Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

How many times should a comment be marked as noise/spam before it is deleted from the site?

share|improve this question
I was originally going to follow my traditional schtick of linking the relevant FAQ and voting to close... but the FAQ doesn't actually state the threshold! I've been foiled! Or, more appropriately, you've asked a good question. – Grace Note Jun 23 '10 at 16:04
I think the threshold is intentionally vague. – mmyers Jun 23 '10 at 16:23
AFAIK, it's 6 or 7 flags... But this increases when a comment gets up-voted, though by how much I'm not sure... Also, moderators have been known to simply delete flagged comments immediately if they don't like them, regardless of the number of flags/votes. – Shog9 Jun 23 '10 at 16:27

In these questions, it is always about balance.

There are three prototypical cases, with much gray area in between:

  • Heinous Spam: It is quite obviously spam/noise and shouldn't be on the site. It needs to be deleted instantaneously because it is so useless that it is not worth the physical weight of the bytes it takes up.

  • Angelic Comment: In this case a user who has previously disagree with someone, posts a valid comment, but is flagged because their adversary has a grudge. We want these comments to remain stoic despite a few (invalid) flaggings.

  • Iffy: These comments may be on the borderline between valid or invalid. This has come up when someone was promoting their own product (spam) but it was directly, completely, uniquely relevant to exactly what the user wanted. Other times we have things which are offensive to some, but not others ("Political correctness" usually rears its head here).

Obviously, we want heinous spam to go away quickly so it bothers the lowest number of people. We also want the angelic comment to remain, because on the internet, there will always be childish adults who just want to be disruptive.

Based on [Angelic] it should be infinitely high, and based on [Heinous] it should be zero. If we add, then take the average it comes out to half-infinity, or "about six".

Six is actually a good figure, because it usually means that one or two people cannot gang up and purge someone else' comment, it is unlikely that a comment could receive six flags accidentally or without any sort of wrong doing, and it also will not take an unreasonably large amount of time for an unwanted comment to be flagged into oblivion.

share|improve this answer
+1 for "If we add, then take the average it comes out to half-infinity, or 'about six.'" – Pops Jun 23 '10 at 16:52
@Popular Look Around You: Maths – devinb Jun 23 '10 at 16:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .