I stopped editing because it makes posts bump on the front page, but I am still trying to do my whack to improve the site. I'd like to know what is the exact policy regarding flags, please answer with a clear Yes/No to each question:

  1. "avoid comments like '+1' or 'thanks' ", is this just a recommendation or any comment including " +/-1 " should be flagged?

  2. are generic positive comments like 'nice post', 'this is an interesting/ useful answer' acceptable or any such comment should be flagged?.

  3. are generic unsubstantiated negative comments without explanations or correction like 'this is not true' acceptable or any such comment should be flagged?.

  4. are negative comments justified by subjective or generic explanations like ' you say it is red, I think it is pink' acceptable or any such comment should be flagged?

  5. should one refrain from flagging comments by users with 10k+ rep, are they allowed to handle flags to their own posts?

  6. can anyone, besides mods, delete comments? Someone has been lately deleting positive comments to my answers and it does not seem accidental.

In my experience I have noticed tha DavidZ is delegated to deal with flags, but probably any mod can answer these questions. I hope that they share a common policy.


This mother meta post is a bit undecided on the matter, but generally advises against leaving such comments, and encourages flagging them. The thing it boils down to is that comments should be signal, not noise. "+1, great post!" is noise .... there's no 100% clear cut policy, and no one will tar and feather you for leaving generic "+1 comments". - ACuriousMind

That is what I noticed, ACuriousMind, discretionary judgement calls. I personally would approve of leaving generic positive comments, as it is a right tribute to the poster and his effort. But, as I said, I just had the impression that some top member [with whom I had divergence of opinions, not you, :) , anyway] was trying to influence of the readers deleting positive comments and my replies to negative comments. I asked DavidZ to restore them, but he declined my request. I draw the conclusion that generic positive comments are not acceptable.

Update: I understand that positive comments are left to the discretion of mods, even though this makes a lottery offlagging, but I ask:" can anyone delete the reply, the refutation of a negative comment at his own discretion?"

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    $\begingroup$ "there's no 100% clear cut policy" Welcome to the world. Nuance and ambiguity are ever-present features of human interaction. Social rules and norms are full of assumptions that you can use good sense and weight competing factors in complicated situation. These site are just the same. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2014 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ @bobie It seems like you might be assuming that because a comment gets deleted, that means it wasn't acceptable. Let me clarify that that's not the case at all. Both acceptable and unacceptable comments get deleted. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 16, 2014 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ By the way bobie: have you been casting a bunch of flags with the message "Just noise" or such? If that's you, while it's great to have active comment flagging, we do have builtin flag reasons "not constructive", "obsolete", or "too chatty" that are better to use when you can. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 18, 2014 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ, 'noise' is a more general term that includes all the others. If I flag a post as 'chatty' and it is not but it is 'not constructive' or 'obsolete', I'd require an extra evaluation on your side and, most of all, the flag might be declined because our judgments differ. Is 'nice post' 'not constructive' or 'chatty' ? $\endgroup$
    – bobie
    Nov 18, 2014 at 8:25
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    $\begingroup$ @bobie no, actually it takes more work for us to process a custom flag. The default flags are grouped so we can run down a list looking for comments all of the same type, but custom flags are listed individually. For something like "nice post" both reasons could apply. Anyway, comment flags don't work like post flags; the flag is marked valid if the comment is deleted, regardless of whether the reason given was the right reason, except for spam/offensive. (And remember flag weight doesn't exist anymore, so why are you worrying about whether your flags get declined?) $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ, all right, I'll sort them out. $\endgroup$
    – bobie
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ Cool, much appreciated. There's no need to spend much time thinking about which of the three reasons to use; in many cases like the once I've been seeing recently, any of them would apply. ("Obsolete" in particular is pretty safe for any comment older than a week or so.) $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ, thanks for this last clarification, David, I used 'obsolete' only for comments that pointed out a typo or mistake that had been corrected. $\endgroup$
    – bobie
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:53

2 Answers 2

  • +1/-1 comments and noise: This mother meta post is a bit undecided on the matter, but generally advises against leaving such comments, and encourages flagging them. The thing it boils down to is that comments should be signal, not noise. "+1, great post!" is noise. "-1, this is false" is also noise. Comments containing "+1" but citing a specific reason for the upvote, pointing out what was particularly worthy about the post contain at least a minimum of signal. Comments containing "-1" but citing a specific reason for the downvote are definitely signal, since they tell others what is wrong about the post. So, there's no 100% clear cut policy, and no one will tar and feather you for leving generic "+1 comments". Yet, sooner or later, such a comment will probably be removed as noise, and you are similarily encouraged to flag noise when you see it.

  • Flags and deletion: A comment is removed when either "enough" flags have been cast on it or when a mod removes it, cf. this mother meta post. Note that authors can also delete their comments at any time.

  • 10k users and flags: Never refrain from doing anything to a post just because the person owning the post/comment is a high reputation user. There is no 10k flag queue anymore, only moderators can see flags.

  • Subjective negative comments: Saying "I think this is not true" carries no information other than that someone, somewhere disagrees. This is noise, and should be treated as such (i.e. be flagged if you feel strongly about it).

  1. Personally I advise against writing "+1" or "-1" or any other explicit indication of how you voted. Your vote already did that. Votes are anonymous in the Stack Exchange system to encourage them to reflect the voters judgement rather than membership in some clique or bandwagon. Likewise comments of approval or disapproval that do not explain, expand-on, or dissect the post itself.

    Explaining why you think a post is wrong is a good comment, adding a "-1" makes it more likely the author will take it as an attack.

    Likewise expanding on a author's thoughts or emphasizing the importance of something in a post carries the message of approve, but just writing "Nice post." doesn't say anything that your vote didn't already say.

    For these reasons I am more likely to take the time to trim a comment thread if I see explicit mention of votes.

  2. Treated in (1)

  3. Treated in (1)

  4. Use your judgement.

  5. 10k users are just like anybody else.

  6. Comments can be removed by anyone with moderation powers (i.e. moderators and certain SE employees), by the comment's author, or by accumulating enough comment flags.

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    $\begingroup$ Irony about “bandwagon effect” is not a convincing argument. Rows of anonymous “+”es or “−”es, in fact, lead to similarly thoughtless and gregarious adoption of active minority’s point of view as it happens in classical, overt me-tooish bandwagons. IMHO anonymity is a curse of StackExchange, and users who deanonymize their votes should be respected and encouraged. $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2014 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @IncnisMrsi I agree with you that anonymous voting is not the best feature of SE ("curse" may be a bit strong). Raise your voice and be counted. That upvote on your comment - that was me. $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    Nov 23, 2014 at 22:55
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    $\begingroup$ "10k users are just like anybody else." That is purely theoretical, dmckee! There are many untouchables. I flagged one just wondering "I'm curious why there are 3 downvotes on this.." , result: declined :) , and then a mod chimes in, giving his personal supposition. I suppose it is out of the question to flag a mod's post. $\endgroup$
    – bobie
    Nov 28, 2014 at 6:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Floris: is “bane” better? Though a moot issue since Ī cease to contribute here. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2014 at 18:10

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