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Do mods have to follow a hard set of rules, or can they take down anything that they consider inappropriate? Can they take down questions or comments that are relevant to the community just because they don't like them?

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  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/9783/2451 $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jun 28 '18 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree, that question does not address my concern here. I'm asking about the moderation limits and considerations. $\endgroup$ – user3408085 Jun 28 '18 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking this because one of your comments below this question was deleted by a moderator? $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jun 28 '18 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic Yes, that incident triggered the question. And now I would like to know the limits of the power of moderators. And what are the considerations they take to delete comments or questions. Because that comment was deleted for no good reason (unless I'm ignorant about some rule). $\endgroup$ – user3408085 Jun 28 '18 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ I appologize for giving you the wrong meta-link in my hurry. Consider physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/7494 $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 28 '18 at 15:47
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The comment in question

The ball is made out of an elastic material, when you hit the ball you compress it so it acts like a spring. When the ball is moving towards you, that kinetic energy helps you to compress the ball even more, and then the energy of that compressed ball is released it flies even further. – user3408085 yesterday

Is not an attempt to improve the answer which—despite the wide variety of comment left every day—we all remember is the only official use-case for comments.

If you want your answer to be safe from arbitrary deletion then put it in a answer-post.

That is all.

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    $\begingroup$ "we all remember is the only official use-case for comments" - In NO point at the rules of the site this is specified, this is only your PERSONAL opinion. Plus, I fail to see how that comment does not improve the discussion about the question. $\endgroup$ – user3408085 Jun 28 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19756/how-do-comments-work See in particular "When should comments be deleted?" At this point I should say that Stack Exchange is an evolving system that has nearly ten years of history. Features—like comments—were added for specific purposes. And there are trails of bread crumbs so that you could learn about that by reading various blog posts and meta-questions if you wanted, but it would be a lot of work. Or you could ask some users who were active on meta at the time. Consider the chat as a place for that. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 28 '18 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ "Once a clarification has been made, an edit added to the post to include new information, or the issue in the comment is otherwise resolved, it is subject to deletion." - That comment prompted a genuine question from another user that I was going to respond, so the issue in the comment was clearly not resolved. And I understand that you as a moderator can delete comments when you want. But, I must still ask, why was my comment deleted? That comment was attempting to improve the discussion on the issue asked, it was not disrespectful nor rude, it was not a pseudo-answer. $\endgroup$ – user3408085 Jun 28 '18 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @user3408085 (3 comments up) The point in the site rules where that's specified is the privileges page in the help center. It says that comments are for requesting clarifications, suggesting improvements, or a few other niche use cases like linking to related resources; sometimes, for brevity, we group those all under the heading of "improving the post". $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 28 '18 at 20:31
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To answer your question in general: mostly no, there is not a hard set of rules that we have to follow when it comes to deleting posts. Here I'm taking "hard set of rules" to mean rules that, if broken, would result in disciplinary action against the moderator.1 There are a lot of "soft" rules though - by that I mean there are guidelines which we are expected to use to guide our actions. These guidelines come from a combination of the help center, this meta site, the "mother meta" site, and conversations with other site members, with other moderators, and with the Stack Exchange community team.

When it comes to deletion of posts, there are really three cases:

  • Deletion of comments is pretty free, once it seems they have served their purpose. As mentioned on the help center page about the commenting privilege, comments are meant for requesting clarification, suggesting improvement, and adding other minor/transient information. All of these are inherently temporary purposes, and the comments are prone to be deleted once they've been seen and acted on (or declined to be acted on), or if they've been sitting around for a few weeks. We also aggressively delete comments which don't do one of these things, especially those which fall under the list of things you shouldn't do in comments on the same privileges page I linked.
  • Deletion of answers is more rare. In general, moderators don't delete answers without a specific reason to do so, such as that the answer didn't actually answer the question, or that it was spam. We have a page in the help center about deleting answers that lists the most common reasons an answer might be deleted; it's very unusual that an answer is deleted for a reason which isn't on that list.
  • Deletion of questions is something we actively try to avoid, because deleting a question takes all its answers with it. Some questions get deleted because they are particularly low quality, but that happens automatically, and we (moderators) have found that if we think a question is not worth keeping around, it usually gets taken care of by that automatic process. We have a page in the help center about deleting questions as well which lists some reasons why a question could be deleted.

1The moderator agreement is an example of a hard set of rules in this sense, but it says nothing about when posts can be deleted.

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