Maybe a bug on meta, post disappeared

I replied in this topic:

My reply was the 2nd one, before Sam. However later it disappeared. I was on something else so I didn’t see what happened. I only saw new notification icon on my avatar but nothing was there after I clicked my avatar.

The OP confirmed to me via PM that he saw my post flashed up too.


May be it removed. Since original post updated your reply became unrelated to updated OP.


It was deleted, we delete stuff all the time, so we keep topic “on topic” and clear for users coming from Google.


May I know:

  1. What’s the reason for delete my post? “Keep topic ‘on topic’ and clear for users coming from Google” is not a sound enough reason for me as I don’t see my post as off topic.

  2. Why there is no any kind of notification to me if my post is deleted? From UX perspective this is very confusing.


Look up “loss aversion” on Wikipedia. It is incredibly dangerous and powerful. As for policies:

FAQ - Discourse Meta

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time

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I don’t get the point between “lost aversion” and the topic here, honestly. May I say it is off topic and should be deleted? If I’m a moderator, do you think it is appropriate to remove your post without any reason and(remind this and, not just English and, logical and) the system give no any notification about it is removed?

I’m OK about the policy. Everybody enjoys unlimited power, don’t they?


I believe the point Jeff is making is that post removal happens on a regular and consistent basis on meta. The primary reason is to make meta both a discussion forum and a canonical documentation for fringe issues that are brought up in the Discourse community.

The loss aversion reference is this: you’re reacting badly because one of your posts was removed for one reason or another (under this principle). You’re being loss averse, even if the gain is improved clarity for the rest of the site’s users.

It’s important to remember that a lot of these people wrote Stack Exchange, which relies on heavy moderation to keep Q & A on-topic and helpful at all contexts – not just during the actual discussion of a question or a topic, but on the discussion after. They’re very experienced with what contributes to the long term value of a topic versus the short term gains.


Thanks Lucas for the replay. May I ask have you seen what’s in my post that got removed?

The OP posted his problem and I noticed he used ./launcher update app command. I was curious about how he managed to run this because as far as I remember there is no such command for launcher script. I was thinking whether this is some hidden command that is not showed in help output. Later OP edited his post changed that to ./launcher rebuild app so I saw it was a typo.

I personally don’t see what is the problem here. Then the post get removed and I see two problems:

  1. The post was removed without a sound reason. This one could be a personal opinion. I’m OK if the moderator don’t like it as the moderator is a human and has his own taste. But deleting it by moderator is really the only and useful way?

  2. The post was removed without any notification to the user. This is about the functionality of the Discourse software, which results in bad user experience. Unfortunately, it seems no one in this topic cares about it. Speaking of Stack Exchange, there are moderator words about why and when a question is closed for some reason. That is good for UX, even if it is just fixed words, it tells the reader and writer what happened.

  3. I was not watching meta at the moment the deletion happens. After I switched back , I saw notification icon on my avatar at the top right corner. So I clicked it and the notification panel popped up. But I didn’t see anything new. This problem made me feel there was a bug at that moment. But I’m not sure now whether it is a bug or an expected behavior.

I think the #1 rule for a discussion is you see the original question/problem and you reply to that specific one, instead of throw out a general rule that makes sense in a general way but may not fit into the specific situation. Doing so is just like replying “reboot your computer, if it does not help reinstall your OS” when someone asked about a PC problem.

And last, if you call speak out the problem as “react badly”, then I don’t think the true spirit of community is respected.

Edited to add #3 problem.


Your deleted post added nothing to the conversation, and became completely irrelevant after the original post was edited. Deleting it was entirely reasonable, IMO.

The fact that you’re having the reaction you are is a wonderful demonstration of why deletions aren’t widely broadcast: if you hadn’t noticed the post was deleted, everyone would have gone about their day quite happily. That you did notice has caused a whole lot of inconvenienced electrons as you wail and gnash your teeth, and everyone else tries to explain to you why you’re wrong. Imagine how much more wasted energy there would be in pointless litigation of every moderator-actioned post deletion if there was a notification every time it happened. The mind boggles.

Finally, as an elected moderator on Server Fault, one of the original Stack Exchange “trinity” sites, I can assure you there are ways of making questions and answers silently disappear, with no explanation provided to anyone, and that feature is used on a very regular basis. It’s just that, like here, usually nobody notices that it has happened.


A very familiar statement for me. Tip: I’m from China. I got a lot of experience of how some “authority” think you should just silently obey to what they set or said, because noticing something unusual and asking why is a “mutual damage”.

Still, somebody replied by nobody cares about the real problem.

BTW, I’m not a native English speaker. So I’m not good at convey “emotions” in English. I’m glad you have enough English skill to use those vivid words to describe how you imagine my reactions like you were seeing my face from maybe over 10k miles away.


This topic is a perfect example of how related posts got removed while some personal emotional words keeps.

You can say my removed post is not 100% related to the original post and get removed due to that reason. But I’d like to say it is still a bit more “related” than some of the posts here.


I am sorry if you did not like the removal, but it was purely done to remove posts that were no longer relevant and keep the topic concise clear and up to date. We do this regularly. It is like weeding a garden.

You will note that any post which is relevant and contains useful info is not removed, and the vast, vast majority of posts and topics remain here for that reason.

In the big scheme of things it is pretty rare to remove posts or topics and we only do so from time to time to reduce noise (or remove obsolete information). For the record I have deleted my own posts and topics here from time to time as they became old and obsolete.


In defense, I have never noticed any of my posts getting edited or deleted here because of a difference of opinion.
All Moderator changes have been made to improve my posts / the topic / the site.


Jeff, I do understand the point you made regarding the necessity of remove a irrelevant post, since the beginning.

My concerns are already made here. If you agree to the points Matt made regarding why the removal is done silently, and my concerns are not relevant, then it’s fine, just not the same as what I expected from a open community.


I can see your frustration, especially with how blatant censorship is on the internet. I truly appreciate your concern in this matter, because it shows how a cultural difference can change the interpretation of internet actions drastically.

I think that this topic now serves as a good documentation point/signpost that things will be moderated for the end-run quality. If I had to make a suggestion based on this, it would be to advertise this policy in advance of someone “discovering” it. Maybe noted on the Welcome to Meta thread? That way, it might be more of a known fact, as opposed to it feeling like silent censorship.


Last argument: Some people keep saying that my deleted post is not relevant or added nothing to the conversation. I’m not sure whether they did see my deleted post or not.

The problem brought up by OP in the beginning is he said he run ./launcher update app then some logs then Discourse is no longer functioning.

My deleted post was asking about the update command for two reasons(I didn’t write the reasons in the post, just my questions):

  1. I was wondering whether there is a hidden update command.

  2. I was thinking if the update command does not exist, maybe it was the cause of why OP’s Discourse is in failed state.

If the OP either rely that’s a typo, or he issued the wrong command, we could get closer to the true cause. Unfortunately the moderator thought it is not relevant to think or approach the solution in that way. Well to me it is relevant.

My suggestion was to notify the user about the deletion and possibly a why, even if a predefined reason with limited explanation is much better than “silent”. But it seems nobody in this topic cares about it.

Ironically, I also got forum post deleted in forums in China before, I got system message for that, and I can even reply that message to ask for further detail from moderator. I can’t say all forums in China are operated in such way, though.


I simply tend to agree that there are times when silent moderation is okay. Curation for documentation is one of those in my book. If the policy is known and accepted, it’s fine to me. If it’s hidden, then it does create some confusion (as this has).

Imagine one radical situation: Some moderator modified your post or removed one post from your series of posts, and that happens to change your opinion big enough to make you been interpreted quite differently.

So the system has to have a mark on posts been modified, and a notification to the poster regarding the removal. Yes we trust each other most of the time, but we still need a good system to stop bad things from happening, like in the real world.

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As a feature, I can see this being useful in general in Discourse. For example, in XenForo, you have an additional checkbox prior to moderation that provides a notification via the built-in notification system.

I would be interested in having this for feature parity with xF, though this veers more into the suggestion category than the meta category that this topic is currently on.