1. Because chat is the place where members can sneer behind your back.
  2. Chat is the place where members can take delight in telling others that someone (me) is looking to pick a fight.
  3. Because chat is the place where members use code such as peroxide blonde instead of using your proper username.
  4. But chat is the place to go if you want to highlight someone's anti-social and passive aggressive behaviour.
  5. And chat is the one place where the mods take your message of anger and distress seriously.

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There is no question.

Thank you.

  • 2
    ?? 'peroxide' was a reference to how the main character of 'The White Haired Girl' got that way. chat lines don't always refer to the immediately preceding item.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 19:54
  • 3
    Richard Feynman's last autobiographical work was entitled What Do You Care What Other People Think? I can't aspire to reach his intellectual level, but I try to emulate his attitude. Who here do you empower to distress you?
    – deadrat
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 21:03
  • ...If you want a mod's attention, you can drop into chat, ping them, leave a message (if you absolutely hate chat, ask for a private room), and they will get back to you; it has never failed me. Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 2:34
  • 2
    You've had a bad experience in chat (some of it a misunderstanding.) You're far from the only one. And yes, sneering and back-biting goes on, but it does in real life, too. I don't think you're "empowering people to distress you"; I think it's normal to feel distress over the opinions of others. (Sounds a bit like victim blaming.) But I can tell you that the majority of people in chat are kind, welcoming people, and the more you go, the better it gets for the most part. Good luck. Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 15:08
  • 3
    Richard Feynman would not have been such a showman (in addition to a great physicist) if he had not cared what people thought of him.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 17:22
  • 3
    @ab2 What does nitpicking the semantics of "you shouldn't care so much what other people think" contribute to the discussion here? There's a valid point to be made that random people on the Internet who you don't really know and who don't really know you shouldn't be able to upset you too much. There's also a valid point to be made that this is a community and people being made to feel excluded or disrespected is not good for the community as a whole. Neither of those arguments hinges on Feynman's personality profile.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 18:48
  • 5
    @ab2 You have missed the point entirely, so let me try again. It is not helpful to derail a conversation about a legitimate concern that Mari-Lou has by arguing about what Feyman was or wasn't. If you disagree with the point of view that deadrat expressed, then explain why and how it applies to the matter at hand instead of nitpicking how it was expressed.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 19:19
  • 1
    @ColleenV What makes you think ab2's comment derailed the conversation? It is neither derailing the conversation nor off-topic. Why? Because the question itself is off-topic (it received two close-votes). I find it rather strange why you think what Mari-Lou expressed in the post is a legitimate concern. Why? The question is rant based on personal opinion (regardless of whether it was triggered by misunderstanding or not).
    – user140086
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 19:40
  • 1
    @ColleenV I don't think ab2 was discussing the semantics of Feynman's directive. I'd guess everyone agrees on what it means. I took his comment to mean that the directive is an impossible standard even for those who espouse it. In this I think he's wrong in general and wrong about Feynman in particular, the latter claim having evidence in events of the physicist's life. But I don't see the comment as destructive to the conversation. YMMV.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:01
  • 3
    Oh, dear. It seems the comment fairies have been at it again. Couldn't have the mods, their being so busy and so dedicated to the site's directive that the best moderation is the least.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


I understand why you were upset and I don't want you to feel discouraged from coming to chat. I think it was a series of misunderstandings that happened after you and others had some back-and-forth commentary that wasn't immediately visible to me.

  1. Chat is one means of bringing potential problems up to a moderator. Flagging for mod attention and comments with an at-ping are another means. A user who points out that they feel there is uncivil behavior occurring is not sneering.

  2. There was no indication of emotional value in the statement that "Someone really wants to pick a fight with me" nor were you at all identified by name in that message or thereafter. You interpreted it as referring to yourself and you interpreted as delighted. You might as well have read it as a simple statement of fact or trepidation or confusion.

  3. Lolwhut? No one said peroxide blonde. It was peroxide and it was referring to a completely different other conversation that was not in some secret code, but was joking commentary about the White-Haired Girl, a Chinese opera we talked about earlier. You would see it easily if you followed the arrows or scrolled up. I have no idea who you think it would refer to.

  4. Passive aggressive is frequently misused and it bothers me. There is no passive aggressive behavior in chat. If you are having problems with anti-social users, you should feel free to flag their inappropriate comments. Also, I did not see any such behavior when you were in chat although I left to commute right after my last comment, so.

  5. You should always feel welcome to come to chat to talk to a mod if your concerns aren't addressed quickly. We can speak privately and confidentially if you want. This applies not only to you, but to other users as well, and I hope you understand how this circles us back around to #1.

Finally, I would like to reiterate what I said in chat, and to generalize it:

if you (in the general sense here, not you, Mari-Lou A) find that you are having a heated exchange in comments about something like question closure, migration, or deletion, this is a signal to you (in the general sense here, not you, Mari-Lou A) to post a question on Meta to discuss the issue.

This provides more visibility to the community and will allow you to both garner support for your argument as well as more completely understand the other side of the coin. It will reduce the sense of being personally attacked and open up the discussion for many more than two points of view.

  • @Mari-LouA I hope you didn't think I was implying that they weren't referring to you. I know they were referring to you. My point was that it is not obvious to a person reading the transcript that you are the referrent.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:09
  • Also, do you want to discuss this in a private chat? I have time.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:09

In the name of solidarity, I present the reasons Dan Dislikes Chat:

  1. Chat is, effectively, unusable from a phone, my preferred and most frequent interface to SE.
  2. I talk too fast and Chat doesn't talk fast enough. Whenever I log in I see something like "14 users currently chatting, last message sent 2 hours ago".
  3. Due to (2), I often feel anxious that I'm ignorant of and swimming against the established culture by flooding the channel with a bunch of ADHD comments pursuing whatever tangent my hamster brain has latched onto.

Given the above, I participate rarely in Chat, so I can't say one way or another if the politics are more or less rancorous or the commentary more or less snide than on the main site. I'm not even involved enough there to judge if the remark you quote is the barb you think it is, or the unrelated comment others seem to take it for (which is why I'm unable to vote on your question one way or the other).

But it doesn't matter because the cure is the same either way. To quote the second most imperturbable member of the site¹:

Richard Feynman's last autobiographical work was entitled What Do You Care What Other People Think? I can't aspire to reach his intellectual level, but I try to emulate his attitude. Who here do you empower to distress you?

So long as you know what you're worth, whether you were smeared or not is irrelevant².

¹ Sorry, I have to award the diadem to Sven; you couldn't flap him with a giant pancake inverter.

² Protip: If you've never experienced the warm glow of magnanimity that spreads through you when you give someone the benefit of the doubt, then I can personally recommend it. Wonderful tonic for the ego.

  • "Dan Dislikes Chat".. Caps D.. Lolwut?
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:30
  • 1
    @NVZ "An Essay Towards An Illumination Of The Matters Influencing Dan's Participation In Online Communities".
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    I've not a clue about the drama here, but +1. NVZ Hates Chat.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:33
  • 4
    deadrat is pretty easy to perturb, even unintentionally... Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 7:25
  • @curiousdannii Personal experience or observation? If the former, you overestimate your capacity to perturb even as I guess that you understate your intentionality.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 5:49
  • @deadrat In that case I won't hesitated commenting on any of your answers I come across. Though, as before, I don't go searching them out. Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:43
  • @curiousdannii Please do. Comments on my answers often reveal my errors and prompt me to improve and clarify those answers. Lectures on my deportment -- I mean outside of meta -- are less welcome since they just waste my time.
    – deadrat
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 6:57

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