For example, the comments in this answer: Entropy and the principle of least action.

Original comment sequence:

There are many issues in this answer. For instance, it confounds the general concept of "entropy" with the approx. macroscopic entropy used in classical thermodynamics. The entropies used in nanothermodynamics, thermodynamics of small systems and in quantum thermodynamics are not defined "at macroscopic scales"... – juanrga Dec 30 '12 at 14:15

Not sure what exact problems you have with my answer. Reading it again, I have used the oportunity to expand it significantly. Let me know in case you believe anything in my answer is incorrect or didactically sub-optimal. – Johannes Dec 30 '12 at 16:51

As said "there are many" I gave one example in my previous post, which you have ignored. Your edit adds more misunderstandings and false statements. E.g., your recent "the second law of thermodynamics tells us entropy doesn't decrease" is a typical misunderstanding of the second law repeated by anti-evolucionists for instance... – juanrga Dec 31 '12 at 11:59

Let's stick to physics and avoid biased views and crackpottery. – Johannes Jan 1 '13 at 9:36

As they are viewed as biased views and crackpottery, should we delete them? Should I flag them if I meet?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ See Is non mainstream physics appropriate for this site?. For comments, I'd just flag them as not constructive. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Nov 15, 2015 at 16:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Looking at the thread, I think the comment was directed at the hypothetical anti-evolucionists rather than at juanrga. None-the-less I don't think it adds anything to the discussion, and I'm going to delete it as noise. For the sake of this comment I'll fist reproduce the comment sequence here in its entirety. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2015 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ I've deleted an off topic comment discussion $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 22, 2015 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Well, in theory, all comments should be deleted eventually. (Comments are meant to be transient.) But the question is, should such comments be deleted more quickly than others, just because they are considered to express biased or crackpot views? I don't think so.

One of the principles of good moderation is that the moderators should not be specially trusted to decide whether a comment or answer is correct. Any trusted (i.e. high-rep, in most cases) user is equally qualified to make that decision. And accordingly, we shouldn't be using moderation tools to handle posts that are just wrong. We have downvotes (on answers) and the ability to post followup comments for that. These are better ways to handle posts believed to be crackpottery.

Of course, comments can be deletable for other reasons. For example, they might not usefully contribute to clarifying their parent post (the question or answer), in which case they are not constructive. They may have been acknowledged by the parent post's author, but the author declines to make any changes in light of the comments, in which case they are obsolete. They might constitute a discussion of something unrelated to the parent post, in which case they are too chatty. Or, it's frequently (not always) the case that accusations of crackpottery are rude, and the comments can be deleted on that basis.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't think the statement that all comments should be deleted is true. For instance, comments pointing out relations to other questions, or interesting results if the hypotheses are strengthened or relaxed are not really things that belong into the body of the question or into an answer, but they nevertheless add value. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Nov 16, 2015 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ Those things do belong in the body of the question or answer, or in a followup question, or somewhere else, if they're useful enough - but not in comments. The foundational principle of comments is that they don't need to be kept. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 16, 2015 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ This "foundational principle of comments" is wrong and is not consistent with the way comments are actually used on any SE site. I implore you as the moderators of this particular site, where comments are especially often used as ACuriousMind describes, to ignore the wrongheaded SE official line and treat comments as permanent by default; ideally, only "rude or offensive" or actual spam should warrant removal. $\endgroup$
    – zwol
    Jun 21, 2017 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @zwol No, we will not do that. The transience of comments is a big part of what makes SE better at what it does than other sites. If you really believe comments should be kept, you're quite welcome to leave and use another site that has adopted that principle. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jun 21, 2017 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I couldn't disagree more. The transience of comments is the single biggest failing of SE as it stands. $\endgroup$
    – zwol
    Jun 21, 2017 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ @zwol That's quite fine. SE isn't for everybody and isn't for everything - there are some types of activity that are not well served by our model. It sounds like this is not the kind of site you want to participate in. Again, I encourage you to look around and find another site (perhaps a traditional discussion forum) that offers the experience you want. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jun 21, 2017 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ The reason I am bothering to have this conversation with you is that I quite earnestly believe SE would be better for everyone and for all the activities it presently hosts with the policy changed as I described. You evidently believe otherwise and I do not understand why. Would you care to explain why you think transience of comments is a good thing? $\endgroup$
    – zwol
    Jun 21, 2017 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @zwol Sure, but we shouldn't do that here. We can discuss in Physics Chat. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jun 21, 2017 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I'm sorry, I basically never have the time to be in chat. If you're not willing to explain yourself here, let's just drop it. $\endgroup$
    – zwol
    Jun 27, 2017 at 12:45

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