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Most of the comments on what I thought was a useful exchange on the (in my opinion, unjustified) closure of How to compute $(2^k)!\pmod{n}$ fast? just disappeared. How? Why?

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    $\begingroup$ Where have all the flowers [comments] gone, long time passing? google.com/… $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 27 '18 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: I hope the flowers will all go to the rockabilly funeral that I want when I die. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 0:43
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    $\begingroup$ Remember, Comments are ephemeral. If Comments are useful in obtaining clarifications, the net benefit should go to the revised Question content or into respective Answers. Once these have served their purpose, even the most useful Comments are potential targets of removal. So much more is the case for off-topic Comments, however well-intended. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Mar 28 '18 at 4:28
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The comments were deleted by one of the moderators. You were told by them before that:

If you don't know that there are differences of opinion about what is a good question for our site and what is not, then you have not paid attention. If you want to discuss those criteria, do it in meta. Here it is just a distraction. If you want to help the OP give them pointers how to improve the question.

That is, the comments were deleted because they were found to be a distraction from the actual question. Extended discussion about the admissibility of a question should not happen in the comment section on the main site.

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  • $\begingroup$ 1. I read that comment and replied to it. There was no indication that the comment was from the moderators and would lead to deletion of a set of comments. 2. my reply to that comment pointed out that my very first comment did indeed give the OP a pointer to improving the question. That first comment of mine was deleted and it was not in any sense a distraction from the actual question. On the mathematical level, the comments that remain from Ross Millikan and Arthur amount to a cheap remark and an expression of ignorance rather than any attempt to help the OP. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 27 '18 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ The comment was posted by a user whose username is decorated with a diamond. This is the mark of the moderators. It is common practice to delete long comment threads.We usually do not announce it specifically. On that first comment, due to its opening it set of a debate. Granted it does contain some relevant information too. You could repost that part. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 27 '18 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Yet another of the ways in which MSE practice is a gross abuse of the norms of polite human discourse and good scientific practice. The sign saying "this is from the moderators" should be conspicuous and in the text of the comment. The decision about what to delete should be taken very carefully: if I comment that "the sky is falling" and the sky really is falling, you should only delete the comments after mine. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 27 '18 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ @RobArthan: From the comment exchange above, it sounds like you wrote a comment that bundled relevant information with something provoking a side topic that is inappropriate to discuss in comments, and insist that the provocative comment should remain because its attached to the relevant comment. I don't consider that "polite human discourse" or "good scientific practice". $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Mar 27 '18 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Hurkyl: unfortunately, we'll never know whether what you say is right and I will never be able to learn from my mistake, if I made one, because the MSE policy permanently deletes the history. And you've just assumed the moderators were right in your derogatory remarks relating to a dialogue that you've never read. That is grossly offensive. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ @RobArthan: ... and that's fine; in my estimation, the stackexchange-wide policy of keeping comment threads used for their intended purpose is a net positive; the gains fair outweigh the isolated losses. MSE, in my estimation, is actually slower to do pruning than other stackexchange sites. And I am aware I have made an inference based on the given context rather than an ironclad deduction. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Mar 28 '18 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ Also, to the best of my knowledge, the history is still there for moderators and super-moderators to view if needed. Maybe someone will confirm, or correct me if I'm wrong. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Mar 28 '18 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ @hurkyl: so you can comment in perpetuity that I had made a comment that was not "polite human discourse" or "good scientific practice", while there is no evidence to support your comment other than trust in the moderators? $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Hurkyl: the very fact that you need to ask whether the history if visible is indicative of a problem. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ @RobArthan: There's a reason my comment is explicitly predicated on the hypothesis I infer. If you made a comment matching that description, my comment applies. If not, then it doesn't. Incidentally, your own tone and attitude are factors that led me to make the inference I did. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Mar 28 '18 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ “Gross abuse”, “grossly offensive”, “cheap remarks”, “ignorance”. I think a little perspective might be in order here...these are comments on an MSE post, not precious jewels of wisdom that should be preserved for eternity. $\endgroup$ – Scott H. Mar 28 '18 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @hurkyl: But why does your comment need to be predicated on a hypothesis. It's because you don't have access to data that has been suppressed. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ @ScottH: what perspective are you looking for? A perspective that ignores the insouciance of Ross Millikan's comment on the MSE question? My perspective is on the side of the OP. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ @RobArthan: I might not have said it so tersely, but Ross Millikan's comment was certainly apropos; the question asked in the post -- especially given its lack of context and other details -- is the sort more commonly asked by someone who hasn't appreciated how quickly it trivializes than by someone who is genuinely interested in the middle area. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Mar 28 '18 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ @ScottH: I really don't care too much about my comments: I am much more concerned about how this particular MSE exchange served the OP. $\endgroup$ – Rob Arthan Mar 28 '18 at 1:34

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