Update: declining this in favor of Drop "not constructive", combine "noisy", reword "rude" and "other" comment flags
I'm sick of comment flags, and I'm pretty sure everyone else is too. They've been a problem for five years, and they're just getting worse.
Don't get me wrong: rude/vulgar/stupid comments are a plague. We don't want this to be YouTube, and know good and well it could easily go that route. But the current method of handling them is inordinately labor-intensive and still produces inconsistent results.
I'm done holding out hope that we'll find a magic bullet here; any solution is going to make everyone unhappy to some degree. What's important is that we find a strategy that actually has some hope of actually working when it comes to the usual problems.
So here's what I'm proposing:
Three types of comment flags, with actual differences between them
Right now, there are a whopping five choices when flagging a comment:
And guess what: they all do exactly the same thing¹. The only reason we have 5 of them is as an educational tool for flaggers; the system treats them exactly the same, and for the most part so do moderators – the only exception is when someone occasionally writes something useful in the box after selecting "other".
So let's scrap all that, and replace them with...
Rude or abusive
This comment is offensive or off-putting; a reasonable person would find it inappropriate for respectful discourse.
These should still go straight to the moderators, along with an indication of how many past comments the author of the comment has had deleted because of rudeness.
The options available to moderators handling these flags should be: [Delete + suspend], [Delete], [Edit] and [Dismiss].
No longer needed
This comment is obsolete, chatty or otherwise unnecessary; it can offer no future benefit to either the author or other readers.
Should not be shown to moderators unless the comment thread attracts more than
thresholdflags, at which point an automatic flag should be raised on the post. Note that moderators are already notified when a thread attracts a high volume of comments in a short period of time, so this would essentially complement that by indicating to mods when a thread needed cleanup due to gradual accretion
The options available to moderators handling these flags should be: [Move thread to chat and delete], [Delete] and [Dismiss].
There is a serious problem with this comment, but it is neither blatantly abusive nor simply unnecessary. Describe the problem in detail.
These should go straight to the mod queue as well, annotated with the name of the flagger.
Options should be [Delete All], [Delete], [Edit] and [Dismiss].
¹ Note: This is not fully accurate anymore. If a user’s comments are consistently flagged as rude/abusive or not constructive, a moderator flag is raised.