This is referring specifically to chat, as opposed to posting, as we have guidelines over scope and each site can determine if a topic is right for that site. Chat is amorphous to some extent, although the Be Nice policy does extend into all areas of the site.

There's a recent experience, I don't want to say where or with whom, but suffice to say on the Stack Exchange Network with a user in chat.

The user announced that they did something illegal for a living. Spamming people with phone calls for fake software help to get credit card info (something along the lines of such).

People in the chat room didn't like this and we voiced our opinions. Turns out the user will still bring it up and sulk about it some time later. This got me thinking.

How should we respond to people who announce in chat they are engaged in illegal work?

  • 1
    Just ignore him is my advise, as I think he look for reaction, as like my neighboor is a ‘leet’ hacker if I listen to him.. but in fact the baddest thing he has done is to root is phone. – yagmoth555 Nov 11 '17 at 11:03
  • 1
    Someone who is (by their own admission) abusing others has forfeited the expectation to be treated "nicely". – philipxy Nov 19 '17 at 12:31
  • 1
    Anyone and everyone has the right to be treated with a certain degree of respect. Respect dosen't mean blind agreement or enabling tho – Journeyman Geek Nov 19 '17 at 22:51

I think I was around for the situation in question. I'll not name names but my opinions here are clearly coloured by what I remember of it.

I've always been of the opinion that in many situations - folks really need to talk these issues out, like adults, as quickly is possible. It felt a lot like the user in question wanted affirmation for his career choice, and was upset that he didn't get it. He was primarily fishing for sympathy.

That said - there's a few things I feel ought to be avoided - personal attacks "Dude, you're a terrible person", or worse. That said, by bringing it up, you should expect it to be discussed. In context, the morality, or lack thereof of the specific job was going to come up.

Be nice doesn't necessarily mean "tell people what they want to hear", and I certainly think there's no issue in pointing out the job is illegal and unethical. I cannot really imagine saying "oh, you're a phone scammer... how charming" unsarcastically.

I'd note, this might be somewhat different, if say our user sold I dunno, cocaine or something (and there's certainly a broad spectrum there). Saying something is illegal or immoral however, to me don't on its own breach "Be Nice". As long as you're talking about the job, and not the person, I don't really see any issues.

You must log in to answer this question.

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