If I write: "You can't be such an asshole, the first page of the doc says that ...", I think it would be a very obvious violation of the new code of conduct.

But, if I write: "Maybe a little bit of learning in this very elemental topic (link to LQ tutorial) could help a lot to understand the essence of the problem", I think it passes.

However, the meaning is the same. The second can be actually more insulting.

Isn't there some contradiction?

  • 1
    I think it would be better to delete the question, because I am not sure if it doesn't violate the new code of conduct. If you think it violates, drop a comment and I will delete. – peterh Aug 8 '18 at 13:54
  • 5
    As far as I'm concerned, that second example should be deleted along with the first. It's talking down to the person and not-so-subtly calling them stupid. Why do you think it passes? – Catija Aug 8 '18 at 13:58
  • @Catija I think it is a well-defensible argument that there is nothing directly insulting in it. I am not very good in such indirect communication, but I faced similar comments many times already, and my impression is that nothing happens until someone doesn't say a bad word. – peterh Aug 8 '18 at 14:07
  • 6
    The CoC specifically calls out subtle put-downs. I'm not sure this is particularly subtle but it's absolutely a put-down and doesn't belong here. When we say that something is easy, there's two possible interpretations - 1. "Actually, this is easier than you're concerned it is, so give it a try" and 2. "This is so easy that if you can't/didn't figure it out yourself, you need to find something else to do with your time." The second example can not be interpreted in this first way. – Catija Aug 8 '18 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Catija The second one really is a stretch. Someone that interprets "this is easy" in that way is definitely not assuming good faith, and are quite possibly disingenious in their whole behaviour. There's also 3. the person saying it is a bit pretentious, but still good willed. And assuredly more possible interpretations. – Félix Gagnon-Grenier Aug 8 '18 at 18:05
  • 1
    @FélixGagnon-Grenier There's also the fact that the quote doesn't even say that it's easy... – Servy Aug 8 '18 at 18:09
  • 2
    @FélixGagnon-Grenier Or they could be a person like many of us dealing with imposter syndrome who feels like they're struggling already and doesn't really need someone implying that they missed something "elemental"... Not everyone feels this but many, many people do. If it were easy or basic to them they probably wouldn't be asking a question about it. – Catija Aug 8 '18 at 18:12
  • 3
    @Catija "Elementary" doesn't mean "easy". In fact, an elementary explanation of something is virtually always much harder to understand and follow. Something being elementary simply means that it relies as little as possible on outside knowledge; and derives its conclusions from first principles, rather than having more assumed knowledge. Being able to use more sophisticated techniques when solving a problem or explaining a concept tends to make it easier, but of course it's only useful if you already know that assumed knowledge. – Servy Aug 8 '18 at 21:39
  • I would flag the first comment as offensive; I would flag the second comment as unfriendly. There is a difference in severity, but I find both to be a put down. – Jason Bassford Aug 9 '18 at 2:06
  • 1
    The easiest and safest way of dealing with questions that suggest comments like this is to not comment. Don't try to actively help. Down and/or close vote. Move on. It's not worth the time and mental effort to make extended 'welcomingness' composition/filtration/editing. Just don't comment. – Martin James Aug 9 '18 at 5:27

There is no contradiction. Your second example has a semblance of civility — your first example does not.

The Code of Conduct addresses how folks are expected to conduct themselves interpersonally. Conduct is about how you express yourself and work with others. It doesn't care whether the meaning of anything you say is the dictionary-definition of technically correct.

Imagine approaching a cashier who is in the process of closing out their register for the day. Typically, you'd expect to hear something like, "I'm sorry, this line is closed. Please take your purchase to the next available cashier." If they choose, instead, to say something like: "What's wrong with you? Can't you read the sign?" — they will likely find themselves on the wrong end of a reprimand.

You must log in to answer this question.

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