There are at least two use cases when moderators really need to flag comments:

  1. when the comments to be flagged are on their own posts (e.g. someone tells a mod to go get lost under their own post)
  2. when they are intervening in a diatribe and the comments degenerate (e.g. when a moderator asks a user to fix a post, and the OP tells them to go get lost)

At the moment the guidance is:

  1. do not flag the comments, which is actually the opposite we tell all other users
  2. flag the post with a custom flag so other mods can intervene

The reason not to click flag on the comments is that flag is in fact a delete, no questions asked. This is broken behavior because deletions should have confirmations, and because a deletion should be called delete and not flag. More confusingly there is also a delete link which has almost the same effect.

The correct behavior instead should be

  1. When a mod clicks delete on a comment, ask for an optional/skippable reason (similar to how flags happen today)
  2. When a mod clicks flag on a comment, have the normal flags workflow.
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    I think this has been at least partly asked before as meta.stackexchange.com/q/243970/215590 – PolyGeo Aug 16 '18 at 16:48
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    Comment deletions shouldn't force a reason, just like downvotes shouldn't force a comment. It's just bogging down cleanup. Comments are not important, deleting them is NBD, don't make it a big deal – Vogel612's Shadow Aug 16 '18 at 17:04
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    Bug? This sounds more like a feature request to me. – Monica Cellio Aug 16 '18 at 20:43
  • @MonicaCellio TBF I added both initially, but one got removed at some point – Sklivvz Aug 17 '18 at 8:09

It's important not to break the workflow for rude comments, though. When I see a rude comment as a moderator, I usually delete it by flagging it as rude. Why do I do that? Because enough valid rude flags against the same user raises an alert. That's important because, in my experience, the most common case is that no one mod saw enough to be concerning -- several mods each saw and handled one comment, maybe two.

We need the alert to know about patterns of behavior that require more scrutiny. We need the rude flags to get the alert. But when there's a rude comment, I shouldn't have to wait for a second mod -- it's rude, it violates the code of conduct, it needs to be gone now.

If moderator-raised flags were to become ordinary flags, we'd need a way to get the alerts we get now.

Something that I think meets the spirit of your request without breaking this workflow is: custom ("other") comment flags from moderators get treated like flags from ordinary users, but built-in flag reasons take effect immediately. This would allow one mod to communicate with others about a tricky situation while preserving the ability to flag-delete for the audit trail. If, as a moderator, I actually write a custom reason for a flag, it's presumably because I want another human to read and process it.

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    You would flag and delete, they are different actions. Being used to a workflow does not make it a valid one, in my opinion. Note that "flagging" is entirely optional today. – Sklivvz Aug 16 '18 at 21:17
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    @Sklivvz you said deletions should have confirmation, so it sounded like you want a two-mod operation. – Monica Cellio Aug 16 '18 at 21:29
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    I think your solution from the older question - making custom flags non-immediate meets both of these needs. A mod who's uninvolved can flag as rude immediately with no change to workflow and a mod who's involved can flag with a custom flag (along with pinging someone in chat?) to bring it to the attention of the other mods, who can delete by flagging as rude. – Catija Aug 16 '18 at 21:56
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    @Catija I forgot I wrote that. :-) Yes, I (still) agree. – Monica Cellio Aug 16 '18 at 22:04
  • @Catija it wouldn't. Flag should not delete comments, period. It's called flag, it doesn't delete anything in 99% of cases. There's a delete link as well. It looks like it's misleading on purpose! – Sklivvz Aug 17 '18 at 8:07
  • @Sklivvz do you feel the same way about moderator-cast spam flags? For that matter, closing/reopening requires 5 votes and deleting/undeleting requires 3, so isn't it misleading that a moderator can do it unilaterally? "Mod actions don't require assists" is a pretty consistent pattern now. Not 100%; I use my (mod) NAA flags to send posts to the review queue, for instance, but that's to put it in front of the community. For mod-only stuff, SE assumes that, generally, one mod is as good as another, and if we need to discuss we'll do that. The exception for "other" flags facilitates that. – Monica Cellio Aug 17 '18 at 13:42
  • spam flags are special, a normal user can delete a post with one, so it's not surprising that such a vote is heavy. But there isn't a rule against using them on own posts either -- if someone advertises ci@lis on my question, they get nuked without looking twice, and that's OK. But comment flags are different: there are many different actions that follow a flag and deletion is only one of them. E.g. moving stuff to chat, answering, editing... why should deletion be the "heavy" action on a mod flag? – Sklivvz Aug 17 '18 at 13:55

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