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When a moderator flags a comment, the comment is instantly deleted. For a moderator, the only difference between using the “flag” and the “delete” button is that using the “flag” button asks for a deletion reason. (Is this deletion reason recorded anywhere?) This differs from posts, where moderator attention flags work normally when they are raised by moderators.

Moderators will generally avoid to deal with comments that concern them. While as a moderator I have no qualms deleting comments like “@Gilles thanks for your observation, I've updated my post accordingly”, I will not touch comments like “@Gilles your the stepchild of Hitler and Justin Bieber you're mother was is a hampster FOAD”. I leave such comments to be handled by another moderator.

If I'm a moderator, my only in-band recourse with a rude or non-constructive comment that's directed at me is to flag the post that the comment is attached to, which leaves a record in the post instead, which is not good if the author of the post is not the commenter. I can contact other moderators out-of-band (in chat), but this is inefficient and hard to keep track of.

Please let moderators leave a comment flag which can then be handled by another moderator.

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    FWIW, you should be able to see the flag reason in the timeline – Shog9 Nov 21 '14 at 16:26
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    @Shog9 Ah, yes, I confirm. I isn't in the “show X deleted comments page”. The all-encompassing timeline is really nice. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 21 '14 at 16:33
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    I'm not sure why you are unwilling to handle comments like the one in your second example... – John Dvorak Nov 21 '14 at 17:22
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    I think, more broadly, that if a moderator flags a comment with a custom reason rather than one of the canned ones, it should be assumed that he wanted that reason to be visible to other mods so the comment shouldn't be auto-deleted. For obsolete, not constructive, etc, deletion is usually the right thing to do and we shouldn't change that. – Monica Cellio Nov 21 '14 at 17:43
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    @JanDvorak Ok, that's an extreme case. But there is a world of non-constructive discussion that really requires an external eye. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Nov 21 '14 at 22:17
  • @jan I might leave such a comment for another mod to be entertained by ;) – Andrew Barber Nov 23 '14 at 17:08
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This has been fixed, thanks for posting!

Moderators can now flag comments with the "Something else" reason so that they can draw comments to the attention of other moderators on their team. When a comment is flagged by a moderator using the custom comment flag, it won't automatically be handled:

A screenshot of the comment flag dialog with the "Something else" option selected. The custom reason is "This is a custom comment flag that won't be automatically handled.

This may be because the moderator can't handle the comment themselves or because they're not sure what to do about it.

When a comment is flagged by a moderator using any of the other options, it will continue to be handled automatically.

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  • The something else reason also appears for non-moderators... I haven't tried submitting it but.... if I can't use it - should it be shown? – Jon Clements Feb 10 at 20:27
  • @JonClements it does. – Braiam Feb 10 at 20:28
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    @JonClements That's a standard reason for everyone - the change here is that, prior to today, if mods used that option, it would immediately delete the comment. Now using that option will not delete the comment and will allow other mods to see that it's flagged. – Catija Feb 10 at 20:32
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    would it be an additional feature request to have it tell us that it won't be handled the same as the other flags? (as a Moderator) there isn't currently any messaging to me that it won't be deleted immediately, and for new moderators, they might not know these minor details/new changes. and who should I @ ? – Malachi Feb 10 at 22:38
  • Will this still count towards the auto-delete-with-enough-flags feature? That is, if this is the third flag (or however many, I don't remember) on that comment, it will be deleted anyway, even though the moderator may not have intended that to happen? – Andrew Leach Feb 11 at 7:42
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    @AndrewLeach as far as I can remember, I believe the "something else" flag is exempt from that. – Catija Feb 11 at 12:25
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    I think this is great for cases when the content being flagged involves the moderator. I seldom take actions, delete comments, etc. on my posts, because that I feel would be a bit of a conflict of interest. In those cases I ask my fellow mods to handle the case, and this seems like a nice way of "officially" doing that :) – DarkCygnus Feb 11 at 14:43
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    thank you @ShadowWizardisVaccinating --> meta.stackexchange.com/q/360872/200242 – Malachi Feb 12 at 0:41
  • Does this leave the handling moderator (possibly CM ?) free to reject the flag from the other moderator, resulting in the flagging moderator receiving a rejected flag - unhelpful message in their Flag History ? – Rob Feb 12 at 7:30
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I think that there is a case for this to be implemented.

I have experienced and seen cases where users make comments to moderators that are borderline, and at times I think over the border, with respect to the Code of Conduct.

In such a case, the moderator involved, who may be the only moderator who sees the comment, has no recourse other than deleting the comment, or making one of their own, and I often do neither because I think it would be seen as the moderator acting as a censor on content that disagrees with them.

I think a flag that simply alerts the other moderators to content that any member of the community thinks is inappropriate, would bring fresh eyes to it and promote better discourse in comments.

In terms of how this might be implemented, I think the comment by @MonicaCellio on the question provides an excellent suggestion:

... if a moderator flags a comment with a custom reason rather than one of the canned ones, it should be assumed that he wanted that reason to be visible to other mods so the comment shouldn't be auto-deleted. For obsolete, not constructive, etc, deletion is usually the right thing to do and we shouldn't change that.

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    The other recourse is to post in the moderator-only chat as an FYA to other moderators. Being able to flag instead would be more orthodox and less effort (less "out of band" as the OP put it). – ChrisW Feb 23 '20 at 9:11
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    @ChrisW Not all mod chat rooms have much activity and super-pinging them in to discuss is time consuming. I think comments should really be dealt with using a minimum of volunteered time from moderators. – PolyGeo Feb 23 '20 at 9:13
  • I have been waiting for this step for awhile now. Some comments towards moderators make us almost bullies when trying to avoid a conflict of interest, especially in questions or answers done by a moderator! – Ken Graham Feb 10 at 20:23

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