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My flags on this post were declined.

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Not only were they declined, very quickly, my comments were deleted from under the post.

Why were these declined?

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    The comments were deleted as far as I can tell, though I can't know if this happened at the same time as the flags were declined, or whether a different moderator deleted them later. – Mad Scientist Mar 7 at 11:53
  • @MadScientist yes the comments were deleted, so obviously not considered being worthwhile on the site, but the flags were declined. On Stack Overflow the mods stand up and account for their actions. I'm curious to see what happens here. – Yvette Colomb Mar 7 at 11:54
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    Can you explain why you feel a harassment, bigotry or abuse flag was warranted for these comments? They seem unkind, but not really abusive – Erik A Mar 7 at 12:41
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    @ErikA all the mods know they mean the same thing behind the scenes. This person has a history of openly insulting me, which I mentioned and yet my comment was deleted and my flags declined. Good to know it's ok for me to work my behind off for the site and then it's ok for people to insult me. – Yvette Colomb Mar 7 at 13:04
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    Unfortunately, by being a mod you've put yourself in a position where you have to allow a bit of public scrutiny imo (similar to being an elected official in a country). I'm certainly not saying I thought these comments were okay, I just thought that specific flag was reserved for the worst of the worst, e.g. comments with clear insults, threats, racism, etc., and this wasn't it. You working really hard is certainly appreciated, but unrelated to how your flags should be handled. – Erik A Mar 7 at 13:11
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    Please have a look at the FAQ's When should I flag a comment? section, where it's explained why your flags were declined (and had to be). You may also want to change the title of your question to "Why are these comments not considered harrassment, bigotry, or abuse on the site?", which is a bit more precise. You are welcome! – Anne Daunted Mar 7 at 14:45
  • +1 For what it's worth, I disagree with the rejection of most of the comments I've marked as impolite. Then again, I acknowledge that this is subjective. What I believe to be impolite is not necessarily what other believe to be impolite. So, while I also thing that this comment was impolite (and would have marked it so had I been doing so), I can't take somebody else to task for thinking it wasn't impolite . . . – Jason Bassford Mar 7 at 21:57
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    FWIW I consider both screenshotted comments to be outside of reasonable discourse and worthy of at least an "unkind" flag. – Magisch Mar 8 at 13:51
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    @user3956566 Actually, not all the mods knew the two flag classes are equivalent. This mod only found out a couple of minutes ago. And my entire argument here was based on the assumption that harassment flags are not th same as "unkind" flags. I would certainly have understood an "unkind" flag on that second comment. – terdon Mar 8 at 17:12
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I really don't see any abuse here. In the first comment, I see a user who doesn't consider you a good mod. That's their prerogative and all they did is say so. They didn't insult you, they didn't call you names. They just said you don't deserve to be a moderator. Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

The second comment is harder to judge without context, but might be read as calling you a joker. OK, that's a bit more borderline, but it's hardly a serious insult or offensive, let alone abuse.

It just looks to me like you've pissed off a user. Well, that comes with the territory. I don't think any mod on the network has ever managed to be a mod without pissing off someone or other. It's part of the job description. So since pissing people off is something that happens when you moderate a site, especially one as large as SO, it is reasonable to expect that some users will think you should not be a mod. I have certainly been told I shouldn't be a mod, and more than once. However, I have also been told, by multiple users, that I'm a good mod and do a good job and all that jazz. Since the latter is far more common than the former, I tend to focus on that and not get too worked up about the few people who think I'm bad at this. Those are usually the people I have had to be strict with, and that reaction is expected.

In conclusion, I really don't think these comments were out of line and I can understand why a mod would reject the flags. Users are under no obligation to like each other, and that extends to mods. More importantly, I think it's essential that users be allowed to openly criticize mods. We're the ones who wield what little power there is in this relationship, and I am very uncomfortable with the idea of making criticism of a moderator a flaggable offense.

So while I can maybe understand that calling someone a joker is pushing it, claiming that someone shouldn't be a mod seems well within the rules. And removing comments just because they criticize a mod feels like a very slippery slope.


I just learned that apparently the system treats "harassment" flags and "unkind" flags in exactly the same way. This was not intuitive at all for me. So, just to set the record straight, had I been the one handling these flags, I would have validated an "unkind" flag, just not an "abuse" one.

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    As a Stack Overflow moderator, you quickly come to understand that pissing someone off means you're doing a good job of moderating. I completely agree that it is essential to allow open criticism of moderators' actions on Meta sites, as long as it doesn't devolve into outright personal attacks. The more moderation that is done (and we do plenty of it to maintain our quality standards), the more important transparency and criticism become. I regularly reject flags on comments on Meta SO for similar reasons, even when I thoroughly disagree with the commenter's argument. – Cody Gray Mar 7 at 21:58
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They were not considered appropriate.

It was a heated discussion - with a lot of ill feelings floating around and folks said regrettable things.

Now, one of the hard parts with having tiered flags for comments is - we need to decide whether harassment et al was intended, and a mod has to decide on the spot to what the best course of action is. In this case indisputably those comments had to go - there were a lot of ill feelings and such going around, and not just from the flagged set of comments. So as a whole - I'd guess we assumed good intent here from the user, but felt the comments deleted had to go.

So - the moderator in question took what they felt was the best option they had, looking at the totality of comments on what was an extremely controversial topic. We'll talk about it - and in future occurrences, continue to try our best to make the decisions we feel are fairest in the circumstances.

  • Out of curiosity, was it not an option to mark them as "disputed"? (Apart from that, I think you folks made a good call - get rid of the comments asap.) – S.L. Barth Mar 7 at 12:44
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    @S.L.Barth "Disputed" is what happens when users disagree - so a not an answer flag will be disputed when it's deemed acceptable in review. Moderator action are always "decline"s. Additionally, on comments there's never "disputed". – Catija Mar 7 at 12:47
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    literally with comments, we can either accept or dismiss flags - there's no option in between. – Journeyman Geek Mar 7 at 12:58
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    I didn't say anything regrettable. But your answer implies this. – Yvette Colomb Mar 7 at 12:59
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    I was talking about the comment thread as a whole actually, and a lot of the folks involved – Journeyman Geek Mar 7 at 13:01

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