Is there a good way to handle people on EL&U who seem to thrive off of making others feel their opinions and explanations are inferior or "incorrect"?

Is this a forum for constructive, respectful discussion or for cutting people down to make oneself feel better about some shortcoming they have.

  • 2
    I've read your answer, answered it as courteously as I could but I think it was also implicitly critic of other EL&U members. You can't have missed that point. I did not downvote your answer because I understood where you were coming from. The general answer to your very general question is 1/flag 2/shrug 3/work on the quality of your own answers to earn respect (numeric rep will come as a consequence as well) 4/feel at home. Commented Jul 16, 2011 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


I've just seen your flag, and deleted both comments. Do not criticize, even if someone else has been less than tactful. Do note that the advice is appropriate, even if not entirely polite—please don't overformat.

A more general answer follows.

English Language and Usage is intended to be a location where linguists, etymologists, and serious English enthusiasts can gather to learn more about the subject professionally. In this vein, we do not allow personal attacks or other non-constructive criticism.

If this has occurred, you have several options:

  • You can flag the offending post or comment. This is generally the preferred technique unless the problem is excessive (i.e. it goes beyond a few posts and continually defines the individual in how they participate in the site)

    • If it is entirely offensive, select "it is not welcome in our community" for posts or "rude or offensive for comments".
    • If only parts of the post are offensive, you should select "it needs ♦ moderator attention", then "other", and explain.
    • If this is a continuing situation and not a one time offense, you can flag any offending post and explain the situation and we'll take appropriate action.
    • Of course, you can always select another flag option if that one is more appropriate.
  • You can email any of the site moderators if an email address is available on their profile (for example, my profile has my email in the profile text box)

  • You can post here at Meta.English if you are comfortable talking about the incident in public

The exact nature of how we deal with the situation will of course depend on the severity of the offense—it may be as simple as an edit and it may go so far as post deletion and user suspension.

  • @Rachel: Because there is no way for me to message you apart from English.SE, I will comment. I just saw this Meta post, and I want to apologize for the way my comment to you came across. I did not mean to attack you, or make you feel as if your answer was "inferior" or "incorrect". I can understand why this may have upset you, but please don't take it as if I have a personal vendetta against you or your answers.
    – user10893
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 6:11



Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated.

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.


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