This might sound strange, but at a few occasions I've felt the need to be able to flag my own comments.

I give you the following example:

Do you mention anything I didn't mention in my answer? Perhaps V2C? I have no idea what that means, and meta search doesn't show up anything. – Steven Jeuris Oct 1 '11 at 14:42

You're feeling very negative today, it seems. – Donal Fellows Oct 1 '11 at 19:36

Clearly I was in a bad mood when I wrote that, and I should have expressed myself better. I'm human, that can happen. I now feel it would be better for both those comments to be deleted.

My current options

  • Delete my own comment and flag the other: deleting my own context would remove the context for the moderator. I imagine it makes moderating the flag more difficult.
  • Delete my own comment and apologize in a new one (no flags): the comment thread gets broken.
  • Leave it as is: I don't see how leaving those comments around is helpful at all.
  • Add a new comment: This would lengthen an unnecessary comment thread.

What I want to do

  • Flag my own comment.
  • Optionally after the comments were removed, and I see merit in the argument I was raising, mentioning it in a more polite way.
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  • Actually I'm wondering why this was implemented as is in the first place. This seems like a non-feature to me. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:12
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    I think part of your problem is personal - you're a little OCD about wanting the "comment thread" to continue to be in sequence =) – Josh Darnell Mar 6 '12 at 13:54
  • I up vote you on that sir! I am stubborn about leaving behind clean discussions. I find it to be the equivalent of the broken windows problem on Meta. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 14:00
  • Ah, I read that question (the whole thing, as required =P). Great summary. I forgot to upvote it then, so...rectified! – Josh Darnell Mar 6 '12 at 14:03

I don't think self-flagging would work here: if somebody else has flagged your contribution in the meantime, your flagging could just lead to your contribution being removed.

I think the way to go about this is to flag the entire contribution for moderator attention and explaining the context. That way, you ensure that a human being actually looks at the conversation and removes the right parts.

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    By "the entire contribution", do you mean in this case the answer? – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 12:42
  • @Steven yeah. (I edited the answer) – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 12:43
  • That would work, but wouldn't it raise the flag count against the person who wrote the post unnecessarily? – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 12:45
  • @Steven not sure what you mean? I'm pretty sure mods can remove comments at will, without flag counts rising – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 12:46
  • If I flag your answer here now, isn't it handled using 'helpful' or not? If it is helpful, doesn't your "total posts flagged" count in the moderator view increase? – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 12:51
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    @Steven ahh, I see what you mean now. Mmm, I don't think there is an automatic negative effect on the post author when something gets dismissed as "helpful". At least it would be news to me. But it's a good question - could a moderator clarify please? – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 12:53
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    @StevenJeuris there is a general count of flags that have been marked helpful on someone's post (mod only on user profiles). However, this is mostly just or reference and does not trigger anything automatically at any threshold I'm aware of. Thus yes it does increase someone's flag count on their profile, but it ultimately doesn't do anything bad. (A high flags against count is a red flag, but not ultimately a reason for moderation action) – wax eagle Mar 6 '12 at 13:00
  • @waxeagle SE changes constantly. I'm afraid even though it might not do something bad now, it could be used in such a way at a later time. Perhaps it's even used in some of those 'secret' statistics at this time? – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:02
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    @Steven I very much doubt that. Flagging is used for all sorts of things that don't necessarily imply the OP did anything wrong. I'm sure the team is going to be aware of that in case of any future changes. (Still, I mod-flagged this answer asking for clarification) – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 13:04
  • @Pekka'sReputationBordello Genius. :) – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:06
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    This is what I'd reckon as the best course of action - if more than one comment needs to go, flag the post and point at all of them. Makes for a smoother experience, and fewer flags than if you were to flag each individual comment. – Grace Note Mar 6 '12 at 15:11
  • @GraceNote "if more than one comment needs to go, flag the post and point at all of them": excellent point! Even if you'd be able to flag yourself, flagging the post would be the preferable way. I've only got the precedent it sets in mind now, but that's very minor and I'm not going to fret about it. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 16:22

You're over-thinking it. Just delete your comment and leave another apologizing if you feel that you're out of line. There's no reason to involve a moderator in this.

You're feeling very negative today, it seems. – Donal Fellows Oct 1 '11 at 19:36

Sorry, @Donal, I've deleted my comment. I'll try to think of a better way to say what I was thinking. - Steven Jeuris Oct 1 '11 at 20:12

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  • Added "Delete my own comment and apologize in a new one (no flags): the comment thread gets broken." to the possibilities. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:00
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    They are just comments, who cares. Comments (except on meta) aren't the meat of the content. – tvanfosson Mar 6 '12 at 13:03
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    Well, I know I have made comments in the heat of the moment that I'd want to see removed. Those are fair use cases for complete removal IMO – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 13:06
  • @Pekka'sReputationBordello but you can remove them, and in a way that doesn't break the comment flow but leaves a marker around to help interpret that comments are missing. Delete it and add a new one. – tvanfosson Mar 6 '12 at 13:08
  • @tvan fair enough. – Pekka Mar 6 '12 at 13:09
  • @tvanfosson I feel it does break the comment flow. I read top down and am confused at the first comment. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:09
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    @StevenJeuris my sympathies, but I don't think it warrants creating more work for moderators when you can handle it yourself. If you run into a situation where this won't work, i.e., you think an entire. long conversation (tut, tut, you should be chatting) should be removed, just flag the question/answer itself with a custom message. But, really, do what you can without bothering the moderators. – tvanfosson Mar 6 '12 at 13:12

we got around 350 flags in the mod queue right now.

Could you please clean up your own messes? We'd appreciate that kthx.

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  • Valid point, if I were able to clean up the mess myself. Whether or not this approach is an improvement I'm not sure. It seems like replacing offensive comments with obsolete comments to me. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:40
  • You really need to let that out, didn't you? =) – Josh Darnell Mar 6 '12 at 13:44
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    @jadarnel27: Yes, I feel so much better now. Also, OMG DOWNVOTES RAGEQUIT – user1228 Mar 6 '12 at 13:45
  • Perhaps you'd need more moderators too – juan Mar 6 '12 at 13:46
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    @StevenJeuris: All comments are essentially obsolete. If you feel you were harsh in a comment, rather than asking a mod to fix your comment just post another, apologizing. That's all it takes. No need to over analyze your belly button or make a big deal out of it. If a comment you make really is offensive then you won't have to worry about it going unflagged. – user1228 Mar 6 '12 at 13:50
  • "All comments are essentially obsolete." ... Even if so, only after a while. Unfortunately comments on meta are what some call a great mechanism for discussions. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:57

Don't bother. I assure you that if I see “You're feeling very negative today, it seems.” as a flagged comment, I'm going to delete it without second thoughts. If I do feel the need to investigate, I'll look at the deleted comments. If you really think you need to provide more information to the moderator, flag Donal's comment with a custom message like “reply to my earlier poorly thought out and retracted comment”. But really, flagging as obsolete would suffice.

What you're showing here is something that could be the beginning of a dispute. You've come to realize that you came out as more aggressive than intended and want to back out. This is exactly the right reaction: the best way to diffuse this situation is to move away with a minimum of fuss. Don't draw this out with an extended comment discussion or flagging. Just move along. It's best for everyone.

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  • "I'm going to delete it without second thoughts." ... that would be the problem. – Steven Jeuris Mar 6 '12 at 13:13
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    @StevenJeuris Why? There's a comment that is clearly not contributing anything to the discussion, and which does not show anything untowards happening. Why should I have second thoughts about it? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 6 '12 at 13:21


All relevant arguments raised aside, I can't help but feel how not allowing flagging own comments sets a precedent of "Well I posted that, there can't be anything wrong with it." It seems like a non-feature to me which was only implemented with the idea in mind that flagging yourself would be weird. I'd love to hear about any other reason.


But, I guess the "clean up your own mess", and "don't waste the moderator's time" argument does make sense, and is a valid argument not to waste time on 'reversing' this feature. I don't imagine many people would flag their own comments anyhow.

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