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Doing this, the mods could stop a user from posting harmful comments, without having to resort more drastic measures (typically, giving temporary suspension).

It could serve also as an intermediary step for users before a suspension. While they could still contribute to the site on more conform ways, posting questions and answers, or editing them.

Optionally, commenting their own posts could be still allowed (essentially, the commenting abilities would work as for the 50- users).

Of course, having this option, it wouldn't mean that the mods would be required to use always this in all the relevant cases.

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    If someone's reached a point where they're no longer trusted to comment they'd have to had pretty much received a warning, ignored it, and continued their behaviour warranting a time out because they can't be trusted not to vent in questions or answers. Also - since account restrictions aren't shown publicly - others may end up confused why someone isn't responding to their comments... (unaware that said person can't respond rather than isn't responding) – Jon Clements Sep 6 '17 at 16:24
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    @JonClements In the first, you may have right. Although the whole picture is not always so clear. That they can't react comments and it can confuse others, it happens also in the case of the suspended users. Furthermore, it would increase the possibilities of solving problems on the possible most friendly, amicable ways. – peterh Sep 6 '17 at 16:30
  • It's hard to believe that this would bring enough good to outweigh the harm. A great deal of harmful comments that I usually find are posted on their own question/answer, and forbidding comments completely might cripple some opportunities to improve it. Besides, I can imagine users circumventing that by editing disclaimers at the top of an answer, which is also frowned upon. – E_net4 is out of comment flags Sep 6 '17 at 16:37
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    What makes you think there exists an individual who is utterly incapable of leaving constructive comments, yet still capable of making valuable contributions in terms of questions and answers? – Cody Gray Sep 6 '17 at 16:39
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    It doesn't solve the problem though. A user clearly has problems with their behaviour. Keeping removing avenues they can abuse one at a time is time consuming and allows too much leeway for abuse to occur and other users come across it or be on the receiving end of it. If you haven't taken your friendly mod message warning seriously and continue to not be nice... Then you don't get to participate at all for a bit... – Jon Clements Sep 6 '17 at 16:40
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    an individual who is utterly incapable of leaving constructive comments, yet still capable of making valuable contributions in terms of questions and answers ---->>> – rene Sep 6 '17 at 16:41
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    @E_net4 It was a reason, why I suggested it only as optionally. Circumventing the comment privilege removal would be obviously a mis-use. – peterh Sep 6 '17 at 16:46
  • @CodyGray I think, in most similar privilege withdrawal cases, the user wouldn't agree it, however it may be needed in the view of the moderator. If it happens, it would be a more friendly intervention as a suspension, which would be an important thing particularly if there is a need to cool down overheated debates without suspending anybody. – peterh Sep 6 '17 at 16:48
  • @CodyGray You could stop a comment flame, without suspending anybody. Currently you can only move the comments to the chat, and temporarily lock the post. I think you don't like to suspend a user, particularly a high rep one, only because he lost the control in an overheated comment flow. It would help also in this case. – peterh Sep 6 '17 at 16:53
  • @JonClements I think this argument indirectly assumes, that a partial privilege withdrawal results continual unacceptable behavior with other privileges. In my opinion, it is not always so on all the cases, furthermore, it contradicts the "assume good faith" concept. – peterh Sep 6 '17 at 16:56
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    We don't need to suspend high-rep users just because they lost their cool. We just send them a message asking them to change their behavior. It's only after they ignore our warnings that we suspend. And ignoring moderator warnings is then the real basis for suspension, not the original behavior. – Cody Gray Sep 6 '17 at 17:00
  • @peterh we clear up heated discussions in comments quite often - a lot of the time - the comments vanishing and leaving a comment saying "keep it civil please" is enough. If it keeps occurring we clean up and message - if it's become "a thing" or clearly out of bounds - we suspend. Some people in a hot headed mood will do other things like sling votes around, vandalise posts of someone they're in an argument with etc... Just not being able to comment will shift their focus elsewhere to make their point and we don't want them doing that - so it's best they have a break completely and calm down. – Jon Clements Sep 6 '17 at 17:04
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    @JonClements It is right, but having an intermediate state (between the verbal warning and the suspension), where you don't have to cage anybody, but the bad guys are incapable to continue their actions considered harmful, would extend the possibilities of the conflict solving with the possible minimal harm. If you suspend somebody, you get away not only his possibility to comment, but also to post any useful. – peterh Sep 24 '17 at 13:21
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I'm not opposed to having the system automatically revoke comment privileges once a certain flag threshold has been reached, but that always got tricky in implementation when you consider the possibility of users ganging up on someone (perhaps coordinated through chat). When it comes to taking away privileges, I like being able to say "the system did it, you brought that on yourself."

Having an intermediate ability to stop someone from commenting for a short time has seemed like a good idea in the past, and continues to be something that isn't unworthy of consideration, but it's the the moderator silenced me but not everyone else aspect of this that I don't like.

For a suspension, a conversation happens - you're told precisely why the suspension is in place and have an opportunity to communicate with the moderator privately regarding context and circumstances. Since taking comments away from someone is essentially quieting them, I'd really like the escalation to be to a point where that conversation can happen, hence it's better to just go to a suspension if a moderator positively must stop someone from commenting.

In other words, I don't want to yank comment abilities manually without some kind of messaging happening - it might seem like it's subtle enough for many cases but I worry how much it might cause folks to escalate even more. And if you're going to message, you .. well .. might as well just be issuing a suspension.

It's not a horrible idea, it just stands to inadvertently make situations worse instead of calmer in the face of hot-headed dynamics :)

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    But there are manual review bans. Are those a bad idea too? – Monica Cellio Apr 17 '18 at 20:11
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    I don't like the automatic aspect of it but as a variant of a suspension it would really give me something in my arsenal to specifically target problem behaviors... if a user is just being problematic in comments (overuse/answering in comments/argumentative) and is otherwise a reasonable user, I'd love the ability to revoke this privilege instead of outright suspending them from the site entirely. The important thing, though, is revoking the privilege, so that these users would still have the under-50 rep abilities for commenting on their own posts or on answers to their questions. – Catija Apr 19 '18 at 2:49
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    @Tim Please revisit this. Full suspension is too much (and too public) in many cases (especially for medium to high rep users) when warnings go unheeded, and general behaviour is otherwise unproblematic. Taking away comment everywhere for a short period would be just the right level of enforcement action, similar to disabling suggested edits or review queue participation as Monica mentioned. – Paul White Aug 24 '18 at 9:14
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    @PaulWhite We're very likely going to implement automatic throttling based on history, and probably going to warn if something looks unfriendly prior to posting it. I feel strongly that the emotional labor moderators would undertake defending "taking away someone's ability to speak" is just too onerous of an ask, and the system should be doing it. But, the system should be doing it. – Tim Post Aug 24 '18 at 11:34

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