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There was a bit of a thread of comments on an answer I had posted to a question (here for reference). There was a bit of a rude exchange in the comments but it had come to an end (I think).

Some of the comments have since been deleted, including comments posted by me! I didn't know this was something that was possible? I can't tell who deleted the comments, is there a way to do so?

It seems like it's a bit dangerous to allow other users to delete comments without stating that they have done so.

(I'm not sure what tags to use here, feel free to edit as you see fit).

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  • $\begingroup$ I left several comments suggesting improvements to your answer by adding links, and indicating if you have rounded an established, verifiable value you are quoting from another source. Usually people happily accept helpful advice to improve their answer. The only reason it continued is that I tried to further clarify since I got the feeling you didn't think my thoughts were credible. I did have a comment that ended "this is Stackexchange, not Facebook" and someone deleted it, rightfully so. However in your comments you keep asking about another comment that was deleted. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 3 '17 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ I cleaned up some old stuff to make space - as many people do all the time. Comments aren't considered a permanent part of a question or answer. But I don't think there was anything notable in them. Here are screen shots at 2017-01-22 09:45 UTC - I don't have anything earlier, I only did this because you starting worrying about comments becoming invisible. i.stack.imgur.com/EfMIs.png and i.stack.imgur.com/OcpYB.png Don't worry too much, as we were reminded in 2010 by the Erica Albright character in "The Social Network" the internet is written in ink youtu.be/6HbrQMgOUFw $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 3 '17 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ ...so whatever we leave as comments are probably sitting around in some log file somewhere, either in SE or some 3rd party site. I noticed that you still haven't corrected your outdated values for the limit on speed. It's not rounding, it was changed. I've even given you a link to the 2017 version of the guidelines. If someone points out a factional error, it's generally considered good practice to fix it. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 3 '17 at 4:29
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Only those of us who have diamonds can do that. There are 3 of us, who are moderators appointed by SE staff for a site in beta. Oh, and SE employees of course can do the same thing, but they are usually busy doing other good stuff. When the site is promoted, then the moderators will be elected.

In the case of that exchange, someone flagged one of the messages for moderator attention. It was resolved, and a few comments were removed that seemed to not be contributing positively.

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PearsonArtPhoto's answer, while not wrong, isn't entirely accurate.

It is absolutely true that diamond-wielding moderators and Stack Exchange employees can delete any comment at any time. Moderators and employees can delete specific comments, all comments, or delete all comments but undelete specific comments (thus making it appear like all comments but a specific few were deleted, but the mechanics are different).

Comments can also be deleted if they meet certain criteria involved in flagging. For example, if a comment is flagged as "rude or offensive" by a sufficient number of users it is deleted, but comments that contain certain key words and are flagged as "rude or offensive" are deleted immediately by the system even when flagged by only a single user. There's a small list of words that trigger this behavior; I'm not sure if it has actually been made public (probably not), but they aren't words that you would be likely to use in a constructive comment.

Comment flags that do not meet the criteria for auto-deletion of the comment show up to the site moderators for evaluation and action. Diamond moderators can see deleted comments, so if you feel that a comment was deleted in error, you can flag the post for moderator attention and request review; however, it's likely that such a flag would be declined because in the Stack Exchange system, comments are second- or third-class citizens and are generally considered as ephemeral, subject to deletion at any time for almost any reason. Do not get to attached to them, especially on the main sites (Metas may be a bit more forgiving).

It has been suggested, and largely argued against, to implement notifications for deleted comments; also here and here (among others).

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