would you do that? That's terrible advice, you should ALWAYS pay the highest rate." Largely, I'm ok clarifying my stance, my gripe comes from the users we have who seem to only comment. Comments here tend to detract from answers because they'll address a perceived opinion with a divergent opinion and are almost never accompanied by an answer from the user. There is a contingent of users who tend to post psudo-answers to questions and make no honest attempts to improve anything.

To the stupid new contributor banner and the reason I started this thread.

The very first item in what can I do is:

Flag comments that are unfriendly or simply unhelpful. New users can do this now on posts that they own, but let's show people that we're serious about investing as much in them as they do in us. Snark sets a bad impression, but snark vanishing quickly sets a much better one.

Punishing snark might actually curb it. The problem this platform has is comments. Bad answers (and, really, perfectly fine answers that people disagree with) are downvoted. Users are rewarded for good questions and answers and dinged for bad ones. Bad comments get to exist. In fact, the construct that exists to punish bad answers gives incentive to for people to post a bad comment pseudo-answers instead.

I've seen my own comments be deleted so I know there's some amount of moderation but there is absolutely no transparent, direct structure to curb improper use of comments. And, to my knowledge I've never been punished for my deleted comments.

I'm not sure yet if I'll delete my account, but I'll be taking a break. I appreciate the comments below.

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    Sure the newb banner is dumb, but why in the world would you delete your account over that? If you are tired of stack exchange, take a break for as long as you like and quit visiting for a while. You may find in a few months or years that you miss it, and all your posts and rep will be waiting for you if you come back. Deletion is permanent, and doesn’t really send anyone a message; it only affects yourself. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 24 '18 at 0:41
  • FWIW I don't think the goal is to entice more question askers: it's about not being unnecessarily unwelcoming to those SE does get. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 24 '18 at 6:27
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    @BenMiller - Actually, someone with a 30K+ account quitting sends a pretty powerful message. Them wandering off for a bit sends no message – Valorum Aug 24 '18 at 16:00
  • @Valorum The only message account deletion sends is, "There is absolutely nothing that StackExchange can do to improve that would make me want to come back." Essentially, it says, "StackExchange, it's not you; it's me." – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 24 '18 at 16:12
  • @BenMiller - Think of it as an exit interview. – Valorum Aug 24 '18 at 16:13
  • @Valorum Okay, but it is an exit interview that becomes completely anonymous and forgotten. Or instead, you can stick around and continue to advocate for your position. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Aug 24 '18 at 16:15
  • @BenMiller - I suspect his issue is that, having advocated their position with eloquence (and having seen the vote considerably going against the imposition of the new "newb banner") those who run and manage the community appear to be ignoring the result. – Valorum Aug 24 '18 at 17:07
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    Please don't go. When you're back from break, perhaps a meta post about the types of comments that are problematic would be a useful discussion? I'd flag more if I had a better idea what to look for. Right now I flag egregious stuff but I'm sure there's more we could do as a community to keep comments from being used to cut instead of to mend. – Chris W. Rea Aug 30 '18 at 0:52
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    FWIW we do take action as moderators if people are repeatedly rude to other users. But most comments are "No longer needed" rather than unkind/rude and there's nothing much we do about that beyond deleting them. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 31 '18 at 16:13
  • @quid - As I revisit your question here, the title can use a change. I'd think it would be better as a Meta question on the use of comments. A Q&A on how to delete one's account has merit, but your concern is how we handle comments. The solution involves both member agreement, and the mods willingness to enforce the intent of comments until it's adhered to by most members. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Sep 4 '18 at 11:23
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    I've only just seen this meta and was going to post something substantively similar so thanks for asking. I'm still in two minds but am likely to leave SO too. – MD-Tech Sep 11 '18 at 12:51
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There is a post on meta StackExchange with guidance on deleting your account both on an individual site and the whole network.

I don't really understand your concern, but it would be helpful if you could provide some feedback specific to what is bothering you so the network can be improved before you go.

Sorry to see you go. You are welcome back anytime!

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I've seen my own comments be deleted so I know there's some amount of moderation but there is absolutely no transparent, direct structure to curb improper use of comments. And, to my knowledge I've never been punished for my deleted comments.

From the tour -

Use comments to ask for more information or clarify a question or answer.

That's it. That's the stated purpose of comments. I can't say why other mods delete comments, because I typically don't look for deleted ones to note who/why they are gone, but in my case, I'll delete when they....

  • are offensive
  • add no value (can just be 'thanks' or any other short note that just adds to the list)
  • go off on a long tangent

I probably delete faster for lower rep users, subconsciously in an effort to move them away from habits that are bad for the stack. Other mods might have a different approach. e.g. for the question "By 18 years of age, I want a brand new car that's $43,668," I commented on Pete's answer. My comment didn't really adhere to the above, but resulted in a lot of further comments. A mod wiped out the whole series of comments, without moving to chat or giving explanation. Perhaps what we need is a member discussion on comments in general, along with an agreement that we will all stick to the policy.

On review I see that this was one of the last comments -

Once a question goes HNQ, the peanut gallery of dopes nit picking JoeTaxpayer's excellent point goes on.

On one hand it was true, and offered by a high rep member, but of course, it was unkind, and likely the reason a mod killed the string of comments.

Last - keep in mind - The newbie 'be nice' banner was implemented site-wide. We (neither the MSE mods, nor the rest of the members) weren't part of any discussion, we saw it real time as you did. I don't feel that our comments are generally out of control, flagging level seems low, but I have no idea how other stacks behave. I've responded to 'commenting', obviously not your title question. And I'd be very sorry to see you go.

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    FWIW I killed the whole series of comments as the volume was out of control and they were all off-topic, as with many of the comments on that particular question/answers. I sometimes move to chat but frankly I don't think many of these conversations actually continue or get read in chat so I often don't bother unless first prompted by the 20-comments auto-flag. – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 31 '18 at 13:31
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    Fair enough. Just floating the idea that we should do far more of this. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 31 '18 at 15:22
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    I only have so much time and patience for reviewing comments :-) – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 31 '18 at 15:36

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