Is it customary to frown upon gratuitous rudeness, dishonesty, and flame-warring within english.stackexchange.com?

In a comment under this question on meta, this boorish and dishonest comment appeared:

You're right! It's not NARQ, it's off topic: peeving disguised as a question. – Matt Эллен

That is not a good-faith comment. It is dishonest and gratuitously abusive. It is flame-warring.

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    I wouldn't think it is as rude as your reply comment: " @Matt Эллен : You are a boor and you are dishonest. – Michael Hardy " Oct 29 '12 at 16:52
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    My reply comment simply stated facts. Telling a boor that he is a boor is perfectly appropriate. Oct 29 '12 at 17:06
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    @MichaelHardy: I'd say that Matt was simply stating facts about the question. And calling Matt "dishonest" is wrong at best, and slander at worst. Oct 29 '12 at 17:13
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    There is a difference between criticising a question as off-topic and an ad-hominem name-calling, even if that comment is subsequently deleted.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Oct 29 '12 at 17:16
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    He said it's a peeve disguised as a question. That is false. It's not even remotely a fact. If it's not a question then the person who answered it could not have written the responsive on-topic answer that he wrote. I gave a list of examples, then I asked if there was a name for the phenomenon that they exemplify. A "peeve", according to OED, is "A peevish or irritable mood; peevishness; a grumble. Also: a source of irritation or annoyance (freq. in pet peeve)." That has nothing at all to do with my posting. There was no expression of annoyance in it, nor did I feel annoyed. Oct 29 '12 at 17:22
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    ....and "disguise" implies dishonesty, as if I had been trying to make the posting appear to be something other than what it really is. What it really is is a list of examples exemplifying a phenomenon followed by a question about the phenomenon. I had no way of communicating which phenomenon I was writing about except by giving examples of it. Oct 29 '12 at 17:23
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    Things you'll need on Meta. And this.
    – Zairja
    Oct 29 '12 at 17:27
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    The proper response --not just here, but anywhere-- when your writing is criticized for reasons you regard as baseless is not to respond with over-the-top invective but to review your copy and ask yourself What did I write that gave rise to this response? The First Law: Anything that can be misunderstood will be. Oct 29 '12 at 17:33
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    @MichaelHardy If you believe he is wrong, don't write rude ad-hominem comments. Leave a comment politely telling why you disagree. Oct 29 '12 at 17:37
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    @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇 : You say he was stating facts about the question. He was stating that I had "disguised" the posting as a question. That's an accusation that I was dishonest. My question was in fact a question. I sought information. I was not disguising anything. A "peeve" is an expression of annoyance. I was not annoyed and I did not express annoyance, and I know of no reason why anyone would think I did. Oct 29 '12 at 17:52
  • @MichaelHardy this comment thread is getting long. Why not come into the chat room? We can discuss it further there. Oct 29 '12 at 17:57
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    This question is not constructive. The question would eventually take evidence that one user has been offensive (which is not the case here); from there to supposing that rudeness is customary on EL&U is making a step longer than the leg.
    – apaderno
    Oct 30 '12 at 11:06

That comment has been upvoted six times, so that's some evidence of community opinion.

Eric Raymond has something useful to say on community criticism. The emphasis is mine.

On Not Reacting Like A Loser

Odds are you'll screw up a few times on hacker community forums — in ways detailed in [his article], or similar. And you'll be told exactly how you screwed up, possibly with colourful asides. In public.

When this happens, the worst thing you can do is whine about the experience, claim to have been verbally assaulted, demand apologies, scream, hold your breath, threaten lawsuits, complain to people's employers, leave the toilet seat up, etc. Instead, here's what you do:

Get over it. It's normal. In fact, it's healthy and appropriate.

Community standards do not maintain themselves: They're maintained by people actively applying them, visibly, in public. Don't whine that all criticism should have been conveyed via private e-mail: That's not how it works. Nor is it useful to insist you've been personally insulted when someone comments that one of your claims was wrong, or that his views differ. Those are loser attitudes.

There are useful answers about the question itself in your other Meta question.

  • I did not whine about my question being closed; I inquired why it was closed and argued some points concerning it in response to some comments. However, one person was rude and dishonest. He said my question was "a peeve disguised as a question." It is correct that one should not whine about question closures, and also about dishones boors. I argued some points about the question. I didn't say everyone who disagreed was dishonest or even that all of them were wrong. I said ONE PERSON was dishonest and rude. And he was. Oct 29 '12 at 17:33
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    @MichaelHardy You insist on calling Matt "dishonest". What did he do that indicates dishonesty? Your question did sound peevish; it reads as complaining that English-speakers are insecure about their language and fall back to "foreign" Latin. Oct 29 '12 at 17:36
  • @AndrewLeach : Here's a problem: SOME users whine if their question is closed and they don't know why. However, SOME ask why it was closed and dispute some points made in the discussion, and then tell ONE rude and dishonest person that he is rude and dishonest, and are then accused of whining because their question was closed. Oct 29 '12 at 17:38
  • You say the emphasis is yours. The emphasized words say "Nor is it useful to insist you've been personally insulted when someone comments that one of your claims was wrong, or that his views differ." Matt Эллен did not say that one of my claims was wrong or that his views differ. He said that I was disguising something as a question. He accused me of dishonesty. That wasn't disagreement; it was dishonest. Oct 29 '12 at 17:40
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    @MichaelHardy Solution: Don't call anyone rude and dishonest, even if you think they are. Rise above it; don't ask questions about it! As it happens, your question came over as a peeve to me, too, and Zairja's comment on your other question helps address it. Perhaps that comment should have been an answer.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Oct 29 '12 at 17:44
  • @AndrewLeach : I am mystified as to how it could appear to be a "peeve". Oct 29 '12 at 17:46
  • @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇 : What he did that was dishonest was his accusation of "disguise". "Disguise" implies I was trying to make the posting appear to be something other than what it is. It is a question. I was seeking information. I did not try to make it appear to be anything other than a question. There was no disguise. Oct 29 '12 at 17:47
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    @MichaelHardy You are reading too much in to Matt's words. "Peeving disguised as a question" is an idiom around here. People often post questions asking why English isn't the way they like. Technically it is a question. But what it really is is a peeve about English. Your question fits that pattern. Maybe you are not, precisely, peeved. That's impossible to tell from your question. Oct 29 '12 at 17:55
  • @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇 : I was construing his words as if they were written in English and I could rely on dictionaries. I don't see how anyone could have thought I was saying English is not the way I'd like. Oct 29 '12 at 18:03
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    @Michael: You don't see how anyone could've thunk you were peeving? Let's start with this: "English-speaking people tend to regard words obviously derived from Latin or Greek as more hifalutin than words of Germanic origin." I'm an English-speaking person – what are you saying about my pretentiousness?
    – J.R.
    Oct 30 '12 at 6:39

I am sorry if you've taken offence to my comment about your question.

I have read your question. It came across as peeving about English. I thought the "peeving disguised as a question" rule was in the faq, but apparently I am mistaken. It is as Mr. Shiny and New says, the phrase is an idiom around here.

If you would like to discuss this further I am in chat.

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    The rule is similar to, "it is a rant disguised as a question: '______ sucks, am I right?'", found as the fifth point of the fourth section. Oct 29 '12 at 18:09
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    You are only half mistaken; the "peeving disguised as a question" rule used to be in the FAQ, for well over a year, lifted from the corresponding thread here on meta that still has the original wording. That part of the FAQ is a wiki, though, and gets edited from time to time; that particular bit is no longer where it used to be. However, as @Luke points out, rather than being gone completely it has in fact been promoted to the non-wiki section that is common to all SE sites. It's only gained importance.
    – RegDwigнt Mod
    Oct 29 '12 at 21:16
  • To split hairs, that part of the FAQ is not wiki. It is just the part of the FAQ that can be edited from moderators. ;)
    – apaderno
    Oct 30 '12 at 12:39

Characterizing a person as a boor and dishonest is not wrong (if true) but you would do that with a flag, not a comment.

Doing it in a post or comment is inconsistent with our community guidelines in the FAQ:

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.

The same guidelines apply, of course, to the person you're characterizing, and that's what flags are for.

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    That comment was deleted after I flagged it. Oct 29 '12 at 18:56

MetaEd has the gist of it. It is customary to frown upon gratuitous rudeness, dishonesty, and flame-warring within english.stackexchange.com, as evidenced by the Be Nice section of the FAQ.

I understand that you felt offended by the comment. I know Matt quite well—he is a long-standing member here—I can assure you that he meant no insult to you.

If you see a comment that you believe to be rude or offensive, the appropriate action is to raise a flag to bring it to the attention of the moderators. A rude/offensive flag will put the comment in the flag queue for 10K+ users to review as well, and if enough of them agree with you, the comment will be auto-deleted without moderator intervention.

If you are not satisfied with the decision made by the community regarding a rude/offensive flag on a comment, posting on Meta is always an option. However it is best to do so in as neutral a way as possible because no matter how justified you are, the community often perceives this particular type of Meta question as pitching a fit. That is because either 1. it is obviously rude and needs no further explanation, so just flag it, or 2. it is not obviously rude and the flagger is perceived as being overly sensitive.

  • I agree with almost all of this, except perhaps the part about posting on Meta being viewed poorly by the community in general. Had the O.P. asked an open-minded question, "Does this comment seem rude?" I don't think community opinion would have been so negative. Instead, a rather emotive declaration was made – an allegation of gratuitous rudeness, boorish dishonesty, and flame-warring abuse; I think it was the overreaction that turned the tide of public opinion. Asking on meta is not a bad thing, not when it's done on an even keel.
    – J.R.
    Oct 30 '12 at 17:37
  • I see what you are saying and I agree with you. Also, I was referring specifically to flags on comments and I should have made that clearer as well. I don't want to discourage users from posting questions on Meta.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Oct 30 '12 at 18:58
  • Thanks for the edit; now, we're in 100% agreement. :^)
    – J.R.
    Oct 30 '12 at 21:04

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