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I recently noticed this comment: "Fantastic. Thank you very much – Daniel Feb 11 at 5:53 " here: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/a/118033/44517

was flagged to delete it but the flag was declined: " too chatty – Zaibis Feb 11 at 15:09 declined"

Why was this comment appropriate?

  • At a glance, I'd guess because it's a story id question, which means the OP seemingly confirming the answer is correct (at least that's how I read the comment) is fairly important information. But the acceptance check mark arguably conveys that too so who knows. – Ixrec Jun 1 '16 at 12:20
  • @Ixrec: What I don't understand is the little text box in the empty comment box tells me before I start writing explicitely, that comments are not for thanking or stating how usefull something was. So why is it acceptable to use comments for this purpose. thats what I don't get. – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 12:22
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    @Ixrec The answer being marked as correct answer should convey that message without any need for the comment confirming it, I'd say. – Aegon Jun 1 '16 at 12:22
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    because its to short for anyone to care. do we really need a meta question about this? -1 for being upset a flag was denied on a simple comment that isnt hurting anyway, and for flagging it inappropriately. too chatty is definitely not the flag that should have been raised. – Himarm Jun 1 '16 at 12:30
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    @Himarm: I just see presumptions in your comment. I raised a flag with a clear conscience . And am asking now whats wrong. Thats what meta is for, isn't it? How you mind to blame me for beeing upset? For missusing the meta site? instead of saying "-1 because you did it wrong" explain me: Where is the difference for "offtopic actions that don't hurt and thoose that hurt." Tell me where to ask about it if you feel meta isn't the place I should have asked it? and also as it looks like my flag indeed was fine. What else should I have selected for it? obsolete? or even "needs moderator attention"? – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 12:44
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    We are not super strict about comments. We typically let "thank you" comments slide, particularly on story-id questions. We delete "thank you" answers. – phantom42 Jun 1 '16 at 12:52
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    @phantom42: So why explicitely state in the info boy you don't want them, while you actually accept them? – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 12:55
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    it's baked into the stackexchange system that we use. much like many places have laws that they don't strictly enforce (like jaywalking), we have a few rules from up on high that we don't strictly enforce either. – phantom42 Jun 1 '16 at 13:11
  • @phantom42: Is there anyway about to get informed of them? Or has one just to figgure them out by try n error? – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 13:16
  • keeping up on meta, being active in chat, reading comments on various q/a's, other than that, not really. there has been some push to try to codify some of our more ethereal policies, but it's an ongoing thing. – phantom42 Jun 1 '16 at 13:20
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    Here's the timeline of that question but unfortunately it doesn't show when the answer was accepted. Hovering over the checkmark does, however, showing it as accepted at 2016-02-11 06:19. Unsure about the timezone. The comment was added at 2016-02-11 05:53:45Z. – SQB Jun 1 '16 at 13:25
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    Because leave comments alone. – Wad Cheber Jun 1 '16 at 19:18
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    @Wad Are you saying there are no comments that should be deleted? I don''t get what you want to tell me. – Zaibis Jun 2 '16 at 7:00
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    @zaibis - no, I'm saying our site tends to favor leaving comments alone unless they're rude, offensive, or ancient, and that isn't the case here. – Wad Cheber Jun 2 '16 at 7:25
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    @Null Ah, missed that one (probably because it was just before we got elected). Very good answer from you here, btw :-) – Rand al'Thor Jun 2 '16 at 14:15
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I declined this flag. Others have linked to various SciFi Meta threads on this issue, and I will admit that many of them suggest that they should be flagged and deleted.

I declined it in part because you flagged it as "too chatty" despite the fact that it was the only comment on that post; however, in researching comment flag directives here and on Meta.SE it seems that "too chatty" is indeed the recommended flag type to raise (personally, I think "not constructive" makes more sense, especially when there's only one comment).

I also declined it in part because it was from the OP. Yes, the OP had accepted the answer but I see no harm in a friendly thank you comment -- especially when, again, it is the only comment on the post.

Finally, I declined it in part because this site is not particularly strict about comments (as others have mentioned, e.g., here). Other SE sites are more strict about comments but even Meta.SE has conflicting opinions about "thanks" and "+1" comments. For example, an old question about +1 comments has an answer which favors a lax policy. The answer from Jeff Atwood suggests that such comments should be deleted in part because

  • the flagging comment process is basically 100% automated and doesn't require any mod intervention

...which is not true in this case (I guess this was an older way of handling flags) since you raised a moderator flag.

Another Meta.SE question suggests getting rid of the "too chatty" flag reason because such flags have a tendency to "eradicate" encouragement and kindness from the community, and are noise for moderators:

Do we need to bug moderators because someone added a "Thanks! This worked for me!" comment to an answer? I'd hate to think we were expected to eradicate all encouragement or kind words from a post. Kinda not good for the community.

The answer to that question disagrees with the proposal but says this about "chatty" comments:

Having “chatty” comments hurts because they impede the visibility of future, more useful comment.

Again, that's not true in this case (since there was only one comment on the post) and that's part of the reason I declined your flag.

Yet another Meta.SE answer suggests that "thanks" comments are okay as long as they aren't distracting (which this one wasn't):

You shouldn't feel obligated to flag them when they are not distracting from anything else. When it distracts from other comments (especially if other comments are hidden as a result or take up more than a small fraction of the height of a page), I think they should be flagged. I'm not saying they need to be flagged whenever there are n or more other comments. This is subjective, there probably does not need to be a rule for this, and everyone can use their own judgment.

Personally, I see no harm in "thanks" comments (especially from the OP) as long as they aren't hiding more useful comments. Nonetheless, after doing this research about comment policies here and across the network, I have deleted the comment you flagged. Since the community seems to think such comments warrant a moderator's attention I will delete them in the future.


As an aside, I wonder why you didn't flag any of the comments on the question post. All of them are obsolete and distracting:

enter image description here

  • I hope you don't feel attacked. I can understand your reasoning. And also as mentioned before wasn't aware of that there are sites that behave, while still beeing enforced to keep the infobox, not really unwelcoming this kind of comments at all. While on the other hand I have to say, its pretty loosy to determine when it is distracting and when it isn't. – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 15:32
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    For my self simply anything not informal is distracting and I also tend to flag those comments on my own posts, simply because when I encoutner a problem and googling on it, I hate it to scroll through "thanks" comments, of a post that was the right question but the wrong answer, and in the end not finding anything usefull anymore. So after all, keep in mind, I'm not doing this because I want to anoy anyone. I simply want to help improve this place. – Zaibis Jun 1 '16 at 15:33
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    +1 to this. The whole point of having these discussions is to help moderators as well as users. The idea that mods are always going to make perfect decisions is something that new users need to be disavowed of :-) – Valorum Jun 1 '16 at 16:01
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    @Zaibis I know you flagged in good conscience. That said, I don't see how you could find the one "thanks" comment at the bottom of the only answer distracting yet you didn't find all the comments below the question distracting. You would have had to "scroll through" all those comments on the question before you reached the "thanks" comment on the answer. It's great that you want to delete comments that aren't useful, but you are oddly selective about which ones you flag. – Null Jun 1 '16 at 16:22
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    @Null: Well can't remember it anymore. But usually I do this, when I'm just cross reading soemthing, and don't have the time to evaluate something beeing worthy or unworthy enough. While on the other hand I have to admit, of the comments you screenshoted in your post, I would have only 1 identyfied as beeing flagable. I just see the others asking for clarification while the question is allready answered. Is this reason enough for flagging as obsolete? This kind of falgs I did for some time on SO. And they almost everytime got declined, so I thought thats not what they are for. – Zaibis Jun 2 '16 at 7:06
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    But just for the record: Flagging it isn't wrong anyway, while debattable, still not wrong? I'm curious, because after the first reactions over here I just flaged it again and it got declined again, while deleted yet anyway. – Zaibis Jun 2 '16 at 8:40
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    @Zaibis - At some point, you might want to ask yourself whether the insignificant gains of deleting a harmless, polite comment are worth the hassle of having multiple flags rejected, making meta posts about it, and engaging in lengthy discussions about a subject that most users here accept and support. – Wad Cheber Jun 2 '16 at 9:02
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    @WadCheber: While it might be for the most of the community just a insignificant gain, it actually isn't for me. I see a not that insignificant gain in it. But I'm fully aware that I as a individum of the community shouldn't move against. So in that I'm agreeing. BUT I don't udnerstand why I'm getting critic about asking about it on meta. I mean as it isn't that obvisious to me, isn't the best I can do asking on meta about it with the aim to understand the reasoning for future cases, not the aim to get support beeing right, and therefor discussing about it if I don't get it? Why critism this? – Zaibis Jun 2 '16 at 9:21
  • @Zaibis All the comments I took a screenshot of are obviously obsolete as they are asking for/giving clarification for a question that has an accepted answer. Incidentally, policy is to not delete "thank you" answers from the OP if the question isn't accepted -- so the other comments are obsolete for the same reason that the "thank you" comment can be deleted. – Null Jun 2 '16 at 14:07
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    @Zaibis Flagging "thank you" isn't wrong, it's just that deletion of such comments is very low priority. Based on the comments on this thread you are probably being criticized for making a big deal out of such a low priority issue. – Null Jun 2 '16 at 14:11
  • @Null: I'm actually not intending to make a big deal. I just want to get it for the future. So for the future: thanks comments are flagable aslong they aren't op's only indication. + clarification requests are considered obsolete as soon an answer is marked? (I assume a "thanks, thats it" comment on one of the answer(s) wouldn't be enough for that?!). And in addition now when I know I can summarize it into this conclusion, when ever such a flag gets declined simply be aware that not just myself is making errors, and keep on flagging when ever I see something isn't as appropiate as it should? – Zaibis Jun 2 '16 at 14:19
  • @Zaibis That's about right, yes. – Null Jun 2 '16 at 14:39
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    @Null I don't see though, how comments asking for improving a question are all suddenly obsolete just because an answer got accepted. Shouldn't we always strive for improving questions into their best form, no matter if someone has already posted an answer that the asker alone deemed sufficient? – TARS Jun 2 '16 at 15:13
  • @TARS The comments asking for clarification were needed to help identify the story. That story has been identified (and the acceptance of the answer is the proof) so the comments are no longer necessary. Furthermore, in this particular question, the last comment by the OP was the clarification asked for and which was edited into the question post. – Null Jun 2 '16 at 15:22
  • @Null Oh, if everything asked for was edited into the question, then of course the comments are obsolete, I agree. I was more adressing the general attitude of stopping all endeavours for improvement after a possible answer has been found. – TARS Jun 2 '16 at 15:24

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