When multiple comments in a comment thread ought to be removed (especially if they're all for the same reason), should I flag each of them individually or flag the parent post for moderator attention?
I've usually adopted the former strategy - flagging each comment with the same flag reason, often a custom one copied and pasted. I had always assumed the following things that led me to follow this strategy:
- Flagged comments were discretely marked as flagged in some way when the reviewer viewed the question (much like how I can see others' pending suggested edits now that I have editing privileges).
- By individually flagging all the comments that needed cleaning up, I was allowing the flag reviewer to see at a glance which comments needed removing, thereby providing them with useful additional information that wouldn't be available if I flagged the entire parent post.
- By flagging comments individually, rather than flagging the whole post, I was letting my flags be handled by anyone with 10k+ rep and access to the mod tools, rather than having to be handled by a diamond moderator.
However, I just read this post (now deleted) by Shog9 that makes me suspect that approach is misguided, and question whether any of my assumptions about how comment flags work are actually true. Notably he says:
If you'd pinged me once for every comment in that thread you found noisy, I would probably be plotting my revenge instead - at very least, I would think you very rude for doing so. Yet, that's exactly what you're doing when you start flagging multiple comments in a single thread: instead of taking a few seconds to describe a problem, you're attempting to use a moderator as a tool to do your bidding, without any real effort to communicate.
He also said some more stuff on the topic - I think there was something about huge offensive boxes blotting out the UI when he views questions with multiple flags - but I now can't recover it any more because that question was deleted while I was in the process of writing this one, and it doesn't seem to be available in the Google cache.
Much of the flagging and review system is still a black box to me as a low/mid rep user, and it's difficult for me to figure out what flagging behaviors are appropriate and helpful when I have no idea what actually happens when I flag a comment. (The Privileges section doesn't mention comment flags anywhere that I can find. I don't even know who reviews them at the moment, and can't find a Meta question anywhere that addresses that.)
Could somebody provide some input on when (if ever) flagging lots of individual comments in a thread is appropriate, and when flagging the entire parent post is? A pretty screenshot of the UI of the relevant review/mod tools, demonstrating the effect of each approach, might also be helpful for understanding this, if that's not asking too much.