I am an oldtimer on Stack Overflow, but I only recently became involved. In that respect I am more of a newbie than a veteran.
Which leads me to my question:
How should a professional disagreement and discussion be handled on the multitude of Stack Exchange sites?
A case study from Stack Overflow: I recently clashed with a very high reputation Stack Overflow user here.
The posted question has been mostly cleaned out of the abusive content, but you can get to a relevant discussion from one of the answers.
I conceded on some points, but in general the discussion was harsh, thanks in part to some gung-ho remarks that I made which I regret, but mostly thanks to one old-time Stack Overflow user who used derogatory terms associated with me, and repeatedly asked the OP to revoke my answer as the correct one.
Our argument was, in the end, more about terminologies rather than practical issues. This is an ever bigger shame because of two things:
- I was upset by the way the community handled the argument and silently allowed some of the abuse to take place. Now imagine how a newbie Stack Exchange site user would feel.
- The high rep Stack Overflow user got banned from Stack Overflow for a year (thanks to past offenses). This was in no way my intention. I contacted the moderators and asked them to remove the ban, but I was told that this was not possible.
With great power comes great responsibility. I feel the oldtimers should try to be more accommodating, even with professional arguments. The reasoning behind this is that they are the 'responsible grown ups' on the Stack Exchange sites.
We can even agree to disagree.
And to prove this point - please review the comments to several of the answers below, where there were disagreements which were resolved professionally.