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Recently, I've flagged this comment as No Longer Needed because it doesn't contribute anything to the post, but for some reason, it got declined.

Does the flagging system work differently on Seasoned Advice than on most other Stack Exchange sites, where such conversational comments get flagged and deleted?

I don't really have an issue, I'm just really curious!

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    Well, yeah, I agree with you on this. – Gigili Jan 3 at 10:30
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Promoting a clarification from comments: we only have two choices with comment flags, delete the comment or decline the flag. There's no "helpful but no action" option like with post flags. Declining the flag doesn't mean there's no merit whatsoever, it just means we didn't delete the comment.


While it's definitely not good for comments like that to dominate, I don't think it's an issue to have one or two now and then. A little bit of friendly human interaction can make the site a little warmer for people. I'll generally delete things like that if there's multiple, or if the question is older; there is indeed a good reason it's technically against the rules. It's just a spot where a teensy technical violation of the rules seems to me to not cause the problem the rules are meant to prevent, so I'm fine being a bit flexible.

To be clear: we definitely do delete off-topic conversations, comments that invite chatting, old side notes that people gave the OP that are no longer relevant, and all kinds of other things. I'm not saying anything goes. I'm just also aware that there's plenty of history of "welcome to the site" comments and similar, going back before I was a mod, with no sign of problematic consequences, and plenty of positive effects in encouragement of question authors, and I'm not inclined to forcefully change that without strong direction from the community.

And for what it's worth, I've seen this on other sites too, not just here, especially with "welcome to [site]" comments - one encouraging comment is fine, probably even good. It's when it turns into piling on, or a conversation, that it crowds out useful comments.

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    Yes, but I don't see how this is a good reason to mark a user's flag as declined. – Anastasia Zendaya Dec 2 '20 at 15:23
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    From meta.stackexchange.com/a/17365/133299: "Moderators can either mark flags as helpful and delete the comment, or leave it intact and decline the flag. They cannot manually dismiss comment flags, so borderline flags may be marked declined (though some mods may go through the extra step of marking it as helpful and then manually undeleting it)." I tend not to do the latter, since it's more work, and the decline is potentially more accurate/useful feedback. Might as well use your comment flags on comments where action will be taken, yeah? – Cascabel Dec 2 '20 at 16:58
  • Well, yeah? Of course. – Anastasia Zendaya Dec 2 '20 at 17:02
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    This is frustrating, and counter-productive to your actual aims of "making the site a little warmer for people". I flag comments based on network-wide standards of what should and shouldn't be posted in the comments. Yet, here, my flags get declined. That's the opposite of warm or welcoming. It's a frustrating inconsistency that sends a message that this site is not interested in quality content. – Cody Gray Jan 24 at 5:33
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    @CodyGray Being welcoming isn't just about making people who cast flags feel welcome; sometimes the balance tips toward making other users feel welcome too. I can also see your flagging history, and unless I'm misreading something, every single flag you've cast was marked helpful. Anecdotally, we also mark far more flags helpful than we decline. In any case, this is far from the only site that tolerates a few kind comments here and there. If you'd like to post a proposal to strictly forbid anything like that, go for it, we can see what the community thinks. – Cascabel Jan 24 at 21:06
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    Right, sorry. I got confused about which Meta site I was on. What I should have said is that I flag comments like this on other sites, who have adopted similar policies to the one you state here, and those flags have been declined. I consider such policies wrong-headed and in violation of what is the standard Stack Exchange model, the one that attracted me to these sites in the first place and what sets them apart from other similar sites on the Internet. It is a growing problem on various Stack Exchange sites, and you are setting the paradigm for it in this answer. – Cody Gray Jan 26 at 5:21
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    @Cody If you want to try to remove this particular way some sites' rules vary, you're welcome to make your case on network meta. If you'd really like to pursue it specifically on this site, I suppose you can, but you're going to have to make a new post (policy doesn't get changed in the comments of an answer), and I'd request that if you do so, you show a bit more respect for the community here; simply telling us that we are doing it all wrong and need to do it your way instead is not likely to be terribly well-received, any more than if I wandered over to meta SO and told y'all the same. – Cascabel Jan 26 at 7:12

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