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I have been a member on Stack Overflow now for a while, and a reocurring trend is beginning to surface: Users with high reputation are rude, sarcastic, and condescending to users who have low reputation and/or have asked a perfectly legitimate question. And since there is no obvious way for users to report the behavior of another user, or contact each other, perhaps to work out a resolve. When one user, like myself, sticks up for the asker/poster saying it's uncalled for. The reigning argument is that they have a high reputation and I should respect them? I'm sorry but I was raised with the ideology that respect is earned. If a user continually uses rude, sarcastic, condescending demeanor towards other users, then that is hardly earning it. Just because some people have upvoted things they have said, nothing implies the amount of respect they deserve from ME, or anyone else, unless they are being well mannered and appropriate.

There's no sounding board for when a user is being inappropriate. You can't say anything about it, because when you do, they say "it's off-topic and not helpful," because apparently their attitude is.

I like the topics on this site, and I use it frequently for questions that have already been answered. But I'm becoming weary about posting new questions, or answering new ones, because of the manner in which these high-reputation users conduct themselves.

If I wanted to listen to sarcasm and attitude, I'd move back home <.<

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if you feel like entering a chat on this go to: chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/89/tavern-on-the-meta –  waffles Aug 31 '11 at 1:11
    
Obviously, if what you say is true, it's a problem. Until you show some evidence, though, it's just a rant. There's really nothing we can or should do here on Meta to respond to rants. (It doesn't help that your title reminds me a bit of the common trick question "why do you beat your wife?") –  Pops Aug 31 '11 at 14:15
    
flag the person which is using rudeness or abuse or something harmfull and leave it for moderators, they will definately do something. –  Ankit Sharma Apr 6 '12 at 6:27
    
I do feel the same frustration. As a new user, I have no recourse when slapped down by. My answer was insulted as wrong and deleted. I could not undelete, I could no respond or explain. Even though my answer was 100% right. so I ranted in the same way as this person. The reason this response is voted down and not up is because people who have no established reputation and experience what we've experienced can't vote anyone up. –  Russell S Jul 29 '13 at 5:00
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4 Answers

Users with high reputation are rude, sarcastic, and condescending to users who have low reputation and/or have asked a perfectly legitimate question.

Nothing could be further than the truth. Our high rep uses are barely flagged, compared to low rep and new users. They have significantly more content on the site so there is a significantly larger corpus of content that could be flagged.

Take Hans for example, where the complaints are directed at:

He posted 15500 or so comments on the site, of these 43 were flagged. Sure, this may be higher than Jon Skeet's 23610 comments with only 15 flagged comments. But still, its a tiny amount.


We are all human, except for Jon Skeet who is clearly not a human. We sometimes slip. When this happens the best way to address the issue is to FLAG problem behavior. We are constantly analyzing the data. If we find abuse we handle it swiftly and justly.

Getting into comment wars, which is easy to slip into, is a horrible mistake to make that only leads to pain, suffering and general sadness. Our engine was not designed for extended off topic chats, for that with have chat.


I do not think that having 0.28% offensive comments is considered trolling, Hans slipped a few times, we are all allowed to have a few bad days.

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@SilverX - "Comments rarely get flagged as often as they should" ...do you have any data to support this? You're making several assumptions and overlooking a lot of facts here, like the post owner having the comments in their face and immediately flagged....*exactly* the case that started this. –  Nick Craver Aug 31 '11 at 1:02
    
the post owner having the comments in their face and immediately flagged? April 6th is immediately? 4 months? That flag system sure is fast huh? Data? Yes sir! I built a StackOverflow scraper this morning because I knew this argument would ensue. >.> –  SilverX Aug 31 '11 at 1:12
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if you feel like entering a chat on this go to: chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/89/tavern-on-the-meta –  waffles Aug 31 '11 at 1:14
    
@waffles what kind of punishment does SE gives to the rude person because i have seen one rude person on SE and flagged him two times but nothing happened at all. –  Ankit Sharma Apr 6 '12 at 6:29
    
Thank you! Your post was very constructive. I am new to this forum and have stumbled right out of the gate. I feel my answer could have been treated with much more respect. I was treated like a newb had my post deleted for no reason and I had no recourse. My first response was to rant. My biggest gripe is being called a liar by those with high reputation even though I include my own working code. There is a definite elitist feel here. –  Russell S Jul 29 '13 at 5:16
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Look, if someone's rude to you just flag their comment as "rude or offensive" or "not constructive / off-topic" and move on. Don't feed the trolls. If you do, you run the risk of having your own comments flagged for deletion.

For example, consider your comment here:

everywhere I go on this site, I find Hans on here being sarcastic to other would-be developers. sigh I down-vote this answer thanks to the rude demand of an answer. No matter how relevant it is.

This is not helpful. Please let the moderators take care of problem users.

For the record, you say that the conversation started with the following comment.

@Joe: great. Have you figured out the mystery of marking an answer and using the up-vote arrows yet? There's an outline of a V-mark next to each post, you fill it with green by clicking on it. – Hans Passant Apr 6

You decided to respond in kind.

Feeding the trolls

Now all of these comments have been deleted. It would have been easier to just flag the original comment and then forget about it.

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@SilverX: It still does not help if you reply with similarly rude comments, even if you are feeling right. I just looked through the last some comments made by Hans and while there were some that I would have worded in other ways, I don't see anything abusive. Maybe he (or some moderator) already deleted them. As said, simply flag them, then the moderators will have a look. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 31 '11 at 0:53
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Per the faq:

Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated.

No user, no matter how high their rep, is exempt from following that simple guideline.

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I know it's tempting to take matters into your own hands and start publicly addressing those who you think are problem users in the comments. Comments are the wrong place to do this. Comments should only be used to communicate messages that relate to the subject matter of the post at hand.

Anything else is unhelpful and before we know it we've got a full blown honey pot for more dischord. This is not good for the site.

There's no sounding board for when a user is being inappropriate. You can't say anything about it, because when you do, they say "it's off-topic and not helpful," because apparently their attitude is

Well there is a sounding board and it's called flagging:

  • The correct way to go about raising an issue with another user's behaviour is to flag their post or comment for moderator attention.

  • If you feel that the issue is still not satisfactorily resolved then escalate by contacting a site moderator to discuss the problem in a private chat room. This would be a fairly exceptional state of affairs.

  • Finally, if you still feel the issue has not been brought to a close then contact team@stackoverflow.com.

All of the above mechanisms are very effective at allowing all users of our community to air a grievance "out of band" so that other folks aren't unnecessarily subjected to the gory details, blood, guts and crossfire in the public comments.

Finally, be absolutely assured that all users (moderators included) are subject to the same high standards and code of conduct on the site, regardless of their rep or function.

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But I like gory details! –  Pëkka Aug 31 '11 at 21:42
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