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I recently flagged a number of comments. I didn't just want all the comments nuked (which I know is easiest), so I flagged just the ones I thought were obsolete or should be removed. Almost all the flags were disposed as "helpful", but some as "selfclear" instead. Since some of the comments were from moderators, it's possible that the person who handled the flag just deleted the comment themselves rather than through the flag mechanism. (I don't have any idea what this UI looks like.)

Is that what selfclear means? And if so, should that really leak out into the UI shown to flaggers? Is the net result (to my comment flag weight, if such a thing exists, or to the continued existence of the comment) in any way different between selfclear and helpful? If not, let's not show it to flaggers.

  • This seems to be exclusive to meta only. The flag system on meta is... in a bit of a mess right now. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 22 '13 at 19:50
  • There's also the "none" disposition, which is what happens when a moderator uses a non-close, non-vote flag (NAA or VLQ) on a post -- the post is immediately deleted; but the flag is marked as "none". – Manishearth Jun 22 '13 at 19:54
  • @Manishearth: Neither of those flags automatically delete posts... – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 22 '13 at 19:58
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn Hmm, you're right. But if I delete them myself, they still get marked as None. – Manishearth Jun 22 '13 at 20:00
  • @Manishearth: Ooh. I just tried it - my own VLQ flag gets marked as none but the rest are helpful. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 22 '13 at 20:02
  • Are they the ones that trip single comment flag deletion heuristics? – Flexo Jun 23 '13 at 10:45
  • Ah, @Flexo, that's a good thought! I didn't flag any as offensive and I don't think any contained magic phrases like "accept rate" but that is another possible meaning for the disposition. – Kate Gregory Jun 23 '13 at 12:37
  • Note that I've experience this on SO too, so it is not a meta-only thing. – nickb Jun 28 '13 at 21:23
  • A further thing I'd like to see clarified is if it is considered status-bydesign that "selfclear" makes the flag go away, but does not show on the flag resolution tally (whence the total flag count exceeds the combined number of helpful, declined and pending flags once again). – Lord_Farin Jun 29 '13 at 18:00
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This is what the mod tools tell me:

If any comment reaches 3 + Score / 3 flags, it is automatically removed from the system. Flags will automatically and harmlessly age away after 4 days if they fail to reach the threshold in that time.

Seems like any comment flag (not just spam/offensive) has the ability to make it go away. So it may be that the flags piled up and cleared themselves without mod intervention.

  • 6
    this is good news - it means that flagging obsolete comments can lead to a cleaner site without increasing mod workload. Would love a confirmation – Kate Gregory Jun 25 '13 at 22:43
  • I've seen selfclear on a small site where the odds of 3 people actually flagging any one comment are astonishingly low. When I saw it I assumed it meant the author had deleted his own comment (unaware of any flags and unable to handle them in any case), but I don't know if that's actually correct. – Monica Cellio Sep 24 '13 at 3:07

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