I posted a comment on this question: a song of ice and fire - Are there any transgender characters in Westeros?.

My comment was:

"Anyone who thinks that Westeros is tough has never spent time in a transgender forum. :)"

It was instantly deleted.

Thoroughly miffed and baffled, I then posted:

"Wow! Never have I seen a comment so instantly deleted! What gives?"

This meta-comment was itself, more understandably, also deleted.

So here I am in Meta, for the first time, to find out what on Earth just happened?

  • 3
    Comments can be deleted for any reason and none, including because they're offended someone or are just too chatty.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 19:53
  • Perhaps one of the downvoters would care to explain - to someone who has posted hundreds of comments in Math-SE, and never seen a single one of them deleted (although I have frequently deleted my own comments, both in Math-SE and here in SFF-SE, when they become irrelevant, take up too much space, or merely embarrass me) - what is so different about the culture of SFF-SE that it is improper even to ask whether a comment has breached a rule!
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 12:28
  • By the way, user56's answer (20 March 2012) to the question What should we do about comments? summarises well what I thought was the prevailing consensus about comments in SE sites. In passing, I note with amusement that the thread What should we do about "funny" comments? itself contains funny comments, still there (and still funny) after exactly 3 years.
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Questions about issues such as race and sexuality often attract some less-than-polite comments, and so moderators tend to be quite proactive about pruning comments on such questions. The last thing this site needs is an ugly fight in comments about hot-button issues. Even the questions themselves can be controversial, let alone the comment sections.

Your comment wasn't especially bad, but it certainly wasn't constructive or particularly relevant to the question at hand. It also might be taken as offensive by some (for example, those who frequent transgender forums), so I thought it best to remove the comment before it could lead to a lengthier discussion. Don't take this as a reprimand or anything: comments are transitory by design, and they're being deleted all the time for a variety of reasons, usually nothing to do with offensiveness.

As for why your comment was deleted so fast, that's because mods are omnipresent I just happened to load the page and read that question and its comments about 1 minute after you commented :-)

  • I agree that my comment wasn't relevant to the question, but it was relevant to an earlier comment on the question, viz.: "You are swimming in deep waters :) Mother should be woman is challenged regularly by sjws and transgender activists. If any of them were to read this they will not be as polite as I am :)"
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 20:08
  • 3
    Ah, I hadn't realised that. But the previous commenters had already moved their conversation to chat (presumably to avoid filling the comments section too much), so further replies to those comments should also go in the chatroom.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 20:11
  • 3
    Tl;dr you erred on the side of caution.
    – Möoz
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 22:03
  • I'd be interested to know what you make of the comment that has since been posted, asserting that the question about gender "doesn't matter", and implying that gender is all about "feigning offence because the wrong pronoun was used". For myself, as a believer in free speech, I would let the comment stand, and ignore it, because the matter cannot be properly debated in such a place. But at the same time I can't help being peeved that such a genuinely provocative and trolling comment is still there, while mine isn't! It's a minefield, but I think that "proactive" moderation only makes it worse.
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 13:28
  • 1
    @Calum I took the liberty of editing that comment to make it less provocative, while preserving the main thrust of it. You can always flag a comment which may need moderator attention; that's usually quicker than pinging a particular mod on meta :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 14:14
  • Thanks for taking the time - it's OK, I didn't want the comment deleted (which is why I didn't flag it). I just wanted to carry this discussion of moderation policy a bit further, if only to make clear that my upvoting and acceptance of your very helpful answer doesn't constitute agreement with that policy! I do appreciate the efforts of volunteer moderators in a sometimes impossible, "damned if you do and damned if you don't" kind of job, especially as it was years of sometimes bitter experience of unmoderated Usenet newsgroups that lay behind my initial heartfelt (but light-hearted) comment.
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 15:16
  • Just for the record, I note here that my subsequent equally jocular and inoffensive one-line reference to Ursula K. Le Guin's Introducing Myself (which begins "I am a man ...") and her even more famous and relevant The Left Hand of Darkness has also been deleted. Don't worry, I don't intend to debate this! I've got the message: frivolous but brief and harmless comments can and probably will be deleted, in case they might offend somebody, somewhere, some time, but a patently offensive mischaracterisation of gender issues will at most be lightly edited. (The latter, I repeat, is fine by me.)
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 18:01
  • 3
    @Calum I'm sorry if you feel my priorities are messed up in deleting comments here. The primary criterion for a comment to stay is that it's constructive and relevant. Your le Guin comment (which I wouldn't have deleted on my own initiative) was flagged as "no longer needed" by another user, which is valid as - while completely inoffensive - it doesn't really relate to the question. The comment about "people had better things to worry about" does relate to the question, and I tried to remove the offensive part from it (did I fail?)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 18:18
  • I'm sorry to have to go on about this! I didn't expect to be a Spanish Inquisitor! And I really don't want you or anyone else to delete the comment in question, or even to edit it any further. I only wanted to point out that it trivialises gender issues as being, essentially, "political correctness gone mad" (and I do vaguely gather from various news and current affairs sources that there is rather a lot of "PC gone mad" stuff going on, although I don't keep tabs on it); and I wanted to moan a bit about the fact that I am being treated roughly by comparison with the author of that comment.
    – user46249
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 18:46

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