I opened this Meta question in response to a P.SE question that was locked.

I believe that I laid out a dispassionate and objective argument that the whole rollback/edit history/locking issue was not handled properly by the moderator involved. My argument consisted of referencing a blog post, "Good Subjective v. Bad Subjective Questions" specifically because this post is linked directly from the P.SE "on-topic" page and was the only direct reference there that seemed relevant to my question.

Now, I am happy to admit that my line of thinking and my argument might be incorrect. I don't believe they are incorrect, but they still could be. But regardless of the arguments' rightness or wrongness, I think it is indisputable that they are dispassionate references to P.SE's endorsed community standards and my interpretation thereof.

Again, my interpretation and everything else could be wrong, but I was trying to make a serious argument.

To my surprise, the user @GlenH7 feels that I am being "impetuous" and "petulant", evidenced in his comment on the post (as of 11 am EST today).

Your impetuous and petulant meta question and comments are ... disappointing. I had written up a fairly length answer which I realized was just bashing you. The short version is this: you're wrong regarding your question on main and the basis behind your meta question is tenuous at best. 3 of the 5 mods have weighed in and called your crap out. Several high rep users, included the site's highest rep user, have called your crap out. Stop defending an untenable argument and try to learn from what the community is offering you. – GlenH7 12 hours ago

And this comment received 2 upvotes.

I could try to make an itemized list of why this comment is categorically inappropriate (for example, the entirely non-sequitur mention of this 'answer' @GlenH7 wrote up that was "just bashing me." In addition to being mean, that's entirely irrelevant. Who cares about an answer you were going to but ultimately did not write. What possible use is it to mention to me that you were going to write a post bashing me but then did not?)

But at this point I feel like it's no use.

Does the community at large have advice for me on how to cope with this? I really, very seriously, feel pretty depressed by the entire thread of comments and answers at the meta question link. There are serious argumentative fallacies present in virtually all of the answers; ones that I've taken great pains to address.

Now, if the end result of that thread was just that everyone still thought I was wrong, then so be it. But that's not the result of the thread. The result is that people want to write answers that are "just bashing me", not publish them, and then tell me that that's what they were going to do.

And then two other people upvoted them for that!

How is a user supposed to cope with a community like that?

  • 4
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about how to cope with something. Yes, that something relates to a question on meta PSE, but how you should cope with things is a personal issue. (How you should procede would be on-topic).
    – psr
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 19:02
  • If the community would be willing to take the following change to the question seriously, then I would be happy to re-word my question: Conditional upon already flagging the comments (and them not being removed even after flagging) how should I procede?
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 19:40
  • That is, given that the systems already in place seem to not function as they do in most other stack exchange sites, and that this instance is a particularly egregious offense, how should I procede. Further advice along the lines of "just flag the comment and move on" is unproductive, so I'd have to condition on the answer not being another version of that advice. My use of the word "cope" was meant to indicate that, but it was perhaps a poor word choice by me.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 19:42

3 Answers 3


Solution: Flag the rude comments, then move on.

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    This is the correct solution (always).
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 15:36
  • I did flag them. I feel strongly that community attention should be paid to preventing this. Moving on without drawing attention to it might not be constructive for the goal to draw sufficient attention. That is, given upvotes and moderator responses on the other thread, I lack faith that the flagging system would be sufficient.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 15:36
  • 1
    If you have no faith in the moderators (and this applies to any site with moderators, not just stack exchange), then you have no faith in the site. If you can't find a way to be at least ok with the job the moderators are doing, at least in general, you won't be happy here. Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 8:39
  • 1
    @MichaelShaw: That's the proper approach on a commercial site with appointed moderators. On a self-organizing site (which it the SE ideal), this isn't the case. Going to meta is indeed the proper course of action then.
    – MSalters
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 10:23

Rudeness and offensive comments are absolutely not tolerated and should be flagged for moderator attention. We take this kind of thing very seriously.

With that being said I think the "welcome" you have received here may have been because of your tenacity in being heard, your strong convictions about what you feel is right and wrong, and your passionate emotive language. These are not necessarily bad properties of a person and we certainly welcome debate, but I do think you may have been misunderstood.

Your passionate emotive language combined with your tenacity for debate are probably being mistaken for passive-aggressive. Perhaps people believe your ego was bruised and that you had a deep controlled anger about what happened with your question (by controlled I mean masking your true emotions with colorful and descriptive language). Perhaps people felt that you weren't being very direct or straightforward with what was really bothering you, that you were angry about your question being modified in a way and for reasons you do not understand. The anger driving the tenacity that produced 10's of comments and multiple meta discussions.

I am not saying you are that kind of person, but I tell you that there are those that fit that description and still find the opportunity to stir trouble on Programmers from time to time, for what reason I do not know. I don't believe you are a troll, but perhaps some people mistook your demeanor for the similarities in other users that cause trouble here.

My advice to you is to ask questions on meta where you are confused about what is going on and where the Help documentation is not clear, and take a concerted effort to really listen to what your peers are trying to tell you. Look at situations from a clear mind and try to consider the others perspective on what is going on. Then evaluate the true impact of the other users actions on content that you had contributed and ask yourself if it is really that big of a deal.

I hope to see you become an active contributing member of the community some day.

  • I disagree with some of your observations, @EMS is remaining as impassive as I think humanly possible. He is, however, extremely tenacious in his quest for answers to his questions, which people appear to not be able to handle well on this site.
    – BlackICE
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 15:46

Your depression largely stems from the fact that you've arrived at Stack Exchange with some invalid assumptions, premises and preconceived judgments, which you probably obtained by participating in other online forums.

Stack Exchange doesn't seek to be a "me too" forum. In fact, the goals are quite the opposite. Where forums will allow you to post almost anything, Stack Exchange prefers to be more discerning, allowing only those posts that add value to the community. Where forums allow you to entirely control the content of your posts, Stack Exchange prefers a more collaborative approach, allowing trusted users to cull, curate and improve content.

Stack Exchange is the anti-forum, in other words. Everything you learned in those forum environments is essentially wrong.

The reason this is causing you depression is that you came here expecting the medium (the Stack Exchange software and its participants) to bend to your will and your own purposes. It simply doesn't work that way here.

The way out of the depression is to get to know the SE platform on its own terms, understand how it works, and then decide if it is personally worthwhile for you to participate on that basis.

  • 1
    If it's any help, I've been using SO, CrossValidated, and Math.SE for years. I've never experienced anything remotely this bad at any of those sites.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 16:52
  • 9
    Then why do you give the impression that you're unfamiliar with the platform? Every SE site has different norms. This particular site was originally a venue for more subjective programming questions. It still is, but subjectivity being what it is, the site had to be reined in. It was a long and difficult process, made more difficult by folks who had their own personal ideas about how the site should be run. They're certainly entitled to their opinion, but in the end we decided to ditch the water cooler nonsense in favor of more substantial discourse. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 16:55
  • I disagree that I have said things which demonstrate unfamiliarity with the platform. I believe you can see the linked accounts at other StackExchange sites. My user name is the same across all of them, in case you do not believe me that I am familiar with the platform and would like to verify.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 16:56
  • In other words, my feeling is that the comment I quoted above and its subsequent upvotes are such an egregious departure from the social norms at every other StackExchange site I've used that I was moved to hopefully draw more attention to it and see what this community expects me to do in response to an especially egregious situation.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 16:59
  • 1
    I haven't sifted through the comments, but do they have anything to do with that edit war you started yesterday? Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:00
  • Isn't that an unfairly biased characterization? I tried to provide dispassionate arguments for why the edits/rollbacks were justified. Calling it an edit war suggests not just that my interpretation was wrong, but some malicious intent on my part. I do not understand why my attempts to draw on this site's cited on-topic page links creates that feeling.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:00
  • 6
    Rolling back a moderator's edits never ends well. Mods are supposed to be the final arbiters in disputes like this. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:01
  • The discussion of the appropriateness of the mod's edits was for the other meta question, not this one. This one is about someone deciding it was good to tell me they were going to write a post just to bash me, and including insults, and being upvoted for doing so.
    – user103181
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:03
  • Well, I'm over my head then. The usual remedy for such comments is to flag them as rude or offensive, and a mod will remove them. Behavior like that (if you're accurately characterizing it) is not welcome here or anywhere on SE; if it continues, there are stronger measures available, just like there are for edit wars. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:05
  • 5
    Not for nothing, but the best remedy for situations like this is to simply walk away, let everyone cool down for a little while, and take what you can from the advice that is offered. Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:15
  • 2
    @RobertHarvey then why allow users to roll back moderator edits at all.
    – BlackICE
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 15:44

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