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I am concerned about the deletion of at least several comments that have been made on the 2013 Moderator Election nominations page. What is going on here?

I had posted a fairly innocuous comment on Josh Petrie's nomination (which had a few upvotes), endorsing said nomination. It is no longer there.

And Byte56 is claiming to be being harassed by someone flag-spamming comments. Certainly a lot of comments have gone missing. See this post. Also he posted an image of some of the deleted comments.


If there is manual moderation being done on the comments posted to the election page, could the moderators responsible step forward and justify their actions?

If the comments have been deleted through flag-spamming, is it possible to (A) tell us if this is the case, (B) restore them, and (C) do something to stop this happening in the future?

If these comments are being deleted through some other process... what is that process?


I am strongly of the opinion that a fair election should involve a very light hand in moderating comments associated with that election.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that the above commentor with the username "Byte56" is NOT the real Byte56! (See links, compare user creation dates). Please be aware that we have a problem user running around creating sock-puppet accounts, including accounts with the same name as legitimate accounts. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Russell Jun 18 '13 at 8:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aaaand [one of] his account[s] was deleted... thank goodness. What a pain in the ass. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Russell Jun 18 '13 at 8:45
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The sock puppets have been flag spamming. There isn't an interface for mods to restore comments as far as I can see. On the election page there isn't even a mechanism to see deleted comments directly, I have to go through the users history to see them (which presupposes that I know who posted them in the first place).

I also don't think the mod tools have a way of viewing all recently deleted comments site-wide, nor a mechanism to see who flagged a comment (but if I look at the user history and see a deleted comment I think I see the person who cast the last flag to cause the system to delete it).

As far as how comments get deleted, this is all I could find on the matter: Who has the power to delete a comment?

The election page obviously doesn't have as many mod features as the rest of the site, which is unfortunate but understandable.

Thanks for mentioning that your comment got deleted, I can see the user and have suspended him.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the details Tetrad :) Is there a process for making the SE folks aware of the issues we've been having with sock-puppets? Seems like a bug to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Russell Jun 16 '13 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ When a user is suspended it notifies the moderator staff. But at the end of the day I think this is one of those things that doesn't really have a software fix. SE in general has a policy of trying to avoid false positives when it comes to detecting belligerent users, preferring to rely on 0) the goodness of most users 1) the rep system 2) the users, and finally 3) the mods to try and make everything run smoothly. \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Jun 16 '13 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Very true. Although what I should have said was - the specific exploit that's being used to flag-spam comments seems like a bug. 15-rep seems mighty low threshold to be able to get stuff deleted, certainly without any other balances, and especially stuff posted by high-rep users :\ \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Russell Jun 16 '13 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it appears many of my comments have been deleted off several of the pages, too. It's unfortunate that users are doing such a thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaughan Hilts Jun 16 '13 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad: How have the sockpuppets not been IP-banned yet? \$\endgroup\$ – Nicol Bolas Jun 16 '13 at 17:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because they can change their IP and use VPN servers. \$\endgroup\$ – user32042 Jun 18 '13 at 8:22

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