Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Yesterday I answered someone's homework question with pointers as to the subject they probably needed to look into in order to answer the question. I normally don't even answer homework tags but this one was quite specific about looking for pointers and not a complete answer, so that's what I did.

Someone didn't like my answer so they hit it with a -1 and then proceeded to spam the hell out of it with comments. The also looked at my history and spammed some of my old answers. I commented back mentioning the verbosity and trollish nature of their spam attack and I flagged their comments. I tried to do the right thing rather than get into some long 'debate' with a troll. What do you think happened?

That's right. The answer was deleted, I was told to be nice, and my account was suspended.

There'll probably be claims that I'm misrepresenting the facts. Unfortunately of course the whole thing's deleted so they'll get away with it because otherwise people could look and see for themselves.

Yeah, I'm pretty pissed off and that's where this question is coming from. Doesn't mean it isn't a valid one. Do you really want people to be worried that they'll be the ones getting the shaft when they report abuse?

share|improve this question
I can't investigate this myself, being a sub-10k, but do you happen to have a link to the answer that was deleted? – Grace Note Feb 16 '11 at 18:16
Would this be the deleted answer in question:… ? – Brad Larson Feb 16 '11 at 18:21
That's the one. – anon Feb 16 '11 at 18:23
Reading the comments, paxdiablo seems to provide a logical criticism of your answer. He then provided a similar comment on another answer of yours and you appeared to fly off the handle by calling him a troll. The conversation appeared to rack up a bunch of community flags, so Tim cut it off by removing the answer. – Brad Larson Feb 16 '11 at 18:26
So pax patrols the [homework] tag to troll people, huh. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 16 '11 at 18:27
I was going to post an answer, but Brad's comment pretty much sums it up; "Wow. Wordy little troll ain't yah" came out of nowhere – Michael Mrozek Feb 16 '11 at 18:28
Looking at a few of Eddie's downvoted answers and his comments to people, I wonder who the troll really is. Ok enough time wasted. Please don't expect any responses. – Aryabhatta Feb 16 '11 at 19:33

Your answer to C++ Void Function Confusion was really more of a comment.

I believe your instructor wants you to become familiar with references and/or pointers. I would suggest reviewing any recent sections that mentioned these things.

And the comments that followed:

Don't use pointers in C++ for pass-by-reference, that's the whole point of having reference types, so you don't have to muck about with dereferencing any more (a particular problem area for newcomers). But you'll notice I didn't downvote you for that, instead first giving you a chance to fix or explain - see, that's what community is all about :-) – paxdiablo yesterday

@pax: I have heard arguments against using non-const reference parameters. For example, Google advises its programmers to use pointers for output parameters to make potential side effects more clear:… – Gunslinger47

@Gunslinger47 & @pax - it's a moot and pointless point anyway. We have no way of knowing what the teacher is trying to teach the student. The teacher might want them to use references, as I would (except I wouldn't), or might want them to use pointers. My answer is not about what is best practice, since the question itself indicates BAD practice, it's about pointing the OP in the right direction to answer their homework question themselves, which is actually what they specifically asked for. Pax is just mad. Trolled my old posts after this too. – Crazy Eddie 23 hours ago

Regrettably, no one ever seems to teach references in basic C++ classes. – Gunslinger47 22 hours ago

I'm asuming that "Trolled my old posts" means I specificaly targeted some of your other answers, yes? I had to go looking at my history and, yes, I did downvote another of your answers recently (…) but that was less retribution and more the fact the answer was ludicrous in the context of the question - I even left a message stating why. Seriously, if I was the vengeful type, I wouldn't have left a comment - in any case, SO easily detects and reverses that behaviour. – paxdiablo 16 hours ago

Oh yes, and I did downvote this answer but that's only because suggesting pointers for pass-by-reference in C++ is bad advice, and I gave you plenty of time to fix it or argue otherwise (which you did, but I wasn't really convinced it was a good argument). I'll be happy to reverse the downvote if that advice is removed, otherwise I'll stand by my conviction that this answer is unhelpful. – paxdiablo 16 hours ago

And sorry I took so long to respond. You should be aware that it's only the first @Crazy -type name that gets procesed in comments, hence your comment to gunslinger and myself didn't show up in my notifications. I just happened to be passing by here again and noticed it. As to your "mad" comment, you may be right but it's far more likely to be crazy-mad than angry-mad :-) – paxdiablo 16 hours ago

Wow. Wordy little troll ain't yah. – Crazy Eddie 14 hours ago

Yes, you're absolutely right. I can see that my meager language skills are no match for the eloquence and wit displayed in your last comment. I guess you trounced me on this one, I'll be sure to be more circumspect in future when facing up to someone of your intellectual stature. (And, on the off-chance that you didn't understand that, it was sarcasm). Feel free to have the last comment, I won't be bothering you again (barring more bad advice). – paxdiablo 13 hours ago

This answer (and comment thread) are accumulating too many flags from the community. I'm deleting this now, as it is disrupting the community. – Tim Post♦ 5 hours ago edit

To be honest, I wouldn't see anything wrong with your original answer if it had been posted as a comment. I do think you played the "troll" card way too early on pax in the comments. He was clearly just correcting you.

The suspension was probably due more to that fact that you've been warned repeatedly about your rude behavior than to the severity of rudeness on display here. I'd rate this as pretty mild for you. Still, repeated warnings with little-to-no effort at correcting your behavior will lead to suspensions. You can't say you haven't been warned.

share|improve this answer
I would have to say that being suspended for what you deem "mild for me" indicates effort to "correcting [my] behavior". What you seem to show here is that no amount of improvement is acceptable. Dude went off for 3 comments and was a hell of a lot more rude than I was there. Your failure to recognize, "And, on the off-chance that you didn't understand that, it was sarcasm," as such just indicates bias. – anon Feb 16 '11 at 18:38
@Crazy Eddie: I recognized that pax used sarcasm after you called him a troll twice. You must recognize that "pretty mild for you" is a very relative term. I noticed that you've changed your name recently, so I'm willing to believe you when you say you mean to attempt to improve your behavior. If you do, then no one is going to hold a grudge against you after the suspension is up. Please use it as a "cooling-off" period. Your technical contributions to the site are certainly welcome back. – Bill the Lizard Feb 16 '11 at 18:44
  • Looking in your history and voting on the content found there is an expected and supported behavior. (Thought there is a limit beyond which the abuse filters will cut in.)

  • Downvoting and commenting on poor answers is not only expected and supported but encouraged.

  • And you might consider the possibility that your critic is simply right about using pointers for pass by reference in c++. (Thus speaketh a guy who has written a lot of c-with-classes in his time.)

As for the deletion I' a little surprised that Tim did that, but only a little because his other choice was essentially to delete the whole comment thread. But that would have removed pax's correct comment preferring reference types in c++, and I suspect that leaving just pax's comment wouldn't have made you very happy, no?

share|improve this answer
Appropriate response probably would have been to leave pax's comment, gunslinger's and my reply to gunslinger. The 3-4 comment long tirade and my reply to it should have been removed. – anon Feb 16 '11 at 22:30

You must log in to answer this question.