Flagging multiple comments on the same post is a massive pain. I spend about 70% of the time just sitting there waiting for 5 seconds to pass to be able to flag another one.

Since we already have a limited number of flags available, is the 5-second limit also necessary? Is this just another case of the olden times or is there a specific reason it's still here?

Can we either:

  • Remove this limit
  • Or make it something like X flags per Y minutes?


  • Stick a "flag comments" button on each post, allowing you to select a whole bunch of comments to be flagged with the same reason (this is the ideal, but is a whole lot more work).

(While we're at it, we should probably also remove the 3 second limit on opening the dialog)

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    It might make sense to remove the rate-limit for flags on comments within the same question or answer, but to keep the rate-limit in place for comments across posts. – meagar Jul 31 '17 at 19:21
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    Whaddaya mean [status-declined]? – John Militer Aug 27 '17 at 2:58
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    How about lift the limit for users who have a good history of flagging? – tripleee Sep 21 '18 at 10:49

As a moderator I would rather see atomic flag groups -- a way to indicate that several comments are part of the same "incident", with mods able to handle them together. (This is what you suggest in your last bullet.)

Flagging comments individually is tedious for the flagger, as noted in this question. Flagging the post when not all comments should be purged is tedious for the mods, as we have to figure out which ones you meant. (And sometimes what flaggers say is "all but the last two are obsolete", but then we have to look at timestamps because more came in after you flagged.)

I want users to be able to check off #s 4, 6, 9-14, 17-39, and 42 and tell us "those ones right there should all go", and I want a mod who agrees to be able to click "make it so!" and have it be so. Atomic flag groups would be resilient in the face of newer comments, unlike my earlier example. Because it's a post flag (not comment flags) we can easily see who's flagging, to know if it's a participant in the thread, the author of the post, or somebody else. (Sometimes that matters.)

A design that supports atomic comment flags could also enable moderators to make comment-moderation one-pass instead of two-pass.

We'd need a UI element for "I wanna flag some comments together", one for "I'm done; submit that" (also cancel), and something in between to choose the comments. For the "something in between", maybe it's just the flag control but in this mode it turns them red or something so the user can see what's in the group and then it all resets when the user submits the flag or aborts. Or maybe it's a new flag type on posts that brings up the comments in the flag dialogue for selection. Y'all have people who are way better at UI design than I am; these are just some initial thoughts.

On the moderator side, we need a way to view the whole comment thread but with the flagged comments being marked somehow. We don't have this now, and it's a real hassle -- we can see the list of flagged comments, or click through to see the whole thread (necessary for context for all but the rudest of comments) without the flagged ones being marked, but we can't easily see everything. (The flagged comments are listed at the bottom of the page, but try managing a 15-comment thread with 6 or 7 flags.) In either the current interface or the atomic-flag-groups interface, we don't want to show just the selected comments and ask for a judgement; in addition to needing context, too often I've seen people try to weaponize flags to suppress the other side of an argument.



If there is a long comment chain that needs to be removed, just flag the entire post for moderator attention and explain why you're flagging.

You don't need to flag each individual comment. In fact, it's probably more useful for the moderators to see the comment chain as a whole rather than 10 separate flags.

I would really love to see a "flag comments" button that puts tick boxes on each comment allowing you to flag multiple comments at once. But, short of that, it's a viable solution to flag the entire post.

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    This is contrary to the guidelines the moderators themselves tend to give. – Servy Jul 31 '17 at 19:58
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    @Servy - Catija is a moderator – Oded Jul 31 '17 at 20:01
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    @Oded The point stands. Other moderators frequently tell people to cast flags on the individual comments instead. – Servy Jul 31 '17 at 20:02
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    But then wouldn't the moderator need to figure out by themselves e.g. which 10 of the 100 comments actually need to be removed? "Some % of these comments need to be removed because {reason}" doesn't seem like a convincing flag that's likely to get acted on often. – Dukeling Jul 31 '17 at 20:03
  • @Dukeling There's two things here. Firstly, your question doesn't say 10 of 100 comments... that's a lot of comments on one post... if only 10 of them need to be deleted, I'd be very surprised. If you flag the entire post, the moderator will likely remove even more of them, rather than fewer, or will shunt the entire thing into chat and be done with it. Either way, seeing the comments in context is helpful. – Catija Jul 31 '17 at 20:06
  • @Servy Perhaps it depends on the site and the moderators, then. I think that Monica's alternate suggestion sounds awesome but I don't think, in the 6-8 weeks it takes to develop, it's unreasonable to flag the entire post if the comment chain really needs to be looked at. I'd personally rather deal with one flag than a dozen. – Catija Jul 31 '17 at 20:27
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    I prefer the individual flags so I don't have to spend my own five seconds between flags to handle... – Aaron Hall Jul 31 '17 at 20:55

Much harder to handle abuse when there are no rate limits.

If you're trying to clear an entire thread of comments, flag the post and explain why.

see also: Flagging multiple comments versus flagging the whole post for moderator attention

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    Isn't the implied rate limit thanks to the number of flags each user has enough? Can't we at least make it 3 seconds to match the dialog-opening rate limit? – Dukeling Aug 27 '17 at 7:54
  • There's no minimum in that, @dukeling - a new flagger can't raise more than 10 flags per day, but the 5sec limit dictates they'd need at least 50 seconds to raise 10 flags. The fastest moderators take maybe 3-5 seconds to handle comment flags on a good day. – Shog9 Aug 27 '17 at 16:05
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    Why does it matter whether someone raises all flags in 50 seconds versus taking less time to doing so, if they can't raise any more the rest of the day either way? Are you going to detect and handle cases of abuse in those 50 seconds? Or would people be demotivated from abusing it since it takes too long to do? Your last sentence makes it sound like you're saying we need to slow users down so mods don't get overwhelmed, which sounds like addressing the symptom rather than the problem. – Dukeling Aug 27 '17 at 16:48
  • I'm on my phone and can't walk you through this ATM @dukeling. Try to imagine some actual abuse scenarios for comment flags and ping me in the tavern tomorrow if you're still confused. – Shog9 Aug 27 '17 at 17:16
  • @Shog9 It's admittedly an edge case, but would you consider lowering the time period for flagging down to 3 seconds only for the users who've maxed out their flags (100)? Surely the potential for abuse there is minimal (I'd be interested in flag abuse cases/numbers from users who have 100 daily flags, regardless). – TylerH Nov 6 '17 at 14:22
  • Surely the potential for abuse is higher by definition in that scenario, @TylerH? Likelihood may be lower, but given the likelihood of hitting this limit is already very small that's academic. – Shog9 Nov 6 '17 at 23:58
  • @Shog9 Okay, semantics, you got me. In both cases, anticipation of the outcome, and trust in the model, I would expect the same result as the current baseline... which I assume is low compared to abuse from users who have 5, 10, 20 flags. – TylerH Nov 7 '17 at 1:36

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