I'm looking at this question in which someone is giving pretty unhelpful answers in the comments attached to the question. I don't think this person is really trying to be unhelpful, but the comments just aren't good.

If those suggestions were in an answer, I would probably downvote it. Since comments don't have downvoting, though, I'm wondering if I should be taking any action.

  • small side note: I'm new to Meta. is the discussion tag appropriate?
    – strugee
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 23:44
  • 1
    Why yes it is. I also took care of the comments. Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 23:45
  • so to answer the original question: yes, they should be flagged?
    – strugee
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 23:49
  • Related (but somewhat narrower in scope, so probably not a duplicate): Should I flag comments such as “I agree”, “+1 for x”, or “I changed x in my post”? Please note that there are many unconstructive comments that are much more annoying, harmful, or distracting than most comments of that sort. In a sense that question is asking about what to do for a more minor situation somewhat like this one. Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 23:18

1 Answer 1


Not constructive is one of the flag reasons shown to you as an option, when you click the flag icon next to a comment.

So yes, unconstructive comments should be flagged.

Find the flag icon by moving your mouse pointer directly to the left of the comment. If you're using a tablet device, tap to the left of the comment. Then click the flag icon.

Image showing how to to find the flag icon by a comment.

Clicking the flag icon brings up a dialog where you choose your flag reason.

Showing the not constructive option in the comment flagging dialog.

But wrong doesn't always mean unconstructive. Similarly, correct comments are not always constructive.

Comments are "second class citizens" in the Stack Exchange system. It is rare that you should be reluctant to flag a comment that seems unconstructive, and I have no reason to think this situations in in any way exceptional. Furthermore, Luis Alvarado removed the comments, so I cannot see them, but that he removed them suggests that they really were unconstructive. Still, you should not flag every comment you see that is wrong. Sometimes a comment is wrong but constructive in the sense that it is more helpful to respond to it, or it's already been responded to such that removing it would make other comments hard to understand, or it serves the purpose of clarifying what someone thinks even if others disagree (in this situation, the comment is constructive if what they think is relevant to one or more posts to which the comment pertains).

Answers should be posted as answers. It's sometimes handy to tell people that. But if it wouldn't add much value as an answer and is not constructive as a comment, then flagging it as not constructive is the way to go.

  • 2
    I can't upvote this because you seem to be advocating religious flagging of comments, which I see no need for on a small site like this. If you see something wrong in the comments, flag it, but I really don't think we need to go "flag all the comments" that aren't strictly "on-topic" and 100% useful.
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 3:52
  • @Seth I am advocating for flagging all comments that are not constructive. If a comment does not meet any of the three reasons for leaving a comment as officially presented there, then it probably does not contribute anything. If a comment doesn't contribute anything, it should be flagged and removed. Are you saying you're against ever using the not constructive / off-topic flag reason? Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 12:41
  • 3
    I'm not against ever using it, but I really don't see a need to go flag every comment that might be considered not constructive my some.. The only time I ever see a use for these flags is when either a post has so many comments that I don't want to take the time to read them or, on places like Stack Overflow, where one question will attract tons of comments it's best to clear out the unnecessary ones. That's the only time I advocate use of the not constructive flag. Since Luis already removed the comments I can't tell how un-constructive they were so can't comment on that...
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 15:43

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