This question about the command-interpreter on Windows, called DOS-prompt lead to some discussion in the comments. Most of it has been deleted by @DMA57361 ♦. In another discussions, I've seen a system warning, that one should move his arguments to chat (where they are clearly lost after a few days), which might be appropriate after a lot of comments. Here, I didn't receive such a warning, and the statement 'Please keep it civil' indicates, imho wrongly, that comments were insulting.

Moderators should accept dispute, if a topic is disputed, to a wider extend. Or shall I start a new answer in the thread, while the original question didn't raise this issue; it was only introduced by the wrong answer.

Please note, that this question, while obviously wrong as every expert will admit, has a summarized upvote of 18, the moment I write this.

Please note too, that the popular error, to confuse DOS with an interactive command interpreter is reflected in many wrongly tagged questions. I estimate 50% of the DOS- and MS-DOS-flagged Questions are flagged the wrong way.

I don't think it is a taboo to make a distinction between OS and interface, or is this the sacrosanct battlefield between Linux and DOS/Windows?

Imho, we should have a clear, professional usage of the nomenclature for the things we talk about and cut off bad habits, without sentiment.


According to Jeffs advice, which I'm not happy with, I wrote an answer on Superuser.

Feel free to vote it down up. :)

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    chat is not "lost after a few days", it is available forever. See chat.stackexchange.com/faq#retention Aug 6, 2011 at 23:21
  • Well, I tried it before, kept the chat over 24 hours open, but nobody joined. I made an invitation then, but of course it is an aditional step, and we have a saying here: out of sight, out of mind - I hope it translates well to english; however: If there has been an warning, to move to chat, one could have copied his arguments. Aug 7, 2011 at 1:00
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    Your placed answer is really meta-ish and mostly irrelevant to the Q&A itself, why not start a meta discussion to correct this network wide? Aug 7, 2011 at 11:36
  • What question shall I ask on meta? How to handle the tags? Thanks for your feedback - I need to wait for a different mood, to try this. Maybe I do it in the next 1 or 2 days. Aug 7, 2011 at 14:42

2 Answers 2


It's typical to delete comment chains if they devolve into unconstructive bickering.

This chain was 2 users (there was a lonely single comment from one other user in there) posting 5+ comments each which ended in:

@user unknown: Welcome to SuperUser.com! This is a community of friendly people who like to help others with questions about computer use. If you think you can provide a helpful answer, then you are strongly encouraged to contribute accordingly. I usually vote for answers that are useful or helpful, and will gladly do so for yours too if I find it to be useful or helpful in answering the question at hand. -- Randolf Richardson

It isn't friendly to spam the wrong nomenclatura. You prevent people from understanding, what DOS is, what a command-line interface is, and what the difference between OS and GUI is. Beside JdeBPs answer, I wouldn't have much to say, so why should I give my own answer? -- user unknown

Comments are for clarifications and (very) minor updates to the post, not extended argumentative discussion.

In general if you have a point to make or a position to stake out, you should post it as an answer and avoid long, bickering comment chains.

  • Well, I still don't think that's the optimal way, since my answer is more an answer to Randolf, not to the question opener. My arguments are the same, and maybe you can agree, that I kept it civil. You're citing the end of the debate, where Randolf switched to a meta discusssion, which ended the debate in a polemic way ('Welcome ...'). But be it ... Aug 7, 2011 at 1:06
  • @user unknown: I found your comments to be very angry in nature, and so I requested some assistance from a moderator to remove the entire chain of comments because I felt that 1., no matter what my response was you seemed to be determined in your position, and 2., overall it was not constructive nor helpful because it detracted from the answer I provided. I have been contributing a lot to this community, and this is really the first time I've experienced this type of hostilities here, so I'm glad that both of our comments got removed (upon my request). Aug 7, 2011 at 21:23
  • @Randolf Richardson you say "this is really the first time I've experienced this type of hostilities here, so I'm glad that both of our comments got removed (upon my request)" I think you might have done similarly before 'cos I used a rather harsh word in reply to one of your answers, I think I called it beyond pathetic and I gave reasons and made one or two other criticisms it, and I think they all got removed. that was in this question superuser.com/questions/319516/…
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 20:48
  • @barlop: I don't mind constructive criticism (and I usually vote for such comments because I feel that they're worthwhile contributions), but if you think that it's somehow useful to place negative labels like "beyond pathetic" on answers (especially those that were obviously written with helpful intentions), then I'd wager a guess that you've misunderstood the nature of this online community -- to help others. Aug 11, 2011 at 22:50
  • @Randolf Richardson That is constructive criticism that you perhaps don't want to take constructively, and it had 2 words there that were strong, you didn't like it and perhaps pushed for the lot to be deleted, which happened. It's not like it was criticising your big ears, it's constructive 'cos you can control it. I thought your answer was atrocious, I said why, used 2 strong words in the process, and gave reasons, and the idea, is constructive obviously, so you can give a better answer or not such a bad answer, if in a similar situation.
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 23:32
  • @barlop: The inclusion of the words "beyond pathetic" does not add any value, borders on hostile, and also detracts from the quality of the content on this web site -- it was, therefore, not constructive (and the fact that you quoted only "beyond pathetic" from your comment enhances this point). The moderators obviously make their own decisions on whether to delete offensive content, and whoever deleted your comment obviously decided that it was not suitable (and I agree with result of that decision). Aug 11, 2011 at 23:53
  • @Randolf Richardson I mention those 2 words so you understand that we agree those words were strong. But there was more than two words. I see you wanted that whole comment deleted, did you also want all the rest of my comments deleted from your answer? Also, you said to the user that you originally had an issue with "this is really the first time I've experienced this type of hostilities here". Clearly it's not, these are two occasions, you got all sensitive, and wanting to delete other peoples' comments, within the same month.
    – barlop
    Aug 12, 2011 at 0:13
  • @barlop: I don't agree with you, and you're going around in circles -- I've been very clear in my position that unconstructive comments are not useful, and when they involve negative or hostile wording (as yours did) that their removal is appropriate. (This discussion is no longer interesting, please end it.) Aug 12, 2011 at 0:37
  • @Randolf Richardson and you keep incorrectly interpreting what i'm saying I'd like the decision changed re that question.. no, I think it was so blatantly obvious how bad your answer was, that even without me pointing it out, it's clear enough to anybody, and even the reasoned criticism of your answer isn't that necessary because the reasons why it was bad,are also fairly obvious.So what am I saying? Well it should be obvious.. You make out that you had this shocking single occasion and it has never happened before like you don't normally react like that, but you did again just this month.
    – barlop
    Aug 12, 2011 at 0:37
  • @barlop: It's obvious that you're very upset with me; beyond using the phrase "DOS prompt" (for which the timing of your "beyond pathetic" comment was within approximately 1 day following the "DOS prompt" downvote/hostile-comments fiasco, as I recall, so this seems a likely suspect to me) I'm at a loss as to what may have caused this. If you want a moderator's decision changed, take it up with them. Aug 12, 2011 at 0:52
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    @RandolfRichardson let us continue this discussion in chat
    – barlop
    Aug 12, 2011 at 1:26

The community doesn't like extended discussion in the comments, nor is the site designed that way:

  • There shouldn't be useful information hidden in comment threads, it should be visible in the Q&A.

  • We don't want noisy chats between our Q&A, that's what the chat is designed for.

An explanation from my attempt to have more descriptive messages:

  • A comment is a remark expressing an opinion or reaction on the question or answer.

  • Comment threads aren't meant for chatting, conversations and discussion.

  • If there is a conversation where the questioner is replying back-and-forth on either comment or answer to resolve his problem, the question or answer should instead be improved...

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    "shouldn't be useful information hidden in comment threads, it should be visible in the Q&A." that is not very feasible people do have useful things to say. If there was a chat room -for that question- then that may be helpful, if both people are online at the same me. It at least means the chat won't be hard or impossible to find in future.
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 20:20
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    @barlop: Note the word threads. Useful information is simply hidden in long comment threads that users don't want to read because they are... Well, long. Useful information should instead be added to the question and/or answer itself. Chat rooms can be used in a not online matter, just like you would comment but then at the right place. A summary of what you came to in the chat room could then be added to the answer, with a link to the chat for people that do actually care about the boring discussion. Note that a link is automatically placed at the bottom of the comment thread... Aug 11, 2011 at 20:30
  • perhaps it should say that the chat is attached to the question. I've noticed a message asking about taking it to chat, but that could mean going into a chat room normally. Maybe it gives a link, but who the hell knows that could be a link to a general chat room, or some private one or something, who knows where links go especially if it's not an easily readable http link you can see in the status bar. I hadn't even realised it was a special chat that was linked to the question in some way for future reference and those interested.
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 20:53
  • if the msg asking about going to chat, doesn't make that clear, then some might be so put off doing so.
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 20:54
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    @barlop: The link is there to make you try it, it has immediate effect. There is nothing to lose and you can remove the result comment if you actually don't want to discuss anymore. If we had to explain everything in these tiny spots, there would be barely Q&A left. Aug 11, 2011 at 21:00
  • it could be said concisely,that the chat is attached to the question and available for reference.Some may be put off even attempting the chat because they wouldn't have thought it's attached to the question and available for reference so they may think it'll just be hard to find in future,and thus favor comments, so they may not try it and they won't find out it's attached to the question.It is a cost to spend time chatting about something one thinks is important and then find it is not easy to find.If people think that's the case and many would presume that is the case, then they won't try it
    – barlop
    Aug 11, 2011 at 21:06
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    @barlop: Feel free to suggest it. Also, think about how comments affect a question in general, most of the times just noise; if we ever get out of this into an agreement you would agree that a summary of this comment thread in the answer is much better than a lot of noise in between two answers... :) Aug 11, 2011 at 21:36
  • out of interest, is there a way to initiate a chat attached to a question? I just tried creating a room left it and it still appears under active rooms
    – barlop
    Aug 12, 2011 at 0:18

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