I've edited in a 'meta-comment' into this question, which was rolled back by a moderator:

Note: answer accepted for sake of closing the question, though parts remain unanswered, and will be explored in followup(s): Q1

Comment's self-explanatory: the accepted answer is not fully satisfactory to the question's intent. I proceeded to make followups, effectively 'breaking up' the question in parts, to keep the format SE-friendly. This is, however, an important caveat for the reader of the Q&A to be informed of. Without meta-commentary, the question's author must ask the answerer to edit in this piece of information - which is an overhead complication, and not guaranteed to work.

"Ask a more focused question" - I did, or at least I thought I did; if physics has a recurring theme, it's that answers may beg more questions. If I were the reader of the linked Q&A, I'd be completely unsatisfied - and a directly linked followup would be the most effective means of filling the gaps.

Clarification per requests:

  • It's not accepted - I unaccepted it after a moderator unrolled my edit
  • Why accept if not suitable? - Answer is 'sufficient' given scope focus requirements of an SE question, yet incomplete if moving aside any 'regulations'
  • Why "for sake of closing"? - To 'move on' to more suitable followups; this one wasn't likely to progress further.

Edit: maybe it's inobvious, but as-is, not all metacommentary is censored; this question references and comments about multiple other Q&A's, and so do many others. My request thus isn't to nullify a rule, but to merely expand its scope.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Meta information belongs in comments. They were invented for that very purpose (and called "comments"). $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind (from here) "Statements like "I accepted the answer" don't have anything to do with the question itself" Then what does , or "every single answer is unsatisfactory, because they all say" or "This phenomenon has been noted many times (1, 2, 3, 4)" have to do with its question? This seems nothing short of some unallowed "magic words" (or phrases), filtered as if by a primitive A.I. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 9:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Linking to previous questions and explaining why they or their answers are not satisfactory is exactly what you're supposed to do - it demonstrates prior research and prevents the question from being closed as a duplicate. It is not about "magic words", it is about whether or not the information is helpful in understanding the question and where the asker is coming from or not. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In general, you seem to be looking for a degree of specificity (e.g. whether or not specific phrases or links are allowed) in our rules that simply is not there - the rule is really just that: Questions should only contain information relevant to the question itself. What exactly is "relevant" is something that may differ from question to question and depend to some degree on personal opinion. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why "for sake of closing"? - To 'move on' to more suitable followups -- then don't use the word 'close'. The term has a very specific meaning here, and using it to refer to other things simply invites confusion. Subtle edits to the language (say, 'conclude this discussion') to avoid this terminology conflict would help prevent discussions about precisely what you meant. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind If E. Pisanty's suggested "This follow-up thread explores some details not covered in this thread" is acceptable wording, then the requirements aren't as stringent as I figured - this is something one can work with without having to craft "blend-in poetry". That's fairer - I'll give it a go in the future. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


not all metacommentary is censored; this question references and comments about multiple other Q&A's

It seems that you're confused about what 'metacommentary' means. The term refers to text included in a question that refers to 'meta' aspects of that very same question, i.e. to administrative aspects of that thread that have nothing to do with the material that's being asked about. It does not refer to text in a question that refers to other threads.

So: in this edit, the question talks about itself, while this question surveys multiple other threads, which form valuable academic background and are part of the material being asked about.

Some amount of meta commentary is OK to have in threads, but it needs to be well incorporated into the flow of the text. Your edit is close to the borderline, but it reads rather too much like a rant to be in the safe zone. Compare it e.g. with neutral wording such as

Edit: this follow-up thread explores some details not covered in this thread.

I should also note that putting in rants in places like this comment is hardly helpful. Comments are for requesting clarifications about the question; they can be used to include pointers to other relevant resources (such as links like the comment I proposed above), but they're not places to complain that this site has rules that you don't like (and much less for slurs like "bookkeeping").

(Indeed, I just raised a moderator flag on that comment, indicating that it doesn't really belong there, and it was instantly deleted. This indicates to me that the deletion was not made manually by a moderator, but by the system as a response to flags being raised on it by multiple users. Please bear that in mind when re-posting that related comment. It is acceptable to link to follow-up questions in comments, but here there was a clear community consensus that the form you chose for that was not OK.)

It's possible that you can find meta commentary in question text that doesn't belong there: in this case, please flag it for moderator attention, so it can be handled appropriately.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ in connection with some of your observations on rants see physics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12826/… by the same OP, including answers and comments. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Had to delay reviewing this thread - thanks for adding detail. So yes, as I figured, extra effort is asked of in giving an edit the appearance of being a part of question instead of metacommentary. On ranting being unhelpful - that's a rather convenient excuse for community to escape criticism - require it to be moved to Meta where less readers will see it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'll accept your answer largely for your example edit that I'd figure would get my edit removed - can point mods back to it if there are complaints. If it is indeed acceptable wording, then my impression on the requirement stringency was exaggerated. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 7:39

If you're not satisfied with my answer, you're under no obligation or expectation to accept it. We all write answers that aren't accepted all the time, and I've also written many questions to which I didn't accept answers. It's fine!

The features of this site are centered around providing lasting value to future users. Meta-commentary is not useful, since it gets in the way of the actual question and answer, while acceptance (or the lack thereof) is.

There's no need to retroactively edit questions to link to future questions, either. This is automatically taken care of by the "Linked" section on the sidebar, which already contains the link you want. (To clarify, I don't think it's actively discouraged either -- your edit was probably rolled back for the metacommentary.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "The features of this site are centered around providing lasting value to future users" - this is precisely what's not happening with such a rollback; "it gets in the way of the actual question and answer" - this is what I mean by some metacommentary; mine was a short sentence, barely comparable to the size of the question. There'd be more value in the Q&A if its limitations were explicitly acknowledged, and further reading was also explicitly suggested. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2020 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ Even StackOverflow's nosy mods don't enforce this rule - I've seen it happen once or twice in over a year, and I'm an active user. And good that they don't - I recall multiple instances where a direct mention in the question or the answer has helped users - and a "linked" section isn't as visible as a direct mention to all users. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2020 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ It's a question of 'values', really - and once again I see the pattern of "we don't really care about intellectual inquiry", which is reflected in "we rather uphold rules than facilitate deeper exploration". To enforce the rules is a decision - one other networks take less seriously, and that this one should follow. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2020 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ @OverLordGoldDragon I think that a majority of the regular participants like the rules here as they are, and are glad that they are enforced by the moderators. $\endgroup$
    – G. Smith
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ @G.Smith I wonder if that's actually the case; hard to tell by vote counts here, since most Meta viewers are experienced users likely to agree with the status quo, I've noticed. Tagging this Q&A as "featured" would expand the scope, but even that not sufficiently; many regular visitors don't have accounts, and much sentiment I see about e.g. Stack Overflow on other platforms hardly gets reflected in SO Meta discussions. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2020 at 5:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .