What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 133 Stack Exchange communities.

After asking a question on SO, an answerer and I got into a verbal tussle.

Basically, I at first misunderstood a part of the answer, but then felt that the answer wasn't clear enough to me. I felt that the argument was not clear to me, a beginner; the answerer, an expert, felt I was purposely misunderstanding him. An invitation to chat was rejected.

Eventually, a moderator seems to have stepped in and deleted all the comments.

However, I still don't understand that part of the answer, but I'm pretty sure that leaving another comment would result in another unconstructive argument. I'd really just like to understand the answer better.

Advice?

share|improve this question
21  
Walk away. Just stop posting and move on to something else. –  ChrisF Nov 15 '11 at 23:10
3  
:sigh: the biggest problem was that the moderator deleted all the comments. At least the results/resolution should be left alone. –  Billy ONeal Nov 15 '11 at 23:10
4  
xkcd.com/386 –  CanSpice Nov 15 '11 at 23:51
1  
@BillyONeal - Why is this a problem? 'Pissing matches' don't need to be preserved. One summary post from each (usually the first) will be sufficient to express both points of view. –  Kevin Vermeer Nov 16 '11 at 0:04
    
@KevinVermeer I can see where he is coming from, because as it stands, those of us reading this post have no forensic evidence of what started the tangle in the conversation. Without that it's hard to give anything but broad advice. The other side of the coin is that one user summarizing the argument both puts him/her into a position of calling out the dissenter and creates a bias. –  jonsca Nov 16 '11 at 0:15
3  
That's a good point, I definitely don't want this to be an "I'm right, he's wrong, tell me I'm great" discussion. It's more of an "I'm probably wrong, he's probably right, but it's not constructive, how do we make it useful?" kind of question. –  Matt Fenwick Nov 16 '11 at 1:16
1  
@KevinVermeer: Because if the answer is wrong, the only record that the answer was wrong is now gone. Of course if there's a summary post that's fine, but if all the comments got nuked that's bad. –  Billy ONeal Nov 16 '11 at 2:06
    
@Matt - One whose side was the invitation to chat rejected? Chat is very helpful in sorting out comment arguments that are going nowhere. –  xiaohouzi79 Nov 16 '11 at 3:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Just chill. Play some Solitaire, go get a beer, whatever. By the time you're done, you'll probably have calmed down and realized that fights on the internet are not worth taking personally. :)

Realize also, people don't have the same degree of communication skills. What some expert wrote is probably perfectly understandable to him as a Level 57 Java Master or whatever, but some people have trouble bringing it down to a newbie's level without condescending (or going too far and writing a whole book on how variables work). Asking them to clarify isn't asking too much, IMO, but some people just aren't able to deliver. In which case i just wouldn't upvote it. Wait til an answer comes along that answers the question at your level of understanding.

If the answer is utterly incomprehensible to you, you might downvote it. The arrow says, "This answer is unclear or not useful". Which seems to be your problem with the post. But refrain from "pissing matches"; they really don't help anyone, and as you've noticed, if they get too heated, a mod will step in and obliterate all the comments with extreme prejudice.

share|improve this answer

If you're referring to What are the differences between javac and the Eclipse Java Compiler?, it's an interesting question but a terrible fit for SO.

From the FAQ:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

Your question is open-ended in the extreme. It'd be good for a blog post, or maybe an entire series of blog posts, but not for a Q&A site such as SO. There's no way a single response could possible answer it completely.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .