4

Given that the flag mechanism has been expanded and improved for both questions and answers and taking into consideration these two questions that ended up more or less with a 'you should flag more' answer.

I think comment flags should be revamped. I suggest changing the tooltip to remove the "hate speech" part of it:

"Flag this comment as noise, offensive or spam"

This because I think that having both offensive and hate speech as flag reasons bias people towards a stronger definition of offensive than they would otherwise have, as illustrated by the sample comments that follow.

Remember offensive is a superset of hate speech, so it's not really necessary (hate speech is by definition offensive.)

Some relevant quotes:

One concern I have is inundating you with nitpicky stuff. Send me a note if you 
feel that's happening. I think -- based on the feedback here -- that I feel a 
little more free to flag comments that are simply rude but not patently 
offensive. 
– tvanfosson Aug 18 at 15:39
I think I've avoided flagging because I assumed it was reserved for personal 
attacks and specific malicious language (racist/sexist views, calling someone 
stupid, or offensive language in excess). But now that I know that it's meant 
to curb exactly what my email was about, I'll be sure to use the flag option 
for those situations. 
– Anthony 14 hours ago

I certainly cannot prove that these ideas are due to the biasing hate speech part of the tooltip provokes, but it certainly does give that impression to me. And there is nothing to lose from removing it. It's not as if our community needed a reminder to flag hate speech when it happens.

2 Answers 2

1

Noise was recently added as a reason to flag.

When you flag a comment, it doesn't bug a moderator, it just works on its own. Plus, when you read it with commas and the OR, it's like a menu, you decide what you want to be flagging the comment for:

noise | offensive | spam | hate speech

Is there a dilemma when you spot a pointless add-nothing comment like, "+1 Good answer", but because it's not offensive or spammy, you won't flag?

If you can't decide, order a burger and just don't flag.

3
  • I think I've nailed my main (possibly wrong) idea: Having both offensive and hate speech bias people towards a stronger definition of offensive, as illustrated by the sample comments I've gotten from this site.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 1:16
  • And flagged comments surface to moderators, according to the blog.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 1:43
  • 1
    @random: +1 for saying the same basic thing I did, and not getting DVed into the negatives.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 11:56
-3

I think it should be left alone. A moderator is not going to be reviewing the comment because you flagged it, that is not how comment flags work.

When you flag a comment, you are voting it to be deleted. Currently, I see "noise, offensive, spam or hate speech". I think that sums it up very well. This should not be taken lightly and I believe most of the people who use StackOverflow are capable of grokking logic like 'or'.

21
  • The moderator part is not the relevant idea.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:07
  • @Vinko: But it shows a fundamental flaw in your understanding of the topic at hand.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:08
  • Still hate speech is way too strong, I've read many times: "Well, I wanted to flag this comment but it's not that offensive" (which I'd attribute to the hate speech part of the tooltip)
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:08
  • I see "noise, offensive, spam or hate speech". I think that sums it up very well. This should not be taken lightly.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:11
  • If anything, offensive is a superset of hate speech. "noise, offensive or spam" would be just as good at the seriousness part, but without turning people off.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:13
  • @Vinko: I have more faith that our community understands simple logic like 'or'.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:14
  • @Rich B: Good for you
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:27
  • @Vinko: So you honestly believe that the developers on SO.com are not capable of understanding simple logic? I find that a bit insulting.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:29
  • @Rich: No. I honestly believe that newbies might get confused by the tooltip.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:32
  • @Vinko: At what harm? A comment that was borderline wouldn't get deleted as quickly or at all?
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:33
  • I would imagine that comments just wouldn't get deleted at all, given that both a relatively new SO user and an expert SO user both got the impression that flags are for far more serious things than for what they really are (see the questions where those comments appeared: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17612/… and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/15143/…)
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:39
  • 1
    @Vinko: They are pretty serious. You are voting to delete another person's contributions. If you have reservations about whether a comment is seriously offensive enough to delete based on the tooltip, you should not be flagging it.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:41
  • 1
    And by the way, it seems to me that the one who isn't understanding the topic at hand is you: "If a comment is flagged by enough users it will be auto-soft-deleted. There is no penalty for this.. yet. Flagged comments will be surfaced to moderators, so if you have a problem with a comment, flag it." blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/…
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:43
  • @Vinko: I understand it just fine. But it needs enough votes, that is not the same as being visible to a moderator when you flag it, nor does it mean a moderator definitely will review it. It just means the mods will be able to go back and investigate a pattern of abuse if it is reported. Hard deleted or soft deleted, you are deleting someone's content. That is a serious responsibility.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 0:46
  • 1
    @Vinko: 'noise' does not confuse me when or'ed with 'hate speech'. I also don't believe our community is incapable of reading a comment thread. Discussion is what was requested, and is what was delivered.
    – GEOCHET
    Aug 27, 2009 at 1:05

You must log in to answer this question.

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