They are really a plague on ELU.

This question has been downvoted and criticized for “no reason to be” by one of the usual harassing commenters.

Why do we have to waste time and energy with such guys?

Can anyone do anything about it?

  • 3
    the question had one downvote. Many questions that have many upvotes have one downvote from a drive-by downvoter. These creeps cannot be cured, so must be endured. The comments did not seem unduly harassing to me, but perhaps some of them had been deleted by the time I got to the Q.
    – ab2
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


I share your exasperation. By any reasonable standard, the question you use as an example qualifies as an acceptable one at English Language & Usage. It is annoying to post a carefully researched, painstakingly written question or answer only to have it marred by the equivalent of a negative Yelp review—particularly one that the critic seems to have spent a minute or less formulating.

I would like to see the "It's no longer needed" comment removal option expanded to read "It's unsupported, unhelpful, or no longer needed." The expanded removal reason would make it easier for question and answer posters to request that negative, unhelpful, minimum-effort POB remarks not remain attached to their efforts in perpetuity.

Such a change might encourage critical readers to leave higher-quality, more carefully considered comments, to the advantage of the question and answer posters—who, according to Stack Exchange theory, are supposed to be the main beneficiaries of those comments. It might also make the tone of the site seem less unfriendly to site visitors, by lowering the level of visible negativity. It might even encourage some commenters to compose their own formal answers instead of simply caviling about other people's. But failing all that, it would at least make it easier to remove unwelcome barnacles from the hulls of legitimate questions and answers.


Yes: you can do something about it. The community is supposed to be self-policing, and flags allow you to do that. If other people agree with you and also flag comments, then the comment will be deleted, and if that happens too often to one user's comments then moderators are informed automatically too.

The comment flags are no longer mystery meat: click the little flag to the left of the comment

Comment actions

to get the new, enormous, comment flag dialog. (The number of flags available to you may be less than 100.)

Comment dialog

However, a word of advice: I don't see anyone else's comments on that question as needing flagging for being unfriendly. Disputing the premise of a question is not intrinsically unfriendly (although it should really go in an answer). Asking whether someone really lives on this planet probably is unfriendly.

  • Well, constructive comments are always welcome, but I don’t know what to call when someone suggests and insists that your research does not support your question, without proving the opposite.
    – user 66974
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:25
  • I think an old dialog used to have an "unhelpful" option: the closest here is "No longer needed".
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:27
  • 1
    Ok, maybe the perception of some form of “harassment” is just a personal thing, due to a number of previous similar cases.
    – user 66974
    Aug 14, 2018 at 9:35
  • 2
    @user it could be personal or maybe just a jerk to everyone, but a flag will still work either way. If you're concerned about a pattern, note that in your flag comment.
    – Mitch
    Aug 14, 2018 at 11:35
  • @AndrewLeach Thank you for the link to Mystery Meat! I had not heard of it in that context before, and it had me rotflol, which "Segway-ed" to Weird Al, editing Wikipedia... youtube.com/watch?v=N9qYF9DZPdw
    – Verbiwhore
    Aug 20, 2018 at 4:21
  • 1
    Not only is the flag form enormous, but after it's closed a green neon sign appears above the review icon thanking you for your service. now, that is positively weird and a bit creepy too, I might add. Like the secret police congratulating a citizen for spying on their family member.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 20, 2018 at 5:27
  • I just tested it. "Thanks for flagging!" It says cheerfully or menacingly.... either way it's creepy!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 20, 2018 at 6:21

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