Although my experience at Stack Overflow has been quite pleasant, the same can't be said about Meta Stack Overflow.

I have already gone through an "un-Stack Overflow" type of culture at Meta Stack Overflow including receiving a barrage of sarcastic remarks, four letter words, and other words, to name a few.

What does Meta Stack Overflow do to defaulters in this list? Of course there is a "flag abusive remark" control; even so, this seems to be more like "you could continue doing what you are doing". Is there a system in place for getting Meta SO into the Stack Overflow culture that we all revere?


Personally, I let a lot more slide on meta than I do on SO. A lot of the people here on meta know each other, and joke around with each other. It normally makes for a good-spirited debate, rather than an abusive down-beating.

There have been a few notable instances where we've had to pull the plug on a "discussion" that got out of hand, though. You shouldn't feel offended when someone disagrees with you or downvotes you, but you shouldn't have to put up with abusive treatment either. If you feel that someone has stepped over the line on any of the sites, flag it for moderator attention. (Keep in mind that if you flag what appears to be offensive language directed from one user to another, and I know that the two users know each other personally, I'll probably just let it slide. However, if someone makes an offensive comment directed at you and you flag it, I will take it seriously.)

  • Too bad you can't know who flagged the comment (as far as I know). So how can you know if it's the person the comment is directed to who was offended, or an unrelated 3rd party? – Thomas Bonini Feb 3 '10 at 11:50
  • @Koper: If it's a single comment that gets flagged, we can't know. If it's a whole discussion thread, people normally flag the question or answer that it appears on and explain the problem in the space provided. My default position is to take a complaint seriously. – Bill the Lizard Feb 3 '10 at 15:23

To add to what random said, on Meta the moderators are a lot more relaxed. The line is drawn at profanity however the moderators acknowledge experience in the other moderators, therefore we often let the more experienced moderators deal with the more out of hand scenarios. Users are often placed in time suspension on Meta. Also keep in mind that every moderator from everyone of the trilogy sites is a moderator here.

Meta is the place to blow off steam. I have to disagree, I like the meta culture quit a bit, simply because the no holds barred attitude very quickly makes you realize when you've said or done something really stupid, and gives you a chance to rectify.

Remember on Meta it's not about how smart you or right you are, it is all about whether people agree with your opinion or not, and this is bound to cause some heated debates at times.


You have the Fastest Gun in the West over at Stack Overflow. Extend that to Meta and you'll find these here parts the barren wastelands. Or the Cursed Earth if you will.

There is still a level of discourse, of banter, that is more relaxed since it's not about being wrong or right more than it is about expressing an opinion or thought about the workings of the main SOFU sites.

Things do get a little raw in here, but it still adheres to its own sense of guidelines and not entirely a naked bastion of chaos and outright waffle and pony bashing.

If people are out of line here or rucking a muck, they can still be binned to the penalty box. It's not entirely a full blown insane asylum. Just a whole lot more easy going about things.

  • Loved the fastest Gun part of it! On the discussion, isn't there a place we have to draw a line before things get out of hand. – Kevin Boyd Sep 5 '09 at 17:20
  • 4
    Things aren't out of hand now, and haven't really been progressing towards that point either. The meta mentality has remained pretty constant over time. – Ian Elliott Sep 5 '09 at 17:25
  • @Ian An an old proverb goes: "The only thing that's constant is change" – Kevin Boyd Sep 5 '09 at 17:33

There is something of a heat tolerance versus presence in the kitchen matter here.

Flag any out right profanity, or personal abuse beyond the background level of chummy joshing that is endemic here, and just deal. Meta is rowdy.

  • Coincidentally, my dog's name is "Rowdy," and he's frakking awesome. – Eric Sep 6 '09 at 23:38

I think that a lot of the programmers who come by here are thrown a little off-kilter by the subject matter: nearly everything here is subjective.

No longer can you rely on your keen grasp of boolean logic and problem-solving skills to discern useful content from noise and incorrect responses. Things here have a broader appeal to emotion, and it seems like when some first arrive are shocked at the fact that others actually disagree with them. Having to defend your ideas based on purely subjective merits is an exercise that seems to catch the average programmer off-guard, and overreactions are common.

The key is not to take it personally. When other people voice their disagreement in emotive terms, it is not a personal attack. It's just the way business is conducted here. It's not the case that one of you must be wrong, as would be the case with a more technical issue: These things are a matter of opinion, and that's okay.

  • 1
    The tone on this part of the site has very quickly convinced me that my time isn't well-spent pointing out how the site could be improved; it's one of those sites which people are convinced everything is already perfect, and anyone suggesting otherwise is a cretin. I had my fill of those environments long ago and I've learned to spot them before spending too much of my time. I'll stick to SO. – Glenn Maynard Sep 5 '09 at 20:39
  • 4
    @Glenn: Your only suggestion is about making the site more forum-like, which has been discussed (and rejected) at length since the very beginning of SO. Others are not disagreeing because they think you are a cretin, but because it seems you missed out on earlier discussion where these ideas were already addressed. Again, it's not personal. – ベレアー アダム Sep 5 '09 at 20:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .