Instead of a flat rate of no more than 1 comment flag every 3 seconds, change it to something like no more than 5 comment flags every 15 seconds. The overall rate is the same, but by allowing for bursts, it speeds up the workflow of flagging multiple comments that comprised an ill-placed chat session.

Refinement: (based on feedback so far)

These are some use cases for flagging multiple comments:

  • Related chatty comments (as I alluded to above).
  • Unrelated comments that happen to be on the same question.
  • Related comments that have become obsolete together.

In all cases, there are at least two inefficient workflows:

  • Flag comments slowly, due to a rate limit that doesn't allow bursts.
  • Flag the question and type out a description of which comments are problematic. This option is inefficient because you lose the computer-aided mechanism for specifying the comments in question, besides the manual nature of the process in general.

There is an efficient alternative:

  • Flag comments quickly in a burst. Then have the moderation engine flag comments on the same question or answer and present them to the moderator as a batch. This would require two changes: Support bursty flagging (the original proposal of this question) and support batching flags for moderation.
  • +1 this rate-limiting stuff is really infuriating. – endolith Mar 30 '16 at 1:32

As Shadow Wizard already explained, the best thing to do is to custom flag instead of flagging all comments separately.

You have to keep in mind why there is a rate limit: (almost) every flag has to be handled by a moderator, a human being. Would it be fair to allocate so much time from a moderator? Please consider this before flagging a high amount of posts, especially comments.

  • To some extent, the current rate limit dialogs cut down on unhelpful comments. Aside from that, however, they only limit helpful flags or don't affect the overall flags rate at all, but just slow down the user's workflow - both of which are bad. Remember, a moderator doesn't notice whether 3 flags occurred in within a span of 6 seconds or 20 seconds. The true limiting factor is in such an example is that there were 3 improper comments on an post. – Edward Brey Oct 12 '15 at 12:44
  • So in fact it works. You are discouraged to flag a lot of times after each other. Also think you as a user are not the only problem. What about bots? This prevents attacks on the server by these heavy operations. – Patrick Hofman Oct 12 '15 at 12:51
  • There is no inherent desire to discourage quick successive flagging, so long as the flagging is helpful. The present discouragement a big hammer, intended to discourage quick successive unhelpful flagging, but it does collateral damage. – Edward Brey Oct 12 '15 at 13:13
  • A rate limit that allows bursts still prevents attacks on the server. An attacker's average request rate would be the same whether you allowed 1 request per 3 seconds or 5 requests per 15 seconds. – Edward Brey Oct 12 '15 at 13:16

I don't think this is really necessary.

If you have to flag five comments so rapidly, it can only mean all of them are on the same post. So better course of action is to flag the post itself, choose "Other", and ask a moderator to clean the whole comments "thread", no need to flag each of them.

Otherwise, if you have to choose which comments to flag, 3 seconds between each sounds like a very reasonable limit.

  • To be precise, the limit is 3 seconds between consecutive loads of the flag dialog, but 5 seconds between flag submissions. I'm assuming there is a deep reason for this. – user259867 Oct 12 '15 at 12:06
  • @MiceElf huh, good catch. Forgot the dialog itself is rate limited. – Shadow Oct 12 '15 at 12:07
  • Good feedback, but it seems that there is potential to do better. I refined my question accordingly. – Edward Brey Oct 12 '15 at 12:34

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