I flagged many, but not all, of the comments on this question and associated answer as not needed/conversational. The flags were declined.

They are mostly talking about the physical makeup of money, inflation and, whether one of their friends in the 1970s would have purchased a beer or cannabis resin with extra money. Some examples (although I don't want to get bogged down in this specific instance; I'm more interested in flagging practice generally):

In the 1970s a friend washed, in a launderette, a pair of jeans with a one-pound note in a pocket. It was real money in those days for a young student. Worth around 12 US dollars in today's values. He sent it to the Bank of England and they mailed him a £1 postal order to cash at a post office.

I don't know where you got that from, but around here, nobody but car dealers and jewelers regularly come in contact with 200 euro bills. Most transactions requiring bills that size are now made electronically. Lots of shops will not accept 500 and 200 bills.

in fact knowing this guy he would have spent £1 of fun money on cannabis resin, and it would have got him around 2 or 3 grams, and you can't really buy that stuff these days. I don't know what £10 would buy now, as I don't use recreational drugs

Can a person who reviews such flags explain how the comments are helpful so that I can be more selective in my flagging (if you even mind that I have over-flagged in this instance)? Or, if it's alright that I might be raising flags that sometimes are declined, let me know that too (i.e. I should just keep flagging as I see it and you'll just decline what you disagree with and that's all fine - I found this other answer after writing this question). I just don't want to be cluttering your queues.

I appreciate any insight into how moderators approach these. To be clear, I am not critical of the approach taken by moderators to these particular flags; it just doesn't match my prior understanding, and am looking for understanding of how the moderators view things to help guide my own flagging behaviour. Hopefully this is also helpful to others.

  • They all seem to be totally 'not-needed' to me.
    – user438383
    Nov 23, 2022 at 16:51
  • It does take some time to handle each comment flag, and only moderators can handle those, and they go into the same queue as every other (more serious) flag, so my initial reaction is, "Please err on the side of not flagging comments." But there's probably some more canonical guidance on this and I need more time than I have in the next few days to put together a proper answer.....
    – feetwet Mod
    Nov 24, 2022 at 4:00

3 Answers 3


I also flagged the comments after seeing this post.

My flag on this comment also got rejected:

I once ran a pair of blue jeans through the cycles through which a washing machine puts them and then found that I had left three twenty-dollar bills in one of the pockets. That is my only experience of money laundering.

I have to say I am quite curious as to how this doesn't quality as being either "outdated, conversational or not relevant to this post.". To me, this is the very definition of conversational.

  • 1
    Outdated:no, conversional: yes, not relevant: no, makes me smile: yes - that comment can stay.
    – Dale M Mod
    Nov 25, 2022 at 11:06

We respond to flags

If you flag it, we look at it and we have to make a decision to delete or let them slide. There has been criticism in the past of heavy handedness in deleting comments (How to deal with comments?). Now there is criticism for leaving them be. Just one more cross to bear.

My position now is to let them lie; particularly if the comment makes me smile. People who want to read the comments will read them; people who don’t will ignore them. Chatty/funny comments are fine; only if the comment thread gets so long that no sensible person is going to read it does it get moved to chat. We get an automatic notification at 20 comments in 7 days; that’ll do for me.

As Mao said “let a hundred flowers bloom; fortunately we don’t have his power to become a genocidal maniac if we don’t like the flowers. Comments are like fairy floss: ephemeral, insubstantial, bad for you, and not very satisfying. If something really needs to change, edit the post - that’s why you were given the privilege.

What we don’t want is argumentative, nasty, or that generate into pointless bickering. If they don’t do that

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  • 2
    Fair enough, but this feels much too arbitrary to me. I suppose I’m just used to much stricter applications of the rules on other subs than they are here. The ‘jokes’ make me feel like I’m browsing Reddit not SE, and are irritating to parse through when searching for other relevant comments, but I guess it’s up to the mods to decide the general tone of the sub.
    – user438383
    Nov 25, 2022 at 17:43

Handling of comments is increasingly arbitrary on LawSE, but users can help by being more reasonable and exercising some self-restraint when it comes to flagging. As feetwet said very politely: Please err on the side of not flagging comments.

Although I agree that the comments you quote here are irrelevant, it is frivolous to call a mod's attention for something like this. That extent of "housekeeping by mods" is unnecessary, in part because SE has functionality that automates the creation of chatrooms in instances of intense activity in the comments. The fact that, by the time you flagged all those comments, no automated chatrooms had ensued there reflects that flaggers are being too intolerant and demanding.

By contrast, some moderator keeps removing comments that certainly contribute to improvement or clarification of posts. One recent example relates to one of your currently deleted posts, where you and I made some comments:

screenshot of removed comments - transcription follows


Me: Interestingly you were the first one who VTC both posts, yet the points you develop in this answer have nothing to do with the purported reason for VTC (namely, the remark about "Questions that clearly ask for specific legal advice"). If your stated reason for VTC was a different one, this reflects a flaw in the functionality about closing posts. Nor does your criticism apply to either of the OP's posts. The OP did not intersperse "a bunch" of facts/assumptions with questions. Even if he did, that would not be a good reason for VTC. The OP's questions mostly paraphrase his central inquiry.

You: As I said, I am merely providing points for improvement. If the question author tells me this is not welcome, I will delete this answer.

Me: "I am merely providing points for improvement." The OP's question literally is "Why is this question off topic?" He is trying to make sense of why some users are voting to close his posts. Suggesting the OP not to intersperse "a bunch of" facts/assumptions with questions is unwarranted and does not help him, in part because he did not do that in the first place. Asking him whether he meant "this or that" should have been done via comments on his posts (after all, comments also are for clarifications), not in lieu of an explanation of why you repeatedly voted to close them.

You: That's okay. These are just my views. I'll trust Bruce to tell me if he finds them unhelpful.

These comments should have been preserved because they promote discernment [among the audience] as to whether an answer truly addresses the OP's actual concern. That instance was notorious because, as I pointed out, you repeatedly were the first one VTC the OP's posts and yet eluded explaining on LawMeta your reasons for doing so. Nevertheless, apparently some mod thought it is better to hinder discernment and suppress critical thinking (at least when articulated by certain users).

  • 1
    Your comments on this post were deleted because your interlocutor deleted theirs and yours didn’t make sense without them.
    – Dale M Mod
    Nov 25, 2022 at 11:09
  • 1
    @DaleM "your interlocutor deleted theirs and yours didn’t make sense without them." Anyone can corroborate from the screenshot that your explanation is just a pretext. I --not the interlocutor-- posted the first comment on her answer. Her decision to delete her subsequent comments does not diminish the relevance of mine, especially the first one. My comments there remain intelligible and relevant insofar as the wording in that answer remains evasive, which is why you should have refrained from removing them. Nov 25, 2022 at 16:58

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