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Since 10k+ users don't have any control over comments, why am I shown "too many comments" flags in the moderator tools?

http://stackoverflow.com/tools?subtype=toomanycomments

What can I do with these flags other than simply re-flagging them for a moderator? What do moderators do with them?

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To answer the "What do mods do with these," we generally ignore them (regardless of the number of comments posted) unless the conversation gets uncivil. We then delete the offending comments individually, or purge the entire thread if it is unsalvageable. Sometimes an extended troubleshooting session breaks out in comments; we remind the participants that chat is a better tool for this. –  Robert Harvey Aug 23 '12 at 22:05
    
Somewhat related: meta.stackoverflow.com/a/144644 –  Anna Lear Aug 24 '12 at 1:29
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marked as duplicate by Jon Ericson Oct 25 '13 at 22:10

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.

3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

"Too many comments" can mean a few things:

  • Two (or more) people are arguing. Review the comments to see if they're all appropriate (on-topic, not rude, etc). Flag specific comments if needed.

  • There was a problem in the post requiring clarification, possibly multiple times. You can (a) comment suggesting that the poster edit the new info into the post or (b) do that yourself if you're comfortable doing so. If you do (b), flag any comments that are now obsolete.

  • Nothing's wrong and you can ignore it.

You can also comment generally to suggest that people take long conversations to chat.

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We mods either dismiss the flag, selectively delete comments that are not needed anymore, or we press the "nuke all comments" button.

I personally don't think showing this flag to regular users is really useful, they can't do much about it as you noticed. The best you can do is flag specific comments as obsolete, or if the discussion is getting very heated, as unconstructive or offensive. There isn't much else to do.

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They could flag the single comments. In that way, moderators would probably not need to parse all the comments. I would rather find more useful a flag made from a user about few comments for a post, than a generic "too much comments" flag automatically raised, if the system doesn't have a way to learn from how the automatic flag is dismissed. –  kiamlaluno Aug 27 '12 at 14:40
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The answers so far have mentioned scanning the comments and flagging them appropriately.

I would also mention that you can choose to dispute the flag if the comments are all okay and on topic (although you still don't want a massive conversation going on). This flag is auto generated by the system, and I have seen it raised on older questions where there is an existing bunch of comments and someone adds a new comment, thus triggering the flag. It's still up to the moderators to deal with the flag in whichever way they see fit, but disputing the flag could indicate to them that there is no problem and they can dismiss the flag.

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