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It's sad to upvote a comment on a post that's subsequently updated in a way that renders the comment obsolete and not be able flag it afterwards.

There may well be other cases where one would want to flag an upvoted comment too.


  • From November '09: Flagging a comment which was upvoted
    Note that this was before comment votes could be undone, so one slip and you were stuck. The suggested solution there is to flag the post instead with a note about which comment to look at which is inelegant and potentially a problem as flagging a post can have repercussions beyond just bringing it to the mods' attention.
  • From June '10: Flagging a comment which was upvoted
    Also pre-comment-upvote-cancelling, which is presumed to address the problem, except that it doesn't in this case.

Update: So here it is nearly three years later and this question lingers unresolved.

It's been positively received (no downvotes yet!), but hasn't gotten any developer response. The problem that this change would address is still a problem. The UI as implemented is still confusing: flags are generally orthogonal to votes on questions and answers, so why do comments take an either/or approach? Comments are purposely second-class citizens, but this seems like privileging them--protection for comments that should be removed!

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It is relevant in the context that one has accidentally upvoted a comment, when the intent was to flag it. Turning off the flagging functionality is either a bug in code, a bug in design, or a bug in implementation. – Iterator Oct 27 '11 at 13:54
@Iterator A different solution to your issue has now been implemented – Double AA Jul 3 '12 at 5:20
@DoubleAA - Not really. The exact situation that the OP mentions isn't handled by a 60 second time limit. Usually I 'up' a comment because I want the poster to see that others agree with a suggested edit. When this edit kicks in, 60 seconds have already passed, and the comment is now obsolete. No way I can un-up it or flag as obsolete anymore. – ArjunShankar Jul 3 '12 at 13:00
Like the OP states, I don't even want to un-upvote the comment. I want to flag it as obsolete. – ArjunShankar Jul 3 '12 at 13:01
@ArjunShankar I was referring to Iterator's problem not the OP's. – Double AA Jul 3 '12 at 14:12
@DoubleAA - Ah! Yes. I see that now. – ArjunShankar Jul 3 '12 at 21:08
I've just run into that problem with the comment to this answer. The comment was accurate (so I upvoted it). The problem was not fixed timely by the person answering, so I edited the answer to fix the problem. The comment is now obsolete, but I can't flag it as such because I upvoted it. – Jonathan Leffler Aug 12 '12 at 20:54
I just ran into this today -- yesterday I upvoted a comment asking for clarification, OP clarified, now the comment is obsolete, and I can't flag it. – Monica Cellio Feb 7 '13 at 16:38
Ran into this today here. The answer has since been updated (albeit not by the author) rendering the comment obsolete. – Ren Apr 11 '13 at 13:22
Oh, and now I need to add a bounty to…;, because clearly I couldn't preview my bounty, or now edit it to fix "comment gets updated" to "comment gets upvoted".... – Matt May 24 '13 at 10:24
I think whoever implemented this confused flagging with downvoting. – endolith Jun 26 '13 at 23:10
I hate to "me too" things too. Would really like to be able to flag obsolete comments that I upvoted previously because they were useful at the time. – T.J. Crowder Jun 28 '14 at 12:26
up vote 36 down vote accepted

It turns out that this limitation exists only in the UI — the Stack Exchange backend is perfectly happy to accept flags for comments you've upvoted, it's only the button to bring up the flag dialog that's missing.

With that in mind, I've come up with a simple user script to restore the missing flag buttons:

    '<tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td><a class="comment-flag" title="flag this comment' +
    ' as unconstructive, offensive, or spam">flag</a></td></tr>'

I've tested it (so, you know, you don't have to — please don't annoy the mods with needless flags), and it really works. Here's a screenshot from my flag list:

Screenshot of flag on an upvoted comment

I've included this fix in a collection of user script bugfixes and workaround that I'm calling the Stack Overflow Unofficial Patch. The version in the full script also takes care of adding the buttons to any comments loaded via AJAX, and stops them from being hidden when you click to upvote a comment.

Update: Now that a proper fix has been deployed by SE, this client-side workaround is no longer needed, and will be removed from the next SOUP release (v1.20).

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This is in particular relevant with respect to network policy to flag comments rather than delete so the deletion reason is archived (cf. Feb 2013 moderators newsletter). I like to do that, but I can't for comments I upvoted because they used to be useful and such that I wrote myself.

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up vote 25 down vote

This is on the schedule for this week...better late than never, I suppose! It should be a simple fix, will update here when the change is live.

This change will go live in the next build. You will be able to flag after voting and more clearly see where a comment still has a pending flag from you.

Note that our goal here is to support the "I voted on this years ago and now it's obsolete" scenario, so upvoting after flagging is still disabled.

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Just in time for the bounty... what a coincidence! ;-) – Shadow Wizard Jul 14 '14 at 21:27
How... convenient ... – Cupcake Jul 14 '14 at 21:32
@sha and cupcake: we always say that bounties get more attention for your question. Are you disappointed that the feature works as advertised? ;) – Laura Jul 14 '14 at 22:19
@Laura question is who in the team actually pushed forward this long forgotten request? Was it Anna? – Shadow Wizard Jul 14 '14 at 22:22
@shadow Anna said the other day she wanted to talk to me about it, and it had already been on my list for the next "what little features can we squeeze into the schedule" meeting. Perfect storm. (Anna's implementing it.) – Laura Jul 14 '14 at 22:24
@Anna thanks, looking forward to see this in action! – Shadow Wizard Jul 17 '14 at 22:12

I agree it should definitely be allowed.... specially in cases like this one

enter image description here

Now I can remove my comments but the other one is left there and I can't really flag it. I realize I can flag the answer/question for mod's attention and explain what is going on but this is not structural at all and why would most of the users even bother... It's gonna leave us with tons of comments which we can't easily remove.

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While you were still talking to the other commenter, why not suggest to them to clean up yourselves, rather than flagging? (I quite often do that, and most often the other commenter cleans up too.) Also, I'd never upvote such comment. – Arjan Jun 16 '14 at 4:53
@Arjan: That would be fine if it always worked – endolith Jul 7 '14 at 13:51

You should be able to un-vote the comment as well, the same way you can remove your vote from a question. At least if the comment is edited, you should be able to change your vote.

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May be true, but: a different matter? See Should I be able to cancel my up-vote on a comment? – Arjan Aug 28 '11 at 17:29
You cannot remove your vote from questions unless they have been edited. Comments on the other hand cannot be edited, so this does not apply. – Caleb Aug 30 '11 at 8:21
@Caleb May I ask for how long I'm allowed to edit the comment? (this comment is edited after posting the second one) – Maxim Krizhanovsky Aug 30 '11 at 10:20
You can undo an upvote for some time (not sure when the questions is being locked, but it's definitely not at the time of the vote) – Maxim Krizhanovsky Aug 30 '11 at 10:22
@Darhazer: There is a five minute window on comments and votes where you are allowed to change them before they lock in. The OP's question here is about coming back to comments after the post has been updated and so the comment is no longer applicable. If you voted a comment up, then the op changed their post, you can no longer flag the comment as obsolete (unless it all happens inside a 5 minute window.) – Caleb Aug 30 '11 at 10:29
@Caleb it seems that there is no five minute window you can remove your upvote on the comment and flag it instead, so you can undo accident upvotes. Although it's not the scenario OP described – Maxim Krizhanovsky Aug 30 '11 at 10:50
This has now (sorta) been implemented – Double AA Jul 3 '12 at 5:19
up vote 57 down vote

Since one of the most common reasons a comment is removed is obsolescence, we should at least be able to flag comments as obsolete after having upvoted them.

The workaround to this problem is to flag the question or answer itself, with a custom moderator attention flag, explaining the situation and requesting the comment(s) be removed.

Source: jrg♦'s answer to Should users be able to flag comments as obsolete that they have previously upvoted? (on Meta.AU)

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