I'd like to update my poor knowledge about the policy of this site:

The hints, which are usually very short answers, have become unwanted (as answers, I mean)?

I'm asking this since my my answer was turned into a comment by the moderator Alexander Gruber. As one can see, the answer had one upvote and helped the OP to post his own answer. So why delete it?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A starting point is the FAQ "Why and how are some answers deleted?". I'd be happy to expand on the issue of not answering the Question if you wish, in the form of an Answer below. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 13:20
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ The current state of your question here on meta is okay. The previous version, which you keep rolling back to, is inappropriate. Please do not roll it back again. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 22:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Please elaborate on "inappropriate". Which part you found unacceptable and why? Moreover, can you tell me why was that part a reason for my 15 days suspension? Your collegue into moderation said that he didn't feel offended, but considered it as a personal attack. Since when making public what is already public, that is, someone (lack of) activity on M.SE is a personal attack? $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 8:06

2 Answers 2


This meta post is tagged "specific answer", so I'll frame my remarks accordingly.

The posting of very short "hint" answers has come up a few dozen times here, for example "Is it acceptable to leave hints as answers?" and its linked posts.

The present case was this text:

Hint. Consider $\frac{1}{s}\in R_S$.

The Question Exercise about localization and monic polynomial to which this responds is about proving $R = R_S$ when $R$ is an integral domain, $S$ a multiplicative subset, and every element of the localization $R_S$ is integral (satisfies a monic polynomial) over $R$. The body of the Question includes de minimis context, namely the application of the hypothesis to a typical element $r/s \in R_S$

So your hint might be understood by the user-who-asked that it suffices to consider just the case $1/s \in R_S$. This hint evidently was useful as the user subsequently (within the day) posted a self-answer (one that you edited lightly for grammar, etc.).

I also consider the self-answer as evidence that your hint did not answer the Question. In such cases deleting the Answer and reposting it as a Comment is a possible moderator action. I have flagged such posts for moderator attention (in the past, not in this case) with a request that it be changed to a Comment.

Given your long participation on the site, it is possible that this policy is known to you. Perhaps you even intend to test the boundaries of brevity by posting this way.

In some cases the rush to post a "hint" as an Answer doesn't succeed in producing a viable approach. You recently posted such a failure regarding "Isomorphism between two field extensions":

Hint. Notice that $f(x+1)=g(x)$.

I've often left a Comment (where a "hint" ought to be expanded to at least a sketch of the solution) to "be wary of posting an Answer that is significantly shorter than the Question" to which it responds. The wariness I recommend to posters of "hint" Answers is intended to benefit you as well as the Community. Our mission is to collect and curate content useful to learners of math at all levels, so even when a hint is useful to the original poster, fuller explanations can have greater value to future Readers.

  • $\begingroup$ Please notice that the polynomials are over $\mathbb F_2$. $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ @noname: That's a useful insight. The user who asked that second Question said, "I can't tell what is the exact field extension and how to approach such question." If that were enough context (I'm unpersuaded), then Answers need to address it. For what it's worth, I voted to close the second Question (for lack of context) without flagging or downvoting the Answer. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 19:26

Instead of an answer to my question I got this:


We're writing in reference to your Mathematics Stack Exchange account:


Moderation on this site is not perfect, we know. We, the moderators, are far from perfect, we also know that. Sometimes we make decisions that you may disagree with, sometimes we are wrong, and sometimes we just can't reveal the whole picture because of user privacy rules.

It is true that when you disagree with the actions of moderators, complaining on meta is the right way to go (another route is to contact SE directly and file a complaint with them). Having said that, your meta post Short answer turned into a comment by moderator is absolutely not the way to complain about moderation.

Getting angry is natural, venting your anger is reasonable, but aiming it, publicly, at the moderators is absolutely unacceptable.

Your account has been temporarily suspended for 15 days. While you’re suspended, your reputation will show as 1 but will be restored once the suspension ends.

Regards, Mathematics Stack Exchange Moderation Team

If the moderators felt offended by my post why don't delete it and eventually send me a warning?

Well, when you have the suspension tool at hand maybe it's easier to do things like this.

Let me say that I also felt offended by the way you proceeded, and by your constant disrespect for high rated users who dare to question your methods.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't care about 10 reputation points. All that matter to me was that some guy turned my answer into a comment and didn't have the minimum respect to explain his action. $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ I didn't realize you wanted to hear specifically from me. If it will help, I'll oblige. I hadn't answered because hardmath pretty much hit it on the head. I think that hints are great, but that they make more sense as comments than answers, particularly for short "prompt" style hints which neatly fit into comment length. That's especially true when there are other complete answers on the question. Your post was flagged as not an answer, and I agreed that it was more appropriate as a comment, so I converted it. (I didn't downvote you, by the way.) $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 2:19
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding how your suspension happened, it's not because I or any other mod was offended by your post. Personally, I wasn't. (Glad to hear I'm your favorite moderator-- aren't I everyone's?) But that doesn't matter, because SE doesn't operate on a system of restorative justice. We need to enforce a certain standard of civility, and personal attacks violate that. Keeping your post as-is would signal that that type of callout is within the social norms tolerated here, and it's not. It's fine in its current form-- there's nothing wrong with debating policy or (politely) questioning decisions. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber It's a personal attack to say that your contribution to M.SE is at a very low level? What was wrong in saying this? You posted only one answer in 2021, and this is public. Is it forbidden to say this cause you are a moderator and can suspend me? Moreover, in the time when we saw more acurately when someone has visited this site for the last time, I remember that I pointed out that you were missing for months. So why this obstination to be a moderator if you are so bussy with other things? Last but not least, please let me decide if I post a hint as a comment or as an answer. $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 8:01
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    $\begingroup$ In context, you clearly intended it out to be an insult, much like how here you're using inflammatory language like "obstination." You've been here long enough to know that hostile language isn't acceptable. I'm afraid you are no more exempt from the rules of civility here than you are from comment conversions. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruberisstriking It seems to me that you are on strike since November 7, 2021. Am I missing something? $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @user26857: There are many forms of site participation: posting on the main and meta sites, chatting, commenting, flagging, reviewing, and voting. If you are talking about moderators, there is a lot of work that goes on that is not visible to the public due to user privacy concerns. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ @robjohn I know all of these, being among the ones who did a lot of work on M.SE, but let me say that in order to do this you should be present on the site. Or when you miss for months can't pretend that you are doing some work in the.background. $\endgroup$
    – user26857
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 17:07

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