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Can we relax the moderation on this site? I've made just a few comments on this site in my short time here, and I've been jumped on almost immediately by over-zealous mods, saying things like "move it to chat!!!", or "make it an answer instead!!!" and deleting comments and conversations.

Just relax a little bit. When a site has like 5-10 questions a day, its easy to read every comment too many times and go a bit nuts with your moderator tools. Just think about creating an open and free atmosphere where people can freely exchange information and ideas. And relax.

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    sigh Okay - Maybe I'm a little grouchy from being sick or I don't know, but that escalated way too quickly (I'm not the downvote here, by the way). I will bring back some of the comments, but the reason the deletes started was the very first one you made. It was clearly less than polite and we generally delete those and the threads they create as a result. – John Cavan Mar 20 '15 at 1:38
  • @JohnCavan I agree that my first comment was sarcastic, and that was not needed. But I do stand for the content, and the follow-up comments. – TLP Mar 20 '15 at 1:40
  • I've restored the heart of the discussion, but at some point we need an answer rather than a discussion there and I will admit that I give less on that front for experienced SE users than newbies. – John Cavan Mar 20 '15 at 1:43
  • In the end, you mods are going to have to decide for yourselves what kind of site you want. I'm just saying this is my experience, a few days, a lot of policing. Not just you, John, its not a rant towards you personally. – TLP Mar 20 '15 at 1:49
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    Different sites, different measures you can't assume what works for one works for another, no matter which site it may be. I moderate Photography as well and it has much less comment moderation than Pets. Pets, well, some of that may have come from SE folks prior to moderator appointment, comment deletion has always been rapid here for better or worse. A big reason for that was to avoid answers via comments and, well, if you comment back and forth long enough the system itself will push you to chat. Short discussion is fine, protracted is contrary to the goals of the site. – John Cavan Mar 20 '15 at 1:55
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    Note that normal users (like me) can (and will) flag comments if they think that they're trying to circumvent downvotes by writing answers in comments, or they're just too chatty. So it's just as likely to be the mods answering flags from the community rather than acting on their own. – Spidercat Mar 20 '15 at 14:30
  • Related, from Meta: How do comments work – Spidercat Mar 20 '15 at 14:31
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I've been a part of this site from day one, and even moderated it for a short while when it first started. I think the mods here are doing a superb job of keeping the site on-topic and focused, making sure that we create the best pets-related site we can.

Sometimes they will speak up - comments sometimes get out of hand and need to be moved to a chat room so they don't clutter answers, and sometimes comments are excellent answers and would totally help out the wider community if they were set as such, as comments here are generally "second-class citizens" and aren't meant to stick around.

One of the things to remember is that we are all human, and being polite to each other should be our first action. We're not always all going to agree or get along or see eye to eye, especially on a site like this, where we all love our pets, and sometimes that can cause emotional friction.

The moderators are here to help, to help guide the site and give reminders when people don't seem to understand how to ask things or how to do things here. They're supposed to clean up comment threads and keep things on-topic - they're our human exception handlers!

Sometimes it can be tricky adjusting to how we do things here at Stack Exchange, and if this is your first interaction with the network, maybe taking a look at the Help Center for a better idea of how the network works might be something that helps you have an easier time of things here.

In general, the guiding tenet is to "Be Nice", along with helping people get awesome answers to their questions. Questions like this just serve to make people feel uncomfortable, as they read more like angry rants than actual site-related questioning/discussion.

If you have specific issues with specific questions/answers, then for sure, bring it up here, but rants like this don't serve well to help the community. If you have specific things you would like to discuss, then by all means, come here and let us know about them, so we as a community can work them all out together.

  • I don't think it is a "rant" to ask for moderators to relax. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. All of the stackexchange sites have some amount of discussion in the comments, and that is a good thing. If all you ever allow is well-researched, documented, balanced, polite and specific answers, you will probably lose a lot of participation. – TLP Mar 20 '15 at 1:46
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    As someone who has also been here since very early on, I find the moderation to be somewhat lax here, so if moderation was actually noticeably enforced, the problem likely does not reside with the moderator side. – JoshDM Mar 20 '15 at 5:43
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To specifically address your complaints:

Make your comment into an answer.

You were directed to this meta discussion. In it, Tim Post, a stack exchange employee wrote:

We want to keep the number of 'answerments' (what I've grown to call these things) to an absolute minimum, wherever possible. Their presence encourages discussion, and a shortcut to typing stuff on the site that might not be as well-researched and backed up as a proper answer.

He further explains:

As the site ages, and you come across something a year old - and nobody has bothered to take the 'stub' someone left in a comment and expand it, then it can probably just go out in the night. Of course, @mentioning the comment author asking them to put that in an answer so it persists often helps.

Clearly, writing solutions as comments is not desirable behavior. In the future, the comment will likely be deleted. If you think the information is valuable and worth keeping around, you should write it as an ANSWER.

The action that the moderator (me) took, @mentioning the comment author and asking them to put it in an answer is given as a possible solution.

Move it to chat.

I suspect that you would have hit the auto minder to move the comment conversation to chat in short order. The reason that moderation attention was drawn to that conversation was the sarcasm and rudeness.

The Stack Exchange help files explain the behavior required of participants.

Rudeness and belittling language are not okay. Your tone should match the way you'd talk in person with someone you respect and whom you want to respect you. If you don't have time to say something politely, just leave it for someone who does.

Zara's theory of moderation

I can't speak for the other mods. My personal theories of moderation come from my experience as a woman on the internet and my research on moderation (some of which I wrote about on the community building site).

I try to use a gentle hand to guide users to follow the site rules. You declined to turn your comment into an answer, and that's your choice!

However, you don't get a choice about the community standards of behavior (in the site model page cited above). If sarcasm and rudeness are tolerated on other sites, that's their problem, but it won't be allowed here.

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I just cleaned up a bunch of comments on Are there alternatives to electric fences that use GPS instead of buried cables? not sure if it is related to this discussion or not but the question has had 20 (twenty) comments and is setting off system triggers.

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