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I often flag comments that are obsolete or merely attempts at wit in order to keep discussions tidy and relevant. On DIY, more of my flags are declined than at SO, probably due to cultural difference between the two communities. That's fine.

However, if I visit a question to remind myself what comment I flagged and try to learn why it may have been declined, more often than not the comment is gone anyway. The comments are often very old, so it's unlikely that the author came along and deleted them by chance.

When are comment flags marked 'declined', and how might they still be getting removed when that happens?

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I wouldn't be surprised if at least a handful of those were done by me. SE only gives two options, delete the comment, or decline the flag, and in the past I've been hesitant to be overly tidy on the site. My personal concern was users seeing their comments getting deleted and thinking they weren't welcome before. But after chatting with Niall C. a few days ago, I'll be following the SO criteria more closely going forward.

The comments that get deleted later are either because I opened the question in a separate tab and had second thoughts, another flag is handled differently in the future, or the SE system sees enough requests from users to mark a comment as obsolete and automatically deletes it even when mods have been declining to act themselves. It would be nice if SE went back and updated your flag in the former situations, but once declined it's gone for us to revisit.

As always, thank you for helping to keep the site cleaned up with these flags. Even when I've declined them in the past, I have found them helpful to review old questions that may need more attention.

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