Post too long? Concrete questions at the bottom!
Recently I had a discussion with one of the moderators on EE.SE who had declined rude / offensive flags on comments that violate the Be Nice policy, such as:
Enough with those stupid wiring diagrams already! We do electronics here, which means we communicate circuits with schematics.
Now these comments were all written by a certain user who writes many answers and has a lot of reputation, but at the same time is often rude, especially to new users. The moderator basically says that in that case it's okay for him to write offensive comments, but I'll quote him here (from the comments) to not put him any words in his mouth:
Look, I DO delete [this user]'s comments when they add nothing to a post, sometimes even without prompting via a flag. We all agree that there's a line that can't be crossed; we just disagree on exactly where that line is. I tend to take a minimalist approach to moderating. If someone is being purely abusive or rude, I'll take action. If they're merely being snarky, as long as it has some relevance to the post, I'll generally let it stand. Some users may not agree with this approach, but then, that's why we have multiple moderators in the first place.
And you might as well take it as a given that [he] isn't going to change. I've known him for a very long time, from long before SE even existed, and he's always been like this. Unless you want to kick him off the site altogether, you're going to have to accept him as he is. Raising a lot of flags isn't going to change his behavior -- it's just going to create a lot of extra (and annoying) work for the moderators without adding any value to the site overall.
I replied to this:
But that's also why we have policies. You can use your own guidelines in border-line cases, but when something so obviously violates the most important policy of StackExchange, you can't just dismiss it.
To which he said:
It might be "so obvious" and "most important" to you, but I don't see it that way. To me, the purpose of the site is to provide high-quality reference material to both professional engineers and serious electronics hobbyists. The social aspect of it is secondary to that, which is one of the reasons that we enforce a strict question-and-answer format. But the give-and-take that occurs in the comments is one of the things that keeps the valued contributors engaged, and allowing that to occur -- within limits -- is what ultimately gives the site its value.
There were at least two other, more experienced moderators who disagreed, but that's perhaps not so important now. If you're interested, you can read the rest of the comments and answers following the link above. I'm basically here to get a second opinion:
- How important is the Be Nice policy?
- When a user contributes a lot, and 'it's a given he's not going to change', are we to accept his rudeness?
- Specifically to other moderators: how would you handle such a situation?