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Just now, Community♦ put a flag with the "More than 20 comments posted in the past 3 days" on the following answer:

Reading Binary from File?

However, as can be seen by the comments in the answer, it currently has way less than 20 (it has two):

Two comments on answer flagged as having more than 20 comments

That said, it would be nice if the algorithm that Community♦ uses would be updated so that if there are not 20 comments (or rather, a number significantly lower, what that number is is left open to be determined) when sending this flag (regardless of how much flag activity there was), it doesn't issue the flag.

Flags like this are just noise if there's nothing to do by the time the flag is issued.

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So I don't even have to look at that post - the last two comments indicate pretty clearly that some sort of argument was going on there, and hasn't quite died out yet. That's what you should be watching for - quenching flame-wars is much more important than worrying about chatty comment threads. –  Shog9 Nov 28 '11 at 16:37
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2 Answers 2

I disagree.

Even with deleted comments, the flag still carries some information. It means there was enough comment velocity to trip the "too many comments" heuristic and it probably can't hurt to take a look at what's going on.

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But aren't we concerned with the current state, not what the state was? It might not hurt, these situations, it's typically noise. I'd say that there's some sort of threshold, then it should still be tripped (deleting one comment so there's 19 instead of 20 should trip this). Updating question to reflect that. –  casperOne Nov 28 '11 at 16:31
    
@casperOne: Remember, this doesn't trigger when a post gets 20 comments. It triggers every time 20 comments get posted within a 3-day period. (AFAIK, this changed because the original behavior - firing whenever a post hit 20 comments - was so useless and annoying. As Anna notes, you want velocity as the red flag) –  Shog9 Nov 28 '11 at 16:36
    
In cases like this, would you be alright with a non flag? If the comment thread is not as long as it was, I would be concerned, but not as concerned as if there were still 20 comments on the thread. –  casperOne Nov 28 '11 at 16:52
    
@casperOne I'm not sure what you mean by "non flag". The "20 comments" flag is never an emergency regardless of whether or not there are 20+ comments remaining on the post. If some of the comments were deleted, I'd still be interested to find out why there weren't 20 comments anymore. –  Anna Lear Nov 28 '11 at 17:00
    
@AnnaLear: Non flag = somewhere else besides the flag queue where we can see velocity that doesn't currently impact the question. I think that having it as a flag in the queue is noise for cases like this. If it's not an emergency (as you state), then it really shouldn't be in the queue, should it? –  casperOne Nov 28 '11 at 17:05
    
@casperOne There are plenty of flags that aren't dire but we should look at. Heck, arguably none of the flags we look at are emergencies, except maybe the offensive ones. I don't think having yet another separate place to regularly check would be a good idea. –  Anna Lear Nov 28 '11 at 17:16
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For self-deleted comments, the flag still makes sense. Users deleting their own comments and still exchanging more than 20 in 3 days are worthy of attention, even if they seem to be cleaning up after themselves. The problem isn't that there are 20 flags. The problem is that there have been 20 flags, which constitutes a long discussion in comments, which is not desirable.

For moderator-deleted comments, the flag might not be necessary. Situations already corrected by a moderator who happens to be browsing nearby don't need further attention, and we certainly don't need any extra work from Community♦. Posts which generate lots of comment exchanges are likely to have other problems, so they could have been taken care of while handling another flag, or while browsing normally.

As an additional restriction to avoid missing situations where moderator investigation is merited, perhaps the above restriction could be extended to ignore the post only if the last post is a comment by a moderator not involved in the discussion? However, I suspect that the number of posts which would be affected by this filter is small enough to be inconsequential.

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Sounds like a lot of work for a rather small number of instances where any time would be saved. –  Shog9 Nov 28 '11 at 16:41
    
I agree the work for the last requirement would be too much, and I don't know it solves the problem. However, when you say "The problem is that there have been 20 flags, which constitutes a long discussion in comments, which is not desirable." I agree it is not desirable, but if the comments are not currently there then there is no long discussion, there only was. I see how velocity is important, but perhaps a non-flag would be better, especially in cases like this? –  casperOne Nov 28 '11 at 16:46
    
@Shog9 - Right, that's why I wrote I suspect that the number of posts which would be affected by this filter is small enough to be inconsequential. –  Kevin Vermeer Nov 28 '11 at 16:49
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