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Reading Anna's answer here on legitimate reasons why moderators may flag posts and (possibly) mark them as helpful, I was interested to see what would happen for comment flags.

So I happily flagged a couple of comments with the other message of testing to see if this could be used in a similar way as Anna suggested to leave mental notes or messages to other mods for advice without having to open up the Teachers Lounge and interrupt the serious unicorn research ongoing.

I was a little surprised to see that the flag was silently marked as helpful, but even more surprised to see that the comment was automatically deleted by the system. When I check the flag logs, I think it is because my "other" flag was actually recorded as an "offensive" flag causing auto deletion (see log).

I don't know if this is intended behaviour or not but I thought I'd ask the question, particularly with the flag reason matching up. Pity we can't use comment flagging to communicate as we might do with post flagging - if a user is being abusive in comments to a moderator perhaps and it would be more diplomatic for another mod to come in and deal with the situation.

Edit: Having just trawled the site for an obsolete comment to flag, that also got recorded as "offensive" with a message of "obsolete" and auto-silently-deleted.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Pretty sure that's intentional.

Just like flagging a post as off-topic would translate into a binding close vote for a moderator, flagging a comment automatically translates into a binding delete vote.

Even though flags are being used for communication, they're not really designed with that in mind. Although if you really must, flagging the post that hosts the comments instead of a specific comment is probably more useful in the situation you describe anyway.

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That's not an exact parallel, though, because flagging a post as off topic is actually voting to close, a semantically distinct action from flagging which has a natural consequence (namely that the post gets closed). Flagging a comment as "other" doesn't have a natural consequence like that; there's no action that always gets taken after enough "other" flags. (On the other hand... I can't really be too bothered about comments getting deleted, whatever the circumstances.) –  David Z Jun 19 '12 at 0:37
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@David: so far as I'm aware, a sufficient number of flags on a comment will always result in its deletion - regardless of flag-type. The end-goal for flagging a comment is always deletion, unlike flags on posts which may request other actions. The only purpose to having reasons for comment flags at all was that before they were added, folks just used them as down-votes –  Shog9 Jun 19 '12 at 2:06
    
So it's alright that they're all showing as offensive flags? Is that how it works for regular users too? Ferrets round for a comment that someone else has flagged :L –  Rory Jun 19 '12 at 20:28
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@Shog but what about "Other" reason? Shouldn't it be used just to summon a moderator to have a look? –  Shadow Wizard Jan 20 '13 at 22:43

This happens because, as I was explained in Comment flags on admin/posts/<post id>/show-flags are always shown as type "Comment: Offensive" the system really see just a type of comment flag: offensive. Even when you use a custom reason, the flag type for the system is always that.

screenshot

Even when the comment is flagged as not constructive, the system sees the flag as not offensive flag.

screenshot

If a moderator flags a comment as offensive, the comment is immediately removed, in the same way a post flagged as spam from a moderator is immediately deleted.

Apparently, the only way for a moderator to recall the attention of another moderator on a comment is flagging the post containing it, provide a link to the comment, and explaining what is wrong with the comment.

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