19

I flagged the "All is lost. The end is nigh" comment on this question as not constructive.

It was declined without any comments and I was wondering why. Was it considered somewhat funny and therefore worthy of being left there? Or did I misunderstand the point of the not constructive flag?

  • It's personal opinion. To me it's about balancing the quality of the comments with the question quality. The comment is no worse than the glib remark "blew up in my face" in the question. Fair point though, +1 – Bathsheba Mar 25 '14 at 14:47
  • "Too chatty" may have been more appropriate. "Not constructive" seems to be doublespeak for "mean or trollish" – Wooble Mar 25 '14 at 14:47
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    But how else am I supposed to know that all is lost and that the end is nigh if I don't have AMR to tell me? – Servy Mar 25 '14 at 14:48
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    OK, I flagged as "too chatty". Let's see whether that is also rejected. – HansUp Mar 25 '14 at 14:49
  • @Servy I figured it was common knowledge and not needed as a comment. My bad ;) – dee-see Mar 25 '14 at 14:49
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    My "too chatty" flag was also declined. So someone must feel that "end is nigh" comment is worth preserving, but I don't understand why. – HansUp Mar 25 '14 at 15:00
  • @HansUp Same for my "not constructive" flag. – Stijn Mar 25 '14 at 15:04
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    If I were a Mod, i'd have declined it too. Unless it's actively offensive, it's rude to delete what people say right away, no matter how chatty imo. Imagine a conversation with people reprimanding others for being "too chatty" in every other sentence - it'd be the most bizarre and stuck-up conversation ever. I'd have waited until later when the entire thread might be ripe for nuking. – Pëkka Mar 25 '14 at 15:06
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    @Pëkka Is right; unless there's a serious issue, we try not to delete comments right away. – George Stocker Mar 25 '14 at 15:09
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    What is that "right away" supposed to mean? Like not delete immediately? That comment was 18 hours old when I flagged. – HansUp Mar 25 '14 at 15:17
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    What a huge waste of time. – Won't Mar 25 '14 at 15:21
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I declined the flag.

If you're expecting an answer along the lines of "themz the rulez, and that's it," you're not going to find one here. Usage of comments has always been about shades of gray, because their true purpose is to keep stuff out of questions and answers that shouldn't be there.

If you write a comment that waxes philosophic about the sun gods on a question that has nothing to do with sun gods, and you're only succeeding in causing a distraction and irritating other community members, then your comment is probably going to get deleted as noise, and that decision is not going to get overridden on appeal, because comments are second-class citizens anyway.

If your comment flag is declined because the comment is really not causing any harm, and in fact illustrates in some humorous way that the question might possibly be slightly misguided and that the curmudgeons that frequent Stack Overflow are still humans after all, well, them's the breaks I guess.

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    Thanks for explaining. Regarding the part you've already edited out, people flag these comments because they think they're supposed to and they're being a good community member by doing so. – Stijn Mar 25 '14 at 16:39
  • I edited it out because I just don't think this particular comment is all that big of a deal. I'd hate to set a precedent for people posting things on Meta to get their way, but I'd venture to guess that the comment in question finally did get deleted because the issue has now become a distraction to the community due to this meta post. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 16:41
  • FWIW, I just happened to be on the question in question when the comment flag was cast. Under ordinary circumstances, mods only pay attention to comment flags when there is nothing else to do (like review flagged posts), or when something really disruptive is happening. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 16:43
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    Thanks for the answer. I usually flag comments because I felt from reading meta over time that we wanted to weed out as much noise as possible, even when its minor. I understand that it's not the case and I'll keep that in mind next time! – dee-see Mar 25 '14 at 16:45
  • @Vache: The occasional declined comment flag is not that big of a deal [shrug]. I don't think we even track those. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 16:46
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    @RobertHarvey Oh it won't keep me awake at night. I figured that if it was declined then I must have misunderstood something about the system and I wanted to know what it was. – dee-see Mar 25 '14 at 16:47
  • They are tracked; they show on the helpful flags page linked from your profile. – Wooble Mar 25 '14 at 16:48
  • @Wooble: Details about user flagging metrics (and the way system behavior is affected by them) can be found here. Comment flags are no longer considered in these calculations. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 17:00
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    Downvoters are welcome to post a counter-argument. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 17:02
  • tO be fair, we could use more convos on sun gods – Adel Mar 25 '14 at 17:26
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    @Adel: I agree that it is a fine line. Ergo, the gray shades. – Robert Harvey Mar 25 '14 at 17:28
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    @Adel Sun was never a god... well, maybe to some it was a paragon or an avatar of an ideal, but in reality it was far from that - at best, they were monkies. If it was a god, it never would have gotten consumed by the Oracle. – user213963 Mar 25 '14 at 17:47
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    @RobertHarvey: I am not a downvoter (yet?), but this action is not acceptable in my values. Non-constructive comments have to go, otherwise the whole atmosphere is ill-formed. It will open up the can of worms that it is welcome rather than focusing on the topic which is the original purpose of Stack Overflow in my opinion. I just came across like this for an IMHO valid question from an about 240K+ rep user: What on earth...?! – Foo 10 mins ago – lpapp May 26 '14 at 12:55

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