A while ago we decided that meta-answers like

"because it's a story"

aren't welcome on the site;

To be blunt, there's absolutely no point to this site if answers are going to be "It's that way because that's how it was written. Go away." Such answers should not be welcome regardless of how any question is phrased.

Why then was my flag as "Rude/Abusive" on this (heavily downvoted and now moderator deleted) answer declined?

For those with less than 10k, the answer is quoted below.

Because it's fiction.

Here are some more characters to exceed the minimum limit of 30. You know, stackexchange, as a scientist, SHORTER answers are preferred to LONGER ones. This is because the discovery of truth needn't be longer than necessary, else we run the risk of wasting people's times for the sake of verbosity. But hey, what do I know?

  • 14
    The way the post was written it was certainly rude and even called out the entire site.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 15:19
  • 3
    Are you asking if the concept is rude, whether the specific answer was rude, or why was your flag declined? IMO, all distinct questions with different answers.
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 16:52
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    @CreationEdge - Since the answer seems pretty rude, my question is why was my flag declined? Was I mistaken in thinking it rude?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 16:54
  • 1
    Rude or not, it's the right answer to all those inane "Why did they" or "Why didn't they" questions that infest this site.
    – user14111
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 7:21
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    @user14111 - Stupidly reductionist though. The interesting question (if you're going to give a meta-answer) is why, given infinite choices, did the writer do that...?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 7:22
  • 2
    Might be an interesting question if the writer is Shakespeare. Rowling, not so much.
    – user14111
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 7:31
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    @user14111 - Shakespeare was a hack. If he was alive today, he'd be Chuck Lorré or Joss Whedon
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 7:49

3 Answers 3


I was the one who handled the flags on that answer. I don't exactly remember my reasoning for declining the "rude or abusive" flags before deleting the post, but here are my thoughts about it now.

"Rude or abusive" is, according to the flag dialogue, for content which violates the Be Nice policy. The flagged answer, although very low-quality and not really a serious answer, doesn't seem abusive as such. It might be wrong, in saying that shorter answers are better than longer ones, but it doesn't say so in a rude way. Expressing a silly view isn't abusive in itself, unless it's expressed in a rude manner. And "because it's fiction" is a misunderstanding of the kind of answer this site expects, which again isn't necessarily rude or abusive.

On the other hand, the tone of the answer does come off as slightly arrogant and overbearing. Perhaps I should have compromised by marking the existing flags helpful but not flag-nuking it as rude/abusive myself.

(Still, does it matter now? The answer is deleted as it deserves, and with over 1200 helpful flags you're not exactly in danger of being flag-banned for a single declined one.)

  • 1
    Isn't this answer an "it's just a story" answer? How does the site policy apply?
    – user14111
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 10:22
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    @user14111 - No. In that case it was actually a rational choice on the part of the author to not continue with the worldbuilding. His answer (in essence) is Bellisario's Maxim - "Working with a small budget and limited time to produce the best we can"
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 10:42
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    It doesn't matter if it's one flag or a thousand, it's the principle; Luke 15:3-7
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 10:44
  • @user14111 Don't agree at all with Valorum. That author was rude and gave an answer that was not allowed. Authors should not get special treatment. It's not even a useful part of the answer. The answer is just, "The author didn't plan out the magic system that much. There is thus no canon answer." Instead, the author arrested any attempts at finding an answer that works with the text.
    – trlkly
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 14:48
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    @trlkly How is that answer insulting? The only person I can construe it as being rude about is the author itself, in a slightly humorous self-deprecating way.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 14:53
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    Seriously? The entire thing is full of condescension. It repeatedly asserts that a fictional story isn't real, as if the questioner didn't know that. The only reason to even say that is if you don't think the guy knows that. That's insulting as all get out. And adds nothing to the actual answer. It's just him whining about a comment he didn't like.
    – trlkly
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:07
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    @trlkly - Honestly, I read the Author's answer as more of an embarrassed 'Oh, hey -- I didn't work it out to that level; I wrote something vague that you can interpret how you want, but there's no real logical structure behind it.' Not condescending, but apologetic that he used a literary trick and has no backup for his logic. Basically 'That's how I envisioned it' not 'This way because of this logic.' Not as satisfying, perhaps, but honest, and tells us that a search for more is a creative one, rather than research into the author's intent.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 18:55

In general, I read "Because it's a story" as perhaps not rude, but certainly dismissive. It implies a foolishness to the conversation, and perhaps an attempt to suggest that the people asking such questions not quite grasping that they are discussing fiction. See also people who feel the need to ask "You know it's fake, right?" when discussing pro wrestling.

Discussions about the whys and wherefores of fiction are centuries old - Sherlock fans have always played with the conceit that the books are real, and merely edited by Conan Doyle.

It's tedious to preface each conversation with some form of "It should be taken as read that the events and personages in this discussion are fictional, and any discussion of the events are for entertainment purposes only", anyone being so pedantic as to step forward and remind us we are discussing the work of tired authors desperately trying to make deadline deserve all the sighs and eyerolls they get.

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    Pro wrestling is fake!?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 11:21
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    We prefer the term "pre-determined"... Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 13:45

I think it is rude. It is self-evident that everything dealt with is fiction because of what this site is about. I just asked a question about GoT which is, of course fiction, but nonetheless, valid and interesting questions can be asked about a work of fiction and they are essentially, given the premises of the story, does this make sense? Is it consistent with the premises? Can you explain why it is consistent or not.

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