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This question (asked by me) seems quite reasonable:

  • It summarises the question in the title.
  • It shows why a solution that was commonly proposed by my coworkers doesn't work.
  • It asks how to do it right.
  • It has a real, short and very precise answer.

What prompted those comments that seem to imply the question is stupid, invalid, whatever? Could I have phrased it better? Should I just ignore such comments or should I take them as indication that I didn't word the question very well?

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People are suffering regex burnout? – random Nov 19 '09 at 15:32
It's not a new phenomena:… – tvanfosson Nov 19 '09 at 16:32
This is why I support downvoting comments:… Some comments are not helpful or contributive and do not deserve upvotes, yet still garner some. – Tom Ritter Nov 19 '09 at 21:18
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, you can ignore such comments. You can also (optionally):

  • Assert that you realize the question may seem to have an unusual constraint, such as using Regexes, but that they should rest assured you have a good reason.
  • Come to Meta to vent your frustration.

You seem to have done both of these. Other than that, there's not much you can do. Don't add your own snarky comments, much as you may be tempted (which I see you also did). Don't take it personally, people are like that sometimes. Just ignore it and move on.

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Heh, thanks, #2 actually helps a lot. Snarky comment removed. – romkyns Nov 19 '09 at 16:03

I would not call one comment from one single person "people".

I read the linked question, there is only one comment, which I think you can safely ignore if you don't like it ( well there are actually two comments, but the other is a clear joke, which is fine ).

If there would be >5 comments from different users, ( like in this question ) there is a chance yo need to rephrase your question ( like the OP did in the previously mentioned one )

I think ( at least in this particular case ) you are a bit too sensitive. Probably you'll need some rest.

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Yes, I think you're right about "too sensitive". I'll ignore these unless there are more than two. – romkyns Nov 19 '09 at 16:01

I've read the question you linked and I'd say that the comments are not that offensive. They are just saying that, in their opinion, you did not use the right tool for the job.

Maybe one of their fellow programmer just made a mess with a regex and they were frustrated about it. :D The question is not uncorrect or other in its structure, imho.

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IF you believe a comment is offensive, flag it and a moderator will review the comment, and if needed delete it.

While it would be nice to receive only constructive criticism on Stackoverflow, it is, after, made up of people. Not only that, but some programmers hold strong opinions, and sometimes have difficulty expressing themselves in a tactful or non-forceful manner.

It's wise to assume that no harm is meant, especially on a multi-cultural website.

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If you're taking negative criticism on the question, I think you've put an unnecessary constraint on the question in the title -- you've required a Regex. The last line didn't specify a Regex but everything else leads the reader to believe you want a Regex solution.

It's like asking what the best way to build a box using only a saw. Sure you can cut some fancy joints and it may be pretty strong. Or you can add a hammer and nails to your toolbox and use those instead.

I wouldn't say the comment is offensive because given the constraint in the title, the comment as an answer may have been downvoted despite being a simple solution.

I think if you take "Regex" out of the title it's a better question and you'll get better answers.

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Hypothetically, I might be asking how to build a box using only a saw from a deserted island. I might only have the saw. I might be in a saw-only-box-building-competition. There are lots of possible reasons for a constraint. The reasons for the constraint are completely irrelevant to the question. Are you suggesting that one should always explain the gory details of the reasoning behind the constraint? That could be 20 times as long as the question itself. – romkyns Nov 29 '09 at 12:56

The why is fairly simple. People on-board with the sites for awhile have migrated from "oh this is cool" and willing to go out of their way to help to the "man, when will the neverending stream of the same questions ever end". They're tired and annoyed, and just haven't yet quite reached the realization that they need to step back now and let other (still enthusiastic, if sometimes incorrect) people step up and take their place!

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But that's rep going begging! We can't lose any precioussssss repssssss... – womble Nov 19 '09 at 21:20

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