Should I alert moderators about comment threads that have spiralled out of control might be best moved to chat? When a thread reaches the 20 comment mark (default) in a given timespan it will presumably auto-flag so should I only do so for long, screen-filling threads that haven't yet reached 20?

If yes, should I flag the question/answer for moderator attention or should I instead flag one of the comments such as the one requesting a mod to clean it up?

Note: I'm aware that the button supposedly doesn't even show without that number being present. That said, I've reported this in the past, before I looked up the mechanics on Meta, and some of those comment threads did get moved. I've seen at least one instance where it was done without a link-back from the question (I added it myself afterwards) so presumably there's some way for these threads to be moved anyway? Or did a moderator with a lot of free time recreate the posts in chat manually ?

2 Answers 2


If the comments need to be cleaned up, please flag. As a moderator I prefer to see one flag either on the post or on the first comment that begins the sequence that should be flushed. Please don't flag them individually.

If there aren't a lot of comments yet but you feel they should be moved to chat anyway, please flag the post to explain why. You have something like 300-400 characters, so there's room to say more than "move to chat please". Be aware that moderators can only move comments to chat once per post, so if we move them early and the discussion continues in comments, we're probably going to delete the new ones. So there's a bit of a delicate balance there, but when something needs to be moved sooner than the auto-flag will appear, please flag the post.

Either way, flagging the post allows for a moderator to reply to you, while flagging a comment does not.

  • So, does this mean that, if there's a comment thread that really should be moved to chat, but isn't quite at 20 comments yet, the solution is to post more comments..? ;-) Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:25
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    @IlmariKaronen I suppose, technically... but please use this new-found power only for good. :-) Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:55

As a moderator myself, I wouldn't bother manually flagging an ongoing comment conversation. It'll get picked up by the autoflagger in due course anyway. Better to let the conversation burn out naturally and then if no more comments are coming in (after a few days) then flag for attention and a mod will clean it down.

Otherwise you risk lots of flags about the same thing, and the autoflag kicking in anyway. And that's just annoying (Moderators don't like dealing with comment flags, as there are usually far more important issues kicking about).

Obviously if it descends into insults and the like then yes, flag away, but just too many comments then don't worry about it.

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