5

I think it would be beneficial to be able to see comments of mine that have had unfriendly flags ("It contains harassment, bigotry, or abuse." and "It's unfriendly or unkind.") lodged against them. After considering the tone of comments I've made after the fact, I wonder if the community considers what I've written as unkind, and if I need to rethink my wording (I'm often quite blunt). In the current system, there's no way for me to self-check.

It would be nice to be able to see:

  • The text of the comment
  • Which flag specifically it was
  • What the result of the flag was (although this could be inferred by checking if the comment was deleted or not, if a link to the comment was provided).

I don't care to see the Mod that handled it, or the user that lodged it (although for the latter, it may be interesting to see their rep, rounded to the closest power of 10).

The only major downside I can see is it may cause an uptick in Meta questions around the topic, but discussion is always good.

14

TLDR: no. When in doubt, don't press "enter comment".

Couple of things...

After considering the tone of comments I've made after the fact, I wonder if the community considers what I've written as unkind, and if I need to rethink my wording (I'm often quite blunt).

Self-criticism isn't a bad thing, far from it. But I'm not sure being able to see flags would be the best way to do it. Flags, after all, are cast by a couple users; if you want the community's opinion, I think the best way to do that is post a sample of those on the per-site Meta and ask "am I crossing a line? How could I rephrase that?".

This will allow people to give you far more insight than a generic flag reason, and will also make it more visible to "the community" (rather than waiting for the couple users mentioned above).

All in all though, if you already think your comment might be seen as unfriendly, either trim it down or, if you can't, don't post it. Better to avoid misunderstandings...

or the user that lodged it (although for the latter, it may be interesting to see their rep, rounded to the closest power of 10).

No. Rep or no rep, any user can appreciate the rudeness of a comment the same. Rep is supposed to reflect how much the community trusts you and how you understand it, sure... But the Code of Conduct does not vary with it. Either be nice, or go take a walk.

The only major downside I can see is it may cause an uptick in Meta questions around the topic, but discussion is always good.

Sure, constructive debates are healthy and I'm more than willing to think some people would like to improve the quality of their comments and be ready to do that in a polite way. But I happen to have been on the net recently and... I do think there would be more people engaging in pointless, eternal rants about "c'mon that wasn't abusive you guys are overdoing it", not appealing for discussion.

I trust the former to be able to learn by themselves or by other means (chat, checking their comments...). It's not worth inviting all the other troubleshooters to the party.

4

I originally posted this on If my comment is flagged "Unfriendly or unkind" how do I know?, in response to an answer there with a suggested approach, and then saw this question. I do agree with the accepted answer here of "when in doubt, don't", but since some users won't be as perceptive, I'll offer this suggestion:

Letting users know they're on thin ice before they fall in is a good goal. We do this with some other problem areas -- if you're teetering on the edge of a question ban you get a notice when you try to ask a question, and if too many recent flags have been dismissed you get a warning. So I agree that doing something with comments -- which on some sites are the majority of the moderation work! -- would be nice.

On the other hand, I'm concerned about the drama if we notify everybody on every deletion. Comments are meant to be transient, and we already see angry posts on meta sometimes on the theme of "why did you delete my comment?!". So I'd like to find something that's a little more focused on helping the user improve instead of reliving past arguments, if we can.

And that brings me back to question blocks and flag blocks. You get warnings about those when you are about to engage in the activity where you've had problems. Let's explore doing the same with comments: when you click "add comment", if too many of your recent comments have been (successfully) flagged as rude or unkind, you get a pop-up notice saying something like "hey, some of your recent comments (blah blah blah); please keep these guidelines in mind (link to help page on what comments are for and/or CoC)".

This answer suggests letting people see their recently-flagged comments. If we give users this kind of just-in-time guidance we're going to need to show them examples (like they can see with their questions and flags). One concern I have with such a page is that it would require moderators to handle messy comment threads differently; sometimes we just purge everything instead of evaluating individual flags. A way to mitigate that would be to show, on this page of recently-flagged comments, something like "thread purged" when that happens. So yeah, you had a comment that was flagged as unfriendly, and maybe it was or maybe it got caught up in the purge, but either way, reread what you wrote and think about how to do better next time. Because the focus is on future behavior, and we never promised anybody a complete accounting of every single action taken on their content, so it's ok to have some fuzziness here. If the user keeps posting rude comments and gets a mod message or suspension, "but those were all purges!" isn't an excuse. We're giving people information; it's up to them to review it.

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