7

Posting comments, like posting questions, should be seen as a consumable resource that can in fact be depleted.

Some Background

There has been a lot of meta discussion lately regarding moderating comments. For example, the +1/-1 debates, the reworking of comment flags. Issues with comment flags are not a new thing.

Recently (a year ago) a similar idea was proposed to implement a selective comment ban.

The proposal included a moderation tool which when manually applied would limit the user to not posting comments on other's answers, 1 comment per question, and only 3 comments allowed on each of their own post.

It also included an automated metric to limit users @replies at a certain point and cut off comment use once the chat migration was offered.

Issues with previous suggestions

It is a good proposal, the underlying theme I very much agree with, but there are several flaws with it. I don't think sending angry users to chat is a good idea, it is a little too instant if tempers are flared. It doesn't go far enough to prevent comment posting and it is possible limited users would barely even notice. It still requires a lot of manual handling.

Any clarification for a post can be edited into the post. That is where the information is supposed to reside in anyway. I see no reason to force post significant information into comments as opposed to adding hat information directly to the post.

Deleted comments can only be seen by moderators, and apparently they can be pretty rough according to some of the moderators who see them often. So rough in fact that there is even doubt 30k users should have access to them.

There should be more of a penalty for creating this kind of toxic content.

Any removal of a comment by flag other than "obsolete (or no longer needed)" should come with immediate consequences towards posting comments.

There used to be a system which would give an error on posting a comment. "Please wait n seconds". Each deleted comment which had an associated (non obsolete) flag should come with a 5 minute delay that lasts for 30 days and stacks. So if a user has had 7 comments removed due to (non obsolete) flags in the past 30 days, they must wait 35 minutes in between posting comments.

A total of deleted comments should be compared with using some of the metrics the anti-recidivism considers for questions.

Sometimes users may foresee their comment being removed by a flag and delete it themselves. This may not be an issue for small amounts, but large amounts should be captured. If a user is removing 2 comments or more per day, that is a lot of clutter. For every deleted comment (regardless of how it was deleted) over 60 in the past 30 days they must wait 5 minutes in between posting comments. So if a user has 70 deleted comments in the past month, they must wait 50 minutes in between posting comments.

  • 3
    Is this about me? This is about me, isn't it. This is about me. – Won't May 1 '15 at 19:51
  • @Won't - Actually, if you removed every comment you posted in the past 30 days, it still wouldn't amount to 60. I doubt that your random comments are deleted often, especially considering the one about bananas and characters left (yes, I read the entire comment, there were 280 bananas). So you see, this isn't about you Won't, nor it is about the bananas. :P It is about limiting people who actually abuse the system by causing more time to be wasted by the mods and effort wasted by users seeing a comment that does not have the ability to stand the test of time. – Travis J May 1 '15 at 20:14
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    "It is about limiting people who actually abuse the system by causing more time to be wasted by the mods and effort wasted by users seeing a comment that does not have the ability to stand the test of time" I knew it was about me! – Won't May 4 '15 at 14:09
12

I like the idea, but see several issues with it as it stands:

  1. What about user's deleting their own obsolete comments? I shouldn't be penalized for cleaning up after myself.

  2. "Non-constructive" comments could simply be "You should do it this other way". Such comments are usually not "toxic".

  3. "Too chatty" could be construed as bad enough to warrant a rate limit, but the threshold should be much higher.

Basically, the only way I see this working would be on rude/offensive/spam comments. One may question the value of implementing that, as repeat offenders of such flags usually get handled manually by moderators and possibly suspended.

  • I specifically outline not counting obsolete questions from flags. Are you honestly deleting hundreds of obsolete comments on a monthly basis? – Travis J May 1 '15 at 18:42
  • As to non-OP users, that isn't the case. The previous proposal includes the ability to respond on own post situations and that was what I was addressing. – Travis J May 1 '15 at 18:44
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    "You should do it like this" is probably going to be declined if flagged as non constructive. It is also a waste of time for mods to constantly deal with that type of comment, especially if one user produces comments which are being deleted of that type at a constant rate day in and day out. – Travis J May 1 '15 at 18:48
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    @TravisJ Hundreds? No. At the same time, it seems silly to penalize me for cleaning up my obsolete comments, but not for making a mod do the same thing. Points (3) and (4) were meant to address "It also included an automated metric to limit users replies at a certain point and cut off comment use once the chat migration was offered." and " It doesn't go far enough to prevent comment posting". For normal use cases, I don't think we should be trying to prevent comment posting unless the user has a history of offensive comments. – BradleyDotNET May 1 '15 at 18:56
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    As a moderator, I would like to have a finer-grained tool than suspension to slow down prolific posters of inappropriate comments. – Monica Cellio Jan 22 '17 at 2:33

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