Especially in light of recent changes to comment flagging so that now we distinguish between comments that are chatty, flagged for general reasons, or are rude/offensive, could we have some sort of heuristic that bans people from leaving comments if they have too many comments correctly flagged as rude/offensive?

Restoring the user's ability to comment could be done via having them contribute more answers. Answers are not the same as comments of course, but that's a pretty decent way to track someone's positive contribution to the site.

Alternatively, the ban could be time-based and just put the user in an automatic timeout for a few days with an appropriate message that'd let them know that too many of their comments have been deemed rude or offensive by the community.

Note: I'm thinking just about rude and offensive comments here. Comments flagged as "chatty" or "general" would be not count.

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    Whatever happens here, anyone should still be able to comment on their own questions, any answer on their questions and their own answers even if they do get comment banned. May 21, 2011 at 4:40
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    how often does this come up? This seems to me to be covered by a regular timed suspension. May 21, 2011 at 5:10
  • @JeffMercado Good point.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 21, 2011 at 5:17
  • need a way to revert this somehow foremost. meaning there should somehow be a set of steps or procedures so that someone can come out of this...it should be explicitly explained in the faq or some other documentation...
    – deostroll
    May 21, 2011 at 5:18
  • @JeffAtwood A suspension cuts off all site participation. I'm thinking along the lines of a slap on the wrist that cuts out a non-essential part of the site. (I do have a specific user in mind. If I recall, he's been warned, but not suspended.)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 21, 2011 at 5:23
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1 Answer 1


I think this is a bit of a micro-optimization. Shouldn't a warning and a timed suspension by a moderator suffice?

If someone is leaving offensive comments, even after being warned, under what rationale do they not deserve a timed suspension? Why extend them the courtesy of merely removing their ability to comment? Help me understand the justification here for being so forgiving.

(Also, we haven't seen a need for this on Stack Overflow which is 1,000 times larger, so I am rather surprised mean-spirited comments would be so pernicious a problem on programmers to merit some kind of special code changes.)

  • 8
    I agree, it's better to put a troll in the penalty box than duct tape its mouth shut while leaving it free to come up with new and improved ways of being annoying.
    – user50049
    May 21, 2011 at 5:39
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    A year later, I'm wondering if I spoke too soon.
    – user50049
    May 28, 2012 at 19:30
  • bring it up with Shog if necessary May 29, 2012 at 3:54

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