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First of all, I want to highlight that I am aware about the feelings of this community regarding keeping track of friends/foes: in SO specific persons are not important, but questions/content.

I do agree with the aforementioned general idea. On the other hand, a too rigid interpretation of abstract statements might represent an obstacle to meet the intended goal.

I have certain personality and like certain things; equivalently to what happens with all the other users with whom I interact in SO. Being personal-opinion-independent does not mean denying that personal opinions exist, but understanding such a reality and properly addressing it.

What I am proposing here is to enable some kind of auto-tracking feature of past incidents with other users. Available-for-all-reps warnings helping potential contributors know what might be the best proceeding in the given situation, in order to avoid problems and deliver what SO expects.

EXAMPLE

I have an argument with user A while answering his question, as a result we both flag various comments and moderators need to intervene.

Two months later, I visit a question posted by user A (who might have changed his displayed name) and see a warning on the lines of "1 past incident with this user". With this information, I might decide to not participate in this question in order to avoid problems; or to proceed much more carefully; or even to write a nice comment on the lines of "Sorry about our previous problem. I hope you don't mind that I participate here".

Is this against a strict interpretation of “SO only cares about content”? Yes. But it is actually helping users overcome their personal opinions and deliver the expected objective on-topic behaviour, where only content should matter.


UPDATE (suggested by Emrakul)

Yesterday, I had an argument with a SO user, what has been the main reason for posting this proposal. I have got involved in equivalent situations quite a few times in the past (mainly over 1-year ago, when I decided to stop participating in SO for a quite long time; the main reason for this decision was precisely getting tired of being involved in this kind of nonsensical-to-me situations: off-topic discussions happening randomly). In most of the cases, the result has always been the same one: moderators deleting everything; and that person and me not wanting to deal with each other ever again.

Why would I (or anyone else) want to get involved in useless discussions? On the other hand, sometimes I had interacted with the given person later and realised that my previous behaviour wasn't too right (and apologised).


CLARIFICATION

Just to make clear that I always try to be as objective as possible (in general, but mainly in SO). Most of my bad experiences in SO have precisely happened when dealing with not-objectivity-prone people (e.g., If I say something nice about you I would expect you to say something nice about me). The worst part is that there is nothing which either of us could do to change other's behaviour. So, why not helping to avoid so unfortunate (everyone loses including SO) situations?

Also note that I seriously think that my position is the easiest one and that, in this kind of incidents, I am the one losing less. On top of everything, I am currently starting a new stage in my SO participation, where I will be much less understanding with certain attitudes (e.g., stop talking to a person going against the SO objectivity-based expectations right away).

  • I was expecting quite a few downvotes here (like in all the previous proposals on these lines). Also my hopes of such a feature to be implemented were quite low. The main reason for this question is letting very clear my position on this front: I am not interested in dealing with people having random problems against me &/or the world (the aforementioned yesterday's guy didn't like things like my over 10K reputation or being nicely told that something he did was not-too-right). If you aren't able to rely on objectivity and be grateful with people helping you, better avoid dealing with me. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 9:31
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    I would be careful. This is turning into a rant against this specific user. – Aza Sep 11 '15 at 9:50
  • @Emrakul (statements based on actual facts; and I am not telling the whole story...) Don't worry the mods have taken care of this situation and the privacy of this user is safe. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 9:53
3

SO is for professionals. Beyond that, comments are not the right place for any kind of arguments including constructive ones.

You should use comments for pointing out simple points. Make suggestions, offer opinions which are too short to be answers or point out errors. If it seems to be a long conversation and it starts to get away from the main topic, use chatrooms!

One of the usage of the chatrooms is making arguments on concepts and anything else. You will not give trouble or trouble or any one who do not want to be in the conversation, question and answer comments will be clean and you will have a special or public place to argue. But that do not mean chatrooms are for fighting.

Arguing in the comments is wrong because you both cause garbage and you will not have enough space and time to express yourself. Also other users do not have to track the argument.

I once have a problem with my RPG game and ask a question on RGP StackExchange. But it was not easy to express myself and finally a user pull me to a chatroom and we discuss the topic with some users in there. An hour later, I update my question for clarification and apply what we argues and decided on the chatroom. You can not do this in comments but you can do it in the chatrooms.

  • Thanks for the advice, but I think that my point hasn't been understood properly. I always behave professionally and objectively; this is precisely the problem for certain users with me (more focused on agreeing with friends and disagreeing with foes). I am not interested in starting any kind of discussion; the discussions happen. For example: the aforementioned person I had problems with yesterday felt offended by my corrections and started saying that I was bullying him (?! -> miles away from my intention and from the reality). – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 10:20
  • The chatroom suggestion is an excellent point (+1 for that). But as said, the main intention of this proposal is easily avoiding conflicts. In some cases, you can solve everything after a nice chat; in other case, talking more is even worse. Better accepting that SO is very big with many different types of persons and that, in some cases, it is better to plainly not deal with certain people (because nobody would win anything). – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 10:24
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    General logic, problematic people tend to have problems with many users. So if the user causes that much problem, then possibly it is not only you who have problems with him/her and moderation attention with that specific user will be happen sooner or later. If the user have problems with only you, than that situation is very rare and (IMO) developer team may spent that time on other bugs and requests. According to current development schedule, I guess it is nearly impossible for this to have a place on the list. – FallenAngel Sep 11 '15 at 11:09
  • Although your answer follows equivalent ideas to the other two ones (i.e., focusing on the abstract "SO should be neutral to people. End of the story" without trying to properly understand the reality I am describing), it is more focused on constructive means to avoid conflicts. As far as I have to accept an answer as the valid one (I mean... after having criticised lots of SO askers for not doing that. How could I behave differently? Even though I am completely aware that meta is not like SO) and yours is the one delivering a more-compatible-with-my-ideas proposal... – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 8:20
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If two people have a proclivity to come into conflict, why remind those two people that they have an ongoing conflict with each other literally every time they see each other?

I can only see this ending poorly. I wish I were as optimistic as you, and I wish I could believe most people would say "maybe I shouldn't comment here..."

...but in reality, I think most people will say something more along the lines of "Oh. That flabberjacket bing-dang again. Welp, time to get out the ol' insult war chest." That can only raise tensions.

Also, moderators handle a lot of flags. Most flags moderators see actually have nothing to do with rude behavior, and have far more to do with site maintenance - and it would be hard to distinguish between the two in code.

  • The proposed tracking system can work in both ways. Moderators can also keep track of this. That is: if this is my first problem with a given person, it is understandable; but if it is my second problem with that person, moderators would have to take stronger means with me. And with the proposed system, I could not rely on "sorry I don't recall any previous incident". – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 8:54
  • @varocarbas Moderators have a number of tools allowing them to track serious conflicts between users; it's just not visible to the public. – Aza Sep 11 '15 at 8:55
  • Regarding your "Also, moderators handle a lot of flags.", this is just a preliminary proposal. My intention is clear: automatically tracking problematic behaviours. I had been involved myself in a conflict with a person yesterday and I would love to have any help to avoid dealing with him ever again (for what?). – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 8:56
  • I know that moderators have lots of information. I am saying that my proposal can be set up such that it is not misused. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 8:57
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    @varocarbas If you have an airtight way to do this, editing it into your main question is important - for the sake of both having a detailed feature request, and opening the details up for discussion. – Aza Sep 11 '15 at 8:59
  • I have updated my question. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 9:12
  • You have raised some valid points, although I don't agree with the underlying “more information for the users would be worse” (more information is rarely worse). On the other hand, I am perfectly aware that there are quite a few members (mainly the ones who are very active in Meta) thinking like you. In any case, I cannot accept as the valid answer something defending what I don't agree with, even despite representing a common feeling in this community. Thanks for your contribution, you have transmitted your (wrong :)) ideas in a very reasonable way. – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 8:27
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Stack Exchange strives to be a place for professionals. If you want to argue with someone on the Interwebz, think twice: you are not immortal and your time has its price. If someone is wrong, leave a comment assuming s/he's acting from good will. If you are flamed, don't fight back, flag the offensive remark and move on.

If the same pattern of behavior is repeated with various users, it may be so that the problem lies in your lack of patience or other shortcomings. Please consider this seriously - it may be that Stack Exchange is not the right place for you if you want extended heated discussions. There are plenty of forums out there more suited for this.

  • Believe me, I have been extremely patient. Unfortunately (-> really serious on this; I am very sorry for these people), I have confirmed that some SO users come from certain ideas (sounding as bad as "pure frustration") what makes very difficult dealing with them. I am talking about people getting offended with a (professional) correction of their errors and replying something like "you think that you are better than me". The only professional-enough way out of these situations is moving on. On the other hand, you cannot expect someone being insulted to just go away without saying anything. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 9:36
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    @varocarbas - yes, you can. Flag and move on. You can't fight idiots, they are too d*mn numerous. – Deer Hunter Sep 11 '15 at 9:39
  • This is precisely the reason for my proposal: automatically tagging from-my-perspective idiots (and me as idiot for anyone thinking in this way) to avoid problems. I can flag and move on; but why tolerating certain behaviours before that when I can avoid them? Why dealing with idiots (I insist: same thing for anyone thinking that I am an idiot) when I can avoid such a thing to happen? Additionally, when such a thing will be benefitial not just for me and for-the-specific-from-my-perspective-idiot but also for SO as a whole. – varocarbas Sep 11 '15 at 9:49
  • @DeerHunter I misread numerous as humorous which made me smile... – rene Sep 11 '15 at 16:00
  • Just a small clarification to your "Stack Exchange is not the right place for you if you want extended heated discussions" -> as explained in various comments (and in my updates), my participation in Stack Overflow (> 99.9% of my Stack Exchange interest) has always been limited to be as objective as possible and to provide relevant answers (I mostly answer; actually, I have only asked once and was almost an accident). Objectivity and not caring about specific people is what SO (not sure remaining SE) is about. Some users do not think in this way; just wanted to avoid dealing with these users. – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 7:35
  • In any case, they are a small minority which, in the worst scenario, are just a bit funny (get angry and frustated for ridiculous reasons; mostly not accepting the reality). I wanted to contribute here with my experience (in SO and by looking at the cold rep. numbers, it seems that mine is notably more relevant than yours) to account for what might bother some users, is against the defining SO ideas (= personal conflicts are irrelevant) and does not help anyone. This is what meta is about, isn't it? Proposing changes in the SE sites; ideally by experienced enough users (= my case). – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 8:02
  • In summary: your suggestion doesn't apply to me at all (not even to anyone even remotely thinking like me); doesn't answer the most logical concerns arising from my question; and doesn't even seem to represent a valid output of meta. That is: someone comes to use this site as intended (i.e., by proposing a new feature for a SE site) and your recommendation is "go somewhere else"?! Anyway... thanks for your contribution (I upvoted this answer like all the other answers, but after reading it more carefully I don't think that I should have done that) and please don't kill too many deers :) – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 8:04
  • In summary: your suggestion doesn't apply to me at all (not even to anyone remotely similar me); doesn't address the main issues arising from my question; and doesn't even seem to represent a valid output for Meta. That is: someone uses this site as intended (i.e., by proposing a new feature for a SE site) and your recommendation is "go somewhere else"?! Anyway... thanks for your contribution (I upvoted this answer like all the other answers, but perhaps I should have done that) and please don't kill too many deers :) – varocarbas Sep 12 '15 at 8:20

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