Recently I answered a question which the mods decided to turn into a comment. I believe this was a misunderstanding based on the way I phrased the answer.

I posted a follow-up comment in the original question, but I don't think anyone has seen it (1st person story, but the main character will die in the end and some of the story needs to be told after his death. How to solve this problem?)

I couldn't find a way to contact the moderators directly, and I don't want to spam that question further, so I'm posting here.

Going forward, is there some sort of PM system to contact the mods directly?

  • 2
    Actually, posting here in meta is the way to contact the moderators! One of them should post a reply to this meta post explaining the conversion soon. :)
    – Aarthi
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


To answer the broad question first, about contacting moderators: we actually try to minimize private conversations on Stack Exchange. This is for several reasons:

  • Accountability: SE should be able to check in on how the mods are handling things, which doesn't work so well if we're, say, trading email with you.

  • Other people might have your question too; let's all benefit from it.

  • In general the moderators shouldn't be making decisions about site operation; the users should. A public conversation invites all users to weigh in. This is good.

Of course, there may sometimes be matters that are sensitive and shouldn't be brought up in public. Every page has a "contact us" link at the botoom, through which you can contact the community team -- SE employees who oversee the sites. If you have a complaint about a moderator, be assured that anything you say to them will remain confidential; if there's a problem SE will take it up with us, but they'll never tell us who complained or what exactly was said.

So, the best way to contact moderators (when it doesn't require secrecy, which should be most of the time) is to do what you did: post on meta.

Now, about your specific question: The answer you posted, which was converted to a comment, was:

Can you switch to 3rd person in an epilogue?

I'm not the person who converted your answer to a comment so he might come along and contradict me, but I would have done the same thing for the following reasons:

  • I probably would have been "fooled" by the "answer a question with a question" style too. Sorry about that, and especially as I've been on the receiving end of that myself.

  • It's really really under-developed. On Stack Exchange we're generally looking for more than one-liners. You could improve this answer by explaining how to make that transition, or perhaps pointing to successful uses of this approach, etc. While some sites (like ours) are more subjective than others (like Stack Overflow), we're still looking for answers that are more developed than comments one might find on forum-style sites.

  • It duplicates part of another answer that was posted about an hour earlier.

If not for that last point, commenting and asking you to edit your answer, rather than going straight to delete/convert to comment, would be the usual response. Perhaps an hour is too small a window and we shouldn't have considered that last point, instead inviting you to develop your answer more. I apologize for that.

  • Thanks for your reply :)
    – ggambetta
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 18:00

Posting on meta like this is a great way to contact the mods. (You can also ping the mods in chat, just type an @ symbol followed by one of our screen names in a chat field.) Monica's answer covers all of this well. Since I was the mod who converted this short answer to a comment, I have a few things to add.

A little background: Converting very short answers like this is standard practice on Stack Exchange sites, so common that there's a "convert to comment" function on the mod menu for answers. It's primarily used with new users who can't leave comments (as an anti-spam measure) but we also use it for very short answers that'd serve better as comments.

We do this for two reasons: (1) this is a very common situation and we'd prefer to just fix the problem and put text in the proper "bucket" rather than complain about it. Also, (2) This operation - which really directs the system to delete the original answer and creating a comment in the answerer's name - is so easily undone!

As it stands now, this text still looks more like a comment to me that doesn't really answer the question. But if you want to add to it and develop it as a more complete answer, we can give you two options:

  • We can undelete the answer and remove the auto-created comment, setting things back to the way they were before.
  • Alternately, since the original answer has two downvotes, you can simply start afresh and write another answer.
  • 1
    Thanks for the explanation. I think it's pointless to spend more energy on this since there's an accepted answer already, and mine ended up being redundant.
    – ggambetta
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 17:59

There are several ways to address the moderators.

  • You can "ping" a moderator who's participated in the conversation by tagging them in the comments.
  • You can also ping the moderators by name in the chat room.
  • You can ask a question here in Meta; all moderators are automatically pinged.

Mix and match as suits your situation :) Any one of these is fine, and none of them interfere with the site (comments-conversations can sometimes steer a post off on a tangent, but if a mod feels that's happening, they'll redirect you and delete the digressing comments).

  • The tags sound useful. Thanks!
    – ggambetta
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 19:39

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