So I read here:

If a comment is flagged by enough users it will be auto-soft-deleted. There is no penalty for this. Flagged comments will be surfaced to moderators...

So, what exactly happens to auto-soft-deleted comments? To elaborate:

Are the comments still in the flagged queue for moderator attention? If so, and the flag is marked as invalid, will the comment be un-deleted?

I'd also like to bring attention to this, where the answer says:

Comments are second class citizens, and I don't see the need to be notified when a comment I wrote is deleted.

Isn't this the wrong approach? Users need to be notified so they'll stop doing what they're doing wrong. Otherwise they just keep happily posting inappropriate content and being none-the-wiser about any wrong-doing, even after many flagged comments.

As far as I speculate users will only be notified if a moderator makes a comment regarding the post.

If comments are removed from the queue once auto-soft-deleted, and the user isn't notified, does this make sense? For a flag to be auto-soft-deleted, it has to be of such bad quality that it gets flagged by enough users before being seen by a moderator (right?), and the user will never know. That doesn't make sense.

I suppose there are comments that aren't bad as such, they're intended to be helpful to a certain user at the time of writing, but may not have any long-term value. If anything, I suppose it might make sense to not notify users when these comments are deleted. But then again, notification might make sense, since it might be preferred for users to delete these comments themselves rather than redirecting this work to moderators.

Dependent on some answers to the above, the only option that makes sense to me is to both comment on and flag an inappropriate comment (or should I just trust that at some point a comment flag will get through to a moderator before getting auto-deleted and said moderator will notify the user?).


Another suggestion is automatically picking up on repeatedly being flagged and only notifying users in this case.

2 Answers 2


Deleted comments are removed from the queue, and they're invisible to regular users. Moderators can still see them if they specifically take a deeper look, but they won't see them in the regular view.

Notifying users about deleted comments would be incredibly noisy, and in almost all cases it is rather useless information. You don't need to be informed about obsolete or chatty comments you left some time ago, it is far better to silently remove them. The notification will also likely cause a lot more users to complain about the evil mods that remove all those comments.

A single comment is not a big deal, notifying the user is something that should happen if they repeatedly misbehave in comments.

And to be honest, it shouldn't take a moderator to tell a user that insulting other people is bad behaviour, that should be common sense.

Custom flagging for rude comments makes sense if you see a pattern of bad behaviour from a specific user. The moderators might see it anyway, but that is not ensured if the community handles the offensive comments itself.

  • Good point about age. Ok, maybe notify if the comment is below a certain age. You say it's useless information, but it reduces the chance of future bad posts by the user, making a better site overall, don't you think? 10000 users making 1 less bad post each adds up. Unwanted posts isn't limited to insults and some people have less common sense than others. How easy is it to manually pick up on repeated bad behaviour? This seems unlikely to happen much, given how many users there are. I'm editing my question to include a suggestion about automatically pick up on this. Apr 9, 2013 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Dukeling There's also the 'obsolete' bunch, where anything your comment conveyed had already been moved into the question (as comments are designed to facilitate) before it was deleted. For a long term user, notification that known ephemeral tidbits finally met their designed end would be quite a bit of noise, to the tune of possibly hundreds of needless notifications monthly for avid users. That would train people to ignore their inbox, which is something we definitely don't want to happen.
    – user50049
    Apr 9, 2013 at 16:32
  • @TimPost Ok, but we have a flag for obsolete, so it's very easy to isolate those (unless a large number of people flag incorrectly). Apr 9, 2013 at 20:30
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    @Dukeling ... unless a large number of people flag incorrectly .. pretty much that.
    – user50049
    Apr 9, 2013 at 20:36
  • @TimPost How bad is this problem? If you only notify when obsolete is <= 2 out of (is it?) 6 (or something similar), would that work? I don't suppose trying to educate users to flag correct would be viable. Apr 9, 2013 at 20:44

Soft-deleted means the comments are not being deleted from the database, but they are not anymore visible in the question page; it is similar to what happens with answers, which are soft-deleted. The difference is that soft-deleted answers are still visible to 10K users (and the user who wrote the answer), while soft-deleted comments are visible only to moderators, in a page that is different from the question page, but linked from the question page.

About being notified when a comment I wrote is deleted, I don't see the need. I know comments are ephemeral, and I know they can be deleted in any moment; it just means that it usefulness was done.

I would rather get a notification about a post of mine that is deleted, especially if that is a question. Even this notification would not be much helpful, though, if not in the case I am not a 10K user, I am able to see my questions when they have been deleted; in that case, I could improve my deleted questions after I got a question-ban, and ask for my question to be undeleted. (Still, I am not sure if agree in seeing this feature implemented; I would not want users start to complain about improving their deleted questions, and not getting them undeleted.)

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