I have recently been flagging the clutter noise comments under posts. Comments that add no value nor information whatsoever, like "this is great answer", "+1 great answer!", "updated, thanks", and so on. Pleasant and mostly seamless job, marking those clutter comments and helping to tidy up the site.
Until today, where I have found out that all of my pending flags were dismissed in bulk. Not one, not two, but all of those 11 flags of "no longer needed" variety have been, seemingly offhandedly, declined. This was not a problem before.
I flagged a post that hosted one of those comments and asked (implicitly: asked the whole moderator team) to investigate. I'd expect handling (and especially dismissing) flags regarding a specific moderator, by that same exact specific moderator, to be a faux pas since this is a clear conflict of interest. However, that message apparently got dismissed by the exact same person whose decisions I asked to be investigated, and thus I assume it got silently "swallowed" without reaching the intended destination:
The moderator in question has not revealed their nickname in the feedback message, and chose to remain anonymous. Which on itself is okay with me. But then, it makes it impossible for me to know whether any potential moderator answers are from the same person, or another moderator, so please take that into account.
SE model is and has always been explicitly based on rating content by its own value, not on rating content based on external context nor assumption. For example, posts are to be voted on based on the value of their content, not based on the person who is the author, nor on the supposed posting patterns exhibited by the author. Likewise, I think that validity of flags should be decided based on whether they correctly mark specific undesired phenomenon (like a comment being superfluous clutter), not based on assumed intent nor supposed previously-exhibited patterns of the flag's author.
A comment either is of value or isn't, therefore a flag marking it as "no longer needed" either has a merit to it or it hasn't. Whether there is a supposed "pattern" of previous flags, should be irrelevant. The moderator in question has themself admitted that those comments were of minimal value, and the fact that they were aware of that and dismissed the flags regardless seems just plain wrong. Also, the fact of some of those comments being "years old" doesn't make them any more or less of a noise and clutter.
A suggestion of "badge-farming" also seems a bit out of place. AFAIK, the badges and the whole gamification model exists there for a reason and are one of the major reasons for SE's widespread success (gotta give kudos to SE for making boring and mundane tasks hooking). I cannot see how "badge-farming" is harmful or undesirable on its own -- even if it was the case (which, remember, is only an assumption), how much of a harm does it inflict upon the community for this or that user to have a mostly-meaningless, colored, tilted square added to their profile as a result? That suggestion seems to display quite a worrying mentality: allowing legitimate contributions to be dismissed/invalidated solely based on perceived "badge-farming" could theoretically, for example, give a green light for discrediting, dismissing, or maybe even deleting someone's stellar answers, since according to an arbiter that person would be clearly attempting to farm "Great Answer" badges!
I therefore ask the moderation team to investigate the issue -- this time, without having the specific moderator in question interfering, please. Thanks.
Update: I am reasonably satisfied with responses and the way this problem was solved. Green-accepted the answer, but that's not final and new answers are still welcome if someone wants to add something. Will always be happy to read any insight. The existing answer and comments in this thread were mostly helpful and informative so I wouldn't mind seeing more. Good way to learn stuff for me.