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I came across a question that was using odd tabbing and I suspected it to be a copy and paste error. I commented on the post to ask if this were the case. This lead to roughly the following comments:

Is the odd tabbing intentional? - Me
@me Some languages use this tabbing - 3rd party
@me No, it's a C&P error - OP
@OP You can fix it by using ctlk-k - Me
@me Fixed - OP

They're now deleted so I don't know what they were exactly, but it gets the point across.

I thought by the end of this that the comments were obsolete. And so I decided to flag to remove them. I left my comments as it gives context to the Mod who will read the flag, so they know it's obsolete. And I proceeded to flag the third party's comment as "other: This has now been resolved. Please remove the thread." It was declined. And so I decided to flag OP's first comment as "other: This has now been resolved. Please remove the thread." It was accepted and only that comment was removed. I decided to remove my comments and flag the last two comments as "obsolete". And both were removed.

This seems like a lot of effort to say these five comments are now useless. And so I want to know if there is there is a better way for me to flag these:

  • Should I remove my comments first?
  • Should I flag every comment, or just one?
  • Should I use a different flag?
  • Should I use a better description in the flag?
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    \$\begingroup\$ Usually just flagging as "Obsolete" does the trick. \$\endgroup\$ – 410_Gone Nov 24 '16 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EBrown I've done that before, and only the flagged comment was deleted. Should I flag them all as obsolete? \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Nov 24 '16 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Our mods understand that Obsolete indicates that the issues are resolved, and they'll look into the question/answer to see if the flags are correct. \$\endgroup\$ – 410_Gone Nov 24 '16 at 15:22
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I remember reviewing one of these flags from my phone this morning (I do that first thing every morning =), but looking at the timeline there were 3 moderators involved here, at different points in the timeline.

Flagged comments looks something like this in the flag review page:


How should I improve my flags?
@me No, it's a C&P error - OP - Other: This has now been resolved. Please remove the thread. deletedecline

How should I improve my flags?
@OP You can fix it by using ctlk-k - Me - Obsolete deletedecline

Some other question link
Thank you, much appreciated! - Someone - Too chatty deletedecline

How should I improve my flags?
@me Fixed - OP - Obsolete deletedecline


Notice there's little to no context, and that the surrounding non-flagged comments don't show up anywhere; we're not taken to the post unless we go and follow the links and keep a tab for the review page and another for the post. ...which, to be honest, is rather annoying to do on a mobile browser.

Comment flags shouldn't require much context - the reason for flagging them is typically plain obvious just by reading the comment itself. I believe that's the reason why the UI is made that way, so that a moderator can quickly read the flagged comment and decide whether to delete it or decline the flag.

If there's a whole comment thread that needs to be removed, ideally custom-flag the question instead; the UI for question/answer flags is slightly different, and does provide more context.

Personally I don't mind each individual comment (up to a certain extent, say 5-6 comments) being flagged either, when each individual comment taken by itself is obviously obsolete or "too chatty" or whatever you flag it for. If there's surrounding context that's not going to show up in the review page, it's likely going to be missed.


One thing to note is that a custom flag asking to "remove the thread" can very easily be interpreted as a custom flag asking to delete a question (and its answers); such flags are systematically declined, usually with a note from the moderator linking to How does deleting work? on MSE. Therefore I would recommend to avoid that wording and specifically mention that the flag is about the comments. The "thread" lingo is just too context-sensitive to be completely unambiguous in the flag review page. I believe this is what happened with the declined custom flag.


TL;DR:

  • Should I remove my comments first?

    Yes. If your comments are obsolete, you have the power to remove them yourself - no moderator needs to get involved here.

  • Should I flag every comment, or just one?

    For 5 comments, I'd say go ahead and flag the comments that you can't remove yourself as obsolete (assuming that's what they are).

  • Should I use a different flag?

    For 5 comments, no. Flagging as obsolete was correct. If you want to flag a bunch of comments under the same post, custom-flag the post itself.

  • Should I use a better description in the flag?

    Be specific about the fact that it's comments you're flagging to remove; custom flags asking to remove a "thread" are ambiguous and could easily be declined, mistaken for a request to remove a post.

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This has now been resolved. Please remove the thread.

I was the one decline one of these flags. It is important to know that when you flag comments, a moderator cannot see who flagged it. I understood this as "The question has now been solved. Please delete it." which is an automatic decline. As the answer at the time had 0 votes, the OP could delete the whole question if he or she so wanted to.

Also, do not use a custom flag when there are existing flag reasons that matches what you want. Quite recently, a new decline reason was added for this specific reason - to use existing flag reasons instead of custom ones:

Using standard flags helps us prioritize problems and resolve them faster. Please familiarize yourself with the list of standard flags: see What is Flagging?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you know if I am meant to be able to see that decline reason? As in the page /users/flag-summary/ I can only see 'declined' in red. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Nov 24 '16 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Peilonrayz I was under the impression that you should be able to see that, yes. What's interesting is that even I can't see the decline reason for that flag. (Only moderators and yourself are able to see that page at all) \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Nov 24 '16 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Peilonrayz Correction: Comment flags are just either approved or declined. Moderators do not have the possibility to give a decline message there. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Nov 24 '16 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonForsberg Comment flags are too limited. \$\endgroup\$ – EKons Dec 5 '16 at 12:27

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