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Referring to the following post concerning moderating comments -


A guide to moderating comments

Commenting is one of the unsung heroes of Stack Exchange. The help center suggestions that you should submit a comment if you want to:

  • Request clarification from the author;
  • Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post;
  • Add relevant but minor or transient information to a post (e.g. a link to a related question, or an alert to the author that the question has been updated).

I personally feel the above message has either been lost or not known by certain users of Stack Overflow.

I give one example - today I read a comment from a regular user that has high rep - stating

this question is neither good nor interesting.

There are a lot of new users that come to the site and request assistance. They maybe are just starting out with very little experience in programming.

Once their question is posted, there generally seems to be some quite rude and extremely unhelpful comments that are made along side the normally helpful advice that most Stack Overflow users give.

I sometimes despair and wonder at what new visitors to the site think (and feel) when they read such comments. I also feel that this is maybe setting a bad example for other newer users when they go to comment on questions.

The code of conduct for Stack Overflow covers this very well -

Proposed new code of conduct for all Stack Exchange sites

I feel certain users needs to be reminded that this site does have a code of conduct. How this is to be done, I do not know, but I feel something should be done.

closed as off-topic by gnat, Josh Caswell, Rory Alsop, Glorfindel, Werner Oct 26 '17 at 16:03

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – gnat, Glorfindel, Werner
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Do you have any specific examples? – Ramhound Oct 26 '17 at 11:35
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    Rude comments should be flagged as rude, unhelpful comments could be flagged as "no longer needed". I agree with Ramhound, some examples would be helpful. – Modus Tollens Oct 26 '17 at 11:53
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    Just to note that people that leave clearly rude or repeatedly leave snarky/otherwise useless comments can be "reminded" appropriately by moderators if the community flags such comments. Things are done when known... Are you suggesting more could be done and do you have any ideas to bring to the table regarding it? – Jon Clements Oct 26 '17 at 11:54
  • I realize this is a sensitive subject - I didn't leave examples as I felt that is pointing the finger at one person where it's a little more general then that. My point is that do the people that post the unhelpful or rude comments know thweir comments are such and then why are they doing it. I do not know what happens to the comments that are marked as unhelpful or rude - I just see so many. I would suggest looking at comments on any number of questions (especially from new members) - keeping in mind the code of conduct . – Neil Oct 26 '17 at 12:12
  • I have no idea as to how to improve monitoring question comments - as there are so many, maybe more people should be aware of the fact that they can tag comments as rude or unhelpful. – Neil Oct 26 '17 at 12:15
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    You can just quote the comments you find rude without their author name in this question to give exemples. – Tensibai Oct 26 '17 at 12:28
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    Your example is a case where the user is basically just paraphrasing the downvote tooltip, so sure, it's not really adding anything over the information that the post author already has available to them. It's certainly not rude, just redundant (although since comments are more visible than the other places that that information is conveyed, one could argue there's some value there and it's not entirely redundant, but personally I think the author could infer that the downvote means someone thinks it's not good). – Servy Oct 26 '17 at 13:47
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    “My point is that do the people that post the unhelpful or rude comments know thweir comments are such and then why are they doing it. ” When you have been accused of a rude comment because you chose to delete an answer and a generic comment was automatically submitted you sort of lose context. There is obviously a line but sometimes people are not reasonable in what they consider rude. I might add other users consider not leaving a comment when you issue a vote they disagree with to be rude. When you do leave that comment you are then accused of being rude, so provide some context. – Ramhound Oct 26 '17 at 23:02
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    For the record, “this question is neither good nor interesting.”, isn’t rude it’s not constructive there is a huge difference. The comment should be deleted, but the user shouldn’t receive a suspension, for the comment. They likely issued a downvote, their only other choice, would have been to leave no feedback. Of course they did that, the author would have asked for feedback, which leads to a never ending circle of somebody accusing that person of being rude. – Ramhound Oct 26 '17 at 23:07
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I agree not all comments on Stack Exchange, in particular Stack Overflow, are constructive.

I agree some of those are even just criticism.

However, I don't agree they are all rude.

Let's take your example and focus on it:

this question is neither good nor interesting.

First, I found no comment anywhere which consisted only of that. The few comments I did find only contained this as part of something bigger, e.g.

  • The "bug" is neither trivial nor interesting. It appears that the "bug" is a failure to actually create objects of the expected class

  • What's interesting about a question that fails to provide a reproducible example? Just posting a code snippet and an error message that the code doesn't produce is neither answerable nor interesting

Both the above is criticism, probably explaining why the person posting it downvoted.

Second, even if one will post just "this question is neither good nor interesting" it's not being rude. It's a personal opinion, usually coming along with a downvote to explain it. There is no name calling. There is no personal offense. Nobody is obliged to like all questions.

Those might indeed have little to no value as comments, but between this and being rude, there is a large distance. And those which are really rude, e.g. "You're a bad programmer, go find another job" should be flagged as such:

And with enough of those for the same user, the user will get official warning and eventually suspended. I've seen several high rep users of Stack Overflow being suspended exactly for that reason. (Kept posting rude comments after being warned.)

  • Thanks Shadow Wizard, I do agree with all you have said.. It seems I have been getting the wrong impression due to the fact I generally look at the latest questions etc when have been getting these 'unhelpful' comments. My example has been removed, no doubt - in the context of that comment - I did feel it was rudely said and certainly in my opinion didn't fit in with the code of conduct. I have since reviewed all the questions etc I looked at this morning - and all the comments I noted had been removed. I posted this question as I did want to know what was being done, knowing also it ... – Neil Oct 26 '17 at 19:52
  • going to get a negative hit - but I felt it was a good point for myself to discuss. It's also great to see that the comments are being removed and that people are keen to clear any doubt I had about the moderation of this site. – Neil Oct 26 '17 at 19:54
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    @Neil indeed, there are many users who spend lots of time flagging comments on Stack Overflow. There is even a dedicated chat room for "cleanup efforts", though it focus more on questions not comments, but it's example for huge effort being done in good way, without being rude to the users. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Oct 26 '17 at 20:57

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