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I'm aware that some of my answers and comments "back in the day" (2009) were a bit mean-spirited. Sorry, I was in a bad mood. I got over it, and have actually deleted many of those.

But I was just now accused of being "mean" (actually, we were all accused of being mean in the aggregate).

I'd love to know whether anyone thinks I was being mean, or whether the OP was being a bit thin-skinned?

The question is at "As a Best Practice, Where Should I Put My Database?" (original title was "VB.NET | Best Practice").

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Reminds me of immature teenagers that are new to relationships... "You don't like me, do you?" –  animuson May 4 '13 at 3:16
No. The user was new and is probably not used to hearing FAQ off –  AsheeshR May 4 '13 at 3:18
@AshRj: Actually, I didn't tell him to read the faq until he asked what he did wrong. –  John Saunders May 4 '13 at 3:20
I'd recommend not retaliating with the "thin skin" thing in the future. :) –  U2744 SNOWFLAKE May 4 '13 at 3:26
Your comments were perfectly nice, and instead of just saying 'read the FAQ' you took the time to correct it and explain what was wrong. If the OP is trying to 'save his job' he might not be in the best mood , to receive criticism. Your comments were very professional and might (I am just guessing) have been interpreted as cold by someone who is not used to the site. –  Mathieu Imbert May 4 '13 at 3:26
@rynah: I didn't consider "thin skin" to be retaliation, but simply a phrase indicating that the person is too easily offended. –  John Saunders May 4 '13 at 3:27
@JohnSaunders: Yeah, I probably picked the wrong word. But it wasn't really a helpful way of phrasing it. Perhaps "I'm not trying to be rude; it's advice that will help you in the future" or something to that effect. –  U2744 SNOWFLAKE May 4 '13 at 3:29
Ok, to translate into @rynah, I should have said, "I'm not trying to be rude; it's advice that will help you in the future; and you appear to be easily offended." –  John Saunders May 4 '13 at 3:30
I don't think you were mean, but maybe you and the other closers were too strict (although I'm not familiar with the standards for that particular tag; I'm used to much worse stuff at JavaScript and jQuery). The question sounds answerable to me, the OP provided some context, and the "best practice" thing can be entirely ignored. –  bfavaretto May 4 '13 at 3:32
Sure! That doesn't sound remotely offensive. –  U2744 SNOWFLAKE May 4 '13 at 3:32
I've been ignoring the "no extended discussion" warning and have been posting comments to the OP. The premise question doesn't actually make any sense. Even ignoring the "Call URL" language, why would he expect that sending a SQL query to a browser would be a good thing? And if he did so, then what was the outcome? Only then does he ask an unrelated question about the choice of data technologies. –  John Saunders May 4 '13 at 3:34
Yes, that's weird. I was focusing too much on the db part (and Jeremy Thompson's comment) when I wrote the comment above. –  bfavaretto May 4 '13 at 3:37
I think it is a problem once you start discussing about the person, rather than the subject matter in the question. –  nhahtdh May 4 '13 at 4:13
@rynah Thank you I updated the question straight to the point. Thin skinned is not the correct word here. I am trying to be respectful of the site. –  Phil J Fry May 4 '13 at 4:34
@nhahtdh Yeah, but the person wrote the subject matter in the question. –  John Saunders May 4 '13 at 11:36

1 Answer 1

I reviewed the comments, and I must say that you handled yourself, and the other user, quite well. I know from experience that you are known to be a bit "direct" sometimes, but you showed a great deal of patience with this user, even when he started to get really testy.

So, to answer the question, "Was I mean?", the answer is no. You were not mean.

This particular user is upset not because of anything you said; instead, he's upset because he doesn't yet understand the rules of Stack Overflow. He's frustrated, and you just happen to be in the wrong place at the right time. As a result, you incurred some of his wrath. We do see new users lash out at people sometimes, but we also have seen many of these same users eventually learn why Stack Overflow is so awesome and finally embrace the rules themselves. Something tells me this user could possibly become one of those users. It's just a gut feeling, based on the fact that he did try to write clearly, even if important details are missing.

Your last comment was especially helpful. He was trying to pick a fight with you, but instead you loosely mentioned a way that the op could improve the question by providing more details. You effectively put the ball in his court. This is a great way to teach people the rules and also gracefully excuse yourself from the scene.

So, he'll either edit it and possibly get the post reopened, or most likely, he'll simply move on, get over it, and the next time he posts a question a few months from now, he'll remember your words, do better research, and provide more details. I suspect that most of us didn't write good questions our first time around, and it took several someones taking some time with us to get us to the point where we could finally ask good technical questions. Hope this helps!

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