It would be nice to be able to vote down comments.

Sometimes I find users leaving very unhelpful one sentence complaints about questions and/or answers, but it is not nearly serious enough to warrant a flag. I think such comments should be discouraged, and it isn't always enough to discourage them by leaving a respectful comment of your own. People often feel justified in their complaint and the way they've voiced it, and won't see why their response is unhelpful. Allowing the community to have a say in which comments are helpful and which ones are not might help this.

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    $\begingroup$ The comment flagging mechanism allows both rude and offensive and not constructive. If, by your judgment, one of these fit, I do not see the problem with flagging. You can also specify other if you need something more customized. Please feel free to downvote this comment if you don't agree. :-) $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ ...and that should have read rude or offensive. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ From the way wayback machine: Should downvoting be allowed on comments? $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ I did a brief search for 'vote down comments' and didn't find anything. Sorry for the duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Jared Mar 17 '13 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ No worries. I just meant to link to a related question. My comment could have made that more clear. If you did that search on meta.math.SE you might not have found anything, since my link is to the meta for all of SO. Cheers. :) $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ This question was also raised here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/893 $\endgroup$ – Martin Mar 17 '13 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ If I were to flag a comment, would a moderator necessarily have to look at it? I don't want to waste a moderator's time if there is no action required against the user. I just want a way to encourage the user to think about being more constructive with his/her words. Perhaps I'm being too idealistic, expecting too much out of people, as most of the human race in general doesn't think too much about being constructive with words. That's not a dig against anyone in particular, just a general observation. $\endgroup$ – Jared Mar 17 '13 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Jared: See: How do comment voting and flagging work? In particular, If a comment is flagged by enough users it will be auto-soft-deleted. There is no penalty for this. Flagged comments will be surfaced to moderators, so if you have a problem with a comment, flag it.. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again cardinal. Often times I want to flag a comment because it is a subtle derision of the user asking a question or giving an answer (in a pedantic/snarky/elitist fashion). If a moderator doesn't agree that the comment should have been flagged, is there any penalty for me? $\endgroup$ – Jared Mar 17 '13 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Jared: No, there is no penalty for you. Your declined flags are tracked and you will see them in your profile, but they are never made public (except, perhaps, if you run for a moderator position later). I am not even sure how often (if ever) the moderators go through flagged comments. If I am not mistaken, some other users of high rep may be able to see and/or vote on them. That would kick in at 10K or 20K; I'm not sure which. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ I would also be careful about ascribing derisive intent to answers in comments. For example, I've probably placed an order of magnitude more comments below questions that give hints or other direction towards obtaining an answer than I have explicit posted answers. The former are not intended as snarky or elitist; quite the contrary. This can be an effective means of contributing and collaborating, especially for those of us who have no concern for the "reputation" system. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 17 '13 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ You're absolutely right, and I will be careful to distinguish helpful hints from subtle jabs. Thanks again cardinal. This has been very helpful for me. $\endgroup$ – Jared Mar 17 '13 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ What if a comment isn't against the rules, but I just think it sucks? There have been times where I see routine, usually valid criticism (a la "What have you tried?") in a situation where I feel it is misplaced. For example, a lot of people were saying this was a bad question (in now-deleted comments), but I don't think so at all. It's true that I could just leave a comment disagreeing with others comments, but it would be so much easier to simply downvote theirs to show that I disagree without having to write an essay about it. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Mar 20 '13 at 21:06

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