My question is related to Do moderators see the previous versions of edited comments? and Moderators should see the post as I flagged it, not the edited version. The accepted answer on the latter proposes to mark a flag as disputed if a post has been edited, which is not what I am after.

My question originates from this meta post on Seasoned Advice meta: Has anybody else received abusive comments that were later edited or deleted? In this case, a user is posting abusive comments which are edited or deleted within the grace period. As indicated, moderators can't see the original version of a comment, which hinders their ability to make a good judgement of things and ban an user for this, since there is no evidence.

It seems wrong that a moderator should ask for screenshots from the community in order to do their work…

Therefore, I suggest to add the original message to the flag. This can just be a field in the flag table, which contains the original message. This will give moderators the ability to do their work, and prevent abuse by users.

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    Better still, just give us a link to the comment's history. – fredley Mar 21 '16 at 9:38
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    AFAIK comments have no revision history (comments are second class citizens) and as such the original version of the comments are not stored. So this proposal may not be able to be implemented. – angussidney Mar 21 '16 at 9:40
  • I think there is none in this case since the original message isn't retained. – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 9:40
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    @angussidney It can. Just copy the current comment to the flag. No revision history, no dreaded implementation, just copy-paste. – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 9:41
  • @Sha thanks, that post is in my question too. – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 9:42
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    From the faq: Comments are disposable: unlike posts, there's no revision history, and they can be deleted without warning by their authors, by moderators, and in response to flags. – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 9:47
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    @PatrickHofman see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/240827/… – Jon Clements Mar 21 '16 at 9:54
  • Okay, so it is there. Does it save revisions within the grace period too? I guess not (since it isn't done with posts too) @JonClements – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 9:55
  • @Patrick I'm guessing not but you'd need a dev to confirm either way. However, the good thing about your suggestion is that it doesn't matter if it does or doesn't :) – Jon Clements Mar 21 '16 at 10:04
  • Yeah, I wanted a solution where 'data model' and dev time wouldn't be much of an issue. – Patrick Hofman Mar 21 '16 at 10:05
  • @PatrickHofman: That relies on the flagger being entirely trustworthy. Or you could just flag anybody and claim they'd said anything. Note that this is the case with screenshots, too. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 '16 at 23:02
  • Sorry @bar. On what that was a reply? – Patrick Hofman Mar 24 '16 at 23:07
  • @PatrickHofman: "Just copy the current comment to the flag. No revision history, no dreaded implementation, just copy-paste." – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 '16 at 23:12
  • How does that involve the user? The comment is saved to the database right? @bar – Patrick Hofman Mar 24 '16 at 23:14
  • @PatrickHofman: When you said "copy/paste" I took that to mean in the conventional, literal sense of the term. Now I suspect you meant for it to take place automatically. That won't work - the whole point here is that users were being asked to send screenshots of comments from already-opened tabs, because the comments had been edited and thus could no longer be seen in their abusive form by moderators. That's because they'd already been changed in the database. As such, no automated system can observe them either. – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 24 '16 at 23:36

It took a while, but this now exists. An old, now deleted, answer to this very question suggested allowing mods to click on the "edited" pencil icon to see revision history. That's what we implemented, though it's a pop-up diff instead of a whole separate history page.

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    let me see if I got it right... In the past I could have fun writing comment "f#ck you", waiting 4 minutes, then editing it into "kisses kisses". To have same fun now, I need to start my comment as "kisses kisses", quickly edit into "f#ck you", wait 4 minutes, then edit it back into "kisses kisses". Would that work? – gnat Jun 29 '17 at 23:28

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