I got the impression that there are certain words (among them "buggy", "bloated", "unintelligent" and "dumb") that cause a post (like this one) appear as rant to the eyes of many. Is there a central list or some kind of general rule or is it left to personal discrimination?

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    If a good part of your post is devoted to describing how much something sucks, it's likely to be called a rant. We don't care how horrible or dumb something is. We just want to know the facts - what is the problem that you're looking to solve?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:07
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    You're trying to pin this down to a formal definition; you can't. Use your common sense. If a post seems ranty or overly negative, it probably is.
    – user102937
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:09
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    @Anna What if a good portion of my post is devoted to describing how exactly something sucks (instead of how much) and giving examples as to where exactly it sucks compared to the expected behavior. If I say: it behaves unintelligently (or dump) as a way of describing failure to perform tasks correctly and then give out examples and ask for directions, is it a rant? Whatever answer you give, is it just you? how did you come to it? did you follow a certain procedure or did you just used you personal common sense? Thanks Aug 3, 2011 at 19:15
  • ask for directions to do what? Context is very important. Is this an open-source package? Do you want to fix these problems? Do you want to go off and implement your own, much improved version of x?
    – M. Tibbits
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:18
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    @ashy That depends. Would your description be hurt in any way if you didn't say "this app is dumb because it does X" and instead just said "this app does X and I expect Y. How can I make it do Y?"? If you can take out negative judgements/descriptors and replace them with emotionless facts, then there's a good chance the post will come across as ranty unless edited.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:19
  • @Robert unfortunately using my common sense yields different results compared to many other members (perhaps the majority). I'm trying to figure out the other party's algorithm ;) or improve it if possible. Aug 3, 2011 at 19:19
  • @Anna, not caring is also known as apathy. Aug 3, 2011 at 19:24
  • Subjective is as subjective determines based completely on opinion.
    – user1228
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:24
  • @Anna I understand, so what you basically mean is that words such as "sucks", "dump" and the like are considered "negative, emotional judgments" and they -CAN NOT- be used in a constructive way as a tool to convey a general sense of faulty behavior to help the reader get a feel of what is meant? Aug 3, 2011 at 19:26
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    @ashy I can't give you an absolute answer. There isn't one. All I'm saying is that some ways to phrase things increase the chances of a post coming across as a rant. It's a judgement call in the end. I'm not suggesting that every post should be about sunshine, roses, and happy puppies, but I do believe in most cases it's possible to stick to the facts and phrase a question objectively.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:29
  • @Anna I totally understand and I'm trying not to objectify something which is obviously subjective in nature, so I'm asking for guidelines. Here is the question pinned down: Is it Ok to use the word "unintelligent" in a context with the clear meaning as what "intelligent" means as a tool to convey the general observed behavior of a faulty piece of software and avoid verbosity? or the simple inclusion of the word "intelligent" renders is as rant? or do you need more context ? Aug 3, 2011 at 19:44
  • @ashy I don't know, depends on the question. Off-hand, I think there has to be a better way to describe a behaviour than to say it's "unintelligent". "Unintelligent" doesn't really mean anything. It only tells you how something comes across but not what it actually does.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 3, 2011 at 20:27
  • @ashy_32bit It really helps if you edit everything to remove dyslexic typos.
    – dlamblin
    Aug 4, 2011 at 15:24

4 Answers 4


I think the way I see it is simple. Get to the point about what is not working. Don't beat around the bush about explaining how much you hate something. There are no specific words that would describe a rant. People (most of them anyways) know it when someone is whining about something.

  • If you have a problem with some product, describe the problem exactly as it happened. Don't start describing how much you hate the product because of that particular problem you had.

  • Even if that problem caused you so much stress. Sorry, we are not interested to know about it.

  • We are here to solve programming problems. So, provide the exact problem. No more and no less.

  • We are not interested to know whether you loathe or worship a product.

  • If you loathe about a product, please keep it to yourself or vent about it on some other site.

  • Product x failed to do what I want to do, what should I do?

That's how I look at it.

If I may post your question, this is how I would do it:

I am trying to understand how PhpStorm works but have been facing some difficulties. I am using the final version downloaded from JetBrains and my project is a fork of FengOffice. My environment includes common LAMP stack on Ubuntu 11.04 (php 5.3.6).

When I press Ctrl + N in PhpStorm, I am able to view all classes. However when I try to instantiate a class, all the classes are not displayed.

When I try to invoke auto-complete on an object variable $anew SomeClass(), I am able to view language constructs if, endif, while; superblobals $_GET, $_PUT. Pressing Enter key actually inserts the code $a->$_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']

Is that the normal behavior of PhpStorm where it doesn't display all the classes or am I doing something wrong?

I believe that I didn't alter the meaning of your question.

I try to be humble and I don't bash something because I can't figure out how it works. It is a lack of knowledge on my part that I don't understand the product thoroughly. I can't buy a Semi-trailer truck and drive to office and say it gives horrible mpg driving it every day to office. You got to understand what the use of Semi-trailer truck is, it is not for every day office commute. (Maybe it's a poor analogy.) The point is that you need to understand the limitations and look at it the positive way. Sure, there are bad products, I don't deny that fact--but it may be that you just picked the wrong product for your particular job.

Anyways, that's the way I am.

  • I can't agree more , yet how do you know someone is whining or describing a problem, imagine both situations match, i.e there are concrete questions with enough data and also some rant-words in the post. what then? And may I draw your attention to: stackoverflow.com/q/6845636/369489 Aug 3, 2011 at 19:32

I believe this is an open problem. There is an interesting article available here. It in essence boils down to detecting sarcasm within English text and human users tend to be the best at it. Context is everything.

That said, the Stack Exchange network is specifically designed and policed to be a question and answer knowledgebase. If a question appears to convey a -- positive or negative -- opinion then it is often flagged. Often, many of these questions can be rewritten to focus on a specific sub-issue which will be on topic and solicit cogent answers.

  • +1 for the "open problem" point and importance of the context as opposed to putting to much emphasis on certain words without due consideration to the context Aug 3, 2011 at 19:45

I don't know of any list like the one you are talking about. I just try not to use any ambiguous words that could make others believe this is a rant, and use common sense.

If there is a list though I would want to know where.


Unfortunately, the majority of people don't like to see anything that is "negative" even when it's accurate. They like to refer to bugs as features, and want to tell you to just buck up and accept it. It's one of the reasons there are so many bugs in software out there, denial is not just a river in Egypt. So when you identify a problem AND call it that, they freak out on the negative vibes.

Some of us just like to fix problems, and you can't fix a problem until you recognize that there is one.

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    So? Posts on so.com that are 50% flame are still 50% flame, whatever the underlying facts. No one's insisting on whitewash here.
    – Rosinante
    Aug 3, 2011 at 19:41
  • @Ros, I'm not really talking about flaming posts here, just ones that point out the problem, but also call it a problem, and would be considered a rant by the more pollyannish out there. Aug 3, 2011 at 19:42
  • I may agree that there is a certain undue oversensitiveness to some ways of expression, especially when what is being communicated is considered to be of a criticizing nature. In some contexts the situation is more tight than usual. Aug 3, 2011 at 19:48
  • @ Lance I caused you more trouble than one can possibly cause in a day ;) Aug 3, 2011 at 19:50
  • @ash, yeh, that's the way it goes, I'm kind of a contrarian on here. I have to deal with crappy companies and their bugs every day, and don't want to dress it all up. I just like to fix problems, instead of sticking my head in the sand. Aug 3, 2011 at 19:55
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    There's a sort of progression: "Gee I'm surprised by the behavior of, ..." "I see a bug in ... can someone help me get around it?" "XXX is the worst piece of flaming manure ever to download onto my hard drive." I thought the question was talking about earmarks of the third, not the second.
    – Rosinante
    Aug 3, 2011 at 22:13

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