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With regard to this post on SO:

Uncheck all Button for uitableviewcellassesorycheckmark (Now deleted)

The OP asked a vague question, some comments ensued (from 4 down, here they are):

There are many, many ways to do it. It completely depends on the implementation you are using for checking/unchecking the cells. This question is too vague to answer in its current form. You'll have to be more specific. – PengOne


i know how to program, i just needed an idea of how to do this because ive already tried but i didnt succeed so i asked for help. – kurt moyer


@kurt: OK, but please review the SO FAQ for guidelines about how to ask questions here. Please be specific and post relevant code. – PengOne


@PengOne you = cockSucker - kurt moyer


@kurt: There is no need to be rude or offensive. I am merely trying to help you understand how SO works, and how to ask effective questions that receive helpful answers. – PengOne


that doesnt mean ur not a cocksucker!!! :P haha – kurt moyer

The question had a score of -5 last time I checked.

Here's the question: How should one handle a situation such as this?

Here's what I did: I flagged his first offensive comment before responding. Then I flagged his second offensive comment and do not intend to respond further. I probably should have ignored the question and moved on, and I'll work on doing that in the future.

Any suggestions for what should have been done differently to keep the situation from deteriorating?

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11  
Hats off to you for including the original comment text. Here's to hoping this doesn't google bomb your name ;) –  user7116 Jul 18 '11 at 21:35
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I totally expected to see Col. Shrapnel popping up again –  Daniel DiPaolo Jul 18 '11 at 21:48
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@sixlettervariables - "...but do they call me 'PengOne the builder'? No..." –  Justin Morgan Jul 18 '11 at 21:53
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Sigh, it's quite sad to see this kind of immaturity on Stack Exchange. At least it doesn't come up often. –  Kevin Y Jul 18 '11 at 22:58
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The real question here is why has this account not been temporarily suspended or placed in the Penalty Box? From what I see, there's a consistent pattern of behavior here, something that definitely needs to be dealt with. –  Cody Gray Jul 19 '11 at 8:24
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Why, exactly, is this a question? You flag the user, the mods reign holy hell down upon the head of said douche, and we all move on. –  Won't Jul 19 '11 at 10:26
    
@Cody - Does he have other offensive posts? I don't see any, but I'm under 10k. –  Justin Morgan Jul 19 '11 at 14:07
    
@JustinMorgan: Mainly talking about comments, not posts. Even 10k users can't see deleted comments. –  Cody Gray Jul 19 '11 at 14:10
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@Cody - I didn't see offensive comments either, but maybe I didn't look in the right place. His questions read like my friends' text messages, though. i dunno brah taht's what they rmind me of lol :D ~thanks justin –  Justin Morgan Jul 19 '11 at 14:18
    
@Won't: The question is what to do in a situation such as this. I have no idea how to flag a user apart from flagging a comment. –  PengOne Jul 19 '11 at 14:20
    
@PengOne You can't flag users, just flag one of their posts and explain the situation. The comment flags can be auto-resolved, better use the free-form mod-attention flag and just write that the user is insulting people. That should get a pretty quick reaction from a mod. –  Mad Scientist Jul 19 '11 at 14:41
    
@PengOne: Flag the post the comment is on, and in the flag say "Please read the comments on this question/answer by user stackoverflow.com/users/0000000/Some_Rude_Jerk"; –  Won't Jul 19 '11 at 14:54
    
what sad. many usual users are the immature one who think they are God.. –  user3622030 May 11 at 11:18

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

First off, I feel that you handled this situation in a superb fashion, through trying to control your own emotions and teaching the individual the error of his/her ways. Situations like this are very difficult to handle because no matter what happens, most likely they're not going to be nice/responsive to what you say. Some suggestions though that I have are:

  1. Invite the user to talk about the issue on chat:

    • avoids 'fluff' on questions/answers that aren't needed) Also allows for others to easily weigh in. SuperUser has a specific chat room dedicated to asking mods questions and can be a good place to discuss issues.
  2. Flag and ignore:

    • Ignoring, I have found, can be the most powerful tool that you have. If they don't get a response, they don't get the pleasure/power of the reaction.
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8  
Agreed on point #2. For a normal situation I'd agree on point #1 as well, but when a guy starts throwing around words like that, there's not much point in following him over to chat. –  Justin Morgan Jul 18 '11 at 21:56
    
Agreed. I wasn't in a rush to chat with him at that point, though perhaps I should have tried sooner. These are good suggestions, though, that I'll keep in mind for the future (and hopefully will never have to use). –  PengOne Jul 18 '11 at 23:06
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Did the user have enough rep for chat? (It doesn't look like he did). –  Awesome Poodles Jul 19 '11 at 0:08
    
@PengOne - This guy wouldn't have responded any better to a chat invite than he did to your comment. Even if he did, he would have behaved the same way as soon as he got there. –  Justin Morgan Jul 19 '11 at 14:01

Wow. I've seen childish or rude behavior on SO before, but this is the first time I've ever seen it anywhere near this level. Anyway, my own method of dealing with a jerk on SO goes like this, in order of escalation:

  1. Explain in a neutral tone what's wrong with his behavior, avoiding personal insults or threats of downvoting/flagging/etc.
  2. Downvote the post (if applicable).
  3. Refer to the FAQ (if helpful).
  4. Stop responding. Ignore the behavior if it's not poisonous to the site.
  5. Flag for moderator attention.

Looks like you followed the above. Where you may have gone wrong was following the normal anti-jerk procedure with a guy who was already way past the normal level of jerk. After the first time he said something that offensive, there wasn't much point in trying to educate him. He wasn't ever going to become a worthwhile participant, and anything you did was just going to lead to more name-calling. Best thing to do is give up on him, flag his posts, and stop commenting back. It's fun to bait trolls, but you're not going to reform them that way.

That being said, in no way am I suggesting any of this is your fault. You stayed professional and calm, didn't get drawn in to childish squabbling, and flagged appropriately before ignoring him. The only thing you could have done differently is stopped responding after the first time he called you a schoolyard name.

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Flagging the first offensive comment was the right thing to do.

Probably the only thing you could've done beyond that was to stop responding sooner and not reply to the first offensive comment at all.

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Nitpick: Seems to me that the "problem" started with the second comment from the original poster, not the first one. That's when I would have stopped responding and left it at a flag. –  Cody Gray Jul 19 '11 at 8:23
    
@Cody Sorry, I meant the first offensive comment. I'll update my answer. –  Anna Lear Jul 19 '11 at 13:23

This user posted at least three such comments. The first one was before he started addressing you directly -- I don't remember the exact text, but it referred to "all you guys". They were each deleted in turn, probably due to Offensive flags, before the next was posted.

I thought your comment was quite judicious. I had posted my own along the same lines:

@kurt: As amused as I am by your camel-cased cussing, that kind of language is not tolerated here. Please stop.

but decided to let you (being already directly involved) and the mods handle the situation.

I don't think there's anything further that could have been done. The fact that this user re-posted the same offensive sentiment three times indicates very strongly that this is a situation to be handled by moderators.

The question has now been deleted by the author. It also seems to have been a double-post of Uncheck every cell on tableView.

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This is an interesting situation, because it seems (at least to me) that offensive users are a fairly uncommon or even rare occurrence on Stack Overflow and most sites in the network.

Part of the reason I use SO (and a few of the other sites less frequently) so much isn't just because of the vast amount of knowledge our collective minds possess, but because it has such a great community that is friendly, polite and helpful over 99% of the time. I'm sure many agree so I think reacting to rude/impolite/offensive users in the correct way is an important part of keeping our communities healthy. +1 to you for bringing this up.

I can't say I've had much experience dealing with users such as these, but I think the best thing to do (as you did) would be to just respond civilly to their post/comment telling them such behavior is not acceptable, and to flag their post/comment for moderator attention.

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I've been active on SO for about 6 months now, and this is the first time I've encountered anything like this. The user in question lists his age as 16 in his profile, but I've interacted with younger users on SO before and everything has always been constructive. –  PengOne Jul 18 '11 at 21:20
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According to my profile it's been 14 months for me, and I don't think I've encountered anything like that at all, on my own questions or anyone else's. I don't think the age really makes a difference, like you said the younger users you've interacted with have been constructive and I think that generally applies to all ages on SO. There's just a few bad apples out there unfortunately. –  Jake Petroules Jul 18 '11 at 21:42

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