The question An employee called me "boss", but I don't like it. How can I colloquially say that? has received multiple answers, but only the following one was deleted. I reproduce it here for convenience:

I'm the same, don't like being called 'boss'. If I deem it necessary to ask them to stop with it, I'd say something like: "nah, you're the boss, boss", looking them in the eye, with my hand placed on their shoulder in a friendly but sincere way. The physical message is what I believe would drive the words home. I noticed that people with the tendency to call others 'boss' have a tinge of insecurity and calling people 'boss' is a mock self deprecating confidence boost. Best to handle that by indicating they don't need to play that out with you.

There are other answers in the same style, and they have been left untouched. Not that the question is on topic. In fact, I've voted to close it. It not only asks for an opinion, it ask for a opinion having everthing to do with a social situation and little to do with the word boss. Not that this answer or the other answers are on topic. They're mostly advice on how to conduct oneself at work. (And bad advice at that. I would never advise physical contact in a situation in which a misunderstanding has arisen.)

But this answer at least mentions in passing that this use of the word boss may have an element of self-deprecation.

Why was this answer singled out?

  • 4
    My guess is that the advice to get physical was so bad, so awful, that several users felt it was dangerous . In the US, following that advice could get the OP fired, or sued, or possibly even arrested.
    – ab2
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 2:16
  • @ab2 Yeah, it's a good guess. Although now that I've re-read the answer, it's phrased as what the answerer would do not what the asker should do. It's terrible advice, although absent any history between the parties, a lawsuit would be unlikely (what damages are to be recovered?) and an arrest even less so (what injury could have been sustained?) And perhaps the answerer has had a conversation with TPTB.
    – deadrat
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 2:47
  • 2
    @ab2 so bad, so awful...and yet it was upvoted, and there were no comments criticizing this answer, or pointing out its inappropriatness. What exactly are the downvotes for? The point of deadrat's post is one of fairness, if that post was deleted for being an unsubstantiated answer then the same treatment should be reserved for all the other answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 6:04
  • 5
    @Mari-LouA This baffles me. It took nine hours to put this question on hold, by which time it scored +5/-1 and garnered seven answers, each one worse than the next, but +10/-1, +3/0, +2/0, +1/0, 0, 0/-1, +1/-1. Most contributions from low-rep users, but not all. From all this we learn that language is a tool, that when you hit someone with a hammer, it's your intent that hurts them, and perhaps you can clear up a misunderstanding with a co-worker by putting your hands on them.
    – deadrat
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


I was not the moderator who deleted the answer in question, and so therefore cannot speak as to why it was originally deleted. However, the deletion was correct in my opinion.

The answer principally and primarily is related to physical action, not English. It is therefore not within the scope of this site. Had the question been asked on Workplace instead, then the answer may have been within the scope of that site.

In addition, it is quite frankly a terrible answer, because physical escalation for this scenario is extremely excessive. It therefore also qualifies for deletion under the very low quality rule, wherein no amount of editing (that does not entirely change the meaning of the answer) is capable of saving the answer.

  • 8
    The answer is primarily related to a social situation and not language, which makes it out of scope. Just like the rest of the answers left undeleted. I can edit the answer to remove the physical action and leave the "communication" aspect by deleting seven words and changing one other, so no, I don't believe it qualifies under the VLQ rule. And extremely excessive physical escalation? Really? You'd think the answer recommend punching someone.
    – deadrat
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 3:11
  • @deadrat I realize that my comment was very salty. I think I just projected my adverse reaction to the thought of someone doing that to me onto you because I disagreed with your disagreement about it being excessive. My apologies. Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:08
  • @TheAnathema Now I feel bad for my own snarky response to someone who turns out to be quite gracious. Not to worry: I like high-sodium content, and your comment wouldn't have hurt my feelings even if I had any. You're right that touching can be battery. It doesn't even have to be excessive; it just has to be unwanted. (At least in the US; just ask the former professor of communications at the University of Missouri.)
    – deadrat
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 2:43
  • At least in the US: Unless you work for Donald Trump
    – user66965
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 22:18

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