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Is there any way to tell another community member to tone down the rhetoric when leaving comments?

I feel like leaving another comment on a question or answer just creates more noise. A lot of times the comment doesn't deserve to be flagged as offensive, but the tone could be more pleasant.

While it does get tedious to see the same questions asked over and over, I'd hate to see anyone discouraged from contributing because of an elitist environment where harsh comments are prevalent.

Maybe a "smiley face" rating or something for making nicer posts? =)

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Just ignore them, they don't deserve your attention – user150926 Mar 26 '11 at 12:43
"I feel like leaving another comment on a question or answer just creates more noise." <-- So true. – Bill the Lizard Mar 26 '11 at 12:51
"I'd hate to see anyone discouraged from contributing because of an elitist environment where harsh comments are prevalent." SO is in fact already well-known for this. It's toxic and it should be stopped. – smci Dec 2 '11 at 11:02
Some users (myself included) probably deserve to be treated condescendingly. I often get a lot of negative feedback when I post questions that demonstrate my lack of experience with a particular programming language, but that's probably justifiable. I'm obviously an idiot, and I deserve no respect from the rest of the community. – Anderson Green Mar 19 '13 at 13:59
How about having a "bad attitude" flag (as opposed to the "offensive" flag), and if a user gets enough of those flags then a smiley face is automatically appended to every comment that they post? Just kidding... :) – Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 29 '14 at 21:11
up vote 6 down vote accepted

While I agree that there are some condescending, and dispiriting, comments left by some users, I don't feel that this merits a new feature. Possibly it might be nice to extend the possibility of down-votes to comments, but again: I don't really feel it's necessary, since a comment deserving of a down-vote more-or-less implies that it should be flagged:

If a comment is flagged by enough users it will be auto-soft-deleted. There is no penalty for this.. yet. Flagged comments will be surfaced to moderators, so if you have a problem with a comment, flag it.

If a comment isn't pleasant, but isn't actually offensive, ignore it. If it crosses the boundaries into offensive then it should be flagged as such, and the >10k users and moderators can take some kind of action to deal with it.

If a user is consistently on the border-line of condescending/offensive then email the team (, and inform them of your concerns about this user (or these users) citing the question/answer for reference, obviously.

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I saw one situation where a user was posting comments I thought were inappropriate, so I flagged them. But he posted new ones as soon as the old ones got deleted, so flagging them didn't seem to help. – Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 15:48
@Gabe, in that case the continued abuse of the comment system warrants a report to the stackoverflow team. – David Thomas Mar 26 '11 at 18:24
The user never gets told "x% of their comments are deleted for being rude/offensive or not constructive. But they should (and we should), if it's a large volume for them. Simply autodeleting large numbers of rude comments is not a consequence to this behavior. – smci Dec 2 '11 at 10:59
I'm not sure how I should respond to condescending remarks by a moderator - if I said anything about it, would I risk being banned? (A moderator once accused me of being "intentionally obtuse", and I didn't know how to respond to that.). – Anderson Green Apr 8 '13 at 22:25

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