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The tooltip for flagging comments is now:

flag this comment as unconstructive, offensive, or spam

I searched meta, and I have to conclude that the tooltip is the only place where "unconstructive" is mentioned in the context of flagging :/

However, this is after I received a penalty for "incorrect flagging", though I think I correctly flagged a comment as unconstructive; see the "forget it" comment here.

What can I do? I would like a second opinion on this, and perhaps the tooltip should be changed also…

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I still thought it included "noise", and still was flagging given Jeff's old statements: the flagging comment process is basically 100% automated and doesn't require any mod intervention and added "noise" as reason for comment flagging. Please use it on egregious non-value add comments that are noise and not signal. So, have the handling and description changed, and are we supposed to flag differently? (That said, I don't think the example you gave is noise, but is actually relevant.) – Arjan May 1 '11 at 8:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This tooltip was recently changed back on April 17th. It was felt that the "noise" descriptor was somewhat vague. Moreover, "unconstructive" was always a valid flag reason, but it was merely grouped somewhere between "noise" and "offensive" in the flag reasons. As such, in the interest of being more explicit about it, "noise" was replaced with "unconstructive".

The utility of flagging hasn't actually changed, it's just somewhat more explicit about it.

As far as comment flags in general go...

Comment flags are not often handled by moderators except in egregious cases. Rather, it's usually the community accumulation of flags that results in the destruction of such comments. If the required number of comments is not accumulated in 4 days time, the comment flag will age away and you'll take the flag weight drop.

As such, when you lose flag weight for a comment flag, it simply boils down to a case of not enough people agreeing with you on that particular judgment. One errant flag is not a huge dent, and since comment flags are only worth half the flag weight, just keep going forward.

Don't think too hard about every single flag you cast - think more about the long term patterns you develop. If you start to consistently lose flag weight, that's when you should be concerned. But if you only lost a single step, then shrug it off as a one-time mistake.

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Thank you for elaborating a bit; it was not 4 days, more like 4 hours, so it seemed moderated to me. Anyway, I have come to terms with it :) – mousio May 1 '11 at 12:03
On Stack Overflow, anecdotally-speaking, it's not rare to "get lucky" and have even your comment flags evaluated by a moderator. They have pretty good coverage of clearing out the flag queue at various times of the day. – Cody Gray May 1 '11 at 12:05
@Cody It's a bit different for Stack Overflow, because the sheer volume of flags demands that they observe comment flags. Ignoring them sometimes makes it more difficult to handle the more prominent flags just because they're sticking around meaning nothing. That's something of an exception out of necessity. – Grace Note May 1 '11 at 12:23
Agreed. I just thought it was worth pointing out that things might be a little different on SO, since your answer said comment flags are not handled by moderators "except in egregious cases". Of course, in general, I agree. – Cody Gray May 1 '11 at 12:28

Second opinion? Ok. I like the tooltip change. I don't agree with your flag - "unconstructive" means something stronger than "not useful, in my opinion". Comments are being flagged too freely, I think, and I'll bet the team's trying to ratchet down on that.

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