With the changes in the Code of Conduct and all the publicity around being unwelcoming. It feels like we've been on an express train of changes.

I could be wrong, but I suspect there's been a rise in comment flags on Stack Overflow (being a mod there). I haven't noticed a change on Pets.se (being a mod there), but it's a smaller site and may not be obvious. I'm wondering if there's been a rise across the network.

  • Are we able to get some statistics on the pattern of flagging since the welcoming blog in April this year?

  • With some key points to match significant points in time and track it for a while to come please?

  • It would also be useful to see flag types vs marked helpful/declined.

  • Can we also have a network overall and a split of the sites with the most significant flag loads?

Some key points could be:

Stack Overflow Isn’t Very Welcoming. It’s Time for That to Change.

Rolling out the Welcome Wagon: June Update

We'd like your feedback on our new Code of Conduct!

Welcome Wagon: Classifying Comments on Stack Overflow

The second draft of our Code of Conduct is available for feedback and review

Allow new users to flag comments on their own posts (for Stack Overflow only)

Updated comment flagging - Supporting the new Code of Conduct

  • 3
    Who wouldn’t like more information? You have my +1. I think it would be cool to have a comment flagging widget for the mod dashboard to give us some insight into how things are going.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 20:12
  • @ColleenV since we discussed the deleted comments feature, there's been dozens and dozens and dozens of flags. And they're still pouring in. So I'm wondering.
    – user310756
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 20:15
  • 1
    I wonder in this time of transition if we shouldn’t put an age limit on comments that can be flagged, just until things calm down. Like nothing that’s been around for a year gets flagged until we catch up
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 20:17
  • 1
    @ColleenV good idea. I have asked Shog to do some bulk deletion of comments that fall within certain parameters. On SO people write scripts to find comments to flag. I do that too. There's a lot of oooold comments being flagged.
    – user310756
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 20:27
  • We should create an event like "The Commenting" where we delete all comments across all networks, and start over. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 23:01
  • 3
    In the past 24 hours, I have flagged four comments as "unfriendly." (All have been new.) They were all comments I wouldn't have flagged before. In fact, I used to seldom flag that many in a month. I'd be very surprised if this isn't true of other people too. Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 2:14
  • added the bounty, as it seems from the mod perspective comment flags are on the increase. would like to know if this is objective truth
    – user310756
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 11:18
  • 2
    I wonder about a downturn in new & low rep user question downvotes. Even though the questions are as poor.
    – philipxy
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 2:10
  • @philipxy yep and a down turn in older user comment vd upturn new user comments
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 5:52

1 Answer 1


Well... Here are a few annotated charts:

Percentage of comments flagged across all sites since March, by week

Percentage of comments flagged across all sites since March, by week

So, that's kinda boring; it varies by maybe 0.1% or so, topping out under 1.8%.

All comment flags on all sites since March, by week

All comment flags on all sites since March, by week

All rude/unfriendly comment flags on all sites since March, by week

All rude/unfriendly comment flags on all sites since March, by week

(if you look closely, you'll observe what must be communists attacking Ask Patents on May Day)

Percentage of rude/unfriendly comment flags marked helpful since March, by week

Percentage of rude/unfriendly comment flags marked helpful since March, by week

I did one for all comment flags too, but it was super boring since most comment flags are "no longer needed" and most of those are helpful, so you couldn't really see much in the way of variation.

See also:

  • Thanks Shog, much obliged. Is that a typical April fools day spike? I thought we were getting more flags on SO.
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 4:40
  • It looks as though there's a pattern developing on unwarranted flags. I guess we need to wait and see how it pans out.
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 4:49
  • 1
    I wonder if there is any way to tell how many comments get flagged as unfriendly multiple times before they actually get removed. I’ve had a couple flags declined but then the comment eventually gets removed (maybe for a different reason?). I wonder if we shouldn’t be more transparent about what is getting flagged so we can normalize our expectations with each other. I think it would cut down on flags that seem frivolous even though the person flagging was acting in good faith. It’s hard to know where the line is drawn with so little feedback.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 14:52
  • It's definitely possible to look at that, @ColleenV; that kinda gets at a different question, namely: how accurately are the flag reasons capturing the problems that both flaggers and moderators are able to identify? I didn't get into that too much here, but feel free to post a separate question about flag accuracy if you're interested.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:04
  • I don't think that's typical, @YvetteColomb; without digging in further, my guess would be that someone was testing a script for flagging old "thank you" comments... Note that the spike effectively disappears if looking only at flags raised on comments a week old or younger.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:09
  • Can you add some context to this of what percentage of comments are flagged at all? I don't think it's always clear the huge volume of comments some sites, particularly SO, get on a daily basis. 12K flags looks like a lot but, comparatively, it's a small fraction.
    – Catija
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 14:07
  • Added a chart for that, @Catija. It's kinda boring.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 23:39

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