Rude comments are bad, and should be removed as soon as possible. Think that at this point in time, there's no doubt about that.

One pretty simple change that can help a lot in this direction is to show the count of red flags a comment has, where the score is usually shown, or below the score if it got any:

count of comment flags is visible

This will show only the amount of rude/abusive flags the comment received (including from logged in users) which did not expire.

Main benefits

  • User who cast a flag will see immediate visual result.
  • People seeing it would look into possible hidden, rude, meaning in the comment.
  • Most likely much faster deletion time of rude comments.

Possible downsides

  • Pile up flagging of comments which are not really rude or abusive.
  • Antagonizing long time users who suddenly see their comments being marked like this.


  • For (1) there is already a big blue box says "Thanks, we will take a look". – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:02
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    For (2) and (3) -- if it's obviously rude then many people will find it rude and flag it anyway. If it isn't then it probably won't annoy many people. – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:03
  • @user202729 for (1), the blue box goes away quickly and doesn't show ever again. As for "many people will find it rude", well, on smaller sites there aren't many users, and many people don't read all comments. So having such a visual indicator will draw their attention. – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:14
  • The upvote button disappears, too. – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:17
  • @user202729 no it's not. It stays there, highlighted, after you upvote. Both for posts and for comments. – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:19
  • It does disappear for comments. No idea why would you upvote a comment you flag as spam, anyway. – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:25
  • @user202729 Oh, you mean after you flag. Right. But only few understand that the lack of upvote option is result of flagging so it really can't be considered as visual indication result of the flagging. – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:26
  • Alternatively it's possible to make a "red flag queue" for high rep users (not just moderators), with (similar? but faster) effect. – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:28
  • @user202729 that's already suggested. (Seen it before posting) – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:29
  • After you flag a comment, does the flag button not turn red and stay red for you forever? – thesecretmaster Jun 24 '18 at 15:30
  • @thesecretmaster only when you hover – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:32
  • Given that the other FR has a lot of support (upvotes) but still not implemented, ... – user202729 Jun 24 '18 at 15:33
  • "to show the count of red flags a comment has, where the score usually show, or below the score if it got any" Would it look like in your example? Else it could be mistaken for the score. – Anne Daunted Jun 24 '18 at 15:43
  • @AnneDaunted yes it must be very clear it is not the score.. – Shadow Jun 24 '18 at 15:44
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    You insensitive clod! Revealing that only gives room for moar noise like comment when you flag and You're rude yourself to name a few. Not a good idea. Better think about ways to reduce the need for these comments at all. .... ;) – rene Jun 24 '18 at 17:44

Another downside: drama. Consider this scenario: Two users are arguing with each other in comments. One of them now sees that some of his or her comments were flagged as rude, accuses the other one of doing that, and casts some retaliatory flags. The other user, who hadn't actually flagged anything, takes umbrage at the unfair accusations and returns fire. Soon the fight spills over onto other questions and answers, usually old ones. Moderators get a mess to clean up.

Why do I think this is a plausible concern? Because we already see it with downvotes, revenge downvotes, and accusatory comments. If we make flags more public than they are now, then it's reasonable to expect that a flagged user with a known sparring partner would behave as badly as a downvoted user with a known sparring partner does. (Maybe worse, because flags don't cost you any reputation, but flags have some auto-limits that would eventually help.)

A possible counter-argument to this issue is chat flags. Chat flags are visible (anonymously) to everybody on that chat server with 10k reputation. A single rude/abusive flag in chat can be seen by hundreds of people. (I don't know if people can see that their own messages have been flagged.) So how has this worked out for chat? I don't have good data here; sometimes rude messages are removed promptly, and other times people flood into a chat room in response to flags and suddenly the room is talking about flags -- "who flagged that and summoned people?" or similar sentiments. Sometimes that gets ugly, though I suspect these cases are a minority. Making chat flags broadly visible is probably a necessary evil -- flags are only delivered to people currently in chat, unlike flags on Q&A sites that are seen by moderators later.

Before making comment flags more visible than they are now, I'd want so see some more analysis of the drama issue. Looking at chat could be helpful, but that's hard for most of us to do.

  • "I don't know if people can see that their own messages have been flagged." We can go to Tavern on the Meta to test it out. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jun 25 '18 at 2:39
  • Good point, I didn't give this aspect enough thought before. – Shadow Jun 26 '18 at 8:09

I'm not sure the benefits are benefits here.

User who cast a flag will see immediate visual result.

But you know you flagged it. And having a symbol showing you flagged it will have the same result.

People seeing it would look into possible hidden, rude, meaning in the comment.

Or figure its a cheap flag. And to a certain extent, if you're looking for hidden rude meanings, you might.

Most likely much faster deletion time of rude comments.

Eh maybe, but I'd rather engagement and proper oversight by the community over raw speed. Else we'd be able to chuck something smokey style at it anyway.

And here's another point - if folks are throwing about R/A flags, we might be having a problem with one or more users. Flag drama aside, it might be nice to have folks actually look at it. Sometimes you need more than to make it just go away, especially on broader interpersonal conflicts.

So I don't particularly think this helps much.

  • As for visual result: people love to see it in front of them, it's just a reminder. Not sure what you mean with "cheap flag", but IMO if someone will take a look on the comment after seeing the flag and still won't find it abusive/rude they'll just move on without over thinking it. Or flag anyway, but I mentioned already "Pile up flagging" as possible downside. And as for "engagement and proper oversight by the community over raw speed", well, that's just not happening. – Shadow Jun 26 '18 at 8:14

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