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This morning I saw a pretty inflammatory comment on one of the top stories on the front page. When I wanted to take a good look at it now, I couldn’t find it. Moderation log doesn’t contain anything.

I was pretty convinced that on lobste.rs comments can’t be removed without leaving mark they got removed, it that some new development?

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    I see the comment you must be referring to. It was flagged twice as ‘unkind’ and twice as ‘troll’ before the author removed it.

    An author removing their own comment doesn’t leave an entry in the modlog. If the comment didn’t get any replies, there won’t be a placeholder for it. This functionality dates back to August 2012.

    This kind of scenario where a user action could be mistaken for mod abuse is why I added users renaming themselves to the modlog and a better error message for renamed users. Probably the best way to prevent future confusion about comments removed by their authors is to change arrange_for_user to not hide reply-less removed comments, but I’d like to think about it a minute before I change years-old code.

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      Thanks for clarifying!

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        Here’s a vote for leaving it the way it is, but adding a modlog note when it happens. (I often use the modlog to validate that I’m not just confused.)

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          Thanks for the suggestion. Seeing more options and what their tradeoffs are is why I like to think for a bit before touching old code. Here’s the number of comments removed by their author, broken down by month since the start of 2020. I also included the number of modlog entries:

          select year(created_at) as y , month(created_at) as m, count(*) as c, (select count(*) from moderations where year(created_at) = y and month(created_at) = m) as m from comments where is_deleted = 1 and is_moderated = 0 and year(created_at) >= 2021 group by 1, 2 order by 1 asc, 2 asc;
          +------+------+-----+------+
          | y    | m    | c   | m    |
          +------+------+-----+------+
          | 2021 |    1 | 109 |  141 |
          | 2021 |    2 |  86 |  132 |
          | 2021 |    3 |  86 |  112 |
          | 2021 |    4 |  80 |  157 |
          | 2021 |    5 |  67 |  157 |
          | 2021 |    6 |  56 |  111 |
          | 2021 |    7 |  54 |   91 |
          | 2021 |    8 |  51 |  119 |
          | 2021 |    9 |  53 |  117 |
          | 2021 |   10 |  42 |  121 |
          | 2021 |   11 |  35 |  111 |
          | 2021 |   12 |  52 |  131 |
          | 2022 |    1 |  42 |  131 |
          | 2022 |    2 |  26 |  101 |
          +------+------+-----+------+
          14 rows in set (4.385 sec)
          

          I think adding authors removing comments to the modlog would not be useful because an entry would say something like “robey removed their own comment” and then a link to a thread where, unless the comment had children, the reader would have no idea where that fit in. There’d be an almost 50% increase in modlog entries, most of them not very informative.

          That’s why I lean towards showing them inline in a thread. Knowing that someone deleted their comment from a discussion you haven’t read isn’t very useful, but knowing in a thread that something was removed might be.

          I haven’t yet queried what percentage of comments removed by the author are dupes, but we’ve long had problems with dupe comments that I think I recently fixed.

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            Yeah, good point. I agree that would add too much noise to the modlog. Suggestion retracted!

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          An author removing their own comment doesn’t leave an entry in the modlog. If the comment didn’t get any replies, there won’t be a placeholder for it. This functionality dates back to August 2012.

          Thanks for clarifying!

          This kind of scenario where a user action could be mistaken for mod abuse is why I added users renaming themselves to the modlog and a better error message for renamed users.

          That makes a lot of sense. I actually didn’t even think of the mod abuse when posting the question, I was suspecting a bug :)

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          Let’s test this.

          I will comment on my own comment below, and remove it.

          Edit At least to me, I can see it now and it’s marked “[Comment removed by author]”.

          Edit edit here’s a screenshot

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            Both before I logged in and after, I cannot see any evidence of a comment from you below your original comment.

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              Same thing here. So, not only there’s no indicator that you originally made a comment, but it’s not even in the Moderation Log.

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              Yeah, ain’t here mate.

              Push has been doing a bunch of code changes recently so maybe something happened.

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                Well it’s a little hard to find out when you can actually see your own deleted comments, but not the ones from other accounts.