Chat flags are handled fast. So fast they're often gone before I click the little flag notification. Comment flags are handled slow. Only mods can see them and they're quite low priority. Like chat flags they can be auto-handled if enough flags pile up...but that's not a common situation.
Solution? Show comment flags to 10k users and allow them to be acted on more like chat flags; users can add a flag to valid flags to help bring bad comments to their doom, and users can mark flags invalid just like Chat flags. "Other" flags would still show up for moderator-only intervention, but Spam/Offensive/Chatty/Obsolete comments could easily be handled by the community...if only they could see them.
Show context to allow users to see the Post that was commented on and all the other comments. This helps for when it's hard to tell if a post is irrelevant/ect or not. It could ideally be inline, just like Review.
Marking a flag down seems more risky, I don't think it's essential to this proposal but I think it could help. My idea is to require
flags + 1 "disputed" flags on a comment flag to cancel flags. This would allow invalid flags to be cleared from the queue by non-mods, but would always require more people to agree against a flag, basically so just one user can never invalidate a flag. The chat system works well for clearing posts like this, and unlike chat flags there's less of an out-of-context problem with on-site comment flags.
Now, not everyone loves chat flags, but keep in mind all the negatives don't apply to on-site flags.
Unlike chat flags these flags:
- Don't bug uninterested users; these are only for 10k users on the site who are looking at the mod queue. Chat flags are annoying because you can't escape them.
- Don't accidentally suspend people. No grief about "why was I suspended" because the worst that happens is a comment is deleted. Comments are lightweight anyway.
- Don't cause a "blue rush" or surge of moderators/users trying to find out the context of the flag. Viewing a chat room to see a flagged message can be disruptive. Viewing a comment flag is silent and invisible
This post indicates that comment flags for 10k users used to exist but the functionality was removed; I think the reason is bunk. Comment flags are easy to handle, and that's why the community should be able to handle them. Especially with Stack Overflow's ever-growing flag queue, offloading easy, non-sensitive work onto 10k users seems perfect. Mods have bigger things to worry about than 100 "Too Chatty" flags, frankly.