This may be a bit of a small issue but I was wondering if there's any guidance on whether one should flag all comments in a thread for deletion if they're no longer helpful (or never were to begin with) or only flag one in order to bring the thread to the mod's attention?

The reason I ask is because on the one hand it's a bit of a selfish reason in that I would want to flag them all (or at least most) in order to raise my own "helpful flags" stats but on the other hand I don't want to go annoying the mods by pinging them with, potentially, a half dozen, a dozen, or more flags if only one is sufficient.

Note: this is kinda answered by a mod here but that's more-so how to grab the mod's attention in the first place, not whether there's any reason for or against flagging one or more comments.


2 Answers 2


Now that I've served as an elected mod and seen the tools...

Flag them all.

This post is all about moderators' workflow, so I'm going to get a little into the weeds, here:

When you cast a flag (on anything) it increments an easy-to-see counter on our topbar, the same way you used to see a count on a red background indicating items in the Review Queues.

Clicking into the posts-flagged counter brings us to the "moderator dashboard." When it's a comment that's been flagged we're shown the post's title (which links to the post), then a line of meta-info about the comment&flag, then the text of the comment itself and links to delete the comment or dismiss the flag.

  • If you flag just one with a custom message saying "this whole convo can go, it's in the post now" or whatever, the workflow is to click on the post title-link, scroll around to figure out which post (question or one of answers) owns the flagged comment, then take a look at it and its successors and (99 out of 100) delete them. And then click back to the dashboard.

  • If you flag every one as NLN, now what we see in the dashboard is a post title-link and then a bunch of comments underneath, usually reading something like "did you mean that the bar should get a foo?/No, thanks for catching that--shoudld be a baz./No problem--looks good now!" Here we can see all of them in context and it's obvious (usually the post author has said "thanks!" or the like.) Click the "delete" link next to each one and they just >plop< off the page and all your flags are validated.

In short, flagging them all puts the whole conversation immediately visible in the dashboard, and makes the whole process faster. Collectively we delete about a thousand comments a month, so if you can easily save us a couple of minutes each day in that process, I know I appreciate it.

Plus, you'll get to Marshal that much quicker =)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for explaining that. I always thought I was being whiny, excessive, or badge-grubbing by flagging every comment in a series. It's good to know that doing so is helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 3:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 if you flag it I'll get rid of it, I may or may not bother to go look in detail at the other comments on the Q&A without a more specific deletion comment, and it's more work anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 4:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Possibly related to this meta post: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9192/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2019 at 9:59

For obsolete or too-chatty messages, you can flag one with a custom flag describing which ones need attention, or flag them each individually — whichever is more convenient for you. (That includes “selfishly” individually flagging comments because “I want more helpful flags!” — after all, you are identifying multiple comments that you think need attention.)

The tools on the moderator side are pretty well designed to handle whatever people throw into the flag queue in a way that isn't annoying for the moderators. They have to be — these same tools are designed for handling the firehose of flags that Stack Overflow mods get! For example, all flags for comments under the same post show up as one notification/“ping”, and as one flag-handling “job”, making it easy to review and navigate even when there are lots of flags under multiple posts. So you don't have to worry about flooding us, even with many flaggable comments on one post. We can take it! We get astronomically fewer flags than SO.

Handling (as opposed to getting notified for or viewing) one or many comment flags is also pretty similar in practice, since deletion = accepting the flag, and usually that's what was going to happen regardless of whether it's was one flag or many that drew our attention to the comments.

The exception I would urge is for “bad” flags, like rude/offensive: those get noted on an account (for human reference only), so it's useful to have those actually flagged individually even if your preference is for one custom flag. (Usually “bad”-flaggable comments come in singles or low single digits anyway though, so it's rare that you will need to decide between many or one flag. Thankfully!)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to clarify, are you saying that if a string of six comments should go to the wastebin it'd save you mouse-clicks if each were individually flagged? (Because then you'd accept each flag in quick succession, rather than accepting a lone flag then initiating deletion yourself on each of the successors?) Because if it's the case that flagging many would reduce you-all's workload the tiniest bit, I'd be glad to do my part in crowdsourcing the work. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 My habit at least is to go look at the comments in context and handle them on the page instead of in the flag interface, so mostly it's the same number of clicks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand there's also a "trash the whole thread" button? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Aye! Sometimes used as a shortcut after reviewing all the comments and determining that they're all ready to go. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 0:03

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