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Flagging a comment is pretty low-effort. Handling flags probably isn't (as much). So it would be useful to have a guideline or two to know when to leave things alone because a flag would be "too minor".

Specifically, I ran into this when I saw a comment that was technically "obsolete", but I was wondering about whether...

  • age of the question;
  • the question was recently active;
  • the number of views of the question;
  • Misc. effects of the comment (e.g. whether it pushes a more meaningful comment into the " for more" section)

...should affect my flagging the comment or not.

Note that I'm happy to flag whenever technically appropriate, I just don't want to make our moderators' lives miserable :D

The closest Meta thread I could find were the flag decline reasons, but that didn't provide me with an answer to this question.

PS. What may also help is to know how the flag tools work or what they look like, and how they compare to the review queues (and the volume of tasks there).

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Anything that reduces noise on the site is a good thing.

That said, comment flags are a fairly low priority for mods (we get around to them after normal flags are handled), and there are a couple hundred in there right now. From experience I know that about a third of those flags will be dismissed without deleting the flagged comment, because people will flag comments for all sorts of reasons, some of which are not compelling.

Good comment flags are ones that identify comments that are:

  • rude or offensive
  • not constructive / off-topic
  • obsolete
  • too chatty

just like the flagging dialog says. Just don't expect immediate action from the mods, and don't expect any action if you are flagging frivolously.

Keep in mind that if a comment really doesn't belong, multiple flags from community members will result in automatic deletion, without involving the diamond moderators.

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I have to be honest - though my comment flags are infrequent, the decision often comes off as arbitrary. I've flagged for example obsolete yammering about accept rate with only varying success. I guess my point is that I share the OP's confusion and hesitancy. – Paul Bellora Jan 31 '13 at 23:32
There is, I believe, a significant amount of variation among mods as to how they handle comment flags. Like most everything else, the best results occur when the problem is handled sooner rather than later, and some mods may decide that working on obsolete comments from a one year old post that's no longer getting significant views is not worth the effort. – Robert Harvey Jan 31 '13 at 23:37
So some mods would disagree with "anything that reduces a good thing", because "working on comments from a one year old not worth the effort"? (This would perfectly fine by me by the way, I would just like to know, and flag accordingly.) – Jeroen Jan 31 '13 at 23:59
Flagging comments doesn't really hurt anything, as long as its done judiciously. Use your best judgement; if you feel that a comment doesn't belong, flag it. – Robert Harvey Feb 1 '13 at 0:18
Okay, thanks a bunch for your time in answering, that clears things up for me! – Jeroen Feb 1 '13 at 9:21

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