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Sometimes or rather "sometimes" I see heated arguments in comments. I try to flag these.

I don't want to overburden the diamond mods if they take a look at flagged comments. Also, some arguments last like 10, 20, more comments so I don't want to waste time flagging every single comment.

However I've noticed if I flag one or two comments only those comments get deleted (even if there are many, many comments).

So should I flag each comment individually? IIRC 6 flags delete a comment. Or would it be better to flag "in need of moderator intervention"?

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    $\begingroup$ Question: do you flag the very first comment that you think started the entire heated exchange? Maybe it might be a good idea for normal users to flag both the first and the latest comment in such an exchange, and let mods decide what to do in the comments between them? $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Nov 9 '17 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M.isnotamathematician I usually flag whatever was the most obvious example of rudeness (blatant name calling etc) and hope the mods figure out what to do with the rest. Things don't normally go from civil to "you ___" with nothing inbetween. But I find that only that comment gets deleted. $\endgroup$ – user223391 Nov 9 '17 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ Flagging each comment considered as inappropriate or offensive might be helpful, but flagging just the first and the last comment in a inappropriate exchange is another good option. It gives us a signal that there isn't just a "local" issue. If some blatantly abusive comment shows up in the review queue, sometimes I hit the delete button without reviewing the whole conversation. Multiple flags are an incentive to do so. $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Nov 9 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ I've had success using the "in need of moderation attention" flag in which I indicate, more or less, first and last comment in a string of comments I find inappropriate, $\endgroup$ – Namaste Nov 9 '17 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ I recall Willie Wong explaining his preference as a moderator on this a while ago. Well, quite a while ago. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 10 '17 at 8:03
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As you said there are two main options:

  1. Flag each comment that is in need for deletion.

  2. Cast one "other" flag on a comment or often even better the post and say that there are several comments that should be deleted (giving some reasonably precise indication which one you mean; of course sometimes it is self-explanatory).

For me either is fine. Regarding the threshold usually I'd put it at about three comments. Below do the first, above do the second. But also see the last point below.

Some reasons for this:

  • As Jack said moderators are first shown flagged comments in isolation (with an option to 'zoom in'). Thus "of course the mods will anyway see the one just in between my two flags too" might by a misconception. I often click through to the post, but not always and even then, see below.

  • Even when in the thread a "flag" is not shown next to the flagged comment. Instead there is an overlay in the lower part of the screen listing the flagged comments. One can act either on the comment itself or in that overlay. Both is convenient enough but having to switch is a bit inconvenient. This is why I find having several yet not all comments flagged a bit inconvenient. For the same reason having very many comments flagged is also a slight inconvenience as the overlay gets crowded. It's not a big deal either way, as one can minimize the overlay and just proceed, but since you asked for preferences.

  • Moderators have only few options related to comment flags (as opposed to post flags). Basically you should only flag comments that you think should be deleted (or maybe trimmed by an edit to extract some swearword or some such thing). In other words, do not cast an "other" flag with a "for your information"-message on comments; cast it on the post. If it's on a comment it is somewhat tricky not to decline the flag while preserving the comment. Moreover, a handled flag on the post is more easily findable down the road.

  • As comment flags can autodelete there is some point in actually flagging comments. Especially if the comment is short and stereotypically flag worthy. The six flags deleted is for posts. For comments it is more nuanced. In clear cases I believe a unique flag can suffice, and three often should do.

Summary: Either flag each comment or cast one other flag explaining the situation.

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