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What are our standards for flagging comments here? I've noted that most mods here have different standards for comment flags than are found on other sites. Because of such, nearly half of my comment flags have been declined, mostly obsolete and chatty flags. I've mostly given up flagging comments here except for blatantly rude comments.

For example, I've flagged comments suggesting the author change something in the post after the author has made the said changes as obsolete. However, they have been repeatedly declined. As I understand it, comments are of ephemeral importance. Once they've fulfilled their purpose (in this case notifying the author of needed changes), they are obsolete. They are just noise. On other sites, I generally flag these as obsolete, but I've given up doing that here.

Other examples of comments that I see as too chatty or obsolete are "+1 nice answer", "@user I've made the changes" (after the user has been given a chance too read it of course), or "happy new year". I've flagged comments like these and all have been declined.

Could we have some official consensus on comment flags (especially pertaining to obsolete and too chatty flags)?

  • It's nice that you care enough to flag obsolete comments. To me, they're not such a big deal. More pressing "janitorial" tasks, in my opinion, would be to write so-called "tag wikis" (capsule descriptions of content labeled with a tag) and to re-tag questions very quickly after they first appear. The former task is something anyone can do, the latter is something best done by moderators and long-standing, high-rep users (personified "institutional memory"). – Eugene Seidel Jun 29 '13 at 6:43
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General Philosophy and Speech

I think comments are influenced by the culture of the community. If new joiners see a lot of "Thank you" comments they may feel obliged to thank the answerer themselves. I did this myself (even though I knew it was in stark contrast from other SEs I had been active on).

If we start flagging these comments and cleaning them up then this culture will slowly start to change and one day we will find they have stopped coming in so frequently.

Here particularly, because of the nature of the subject, I believe extended discussions will happen from time to time --especially on areas that have not yet been extensively researched. This will, therefore, put a lot of comments in the "obsolete" category.

Where do I stand?

I agree with the OP. Chatty comments such as "thank you", "me too", "I disagree, -1" do not really add to the quality of the post. We should only allow comments that really improve the quality of the post (e.g., those that point out problems with a post/other comment, or those that add extra information --to be used when the commentator has no edit privileges or wants to discuss the edit first, or those that explain why someone down voted a post etc.).

How practical will this be?

Remember the number of comments posted daily far exceeds the number of posts/edits made. While flagging comments cleans up the website, I think it should not set a precedent for future moderators to clean them up religiously.

So I would vote that we should definitely continue flagging "thank you" styled comments but wait and see what other moderators say on flagging obsolete comments.

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