I was reviewing some of my answers yesterday in an effort to earn the Sportsmanship badge, cleaning up some of my obsolete comments along the way on the main site and flagged a couple comments for deletion as they were referring to old deleted comments of mine which don't make sense in the current context. I was surprised to see those flags declined. as shown below:


I would assume that a comment referring to another non-existent comment that has no direct bearing on the Q&A would be clearly obsolete. Am I missing something? I reviewed Should otherwise obsolete comments sometimes be retained for the community opinion their upvotes express? but it really didn't seem to apply in this case. In my pursuit of continuous improvement I would like to avoid flagging incorrectly so I would appreciate some feedback on why my logic in this case was considered flawed.

  • I presume you flagged Seth's comments?
    – muru
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 14:48
  • @muru That's correct in this case.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 15:16
  • 5
    I generally use almost only the custom moderator comment flags and write an explanation, because not any of the default reasons normally describes the situation in a not misunderstandable way. Also sometimes the mods need a little clue on what you are thinking, maybe they're not always checking out the context of the comment.
    – Byte Commander Mod
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 15:34
  • @ByteCommander Thank you for that pointer. I think you may be on to something there. Sometimes the details get lost in the shuffle and we all are sadly capable of making mistakes.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 16:01
  • 1
    I didn't decline the flags (or see them, for that matter). If I disagree with a flag against something I posted I try to get someone else to handle them. Looking into it.
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:09
  • @Seth Thank you, no worries, I'm just trying very hard to do everything right. ;-)
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:13
  • 1
    What @ByteCommander said is quite true: we don't get a lot of context with flags and it's sometimes hard to understand why something was flagged. However, the flip side is equally true: very often using the standard flags instead of the custom "mod attention" one makes it easier for us to know what's going on. There's no surefire way of doing this, I'm afraid. Not for you and not for us :/ We just all try to do our best.
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:33
  • 2
    Oh, and I didn't handle the flags either, but it does indeed look like you flagged quite correctly. However, it's easy enough to dismiss a flag by mistake and there is no way of dismissing individual flags on the same content for different reasons (that I know of, anyway) so maybe yours was dismissed along with others that were wrong.
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:34
  • @terdon Thank you for your input. It's informative that there's an all or none flag dismissal on individual content. It's interesting the complexities we add in an effort to provide ease of use. Oh well, in the absence of specific guidance, I guess my only option is to continue to do what I do and hope for the best.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:38
  • 1
    @ElderGeek please do exactly that, yes. You're doing fine!
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:52
  • @terdon Thank you for those kind words! ;-)
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 17:53
  • @terdon I found you comment about grouped flags informative, and potentially helpful to someone else. I'm quoting it in my answer in Freelancing Meta. Hope this isn't a problem.
    – user649240
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 5:02
  • 1
    @GypsySpellweaver I think there might be a way to do it, I've just been discussing this with some other mods. However, even if it is possible to deal with each such flag separately, it is very easy to miss and to deal with all of them together. And, once dismissed (either as helpful or not), we can't go back and correct any mistakes we might have made.
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 10:53
  • 1
    @terdon Y'all do good work, don't make it too hard on yourselves. Thanks for feedback as well.
    – user649240
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 3:16
  • The only thing I see against doing this is the theoretical case of details being missed on how the problem is solved. Maybe some question a kind of quest to get solved is it could be incomplete without pin points to comprehend the problem being solved
    – userDepth
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


Yes. A comment replying to a deleted comment is obsolete as the context is lost.

There are many cases where this occurs during normal operations. For instance "Please [edit] whatever into your post" Followed by "Done"

The first comment is no longer meaningful as the requested comment is in the post and so can be deleted. The second comment is a reply to the first and is now obsolete.

This related post appears to back this up: Should otherwise obsolete comments sometimes be retained for the community opinion their upvotes express?

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