Recently I asked a question here about the design of the website. Not being a designer myself I do not know all the standards of doing things, I mostly talk from my experiences as a website user.

After asking a question asking for automatic opening of new windows/tabs on click, I got within seconds one down-vote and one comment saying:

Does your middle-mouse button not work? How about Ctrl-click?

Clearly I know these methods, but I think in that question it was clear that my problem was not how to open a new window, so I don't understand why this comment was made.

If this was from a normal user I wouldn't bring this up, but in my opinion a moderator needs to play a leading role. I have gained no insight on this question trough both the down vote nor the downgrading comment which makes me look like a complete idiot.

If I quote one of the first lines of the FAQ it says:

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to help each other. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know

Much later there were some points made and I could make out why some people would not like the [feature-request], but I think the way this is done is quite downgrading. And even when I defend my points the conversation stopped.

After reading this question I know it's all a quest for ratings and this is absolutely no problem. I only think a moderator has to take a higher road and treat people with respect, even people with a low rating.


What do you think of this? Do you think this is perfectly normal for a moderator to react and I am just making a big deal out of nothing?

Or do you think that being treated like an idiot for having a slightly different opinion on certain things is a little downgrading?

  • 6
    This is meta after all ... it lends itself to a little ... free-er (urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=free-er) activity.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 14:30
  • This is a first: no @random comments to be found in this question!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:11
  • Darn you @random, that's not funny :P
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:12
  • One more time and you get a Bloody Mary. @ivo
    – random
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:42
  • 1
    @Saif Personally I agree with you and would love to put this as an answer but one thing I have learned is people love to bash you on meta if you go against the grain or think outside of the box. On the other hand, silly off-topic jokes that have no relevance to the Trilogy are greatly rewarded.
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 16:56
  • 4
    His comment has 12 upvotes. Obviously someone agrees with him.
    – Josh K
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 17:43
  • 5
    doesnt make it right, just popular.
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 17:45
  • 1
    @Qui, if a nail stands out, it gets pounded down. It's not a Meta thing, is a life thing. Also, there are different ways to stand out. Some are rewarded or met with indifference (if you are a picture frame holder for example), and others not (if you are standing out in the middle of the frame of a door). What were we talking about again?
    – perbert
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:01
  • @json I totally agree with you, but how are you going to hang a picture frame on a nail that doesnt stand out?
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:02
  • @Qui, that is my point. If you are a picture frame holding nail, you won't get pounded down. If you aren't, you will.
    – perbert
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:13
  • ahh makes total sense now... thanks for clarifying?..???..
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:15

9 Answers 9


Yup, that's random, moderator on Meta. I tried to warn them. It was no use.

Joke aside, he is a bit cold to begin with, but that doesn't make him disrespectful. Your example doesn't really illustrate your point. Let's analyze:

  • Your question contains: "Open website in new window on users profile page"
  • His comment: "Does your middle-mouse button not work? How about Ctrl-click?"

This is a bit harsh way to say, but it's rather answering the question as if it was on Super User. Misreading, but ok.

  • To your question: "What was the reason of the downvote?"
  • He explains it to you: "It could mean many things, but since it's a feature-request, it's probably because someone doesn't think it's a good feature to have."

This doesn't involve himself, it was actually a moderator's intervention, explaining you how things are on the site.

Then he points to a potential duplicate, you explain it isn't a duplicate, to which he answers you to precise your request to make it clear.

Honestly, besides the first comment which can maybe seem harsh, nothing really to report.

  • 1
    Harsh but fair: that's how I like them!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:12
  • 3
    You're right about editing yours being a quicker option. But really, your first sentence is just gold. Wanted to leave it untarnished.
    – random
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:20
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    Thank you for your answer, and there are nice points made. It is just that most of the time the first few responses set the tone for the overall question. And I think for a moderator to post such a comment is just strange. I thought maybe this was the normal way of doing things here. Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 16:54

As someone who never uses emoticons, all words typed are to be taken as icy cold as they fall. Like drinking slurpees all day long. Be careful of the brain freeze. It is caustic for the lack of warmth.

For a feature request, it was rather sparse and needed some fleshing out of reasons or patterns of usability and what problem you're trying to solve.

  1. The first comment, about already present options to option new tabs/windows, was checking to see if these were considered in your write up. We can't all read minds.
    (And a ♦ doesn't give that power, no matter what else it may confer.)

  2. The second comment, about why you may have gotten a downvote, was to point out why you may have gotten a downvote.

  3. The third comment, about the relationship of links to the page, links back to the first comment and comments on your comment that there is an expected relationship between the links, to which clarification would have been nice to what link relationships are linked and which aren't.

Do you think this is perfectly normal for a moderator to react and I am just making a big deal out of nothing.

Yes. Moderators, like all other users, should look to help others. Be that in prodding, clarifications, comment pointers or such. Why, even answers to questions.

But they shouldn't enable.

(Edits of grammar on the other hand, is a splitting issue.)

  • 3
    At that point, you could have edited my answer; it would have been faster.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:13

For better or worse, Meta has developed an into a community that favors fun and light-hearted conversation.

What he said, taken in the way you took it, can be offensive. I doubt it was meant as such. We don't know whether he performed the downvote, or someone else did (lots of people downvote most "open in a new window" type feature requests - not just random).

On the one hand it would be nice if we were a little more professional and courteous.

On the other hand, a little levity is very nice to have.

Balancing the two is very difficult.

I suggest that when you see something that offends you, consider flagging it and/or commenting on it explaining your dismay so that you can help adjust this balance.

  • 13
    I agree, but I think there are a few users on meta (random in particular) who are taking this too far. Virtually all of his sentences are very short and sound "superior" and "rude", at least to me. I don't know if it's his intention (probably not) but since we are on the internet and there is only text, maybe it would be a good thing spending a few extra seconds to be more friendly. Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 13:29
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    @Kop - Brevity is A Good Thing(TM). This being the internet, maybe it would be a good thing if people didn't read more into words than what is written.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 13:38
  • 1
    @Kop - But as I said, there is a balance that needs to be struck, and it can be nudged one way or another by comments, flagging, and discussions such as this. It sounds like what you are saying is that this gentle nudging is not going to be enough in this particular case?
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 13:39
  • 1
    Well, my intention was merely pointing out my thoughts on the matter and see if I was crazy or if other people agree. I'm used to him by now and it doesn't bother me much personally, but I can sympathize with new users who feel (wrongly or not) offended by his apparent "coldness". Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 13:48
  • 1
    ...and on the other hand. It's meta where waffles can be considered a trending topic. I wouldn't take anything on here seriously.
    – Earlz
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 14:44
  • 1
    It's not an apparent coldness. It's just plain cold. @kop
    – random
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:13
  • 4
    @random - Maybe a trip to the Carribean is in order. I suggest that StackOverflow host the mods at a villa on some tropical island for the cold months.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 15:26
  • @Pollyanna: You are just hoping to get yourself appointed Moderator for the perks, aren't you?
    – perbert
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:44
  • 1
    @json - Being appointed moderator is a punishment awarded to only the worst of the masochists among us.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 19:09
  • @Pollyanna, trip to the Caribbean is a masochist's nightmare. That makes sense.
    – perbert
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 19:29
  • @json - /me nods thoughtfully in agreement
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 20:02

Does your middle-mouse button not work? How about Ctrl-click?

Clearly I know these methods, but I think in the question it is clear my problem was not >how to open a new window, so I don't understand why this is an comment.

Actually... your original question does not very clearly indicate that you know how to control-click, although you're obviously aware of the context menu option. At least that's how I read the question, and based on the other comments I'd say it's not an isolated opinion.

So it's a valid comment/question, IMO.

Now... are the downvotes warranted? Maybe, maybe not. On Meta, they tend to mean "I disagree with you" rather than the "you are outright wrong" they usually mean on Stack Overflow. I wouldn't worry too much about it.


random is random. You're not getting around that, but we love him anyway. For some reason.

There's no need to be so scared of jokes! It's not an answer, so it's not hurting your chances of getting one. It was a joke - take it as one.

He's a user. A moderator when something needs to be moderated. Nothing did, so he was a user.

  • Those were my exact first thoughts after reading the first paragraph and looking at the question: Random is random. :D
    – Pekka
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 13:50
  • 1
    s/joke/snide comment/ and I agree. A joke would be "A unicorn runs into his neighbor on the street...he gets out of the hospital in a week."
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 14:33
  • @tvanfosson: It was a bit snide, yeah, but I think it was pretty justified given the topic :P
    – Phoshi
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 14:39

Moderators are users too, and to be honest, his comment was the first thought I got on reading the question. Some of us have been so irritated at crappy web pages in general that we respond harshly toward design continuing in that trend.

I think you took his first comment a little more harshly than needed. Since you're new to meta, the instant downvote probably didn't help much either, but that's Meta, where downvotes mean "nope, I disagree" often.

(FWIW, you're currently +2/-6 on that question, for a net gain of +8 reputation. Similar situation here, +2/-2 for net gain of +16. Meta gives +10 per question upvote partially because of how downvotes are viewed, and partially because it's more a discussion site rather than strictly Q&A.)

If it helps, random got on my nerves initially (~3 months ago) too—and he wasn't a moderator then. Much of Meta did as well. I got over it.


As an answer, "click the middle button" would not have worked. That's why it's a comment. It's an oft forgotten feature, I think. I keep forgetting about it myself. I know because I remember thinking "oh yeah, you can middle-click." Why I can't remember the control rather than remembering remembering it, I will never know.


What do you think of this. Do you think this is perfectly normal for a moderator to react and I am just making a big deal out of nothing.

I think that you are overreacting a bit, as you might have not known about the middle click and ctrl+click methods to open a link in a new tab.

Or do you think this is a little downgrading. Because you are treated like an idiot for having a slightly different opinion on certain things.

Complaining about downvotes, specially in Meta, is seen in a bad light, and even after your inquiry about it, random explained the likely reasons.

I don't see where anyone treated you like an idiot. At most (and I don't think it was the case), you could have felt that some of us treated you as ignorant, that it's not the same thing and being called an ignorant is not always an insult. There are many things I don't know about, and when pointed out about it and enlightened about things I knew nothing about I'm happy of having learnt something new.

  • 1
    I am not even going to comment on the first part of this answer, we both know I was not taken seriously there. After the whole click thing he asked me: You'll have to define "non-related" websites then. Profile links are related to the user profile. I responded to that in the best way I could, he didn't respond to that. Further I have read and commented on all the answers saying that I understand the points, but not share the same meaning. But bottom-line is, the first comments set the base for the question, if this is a joke, the whole question will become a joke, that's what happened. Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 16:47
  1. About downvotes: You are exposed to downvotes in meta if people think that your suggestion is not useful or even would be bad for the usability of the site. I hate default open in new window. So I downvoted your question.
  2. About the comment: That comment was not offensive or disrespectful in any way.
  • @Daniel Where is #1 documented?
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 16:50
  • 2
    @Qui-Gon Jinn, when you place your mouse over the downvote arrow you can read: "This question is unclear or not useful." Since the question is a feature request, you can translate that automatically to "This feature request is unclear or not useful." Hence #1. Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 17:32
  • 1
    @Qui-Gon Jinn: Hence #1 was the last sentence in my comment. My user name is Daniel Daranas. Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 18:04
  • I know, I was mocking you since it was the only question that was referenced.. but thanks for the clarification.
    – Locutus
    Commented Apr 13, 2010 at 21:30

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