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Quite some time ago, a hi-rep user told me in a comment on meta that self-deletion of a comment on the main which has already been flagged as "unfriendly or unkind" will lock in that flag, and count against the flagee.

I am struggling to find the comment, but...

Is there any merit to this?

...and is there any way we see if our comments have been flagged?

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  • I'm not sure the answer for this edge case, but ultimately comment flags don't do much after the comment is deleted. If you get enough rude (or unkind?) comment flags it will raise an auto flag. Moderators decide what happens after that as we can see all your deleted and flagged comments.
    – Laurel Mod
    Mar 30 at 17:58
  • Anyone deleting the comment will probably mark the flag as "helpful" and it will show up in someone's profile when a moderator looks at it. There is an issue where users could flag comments on their post, then delete their post and all those flags would be marked "helpful". But, as Laurel has already said, the consequences of comment flags are not automated; a moderator would have to decide that enough flags have been raised on someone's comments to merit intervention.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 30 at 18:15
  • @Laurel Interesting. That means the flag will show 'helpful' to the flagger, but not count against the commenter unless reviewed by a Mod? That still looks like a blot on a copybook to me. Mar 30 at 18:19

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There is no way to see if someone else has raised a flag against your content. If you aren't harassing another user with comments, or ignoring warnings from the mod team that your comments have crossed a line you may not have been aware of, you have no reason to worry.

The Help Center says:

What happens when I flag a comment?
In addition to bringing the comment to the attention of the moderators, a sufficient number of flags on a single comment will cause it to be deleted automatically. The number of flags required for deletion varies based on the number of votes on the comment, as well as the content of the comment itself.

And an faq post on Meta explains everything you might want to know about comment flags.

I have deleted many an intemperate comment that I regretted after I went back and reread it. I'm sure that someone probably flagged them as unfriendly at some point, and it hasn't really impacted me. When I was a moderator I saw a lot of completely innocuous comments flagged as "unfriendly", so when looking at a user's profile, I would rarely look at the number of those flags unless it was really high, and then I would go back and review the content of the comments to see if there was a pattern.

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    r.e. "I have deleted many an intemperate comment that I regretted after I went back and reread it" Yes, I can definitely identify. I often go on "Search and Destroy" missions for comments that might be considered 'intemperate'. We should all do that to preserve good manners and avoid bloat. What I am primarily worried about is some users (especially from SO or whatever) who know how to game the system... Mar 30 at 18:34
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According to the relevant Meta SE post, a comment flag should be marked helpful when the comment is deleted, no matter what caused that. The user has no direct way of knowing that their comment was flagged.

In order to catch potential problems, a flag will automatically be raised if a user has too many recent comments that were flagged and deleted as rude or unfriendly (the first two options when flagging). Moderators will then review that flag and decide what needs to happen. (If the comments crossed the line but the user doesn't have a history, they'd likely get a warning.)

If you notice an ongoing pattern of misbehavior, flag a post for moderator attention with all the details you have. We know that you can't see deleted comments, but you should describe what you remember. I would prefer getting a flag like this even if it's redundant over not knowing about problems. Also, please don't use public places like chat or meta to call out specific users.

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  • TXS I wrote this from a more selfish POV. I am thinking that power players from SO may know how to game the system...while us bit players are being manipulated. Mar 31 at 17:11
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From the FAQ:

Comment flags do not affect the commenter in any way if a comment gets deleted, but they do count towards the flagger's helpful flags.

See also: What happens to a comment flag if that comment gets deleted by its author?

I believe self-deleted comments show that a user has understood their mistake and has decided to remove their comment of their own accord. Action need not be taken against such a user. The flagger will benefit because their goal was to get the unfriendly comment deleted (so the flag is marked as "helpful" because the flagger "helped" the community get rid of the unfriendly comment(s), even though it was self-deleted).

I guess as long as you delete your comments before higher authority can take action, you won't get affected in any way (it still won't affect you even if a mod deletes it, but read on). If you're a frequent critic and a pattern of these unfriendly comments comes to notice, moderators will intervene (they would investigate all your deleted comments and decide what to do [most likely a private mod message or a talk in chat in case of unfriendly comments]).


...and is there anyway we see if our comments have been flagged?

Currently, no. See also: The system does not notify you if your comment is flagged.

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