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This site often results in overly long discussions in the comments sections. It would be nice if I could flag one of my own comments (e.g., a comment along the lines of "This discussion has gone on long enough") with a flag along the lines of "This discussion has gone on long enough; it's time to move this discussion to chat".

I would be happier with being able to point the finger at myself as the guilty culprit regarding a long, drawn-out comments discussion as opposed to picking some other user when flagging moderators that a comments discussion has gotten out of hand. This capability might also be useful on other elements of the SE network (e.g., skeptics.SE, but I am sure there are others) where commenting can easily get out of hand.

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    When there are multiple comments under the same flag, you should flag the post instead. Choose the "in need of moderator intervention" option and point out that the comments are either unnecessary or chatty, and can be moved to chat.
    – Nij
    Dec 14, 2022 at 5:07
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    Please do not write rude, offensive, abusive, or insulting comments just to get attention for something you do not want to handle appropriately.
    – Nij
    Dec 14, 2022 at 5:07
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    @Nij I have done just that, flagging a post (any post) in a comment thread that appears to be getting out of hand. It doesn't always work. What I am asking for is the ability to flag one of my own comments that does not violate any rules but does point out that a discussion is getting out of hand. I cannot flag one of my own comments. Being able to flag my own comment would avoid a finger pointing episode. Dec 14, 2022 at 8:39
  • I've noticed a helpful link sometimes shows up, "Let us continue this discussion in chat", which then creates a chatroom where the specific post can be discussed. But I have no idea what causes that link to show up. I've oftentimes wished that it would show up much sooner or more often than it actually does.
    – user5155
    Dec 14, 2022 at 9:23
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    @JeffLambert What causes that to show up is that the system automatically detects an overlong comment section. When a user decides to provide yet another comment, the system prompts the user regarding this. The user has to intentionally select the autogenerated "Let us continue this discussion in chat" comment in lieu of the comment the user had intended to provide. Dec 14, 2022 at 9:27
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    Why not flag a comment that you are responding to?
    – Joe W
    Dec 14, 2022 at 13:10
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    If you want to end a conversation you should start by not replying. My cynical opinion is that this looks like you just want the last word, but still feel guilty for abusing site policies. Flag any comment or the post, then move on. That's how the system is designed, and a a former mod what I always recommended.
    – user2578
    Dec 16, 2022 at 18:50
  • I don't see why anything about either this question or the proposed solutions are in any way specific to politics.SE. Flags work the same way network-wide. The purpose of non-custom flags on comments is to get them deleted and possibly rep-penalize the author; you shouldn't write rep-penalty-worthy things yourself, and you can delete your own comments. If a custom flag is needed because there is a lengthy discussion, that directly implies that there are other perfectly suitable places to drop a flag besides your own comment. Mar 1, 2023 at 16:52

3 Answers 3

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This certainly happens to me, and sometimes if I'm lucky, I even have enough wits about me to recognize it in real time. (Other times I publish a mea culpa).

In these cases where I catch it, I flag the flaggable comment that helps to illustrate that the conversation has veered, but I use the "other" option and write a short message explaining why the last N comments seemed to have veered, ending with some variation of "So, no longer needed?"

The moderators are smart, and they can recognize that I'm not necessarily casting blame on the author of the comment in question (and probably wouldn't pay attention to that even if I was). They make a quick judgement how far up the chain they want to start deleting, and we all live happily ever after.

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    Thank you! I don't understand why my question has received so many downvotes. It is a simple request: Let me flag my own comments. It seems simple; there must exist some software that precludes me from doing so. Why, and it should be easy to fix. I too have had this happen to me, getting drawn into hopeless convos. Dec 18, 2022 at 14:12
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    @DavidHammen Because people disagree with the suggestion?
    – Joe W
    Dec 18, 2022 at 14:35
  • @JoeW I am challenging why that special chunk of software exists. From my experience (the "keep it short and simple" rule), extraneous software is software that should be challenged and possibly (likely) should be deleted. Dec 18, 2022 at 14:39
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    @DavidHammen How does that change that people disagree with the idea of flagging your own comments which you have full control to no post or to delete? You asked why people would downvote and I gave a reason. Your response is also why people don't leave feedback on questions that they downvote because people tend to complain when they don't like the reason.
    – Joe W
    Dec 18, 2022 at 14:41
  • @JoeW That lack of comments on downvotes issue is a separate issue. The powers that be have asked us to be polite and welcoming. OTOH, people whose questions or answers receive downvotes regularly complain about receiving no comments on the downvotes. When I see a question or answer that is downright ridiculous (yes, there is such a thing as a bad question), I have become more likely to downvote but not comment so as to comply with the "be polite and welcoming" rule. We're not even supposed to say in our comments that we downvoted. (People who do comment tend to ignore this implied rule.) Dec 18, 2022 at 14:46
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    @DavidHammen On Meta downvoting is used to indicate disagreement with a suggestion and that is how it appears to be used here. Just because you see your question one way doesn't mean that others see it the same way.
    – Joe W
    Dec 18, 2022 at 14:49
  • @DavidHammen about the downvotes: in my experience in the main meta, questions suggesting some kind of change are sort-of born with a cinder block tied to their ankle; unless they demonstrate compellingly that the status quo is causing harm and cite compelling specific examples, they usually tend to sink quickly. About meta downvotes: here they don't mean the question shouldn't have been asked, or that it's not a good question, it's just meant as a straw poll on the proposed change. I think it just means that folks don't think this should be implemented. Good or bad I think that's what happens
    – uhoh
    Dec 18, 2022 at 21:34
  • @uhoh I totally understand. It is weird (to me) that I can flag anyone's comment but my own (a) which must require special software and (b) which makes no sense (to me). I also understand that asking for a policy change on meta is typically confronted a brick wall of people. It is what it is. Dec 18, 2022 at 21:42
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So in other words, you would like to do something you know is wrong, and you are not just OK with the moderators stopping you from doing that wrong thing, but would like to actively encourage them to do so? Why? So you don't feel like you are losing face by being the first to back down from an online argument?

relevant xkcd

Please, when you are writing a comment and think "This comment is contributing to an overly long debate that really should not be here", then do not post it. We moderators are busy enough already. Please don't create additional work for us by posting things and then ask us to remove it.

Also, creating chatrooms and asking people to continue conversations there is not the sole prerogative of moderators or of the script recommending you to do that. If you would like to debate with someone, please just take the debate to chat proactively.

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    Chat rooms here are pretty much worthless. Except for a tiny few long-lived chat rooms, SE chat room sessions inevitably go nowhere. SE was not intended to be a discussion site, and chat has been made very hard to find by intent. Sending an overlong comment discussion to chat is a way to kill the discussion, by intent. I don't have a problem with that. All I am asking for is a way to flag an overlong discussion without pointing fingers. I'm okay with making myself the scapegoat, even if I have done absolutely nothing wrong. Dec 14, 2022 at 9:32
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    The tools you suggest I use are extremely hard to find (read that as "nigh impossible to find"). I have yet to see one comment session where a user intentionally created a chat room for further discussion as opposed to the autogenerated "Let us continue this discussion in chat" comment (which I have always taken as a way to kill the convo). Dec 14, 2022 at 9:39
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Feature request - Let us flag our own comments

Doesn't seem incredibly necessary. Just delete your own comment(s) and if the other user notices, they'll sometimes delete theirs. You could also flag one or several of theirs as "no longer needed" after deleting yours. In my experience mods pay enough attention to delete or move to chat conversations in comments, when one or two are flagged, so there's no need to go overboard with the flagging.

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