Recently my answer to a question got deleted .
Before it got deleted, it had comments from 2 specific users. Since I came to know about the comments after it was deleted I was unable to reply.
How to respond to comments of deleted posts?
Is there a direct chat facility with a specific user?

The users cannot be reached out on chat.SE and so I have left a comment at the accepted answer.

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    $\begingroup$ There is no chat facility for specific users, and there's really no good way of responding to comments in this situation. Let me add (by way of explanation to the community) that posts on meta are normally not removed, but the two answers you gave were heavily downvoted and received multiple flags as having zero constructive value and seemingly composed in fits of pique, and were removed on recommendation from respected users. They might be reopened by another moderator, but I doubt it. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Mar 5, 2015 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ Life is full of things that die out before achieving some form of closure. That's just how things work. Sometimes people leave comments and for one reason or another you end up not being able to reply. That's part of life. Get used to it, move on. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Mar 5, 2015 at 23:34

2 Answers 2


Users that have earned 10000 reputation can see deleted posts (and so can moderators, of course), but others can't. When a question or answer is deleted, the possibility to respond to comments is lost, which I admit can be problematic.

It is possible to get a question or answer undeleted, but in this case I find it unlikely. I have understood that posts will not be undeleted for the sole purpose of continuing a discussion in comments.

There is no way to contact a specific user directly. You should avoid sending them comments under unrelated posts (although that would be possible) and there is no private message system. With sufficient reputation (20 or 100) you can use the chat, but the discussion is public and you only reach those that use chat.

If someone has an email address in their profile, you can consider using it. But do not use email for discussing deleted comments, closure votes or anything of that kind. Only send email if you know the recipient is actually willing to receive email from you. As a general rule, don't use email to discuss MO things.

If you are dissatisfied with the actions of a user, you can always contact a moderator. But please remember that not every issue is worth moderator intervention.

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    $\begingroup$ I would strongly counsel against emailing users even if their email address is public, except in cases where you know the person and the message will be received in a good spirit. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Mar 5, 2015 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ Joonas, I find this answer slightly confusing because the OP hadn't asked a question that got deleted, much less a "reasonable" one. It was an answer for which I see no redeeming value. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Mar 5, 2015 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble, I mixed the user with another one with the same name who asked this duplicate question: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2160/… Let me edit the answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for clarifying, Joonas; makes perfect sense now. Also let me add that one user downvoted your answer by accident and meant to upvote. I'm going to upvote this myself as a compensation. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble, perhaps I should have checked more carefully. It didn't cross my mind that there would be two new users with the same name (if they even were different users). And thanks for the polishing edit! $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JoonasIlmavirta I guess for a polite approach , I will just have to wait for Mr David Roberts and Mr Christian Clason ( the users who commented ) to bump in over here and hear me or provide a suitable alternative or just ignore it . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ If they do reply over here , I guess using this post's comment , the conversation can be completed and then deleted . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ @stud, I don't know the original discussion, but I would guess that it's not necessary to finish it. Some discussions on SE sites may take bad turns or stop and leave a bad taste. The best solution is often to let go. If someone bumps into me at the street and my groceries scatter all over the sidewalk, I will be upset but there is no point in waiting the other person to return and apologize if they disappeared right after the event. I treat similar events here with the same mentality. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @JoonasIlmavirta This is certainly not a bad taster . Your example is very true but I owe them an explaination and there is no harm in just waiting . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ I have waited for a long time now. So I will be leaving my response here and if its too much then mods can delete it. To Mr David Roberts, Thank you for an extremely good example and to Mr Christian Clason, Thank you for quoting: Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by laziness. (If someone can ping them before deleting this, it would be great.) $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 29, 2015 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Dear stud, I saw your comment, and decided not to answer because I have nothing to discuss. I felt my comment self-explanatory. I apologize for seeming rude, I did not realise you placed such importance on the quick comment of someone on the internet who you do not know and who does not know you. I still have nothing to discuss, so I wish you all the best. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2015 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ PS if you wish to exercise politeness to the extent of calling me Mr David Roberts repeatedly, you may wish to check if that is the correct form of address :-) $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2015 at 15:55

I would like to emphasize that many on MathOverflow prefer to use the forum to correspond, and that these many will use email for things related to and outside of MathOverflow, even if inspired by MathOverflow. I have references to my email address on my user pages and elsewhere, but nothing explicit for the address harvesting bots. Even if others have made their addresses available, using such an address should be treated as a privilege to be treasured, not an opportunity to abuse unintentionally or intentionally.

If you want, you can invite people to correspond with you by making your address public, or (if you have enough information and are extremely polite about it) you can try asking (in a responding comment on one of your posts) a user who has commented on another of your posts as well as the deleted post about the deleted post. Otherwise, the best thing to do is drop it. If you extend the invitation, people who think you need the comment or answer will send it to you. The main thing to gain from this experience is that this forum was the wrong one for your initial question/answer/comment, which is part of why it got deleted. (I'm not guessing as to reasons, such as off topic, poor behaviour, smells bad, or community unfriendly. The reason is not important. The change in behaviour is.)

Gerhard "Community Is Togetherness, Not Separation" Paseman, 2015.03.05

  • $\begingroup$ I dont understand why are you emphasizing on the experience and behaviour. I just wanted to know if there is a way to communicate with the users who commented . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ I emphasize it because I feel it is important. There is the danger that because something is possible within a system, someone will think that possible thing is acceptable. I do not know the circumstances, but what I have seen suggests to me that this emphasis is important for the community, and also pertains to the situation in your question. You may not see it this way, but I get the feeling of hanging up a "Don't Look At Laser With Remaining Eye" sign. Gerhard "Also Thinking Of Future Readers" Paseman, 2015.03.05 $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Past actions are in no way related to this question . The link to that question is provided as a reference/proof and not for discussing its content . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ @stud, if you want to contact another user in some other way than commenting or answering their question, being polite and careful is a very good idea. People can be upset if they have unwanted mail about MO stuff. This emphasis is relevant independent of past actions. (It's different if you know the other one in person, but I assume this is not the case.) $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ @JoonasIlmavirta Ofcourse emphasis on polite replying methods is needed but Mr Gerhard's attack on "The change in behaviuour" is not needed in his answer . $\endgroup$
    – stud
    Mar 5, 2015 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry that you view this as an attack. My intent was otherwise. I apologize if I have caused offence. Gerhard "Says Bye-Bye To This Thread" Paseman, 2015.03.05 $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2015 at 19:31

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