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How do comment voting and flagging work?

I really like that I can flag a comment as obsolete. It really helps clean up things that are turned irrelevant, like suggestions to fix blatant errors in a question, or many other situations.

But I want to check and make sure I am not voting against the user in any way. Great constructive comments that really need to be made, will often become obsolete once acted upon. For example "please make this an answer" or "did you mean this or that", followed by "edited to clarify".

Often there can be several comments in a row that are now meaningless, and are gobbling up space from the other comments, I like to vote the first one obsolete. 1

So, can I continue this practice? Or will I just be hurting the author by doing this?

1. (if I vote multiple comments obsolete, I have to make sure that no matter which random one or two are deleted the remaining will not look like a conversation that never happened)

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marked as duplicate by John, Shog9 Dec 29 '11 at 23:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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"If a comment is flagged by enough users it will be auto-soft-deleted. There is no penalty for this." Source –  Jason Plank Dec 29 '11 at 21:58
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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, not at all. And this is exactly why. Obsolete comments could have been helpful, so deleting them shouldn't affect anything. Thus, deleted comments have absolutely no effect on the user, at least nothing automatic. Obviously if moderators have to consistently delete crappy comments for a single user, they can still take manual action.

My comments get deleted all the time, because I frequently post the "please add context from your link" comments that either get deleted with the answer, deleted by a moderator after they've fixed it, or deleted by me (after checking and seeing they fixed it). I've had probably around 100 (estimated) deleted comments on SO in the past couple months. No big deal.

The flagging option is really just there to help moderators with clean-up.

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I added a a new bullet item to the FAQ page for voting and flagging comments. :) –  animuson Dec 29 '11 at 22:34
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