For once, good news: comment community moderation is working!

I've recently gone through some deleted comments on my diamond sites, and turned up a few gems(?) of nastiness that I hadn't been notified of. These were comments that

  • contained a "trigger word" for comment flag-deletion (i.e. could be deleted by a single community flag)
  • had been flagged as "rude/offensive" and deleted.

However, none of the moderation team had seen these comments, because the flag that deleted them was dismissed by the auto-deletion and not passed into the mod queue.

In this particular case, had I seen the comments at the time, I would have taken some further action.

This leaves us with a problem - community comment moderation is working too well - and mods are missing things that they might like to know about. What solutions are there to this?


The below suggestion has been implemented

Allow moderators to see a summary of flags against a user's comments

Once moderators know about actual or potential problems with a particular user, we can go to that user's profile to see more information. We can see all flags against that user's posts, but currently can't see anything about flagged comments. Some of my sites have users who specialize in problematic comments (not posts), but we can't easily see that. We can also see all a user's comments (including deleted ones), but we don't see flag history there either.

I would like be able to see that a user's comments had N offensive flags, M not-constructive flags, and so on for the other flag reasons. I can think of two places where this could be put in the interface:

  1. On the flags page, add a summary with the counts by flag type. We only care about flags that were marked helpful. If a user also receives spurious flags, well that's not his fault so shrug. Either provide some indication of timing -- are these recent flags or old? -- or just make these links to the filters in #2 (probably easier).

  2. On the "all comments" page, add filters so we can look at comments by type. We can already filter for deleted versus not deleted; please further filter the deleted ones by deletion reason (self-deletion, offensive flags, too-chatty flags, etc).

Just giving us a total number of flagged comments doesn't address the need, because obsolete flags are usually not a sign of trouble. Often, in fact, they're the sign of a helpful user -- the user commented with a question or suggestion, the post actually got fixed, and now the comment no longer applies.


This solution originally proposed by Adam Lear, the SE dev.

Implement auto-bans for comments

Currently, auto-bans exist for questions and answers - there's an unspecified threshold past which you are prevented from posting more questions/answers for X time (or until you clean up after yourself).

This could be implemented for comments as well - after X comments have been deleted by community offensive flagging, you're banned from commenting for Y time.

Using this method, we don't load more information that may or may not be action-worthy onto the diamond queues, but we still keep a method of stopping Bad Things happening.

  • @ShadowWizard, it was proposed by Anna. – msh210 Jun 29 '16 at 15:58
  • @msh210 yes and no. Back when it was proposed, Adam was called Anna. However, he has changed name since then. It is still the same person. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 29 '16 at 16:19
  • @ShadowWizard, I know. But it doesn't really make sense to say this was originally proposed by Adam Lear when Adam Lear was nobody's name. It's like saying my literature teacher in 1964 was Pope Francis. That's clearly false: rather, I should say that my literature teacher was the man who would later become Pope Francis. (Actually, neither is true of me.) – msh210 Jun 29 '16 at 17:25
  • 1
    @msh210 it makes more sense than clicking "Anna" and reaching Adam instead. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 29 '16 at 17:26

Cast an auto-flag when a user has >x comments deleted without moderator intervention

The root issue here seems to be that moderators aren't aware of these one-flag deletions. A single one of these comments probably isn't a big deal, the problem comes when someone has a dozen of these deleted by the community, and moderators never know about it.

What if we cast an auto flag when a user has > x comments deleted without a moderator involved, where x is a sufficiently large number so as not to flood the flag queue on larger sites, but small enough that these issues can't go unnoticed for very long?

The please accept regex probably shouldn't be included in this, but the one with swearing and racial slurs probably should be.

Bonus points if the flag includes a direct link to the user's comment history page.

  • 2
    You might want to exempt "obsolete" flags from this, as obsolete flags are possibly the most common case (on some sites) and are relatively benign and not worth bothering a moderator over. Or maybe limit it to the rude/offensive/trigger-word kind of comments mentioned in the question. – D.W. Oct 30 '15 at 18:26
  • @D.W. True, although I suspect the number of comments community-deleted by obsolete flags is minuscule. Valid point, though. – Undo Oct 30 '15 at 18:40

This solution originally proposed by Undo, a moderator for Hardware and Software Recommendations

Add another admin information page

Currently, mods have access to summary information pages containing reports on various things that go on around the site. This could be extended to another page, containing a report of "users with most flagged comments".

This allows moderators to have the information they need (rather than it being hidden behind invisible flags) at their disposal, but doesn't add workload to the diamond queues.

  • This doesn't even require a separate page; add another counter to the one that's already there (mods know the one I mean). – Monica Cellio Oct 30 '15 at 1:53

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