In the context of the post:

Dimensional reduction of Rozansky-Witten theory

I had commented on this question of mine, and there were some responses in the comments section as well, with some useful information I wanted to refer to later. Now all the comments are gone, and I cannot even remember the username of the person who commented. I do not understand why it was deleted so fast when the question is not even a week old.

Is there a way to reinstate these comments?


The comments were deleted because you had addressed them by an edit, so they no longer served any purpose.

Comments on Stack Exchange are mostly supposed to be ephemeral - they should aim to improve the post that is being commented on, and after that aim is achieved, they become obsolete (which is also a comment flag reason). They will also be deleted if they do not actually add anything to the post being commented on (flag reason "not constructive"), if they attack other users personally (flag reason "rude or offensive"), or if they only tangentially relate to the post or are more of a social nature (flag reason "too chatty").

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    $\begingroup$ One of the comments in question improved my knowledge, so it did add something to the post. $\endgroup$ – Mtheorist Jun 11 '17 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ This policy is 100% flat-out wrong and should be abandoned immediately, if not sooner. All comments should be considered permanent, with a narrow exception for the "rude or offensive" and "spam" flag categories; the other flag categories should be removed. The situation described by the OP demonstrates why. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 12 '17 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ @zwol The comments aren't supposed to have the information that warrants keeping them. If you read what a comment is supposed to be for, it's reasonable why they aren't permanent. Anything in a comment that is relevant should be incorporated in the question or the answer (or put in a new answer). It's not "flat-out wrong"; it's the design of the SE format. If you have a problem with that, physics meta isn't really the place to argue it. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 21 '17 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac I do not have the time or the patience to attempt to argue this on meta.se, especially since (as you correctly point out) the problem is with the design: Stack Exchange (the organization) thinks comments should be only for a very limited role, but they are wrong, as demonstrated by the fact that that is not how anyone, on any of the sub-sites, uses them. I see no hope of persuading Stack Exchange that they are wrong. I bring this up on individual metas whenever it catches my eye because there might be a chance of persuading individual sub-sites' moderators to agree with me. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 21 '17 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ @zwol How are they wrong? SE decides how the site works and what the intent of a feature is. Their interpretation of comments is inherently correct and it is in fact you who is wrong, regardless of your opinion on them. The fact that they are not used properly does not change this; the users are wrong by definition. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 21 '17 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac That is precisely backward. "The street finds its own uses for things." The way a site is actually used should drive policy, not the developers' original intentions. This is especially true when there are basic psychological reasons to believe that the userbase will never conform to the developers' original intentions no matter how hard they are pushed, as in this case. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 21 '17 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @zwol "The way a site is actually used should drive policy" That's just not true. The website owners are able and within their rights to dictate the appropriate use of the site. It doesn't matter how many people misuse their site; if they make the rules they can choose to have them like that. It can't be wrong. It might be a poor decision, but as the ones who run the site they are able to enforce that rule and it is objectively the right away to use comments, regardless of your subjective opinion on the policy. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 21 '17 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such an assertion. The website owners' opinions about how the site should be used are just that, their opinions, not to be elevated over anyone else's. Objective rightness or wrongness can only be proved by experiment. The results of the experiment are, IMNSHO, quite clear: SE would be a better place all around if comments were permanent. Theory backs up this observation: for basic psychological reasons, people want comments to be permanent and will use them that way regardless. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 21 '17 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac Meanwhile, the website owners' ability to enforce whatever rules they choose does not make it proper for them to do so, same as it is improper for police officers to enforce their own ideas of what the law should be. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 21 '17 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @zwol That analogy doesn't make sense. SE is not a public service with externally chosen laws. They are a privately owned website that follows their own guidelines. If they think it's best that comments are like that, then it is law, regardless of public opinion. Once again, that's not saying it's an optimal strategy for building the site; but it is for SE to decide the purpose of the features they implement (comments in this case). They implemented it for a specific reason and until otherwise told, that is what they are for. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jun 21 '17 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ @zwol The reason comments are designated transient is because of the implication to the UI if they are permanent—with permanent content it should be possible to correct typos, mistatements and the like; that implies the need for an audit trail; plus they should be searchable—basically you need heavy infrastructure to support comments as first-class content. So the policy is keep the infrastructure light and make it a norm to put important stuff that comes up in the comments in a post (either edited into the post under which the comment was posted or added as a separate answer or question). $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jun 21 '17 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I understand this. My fundamental position is that people are using comments as if they were permanent, regardless, and this will never change no matter how many beatings the admins impose, for really basic psychological reasons - to boil it down to a sentence, people want to be able to natter on at tangents; you cannot make this go away - and therefore SE should suck it up and build that infrastructure. $\endgroup$ – zwol Jun 27 '17 at 12:43

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