In my opinion, it would be useful for general users to know how moderators feel about comment-flags. I am specifically interested in moderator's view of what constitutes helpful versus counter-productive flagging. I don't need any guidance about blatantly evil comment, or about comments where a user expresses a viewpoint that I disagree with.

I think guidance is necessary given that SE has kind of gone off the deep end with its new CoC. I noticed that one can flag a comment for being unfriendly, unkind, rude, condescending (I was kind of surprised at that, maybe it just hasn't been on my radar). A substantial number of comments here do, in my opinion, count as not being kind or friendly, but I suspect that this is because of the subject matter (law being a cold, hard objective subject matter). Actually rude comments are rare, but I also know that people vary substantially in terms of what counts as "rude" for them.

I do not know what burden it imposes on moderators to flag comments, and therefore (consistent with my goal of improving LSE) whether it is counterproductive to flag comments that are not egregious. So I'm asking for some feedback on the value of users flagging comments, and information on where the line ought to be drawn.

1 Answer 1


We literally slave for minutes a week over the community's flags

Monday is the worst! Today I had to deal with 6 (6!) flags on 3 (3!) comments! And this question.

Joking aside, we are a very small site and generate very few flags as a result. I'm sure the moderators on Stack Overflow are inundated with flags.

Just follow the guidelines:

If anything happens on our site that makes you feel uncomfortable or that, in your opinion, clearly does not belong here, please flag it and bring it to our attention!

Flags are always productive, even if they are declined. They draw our attention to something that you think is important and, even if we ultimately disagree with you, it gives us a feel for what's going on that we might otherwise miss. I'm pretty sure I visit every question but I only revisit if I'm interested in seeing an answer or something (votes, @me or flags) draws me back - a lot can change between visits.

Unkind, Unfriendly

Something can be not kind/friendly and still be not unkind/unfriendly. The code of conduct gives examples of unfriendly and friendly but there is also neutral:

  • Try Googling Invariance and Covariance.
  • This is about cement board, that's about drywall.
  • Are you asking how to add a swap after system installation?
  • Why are we even commenting here? The edit speaks for itself

Now, while these lack the warm and fuzzies of the friendly comments, they are not unfriendly and have the underrated virtue of being concise.

Unfriendly or unkind comments are a bit like hard-core pornography – I know it when I see it. I would expect that they are right on, if not over, the border of rudeness or condescension.

That said, the tone can be hard to pick up in short text so things should not be read with an overly critical eye.

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