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Recently we had an unfortunate user who was unable to control his temper and wrote a lot of rude and offensive content, mostly in comments.

All of these comments were removed, poor posts were deleted, and the user was suspended for repeatedly being abusive to others.

We did not remove all comments prior to deleting because once a post was deleted they will only be visible to a few high rep users anyway. Those comments also make clear to them why this user was suspended.

Still, we repeatedly receive offensive flags on comments that were on long deleted posts.

As those flags actually make work for others I'd be interested to hear what we should do with them.

  • Whatever you do, don't ease that user's comment "An answer in English would be far more helpful" nor "It takes much longer to read your German than Nietzsche's" The latter is epic :) – c.p. Apr 4 '15 at 22:34
  • @c.p. there is no dispute that obsolete, too chatty, offensive, or otherwise not helpful comments should be removed on all non-deleted posts but why the effort on posts that are already deleted? – Takkat Apr 5 '15 at 7:13
  • @c.p. In fact, that user's comments were quite interesting and sophisticated until they started to suffer some kind of Tourette syndrom episode. – Martin Schwehla Apr 5 '15 at 8:40
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Creating offensive posts is considered a strong misconduct on Stack Exchange. If a post receives six offensive flags or is considered offensive by a moderator, the respective user loses 100 reputation.

If I recall correclty, comments are different, however: You can post as many offensive comments as you like without receiving an automatic penalty. However, given that even I, who know this, have trouble finding a source¹, most flaggers will not know this. Moreover, in cases of sufficiently offensive comments, a manual penalty or at least a reprimand from a moderator may be appropriate.

For these reasons flagging comments as offensive may make sense from the point of view of a user, who is not fully informed about the implications of this flag, and even may actually make sense. However, this only holds if we are talking about comments that are written by somebody who did not have a related post deleted for being offensive.


¹ Coincidentally, a source has appeared after posting this.

  • Still.... why flags on comments on already deleted posts? – Takkat Apr 5 '15 at 17:41
  • To have the poster punished or reprimanded and thus to avoid him posting similar comments in the future. – Wrzlprmft Apr 6 '15 at 7:34
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As to my knowledge, deleted posts are clearly identified by a coloured frame, I think what you could do at the back end is disabling flagging of deleted posts or, on the front end, somehow improving the know-how of handling such cases among advanced users, e.g. by popping up tooltips. In my opinion, the former would be the more reliable solution ;-)

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