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A couple of weeks ago I flagged the comments on this post:

Entity framework creating separate database corresponding to each class in model

With the comment: Additional information posted as comments.

The purpose of flagging was that the question author was not editing his question to include the additional information, but was instead posting it as comments. Since community members can't delete comments, it requires a moderator to move this information to the post and delete the original comments.

The moderator response was:

declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

Is this not an appropriate use for flags? Does not the garbled comments make the post less useful? Should not a moderator be made aware of this?

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2 Answers 2

Well, to start with, you could have moved the comments to the question body. Moderators do have lots to do on a site as busy as Stack Overflow and expecting them to sort out relevant from irrelevant comments is asking a bit too much.

At this point the flag could be something to the effect that the comments are now obsolete, making a moderators' job that much easier.

The flag comment itself also has flaws - Additional information posted as comments.. In my mind it is not a call to action and is rather meaningless (at first reading my reaction was - yeah, so what?). It is not clear that you expected a moderator to edit the question and remove the comments - and with a bit of thought one might understand that. However, that's not the job of a moderator - moving comments to a post.

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Alright, I agree that the flag comment could have been clearer. However, it should have been quite obvious by looking at the comments what the situation was. A similar situation happens with additional information posted as answers, since again a community member cannot just delete answers by themselves. Regardless, the comment needed to be deleted, which required moderator assistance. The moderator response indicates that no moderation attention was warranted, which I disagree with. –  Erik Funkenbusch May 19 '13 at 12:10
"it should have been quite obvious by looking at the comments what the situation was" - should it? It is not clear that you expect the comments to be folded into the question or that you expected them to be removed. The moderator didn't see a need to be involved as it was not clear at all that the comments needed removing. –  Oded May 19 '13 at 12:11
I'm sorry, but it's blatantly obvious that a) the comments are providing additional information to the question, b) would benefit from the code formatting the main question would give it, and c) that the comments were basically unintelligible gibberish in its current form. A brief glance would tell you that. On top of that, I had written the comment to the question author that he should have edited his question rather than posting them as comments. I have no idea how you can say that is "not clear". –  Erik Funkenbusch May 19 '13 at 12:17
@MystereMan - There is so much to do that a brief glance is all many moderators would do. And if it is not clear at a glance, many moderators will dismiss the flag. At a glance, or even two, it is not immediately clear from your comment what you expect to happen. And as such, the flag can easily be dismissed and the moderator move on to other waiting flags. –  Oded May 19 '13 at 12:20
Ok, so your position is that because there is a heavy work load, poor job performance is excusable. That may seem harsh, and it is, but having a lot to do doesn't excuse doing ones job poorly. At worst it should excuse doing less. If the moderator workload is too high, then more moderators should be added to the site. There seems to be no dearth of willing applicants based on the election participation. I don't accept "we're too busy to do our jobs correctly" as an excuse. Yes, I know this is a volunteer job, but there are plenty of volunteers. –  Erik Funkenbusch May 19 '13 at 12:25
Oded is spot on here. Furthermore, why flag for others to do that you can do yourself? There are 9 moderators on SO; but thousands of users. Who do you think scales better when taking care of editing? –  George Stocker May 19 '13 at 12:37
@MystereMan - Moderators rely on users being helpful - an unhelpful comment such as the one you posted (and to which most of your last comment above applies to as well). You seem to think that if a moderator doesn't understand a flag comment they should read the post and all the comments on it and try to figure out what the comment meant. Sorry, but no. There are too many vague, inaccurate and useless flag comments being raised for this to be an effective workflow. –  Oded May 19 '13 at 12:41

Moderators don't have a tool to convert the comments written by a user (or comments appearing under a post) in edits for the post owning those comments. What a moderator could do is manually copying the comments in the post, and then delete them.

Considering the number of flags moderators need to handle on Stack Overflow, they cannot handle a case like the one you are describing. Even in minor Stack Exchange sites, moderator should not be asked to do something other users can do.
Since the flag used a custom reason, it was visible only to moderators, and one of them declined it.

What you could have done was copying the comments into the post and flagging the post for moderation attention, explaining that you copied the comments left from the user into his post. At that point, one of the moderators could have deleted the comments that were not anymore necessary.

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