In response to this: Did the comment flag dialog change? Will there be future dialog changes?

The answer gave an overview of what will be changing.

When the Code of Conduct ships, we're replacing "rude or abusive" with two new categories which you could describe as "rude" and "abusive".

This is a little unclear.

Can we have a preview of this change?

  • 4
    There will apparently be an "unwelcoming" flag type. Aug 2, 2018 at 22:56
  • 2
    @JeffreyBosboom ...and all flags asking moderator to delete poor quality content should get a separate category called "be unwelcoming"
    – gnat
    Aug 3, 2018 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


A lot of the discussion that I've seen recently has been concern about whether a comment is "abusive" or whether it fails the welcoming test by being "unfriendly". It's important that users feel comfortable flagging content that is unwelcoming without expecting them to refer to that content as "rude or abusive", so we're breaking the rude and abusive flag into two separate flags.

  1. It contains harassment, bigotry, or abuse.
  2. It's unfriendly or unkind.

Determining what's "bad enough" to be considered rude/abusive is tough on users but also difficult for moderators. Conscientious mods may decline some rude/abusive flags while still deleting the comment, often because they may disagree that the comment was abusive but still not worth keeping around. This can be confusing to users who review their flag history and pay attention when their flags were declined.

The hope is that having this second option will reduce this confusion as users can use the "unfriendly" flag to alert moderators of content that is in that middle place between being simply unneeded and outright abusive. That said, don't overthink this. As many have discussed over the last few months, determining this is subjective. The important thing is that problematic content is dealt with - flagged and removed - regardless of whether it is abusive, unfriendly, or unneeded.

To help, here are some examples and how I'd flag them:

Harassment, bigotry or abuse

Direct attacks on a user or the content they post would fall into the first option:

  • This code is so bad you should feel bad for even asking about it here.
  • You're an idiot.
  • &#&@(& you and your little pony, too.

The three keywords are good guides for what falls into this category, so keep them in mind - for reasons I hope you understand, I've chosen examples that are less extreme.

Unfriendly or unkind

Comments that are snarky, condescending, or dismissive now fit well into this option:

  • This isn't a do-my-homework-for-me site.
  • My question is completely clear! You all are trolling me with these comments!
  • I'm voting to close this because it's just a rant.

These comments aren't necessary but they are more than that, so make use of the new flag.

The current plan is to roll this change out to coincide with the release of the Code of Conduct. If you have any questions, let us know!

  • 5
    Will the unfriendly flag count towards the r/a count? will it raise the auto flag of too many abusive comments?
    – user310756
    Aug 3, 2018 at 5:44
  • Describing the 1st & 3rd bullets & many other example simple helpful statements of fact from staff posts as "snarky, condescending, or dismissive" or "unfriendly or unkind" is inaccurate & unhelpful & reflects a lack of understanding of human interaction. What kinds of comment you want outlawed is a different matter. The best characterization I've seen was in a comment to the effect that you seem to want comments to be addressable to the sensitive 12-year-old child of a sibling. Which is fine if you want it & I would even agree that that could achieve your goals but call things what they are.
    – philipxy
    Aug 3, 2018 at 7:17
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    I have to disagree with the "just a rant" comment. Close votes automatically generate comments, and if I'm voting to close because a post really is just a rant... why is it unfriendly to call it what it is?
    – BJ Myers
    Aug 3, 2018 at 18:05
  • 13
    @BJMyers Because it's specifically used as a way to shut down discussion, particularly in places like Meta. It's also not really useful as a close reason. You're much better off saying "I'm voting to close this question because it doesn't seem to be asking a question we can answer. Please edit your question to focus on the problem you need help solving rather than your displeasure with the system you're using." This gives them actionable advice rather than accusing them of going off the rails.
    – Catija
    Aug 3, 2018 at 18:09
  • 2
    So is It's unfriendly or unkind a superset of It contains harassment, bigotry, or abuse ? IE if nastiness does not quite fit into the former, it is the latter? Aug 8, 2018 at 2:50

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