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A couple of hours ago, a comment I flagged as "too chatty" was declined. The whole post is deleted and only 10K+ users can see it now. So here's the screen shot of the post and the comment I flagged.

gg

While declining a flag is not a life-threatening issue for me, I started to wonder if it was declined only because it was a moderator's comment. Because I can't see how it can be a "constructive" comment. I have no doubt that that comment would have been deleted if it was a normal user. Perhaps, the rules are different for moderators?

On a bigger note, this behaviour worries me that moderators can't be criticized (or trusted to take decisions objectively) and they may misuse their power when it concerns them.

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Going from a single declined flag straight to moderator conspiracy? That's kind of a big leap, isn't it? –  Yannis Sep 24 '13 at 20:57
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What time was the flag response? Was it by chance the exact time of the post's deletion? If so, the response may have been automatic. The post only lived for a few minutes before deletion, and comment flags often aren't handled that quickly. –  Servy Sep 24 '13 at 20:58
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The decline is not an issue (That's my 83rd and I never had a problem with the previous 82 declinations). Rather I am concerned about the behaviour. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 20:59
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@KingsIndian The point is that you have used one example to claim a pattern of behavior. If you plan to demonstrate a pattern of behavior in which mod content is never acted on by flags you'll need to supply quite a lot more proof that you currently have. –  Servy Sep 24 '13 at 21:01
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@KingsIndian I think flags on comments are auto-declined if the parent post is deleted. –  Blorgbeard Sep 24 '13 at 21:01
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@Blorgbeard I would have suspected them to be marked as disputed instead. –  Servy Sep 24 '13 at 21:02
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The decline wasn’t automatic. –  minitech Sep 24 '13 at 21:03
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@Servy Agreed. Single instance is not enough sample. But I expected that to be deleted definitely. And any comment would be deleted if it's not useful. What's your defence for that decline? –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:08
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"What's your defence for that decline?" I think I'll go with the King's Indian. –  Yannis Sep 24 '13 at 21:08
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@Yannis too bad there's no "King's Indian Declined" –  Some Helpful Commenter Sep 24 '13 at 21:14
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I am not sure why I am getting downvoted. May be, I have upset the establishment? :) –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:16
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@SomeHelpfulCommenter alas, doesn't appear be a declined. Defenses tend not to be 'declined' as they are responses... its the gambits that are declined... but now we're just mixing SE's around and that can get messy. –  MichaelT Sep 24 '13 at 21:23
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What good would that do @KingsIndian. If they want to come here and say why then that's good but knowing a name doesn't help you, unless you want to start a conversation/argument elsewhere. –  ben is uǝq backwards Sep 24 '13 at 21:33
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The name is relevant to other mods/SE; assuming it was Robert who declined your flag, which you've no proof of. You, personally, can do nothing apart from try to kick up a stink off this page; if it was Robert (once again no proof). I don't see the point. I guess that it's almost reached the stage where it would be better if the mod who did this was named just to stop the implied accusations. P.S. I agree with you; the flag should probably have not been declined if that was all there was at the time you flagged but throwing around accusations isn't the right way to get anything sorted. –  ben is uǝq backwards Sep 24 '13 at 21:40
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@Yannis I have no reason to believe that Robert is targeting me and never had any issue with him or any other mod for that matter. It's just that I get the feeling that I had hurt his ego here (I-am-a-mod-and-you-can't-flag-my-funny-comments) which led me to question the flag decline. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 22:02

3 Answers 3

You seem to have missed some context here. Prior to the comment from Robert you have quoted, he left this (which was deleted and is visible only to moderators now):

He has seven significant figures.

and the OP left this in reply (also deleted and not visible):

Not the second time round ;-)

Which generated a comment which content we don't know - because the "Meh" is actually the edited version of the comment. Your question here makes it sound/look like Robert simply replied "Meh" to the answer, which was not the case.

What was the content originally? And what was the state of the comment when you flagged and when it was declined? Those are kind of important.

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Even if it was edited reply to someone else's comment, how can it justify that comment's declination? Why would anyone care about the context of deleted comments which only mods can see. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:10
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@KingsIndian The timeline of edits, deletes, flagging and handling of the flag are absolutely critical to this issue. Even insofar as it is an issue to begin with. –  Andrew Barber Sep 24 '13 at 21:11
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Your question here makes it sound/look like Robert simply replied "Meh" to the answer, which was not the case. I am repeating my previous comment here... Why the deleted/edited comment's context matter here? It's not like I flagged before the edits/replies. Everything that was there when I flagged is still there. The decline was done when everything was in its present form there now. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:21
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Imagine a trail of comments, A, B, and C. A and B are deleted and you can't see them, leaving C alone looking non constructive. You flag C as not constructive. A moderator looks, sees A and B, and interprets C as a response to them, and feels it's constructive enough. What it is now is actually obsolete (as well as a symptom of a poor answer) but moderators have a new MO where the reason has to be right- while it probably doesn't apply to flags, I bet the mindset does - so your flag is declined. And later the whole mess is deleted leaving us to pick over the bones for clues. –  Kate Gregory Sep 24 '13 at 21:37
    
@KateGregory As I said in the previous comment, if something was obsolete it was obsolete even before my flag. So if the C was response to A & B, why would that matter? Isn't that exact purpose of "obsolete" option to remove them? –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:43
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@KingsIndian: Read the rest of that comment, about the flag reason needing to be right. –  minitech Sep 24 '13 at 21:48
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@minitech I take your silence as "yes" and see no point in discussing anything further. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 22:14

In my opinion this was a poor choice of flag:

  • You flagged a comment on a low quality answer, when instead you could have flagged the low quality answer.

In fact, you the question itself deserved to be closed / deleted (and in fact it has now been deleted). Your flag/close/delete vote would have been better aimed directly at question - which is clearly the root of the problem, and this wouldn't require a moderator to intervene.

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I flag a comment based on my judgement of its usefulness. Why would I care about the quality of the post it was commented on? –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 21:12
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I do agree with @KingsIndian here; a comment flag should stand on its own and does not necessarily preclude or interfere with whether the parent post is also flagged. –  Andrew Barber Sep 24 '13 at 21:12
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@AndrewBarber interesting you say that, I've had flags declined before saying specifically that I should have flagged/closed/deleted the question. –  hayd Sep 24 '13 at 21:23
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True... if the comment is sort of related to the post. But for an extreme example, imagine an offensive comment. It should still be flagged itself –  Andrew Barber Sep 24 '13 at 21:45
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While I see the point that flags should stand on their own, my opinion is that mods have limited time and hundreds of flags to address. If the OP here did not flag the answer and chose to the flag the comment instead, then it deserved to be declined. –  psubsee2003 Sep 24 '13 at 22:31
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@psubsee2003 If the OP here did not flag the answer and chose to the flag the comment instead, then it deserved to be declined. I disagree: flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer. An answer can't be flagged for its poor content (unless it's a spam or "not-an-answer"). That answer is wrong but that's not enough to reason to flag it. That's what we have downvotes for. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 23:09
    
@KingsIndian you can flag an answer as very low quality... But the more important thing imo is the question (it was always going to be closed/deleted). –  hayd Sep 24 '13 at 23:13
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@hayd I don't flag posts for technical inaccuracies. That's my judgement and also said on Meta (link above). How can it justify that my flag deserved to be declined because I didn't flag the answer? –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 23:15
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@KingsIndian I don't think I said "deserved", just that you'd have been better off flagging the answer or the question. (Is that answer "beyond saving", I would say yes.) –  hayd Sep 24 '13 at 23:23
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@hayd You didn't say but psubsee2003 said that. Whether it's a "beyond saving" or not is my judgement. That has no relation to the my flagging of the comment. –  user210447 Sep 24 '13 at 23:26

It seems that comment has no quality and the flag should have been accepted. As it stands, by itself, edited or not, it is of no value. But I'm new here.

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