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On Computer Science, we've had a series of automatic flags (i.e. flags by Community) “possible comment abuse: too many rude/NC (auto)”.

  1. All the comment flags in question were in fact automatically validated because the post they were on was deleted, rather than because a moderator handled them. As a moderator I would have declined all of those flags, so the “possible comment abuse” flag was in fact unwarranted. This is an edge case which I think is not ideal but acceptable, so it isn't what I'm reporting as a bug, but I'm mentioning it because it may be relevant.
  2. The bug is that the flag has been raised multiple times, and I can't find a change (e.g. no new comments being posted or deleted, no new delete/undelete cycle of the existing flags). My moderator history shows 4 of those declined, all of them about the same (non-)issue.
  • I don't understand what you're saying in #2 - this is probably me being slow. Could you try rephrasing it slightly for me, so I understand the problem? – Marc Gravell Nov 3 '16 at 15:39
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    @MarcGravell, the timeline is: 4 comment "rude/offensive" flags raised by users get automatically validated (thanks to #1); Community raises a "too many rude/NC (auto)" flag; Gilles dismisses Community's flag as declined; a day later, Community again raises a "too many rude/NC (auto)" flag... even though nothing new has happened, and there have been no new rude/offensive flags since Community last raised that auto-flag. This repeats multiple times. Does that make sense or should I elaborate further? – D.W. Nov 3 '16 at 15:44
  • @D.W. ah, right; I think I understand; looking – Marc Gravell Nov 3 '16 at 15:50
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What is happening here is that comment deletion triggers some background checks, one of which is to see how many other comment flags have been raised against that same user recently. If it is over a threshold, an additional flag is raised to draw attention to a pattern of comment problems. It does this regardless of whether the current comment has been flagged - it is simply the act of deletion.

As it happens, legitimately on this occasion, there were a number of flagged comments against a particularly active user (a moderator). The existing code was therefore raising an additional flag when any of their comments got deleted. Additionally, it also includes the extra flag it adds as one of the things to worry about, so theoretically it could continue indefinitely, just adding flags that there are flags, which are the flags it added because there are flags, etc. A nasty feedback loop. There is a check to see whether the extra flag has been added in the last day, but IMO it should probably extend that a bit.

Either way: yes, will improve this.

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