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My three comment flags were declined in succession.

These were the three flagged comments:

Flagged comment deleted but flag declined(accidental?) enter image description here

Flagged comment declined

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Flagged comment declined

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Could the moderator who declined the flags explain the reason for denial? Is it due to the speed at which I flagged? I just want to improve my idea on reaction to comments here.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Safdar, that was me trying the new tools somewhat clumsily. I based my response on the guidance here. In hindsight at least two of the flags were reasonable (the first and third). The third was an oversight on my part because I did not see that the comment had been incorporated into the post. The second flag I rejected because it would have resulted in dangling comments. Still, probably the lot should be removed. Anyway, I'll work to improve. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 28 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ I used to flag all comments until andselisk told me it clutters your screen. Now I flag the top comment just to bring it to your attention. $\endgroup$ Apr 29 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ That makes sense, stick to your approach then. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    Apr 29 at 5:34
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    $\begingroup$ Might as well add here: Allow comments to serve their function ("ripen"). Don't delete recent comments on new posts (unless rude or spurious). $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn Mod
    May 3 at 9:18
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I take this opportunity of wrapping up Buck's comment to remind that comments are not meant to stay forever and it is totally fine to flag other's comments, suggest to move entire comment section to chat, or delete your own comments the very moment they become useless. Some of them are just noise and have to be nuked. Some are “crutches” to support a post, and once the post “recovers” (i.e., gets edited) by taking the comments into consideration, the comments have to go away.

A sheer number of comments dominates the number of Q&As posts combined, so a review queue for handling comment flags might get busy at times. Especially if a marshal badge hunter joins a party:) There is nothing wrong with flagging numerous comments at once, but mods are also humans (most of us are) and may misjudge certain things. In order to react to these flags, mods have to dive in and understand what the post is about, what a commentator is trying to bring to the table, how it all makes sense in a context of both post and conversation, then possibly do some editing or site searching, and finally complete the review.

I would say handling comments flags is one of the trickiest and least rewarding review jobs, so please don't be disappointed if mods didn't reacted the expected way. Unless there is a pattern, usually there is need to worry about unfair flag handling. Anyway, you did the right thing by posting a question on Meta. Also, there is What are declined flags, and what should I do about them? worth reading, although IMO it's only tangentially relevant in this case.

Briefly, there is only one flag I don't quite agree with, and it is the second one:

comments section for question https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/38653

Flagging one comment out of the discussion defeats the purpose of that discussion. If you think the discussion is irrelevant, then flag an entire chain of comments. Picking one comment out of a bunch is tricky and doesn't always make sense as it leaves dangling narration.

The flags you cast on the first post are now accepted. The third flag was also on point, and I deleted ron's comment myself as redundant because its content is now in the answer.

Thank you for participating in site cleaning, and we will try to minimize inconveniences due to perturbations in the mod team.

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  • $\begingroup$ to flag them all or not? I can do either.. my flagging one comment is to bring the whole thread to your attention as I said above in my comments to Buck Thorn.. $\endgroup$ Apr 29 at 10:23
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    $\begingroup$ I don't remember telling you that flagging all comments clutters our screen. Probably that was a note regarding 20 or more comments being moved to chat. Either way, common sense should be the guidance sometimes. If you don't feel like clicking a flag on every comment, please raise a custom flag and propose a deletion of the comment section. Flagging and deleting numerous comments at once is not a problem. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk Mod
    Apr 29 at 10:28
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    $\begingroup$ I think the one flag suffices comes from me. I always found it easier to see a custom flag on a comment feeling me to look at the whole chain than having to click on every one of them. But that actually only helps for entire threads to be removed. An I think it came from a place where there suddenly were a lot more than 20 comments. We're all human and some things fit my workflow better than other things, that could be different for other people. I guess there is no universal choice, so any workflow should be fine. $\endgroup$ Apr 29 at 16:22
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I totally agree with andselisk that dealing with comment flags is one of the hardest parts to get "right", for several reasons: (1) we often have to read the entire comment thread, and/or the post, to figure out whether to delete one comment; (2) the standard flagging options can be unclear sometimes; (3) at the end of the day it's a judgment call anyway: I might simply disagree with you in that I think the comment is still useful.

Let me just add my 2c about flagging multiple comments. In this answer I use the pronoun "you" generically to refer to everyone who flags comments, so please don't take it personally, as I don't mean to target you specifically. Now, as a comment flagger, you have several options:

  1. Flag literally every comment as "no longer needed". If it's just a small number of comments (let's say 5 or so), then feel free to do this. But if it's a thread of comments, don't do this: it is tiresome for you, tiresome for us, and could potentially reduce our lifespan, because when I see 20 flags at once I get a minor heart attack. :-)

  2. Flag only the first comment in a thread as "no longer needed". Please don't do this, it's very confusing, because it's very hard to interpret what you mean. We can't tell whether you mean "only this one comment is not necessary" or whether you are implicitly flagging the entire thread.

  3. Flag only the first comment for "something else", and explain that the whole thread should be removed. This is excellent, because it is both clear and time-efficient (for both you and us). For the greatest chance of success, you may as well explain to us what exactly you want us to do: this goes back to points (2) and (3) in my first paragraph. What better way to express your intention than typing out some justification (even if short)—and what better way to convince us that you are right!

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