It happened someone called my post (or maybe me) pedantic.

@bad_coder I don't say you're wrong in posting this, but I can see why people downvote this, as they could find it pedantic.

I'm wondering if that's a CoC violation? It seem to fall within:

No subtle put-downs or unfriendly language.

No name-calling or personal attacks.

Because all the uses of the word pedantic I've found on MSE weren't personally directed at one user or their post. It's always collective or self-deprecating, like: "is it pedantic?" or "am I being pedantic?"

If it's being applied to a single user personally (and/or their post) it seems just unfriendly.

  • 3
    Also, I've had some bad experiences where raising flags against these subtle put-off's get consistently declined while the usual same users picking arguments with subtle CoC violations just keep getting away with it.
    – bad_coder
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:02
  • 22
    If you wan't to make a post about my comment, then please quote it. That makes it abundantly clear that I didn't call you or your post pedantic, but that people might see it as such.
    – Luuklag
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:12
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    Calling someone pedantic can be unfriendly, but I fail to see how this specific comment could be construed as unfriendly. I think it's quite correctly worded.
    – Mast
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:21
  • 3
    How is calling a written post, being “overly detailed”, which is definition of overscrupulous which is a the definition of pedantic.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 20, 2022 at 14:21

4 Answers 4


You, basically reporting a bug, voluntarily and for zero compensation, for a company's staff to decide whether to work on it or not (they did), and others feeling the need to mark it by downvoting as not important (while they marked a similar report as important the day before), leading to said exchange, is, in my opinion, nonsensical.

In six years I can say and with confidence that the commenting feature that was added for requesting clarification / suggesting improvements is overly, overly, overly, misused, and needs fixing by means other than you can flag no longer needed comments (which creates work for other volunteers, incidentally).

(Not at all specific to MSE.)

I don't see a CoC violation in this particular comment, but I see a whole lot, which I've tried to summarize above.

It is my understanding that it's OK to go off on a tangent when answering on MSE. If I'm mistaken, let me know.


If someone will post a comment saying e.g. "You are pedantic!" then yes, that might indeed be violation of the CoC and flag worthy as unfriendly.

If someone will post a comment saying e.g. "Your post is pedantic so I downvoted" then I don't think it's violation of the CoC or flag worthy. It's not personal, it just explains a downvote. The word pedantic isn't used in a bad way in this case.

And if someone posts a comment saying e.g. "The reason you got downvote might be because others find it pedantic" is just a friendly attempt to explain downvote cast by others, so taking this as offense is totally wrong.

  • I think you're wrong in the 2nd paragraph (clear CoC violation) and 3rd paragraph (it's borderline at best, but still a CoC violation).
    – bad_coder
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:28
  • 7
    Well I disagree, let's see other opinions and hopefully official response from staff. Apr 20, 2022 at 8:30
  • Catija also said you can tiptoe around the CoC without violating it just enough to offend the other user without the comment being clearly actionable. But that's the whole point of successfully provoking someone.
    – bad_coder
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:32
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    It's entirely possible for a post to be pedantic, correct and the best argument available - there's nothing inherently pejorative about the word "pedantic", context and usage is crucial. @bad_coder
    – W.O.
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:32
  • 4
    @bad_coder Well, you are free to flag anything, it's up to the site mods to decide if it's really unfriendly or not. Apr 20, 2022 at 8:33
  • 2
    Oops, sorry, I mean "are crucial" ;)
    – W.O.
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:35
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    Ironically, this whole analysis of that comment is getting a bit pedantic.
    – Cerbrus
    Apr 20, 2022 at 11:56
  • 1
    @Cerbrus priceless. Need to print and pin. :D Apr 20, 2022 at 12:10

Overall context matters.

This is meta. Some people are pedantic - literally looking at typography to the pixel and looking at the minutiae of seemingly minor things. Other people... just want to ask programming questions (Shouldn't on meta!). Rest of us are in between.

While it's no longer what we do, it's also occasionally been annoying enough that SE lore includes a founder (jokingly) threaten physical violence with a giant S. Not everyone likes pedantry, or going into the minutiae. Looking at the post in question - and as I said context is important, it's sitting on -6/+3 while I write this, and that seems a reasonable potential reason for the downvoting.

It happened someone called my post (or maybe me) pedantic.

Someone said "I feel some folks might be downvoting the post cause it's pedantic" is very different. It's an observation (of the folks voting) rather than an accusation of excessive pedantry. In this context, I think the intent is roughly as subtle as two halfbricks - "Yeah, there's downvotes, maybe this is why" as opposed to any accusative.

  • It's a put-off besides purposely disparaging - with intent although doing so unassumingly (it also goes out of its way to incite). Clear CoC violations.
    – bad_coder
    Apr 20, 2022 at 9:37
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    @bad_coder yeah, that's your opinion, which was clear from the question already. Repeating it in comments does exactly nothing.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Apr 20, 2022 at 9:44
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    Well - are we having a discussion/attempt to work out boundaries, or trying to get folks to agree? In addition, sometimes its useful to take a step back, de-escalate and try to see the perspective of others. "I took offense, and I demand satisfaction" is the feeling I get here, and... its not helpful Apr 20, 2022 at 9:48

Is calling an individual user or their post "pedantic" a CoC violation?

Yes. That said, the specific comment you're talking about is not the user that's making the comment calling you or your post pedantic. It's attempting to read the minds of those who downvoted instead, ascribing these thoughts to them. Which may be arguably quite useless, but I would not call it a CoC violation.

In addition to that, like Shadow already said, sometimes there are no better words to explain a downvote either, and not explaining a downvote is seen as unfriendly too. For the sake of brevity and staying within character limits, sometimes 'pedantic' just works better than 'excessively focused on minor details to the point of it becoming annoying'. And there's a previous comment that does do the more verbose thing:

Not my downvote, but I can see why one would downvote this. The only difference is the switching of places between Next and Cancel. It's not like that makes this entire screenshot useless, but at the same time there really isn't any need to update them either. If one was busy updating all screenshots, then yeah go ahead. But to go digging for a screenshot that's ˜98% the same.

After that, yeah, summarizing that in a single word (pedantic) in the next comment is probably fine. I would definitely take that context into account when moderating comments, at least.

Then again, nobody here can read minds (I hope), so commenting about why other people may have downvoted isn't always useful if you can give no actionable advice on improving the post. Especially if you've encountered particular users before and you know that they are likely to create a fuss when you leave such a comment, sometimes it's better to just downvote too, or stay silent, and move on...

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