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I asked this question and received a few useful comments over night. I managed to quickly check them shortly after waking up in the morning, but intended on really diving into them that evening and see if I could use the info contained there in to either improve my question or formulate an answer to my own question, not to mention actually look up what those comments were referring to.

Alas, someone mentioned in a later comment that some of that information could be the basis for an answer and a moderator swooped in and deleted all of the comments. Sigh.

This is all that's left of my access to the comments. enter image description here

I'd like to look into what the comments were talking about so that I could simply understand what was mentioned. All I can remember was a Pathfinder prestige class being mentioned, along with a feat and I wanted to explore them to see if they could help narrow my question and answer it. What was the comment contents?

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The comments weren't actually that useful. Someone mentioned Improved Precise Shot being useful for ranged PCs, but so hard to get for a spellcaster that you shouldn't bother. No prestige class was mentioned (only a monk archetype that gets IPS for free). Someone else made an off-topic suggestion of a tweak to your build that wasn't about ranged combat or damage optimisation.

Barely-glimpsed comments always seem better than they actually are, like how a dream-idea you excitedly scribble down in the middle of the night inevitably turns out to be terribad when you read your notes the next morning.

The long and the short of it is that if they were worth making into answers, they were worth putting into answer posts; but they weren't, so they weren't. Since half-answers and off-topic brainstorming hanging around in comments can't be peer-reviewed like real answers, and in the meantime impair the signal-to-noise ratio that a Stack Exchange site lives and dies by, they were cleaned up and those regular users who left them were (gently, anonymously) reminded that they do know better.

Your frustration expressed here and elsewhere is a large reason why partial answers and off-topic discussion shouldn't be left in comments — they just taunt the reader with the false hope of something useful, and tempt people into using even more comments for discussion.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you understand the reason for my frustration. I wasn't expecting those options to be an answer. All I knew is that a fully optimized archer build often used those options, and I didn't know what they were. Deleting the comments removed my ability to even look up what they do. My question isn't "please optimize my build for me so I don't have to think for myself". It is "please guide me on optimizing my character so I can do more focused research myself." If someone mentions a feat, class, or any other Pathfinder option, I want to at least look at it myself. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ After I'm able to look it up, I can then decide if it is relevant to my situation. Perhaps it is useless. Or perhaps I can make a note of it in my question to make it clear I'm now aware of it and I'd like to take advantage of it or ignore it. I don't know, and I wasn't given the opportunity to find out. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ In either case, thank you for mentioning them here. I can now look up Precise Shot when I have the opportunity to do so, at which point I should be able to discover the monk archetype from there, and determine if it is something I could incorporate into my build or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ If your intention with that question is to gather a snowdrift of ideas that you can then follow up, Stack Exchange is not the tool for the job (a discussion forum is). Preventing the site from morphing into just another discussion forum is yet another reason that such comments are removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 14 '15 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, now I'm confused. Are you expecting on-topic answers to be fully baked characters? To borrow a common Stack Overflow phrase, I don't want someone to "give me teh characterz". Honestly, I want an answer along the caliber of what KRyan often provides, with a variety of different optimization paths that I can then research myself and determine what will best work for me. But if only fully-baked characters are good answers for character optimization questions on here... well... then perhaps optimization questions should be off-topic in general. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ellesedil Your question is possibly too broad, or not specific enough. It's very easy to write a borderline charop question, and writing a charop question that fits the Stack format is hard. We have a meta about that: Are character optimization questions on topic? Your question seems to be a type 1, but it doesn't have one specific detail being asked about; it's maybe a type 2 in asking for general direction. The fact is that SE is only marginally suited to charop questions, and they routinely rub up against the site's by-design limitations. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 14 '15 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ In general, all answers on RPG.se have to be fully baked answers. That doesn't always mean fully-baked characters; but it does mean that “I want a pile of ideas to chew on at my leisure” will, if that's the motive for a question, have unsatisfactory results. Our site's design (and the rules that maintain the community's ability to fulfil its design purpose) are going to clash with that kind of goal. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 14 '15 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't want a pile of ideas. I want some well-defined paths to investigate for myself. In either case, if someone leaves a comment that contains something I don't know about, I want that too because I don't know about it and would like to fix that. It benefits me as a player, and may benefit my question if there's something pertaining to it that I can incorporate into it. And if it doesn't, then delete it, sure. But I was never given the opportunity to determine that; someone else made that decision for me. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are for improving a post, not for piecemeal helping solve the asker's problem. Wanting to them to work that way says to me: you want a discussion forum, which does work that way. SE very forcefully does not work that way, because there are many discussion forums already and the world does not need one more. SE is instead designed to do well what forums do badly. My suggestion is to let the question as-asked gather whatever answers it will, and either follow up with a new one later, or complement it with a forum thread sooner. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 14 '15 at 19:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you're understanding my point. I fully realize comments are for improving a post. However, I was never able to determine if those comments, as the person asking the question, could improve my post. A moderator decided for me that the comments would not improve my post and deleted them. After understanding their content, they may well have made it into my question as an edit (and may still after your answer here). Anyway, this discussion is off-topic to this question as I was simply asking for the comment contents and I'm not objective enough right now to ask a new question. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Dec 14 '15 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Deciding such things is pretty much the job of a moderator. When comments look like answers, it's a very easy decision. If commentors are trying to make suggestions for improvement, they need to write them as suggestions for improvement instead of mini-answers. (Improving the question indirectly by partially answering the question, such that the asker is inspired to revise it with their expanded knowledge, is still answering in comments and not what they're for. Again: forums are great for that kind of iterative, interactive learning mode and SE isn't.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 14 '15 at 20:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ The bottom line is, good suggestions are given in answers. Comments are not for answers, partial answers, crappy answers, etc. That's just how we do things here, for good reason. Otherwise people are disincentivized from "using their words" and writing a coherent answer, and also the comment thread (like this one) drowns out any legitimate content below it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 15 '15 at 2:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie excellent response! \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Dec 19 '15 at 4:22

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