Recently there has been a focus on trying to make sure that comments are friendly. Out of my own personal curiosity I started taking a look through new questions with downvotes and quickly found plenty of examples (all of these have since been deleted)

Obviously this is subjective - none of these comments are "offensive" and in most cases the commenters are actually trying to be helpful, however (in my mind at least) all of them have at least a slight tone of unfriendliness and go against the principles of the "Summer of Love".

What should I do when I see a comment which I believe is unfriendly?

  • Flag it as offensive (seems a bit over the top)
  • Flag it for moderator attention
  • Post a comment asking the people to be more friendly in the future (probably not such a great idea)
  • Do nothing
  • 7
    "This is neither English, nor a quesiton."..Brilliant. Just brilliant. But anyway, I would flag the acceptance rate one. I would leave the other two. (Even though I dislike them as much as you do).
    – Bart
    Jul 31 '12 at 13:44
  • @Bart Wow, that comment is at +4 as well o_O Jul 31 '12 at 13:48
  • 2
    Flagged them all as non-constructive.. Jul 31 '12 at 13:51
  • 1
    Just give them a -1, vote to close, and move on. I agree that the comments couldn't help them.
    – user7116
    Jul 31 '12 at 13:56
  • 2
    None of the examples you have given are actually un friendly (that is, the opposite of friendly). They are, perhaps, not friendly (i.e., lacking friendliness), although I believe that (at least) the first one is quite helpful and therefore has a friendly intent, even if it is not personable or gregarious.
    – jscs
    Aug 1 '12 at 19:38

The best way would probably be to add a comment yourself that contains the essence of those comments in a constructive way, and then flag those old comments as not constructive.

flagging a comment as not constructive

I think the "not constructive" reason fits better here, as I don't think they're intentionally rude comments. But there are better, more constructive ways of telling users that their questions are bad.


I definitely don't advocate nagging fellow commenters about this in borderline cases, particularly since so much of it hinges on "I personally believe this comment is unfriendly." Sez you, man.

Instead, focus on the "less work" angle. As indicated in the comments to your question:

Just give them a -1, vote to close, and move on. I agree that the comments couldn't help them.

I think it's fair to remind your fellow users to … save their time!

That is, if the question is truly beyond hope, don't bother leaving comments of any kind! Use the built in voting and closing mechanisms to send that message.

It's less typing. It's less thinking. It's less work. Voting is just plain faster and more efficient than typing in any comment at all!

So if you want to remind fellow users about these borderline comments, remind them that sometimes, the best comment is no comment, but rather a close vote and/or downvote. The more efficient we are, the more people we can help.

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