Why are the words 'Superficial' and 'Ostensible' considered a bad answer to this question?

From what I understand, the person who asked the question implied that the compliment receiver inwardly believes the compliment but outwardly denies it, indicating that there is a deceitful connotation.

While I think that superficial is a stretch, would ostensible not be more suitable for the case?

Dave(who thinks it's pretty good himself): Nah.. The hairdresser should've done a better job on the sides.

It can be said that Dave is acting ostensibly self-deprecating thus Dave can also be described as ostensible.

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    The idea that someone who turns aside a compliment is deceitful is a little strong. – Xanne Apr 22 '17 at 7:55
  • @Xanne It is because the user made a point that the case (Dave) denied the compliment but (Dave) thought it was good himself, which would lean towards a more deceitful meaning. – Reisen Apr 22 '17 at 8:29
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    @Reisen People aren't ostensible. Observations are ostensible. Dave isn't ostensible, but he is ostensibly humble. Similarly turning aside a compliment isn't something we'd describe as superficial. In fact, a superficial person is more likely to accept and revel in compliments, even misplaced ones. In short, your answer is getting downvotes because the words it is suggesting are being employed in the wrong context, in a way a native speaker would never deploy them naturally. And in general it's no good to contest DVs on Meta; it just brings more attn to a post people disagree with. – Dan Bron May 2 '17 at 9:33
  • @DanBron the question was migrated. Do you think it was better suited on the main site? – Mari-Lou A May 2 '17 at 11:44
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    @Mari-LouA No, if it's going to be asked, it is appropriately asked on Meta. I'm just saying asking about downvotes in general is misguided. People express their opinions on a post by voting on it. That's the point of voting. Asking them to express them again in a meta-post seems like whining at best and self-promotion at worst. And as a result do that, typically questions about why something is downvoted tend to generate more downvotes. Some from people who missed the post the first time (like me), and some from people who are peeved by the complaint. – Dan Bron May 2 '17 at 11:47
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    And if the request is asked in a spirit of genuine desire to learn and understand, is that too misguided? I didn't interpret the questioner to be whining, but it's not impossible to exclude. – Mari-Lou A May 2 '17 at 11:59
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    It's okay to ask this sort of question. You are new here. Asking questions is a way to learn. – NVZ May 2 '17 at 12:42
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    @Mari-LouA My statement wasn't made deontologically, but pragmatically. I wasn't telling OP what he should do, but realistically what's going to happen if he takes a particular course of action, and why. It's not an abjuration but a warning. That said, the normal place to discuss the merits of a given answer is on the comments for that answer. Since he didn't get satisfaction there, it's not unreasonable to raise the issue here. Having said that, the long and short is "don't post answers to questions where you don't confidently know th answer". Shots in the dark will often be wrong and DV'd. – Dan Bron May 2 '17 at 14:17
  • In other words, the format of SE is Q&A, not discourse. If someone posts a Q and you post an A, that's it. There's no provisions for discussing the merits or demerits of an answer. It's upon the answerer to post an A which is right and he knows it is right. If it is not right, that will be decided by voting, and that's the end of the story. If the answer is actually right but people are still downvoting, that's an indication that the answer hasn't made it clear enough why it is correct. In that case, the SE-supported course of action is to edit in a clearer or more detailed justification. – Dan Bron May 2 '17 at 14:24
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    @Dan Bron I think you should retract "whining". – ab2 May 13 '17 at 23:54
  • @ab2 Reisen has not logged on since May 2nd at 07.46. His English was good enough to understand users DV answers without explanation. If you feel you have made a positive contribution, that your desire to help was genuine (and I think his/hers was) then getting anonymous DVs for the first time is disheartening until you realize that is the SE policy. If you then perceive an air of hostility because users have judged your character based on one (main/meta) post: ... in a meta-post seems like whining at best and self-promotion at worst. then it makes sense to abandon the site. – Mari-Lou A May 14 '17 at 7:18
  • Reisen, probably never read that particular comment, and we'll probably never know for certain "why" he left. But it seems unlikely he will return. – Mari-Lou A May 14 '17 at 7:18
  • @ab2 I just visited Reisen's reputation page, and revisited the offending answer, it has seven downvotes. Seven... that's just being plain nasty, that is DVing someone you don't want on the site. Well... folks have you seen the only activity a question receives is when, and only when, it hits the Hot Question Network. You're more likely to get an answer from a newcomer than you are from veterans. EL&U is withering, and shrivelling as we speak. – Mari-Lou A May 14 '17 at 7:30
  • @Mari-Lou A Reisen should have been politely and gently made aware of ELL. Speaking of which, there are some good Q's on ELL, but the migration is always from ELU (too elementary) to ELL never from ELL (too advanced, would benefit from a broader audience to ELU. This is natural -- Why should ELL migrate good questions? – ab2 May 14 '17 at 10:27
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    @ab2 Consider it retracted, in the sense that I do not believe this post is whining. At all. But I want to highlight to Reisen the risk that such Meta questions at received that way, and it creates what's known as the Meta-effect (and, outside SE, more popularly known as the "Barbara Streisand Effect"), which is the most likely culprit behind the 7 DVs on the original question which Mari-Lou observed might have contributed to OP's lack of re-engagement. – Dan Bron May 14 '17 at 15:11

Uh… for the same reason a chicken can't push a hay-wain or an iceberg fly: just like deceitfulness, neither superficiality nor ostensibility has anything to do with a word for someone who deflects compliments.

As Mitch said back there, analytically both share something about appearances which is implied by deflecting a compliment, but neither… capture anything else about that situation, and that situation isn't primarily about appearances.

Mitch also explained neither fits because deflecting involves deeper thought than connoted by superficial and ostensible adding …both words would be very misleading in the OP's situation, and that remains true.

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