For those unfamiliar, the new Star Trek series, Discovery, has proven controversial for many fans. Unfortunately many SFF users apparently feel the need to express their dissatisfaction every chance they get. I don't wish to call anyone out in particular but here are a few comments to illustrate what I mean:

You should know by now that Discovery doesn't give one nanospeck about preserving canon. I wish Q would erase it

Excellent point. I have two possible answers: 1) Plot hole = lazy writers [...]

other than finding themselves in a pale imitation of Star Trek? ;D

Because Star Trek: Discovery is written by people who've never watched Star Trek

I think this is just bad writing [...]

Because terrible writing

I rather suspect that the writers have never actually seen an episode of Trek before and were just working off notes that were sent to them by the studio

no more than the entire series is an entire contradiction to most ST canon :\

In my opinion these comments are off-topic and unhelpful to the person asking.

  • 7
    Are all of those comments from me?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 19:47
  • 8
    No but the bulk are from you and one other user. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 19:48
  • 8
    lol. I promise to try to stop :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 19:49
  • 1
    Hard to tell without context whether the comments were off topic or inappropriate.
    – user2490
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 18:07
  • I like the show. But none of those comments are incorrect either. IMO it's fine to be rude if you're right.
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 2:22

5 Answers 5


You're not wrong. Certainly the bulk of these comments aren't especially "nice" and while they aren't directed at the users posting the questions, I can see how they might result in them feeling like their questions are less welcome than others.

I promise wholeheartedly to keep my criticism of this show to private channels from now on.

Mea culpa and I've tried to locate all of my snark and remove it. Feel free to prod me if I've missed anything.

  • 9
    This is appreciated and beyond the response I expected. In fairness to you, most of the comments are by someone else. However yours were more disconcerting given that I respect you a great deal as a contributor. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:02
  • 11
    @BrianOrtiz - Nah. I sometimes forget that while I'm busily amusing myself and laughing at my own antics, there are people on the other side of the screen who might not necessarily get the joke.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:03
  • 4
    I agree w/ the answer by Valorum for my part as well @BrianOrtiz and apologies - I'll do the same in regards to cleanup :)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 14:24

Our "Be Nice" policy (I guess now the Code of Conduct), does apply to "public figures" which would include the writers of the show.

The correct course of action would be flag posts you think are do not follow policy and the moderation team can handle them from there.

  • 11
    My own opinion would be to flag them as "No Longer Needed" unless they are especially vulgar or rude.
    – Skooba
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:03

By their Stack Exchange definitions, comments are supposed to clarify the question, add more info, in short, be constructive. Amittedly we SFF folks do have more "joke" comments left around, about JKR math not making any sense, Highlander II not being a thing, etc, etc; they're mostly fine, but as always, too much can be too much.

I'm not familiar with Discovery or Star Trek in general, but from what you've provided, they're not especially good jokes and could indeed be seen as too snarky to comply with the Be Nice policy - especially more unwelcoming to a new user, as I guess people asking questions about the show are even remotely liking it.

The best course of action is to raise a flag on these comments, either explaining how it's not constructive and snarky, or just going for No Longer Needed. The mods should be able to handle it swiftly. If there are many comments, just raise one flag explaining all the chain can go.

  • 2
    I quite liked Highlander II.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:08
  • 4
    I also object to you saying that these aren't good jokes.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:09
  • 3
    And heck we have whole questions dedicated to how bad JKR is at math and other things... tis not a joke!
    – Skooba
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 20:10

These kinds of comments are bad to have around and should be removed.

Faction warring is bad for any community and this is a form of it.

For any particular piece of media, those engaged in it and asking/answering about it should not have to deal with people dropping in just to disparage it. That open disparagement creates an atmosphere of hostility toward the people engaged in that media. This will alienate those people away from the community, and may create grudges and resentment which will escalate and spill out later in more disruptive ways. It will directly lead to reduced activity on the topic by driving away the people who want to be asking/answering about it, which should be seen as an unacceptable and negative outcome for the community.

This means these disparaging comments directly diminish our site's ability to service the body of science fiction & fantasy fiction and compromise the health and harmony of our community. All of that is bad.

We should see snark and disparagement toward a media as directly unwelcoming to those users engaged in that media. That snark and disparagement should be flagged and removed.

Constructive criticism is fair, of course, and we need to be able to engage in it, but there's a huge difference betweeen “JK Rowling is bad at math and dates so the chronology you've seen there doesn't add up” and persistent comments that a piece of media has terrible writing, lazy writers, should be erased from existence, etc.


Let's look at this question: Can anything be done? The answer is, yes something can be done in all of the examples you've given. Please follow this through, I'm not blindly agreeing with the comments but there are a couple moving parts here which need pointing out. This is the unabridged version of what @Skooba said. First:

Bad writing happens

Let's just start there. Science fiction lives in the unenviable position of trying to convince everyone that something impossible just happened. If the story goes to far into hard sci-fi, the whole plot vanishes into thin air and you're left with romance novels to get you through your escapism withdrawals. Fantasy doesn't have this problem, we already know "it's just magic." Because of this, while acknowledging that your examples are very poorly worded, it is also true that

Those comments are sometimes the answer to the question. Let me share a couple more "unconstructive comments" from my own library:

that's exactly what I meant. The plot needed the ship to get hit.

"elite" crews have plot armour until they don't

@ Vogon Poet - I wish I could help you there, but I don't think the answer you're hoping for exists. If it helps, it's no worse than the tardigradebear, or breaking warp 10 in Voyager, or beardy man at the centre of the universe pretending to be god, or spaceships going 'bang' in the (near)vacuum of space, or countless other silliness. I just put this down to hey, it's Star Trek. Like Star Wars, it's science fantasy.

I think it can be said, jackass genies can and will out-jackass someone trying to jackass them.

All of your comments and mine are saying the exact same thing:

"In my opinion, there is no in-universe explanation."

This is what every "unconstructive comment" listed here boils down to, using more colorful and pseudo-topical vernacular hoping to be mistaken for something relevant (this snarkiness is what needs to go away).

The comment is useful if it is an "expert opinion" and has credible references
A classic example is the Klingon makeup between ST:TAS and ST:TNG. Until fans got so upset at the sacrilegious disregard for canon, the truthful answer was "there is no in-universe explanation." Eventually the producers gave us Generations to quell the outrage, then a mutagenic virus to bring it into canon.

If any credible source gives an interview, for example, and plainly said "we ran out of money" then the correct answer to the question is, "there is no in-universe explanation, but, based on an interview with....." In such a case, that "unconstructive comment" belongs in an answer.

So when you run across a "there is no in-universe explanation"-ish comment the natural thing to do is

  1. Ask the poster to please be less snarky, if this is a problem.

  2. prompt the poster for their references, giving the benefit of the doubt that they know something.

If they have a reference, then your question has been answered. If they do not, then the comment should be removed as no longer needed. Flag it. But remember that blindly flagging may win one battle but does nothing to make the problem go away. The user needs feedback if we want the comments to stop coming.

Unconstructive comments can be useful if the question evolves

Looking at the one answer with no snark, "I think this is just bad writing [...]," the story may fill that hole in later episodes. The hole could be deliberate or an oversight. And even as an oversight, that fact may accidentally be blurted out at a convention some day. Then some SE user comes across your question, sees the comment, and fills in the blank. A non-snarky opinion can work as a prompt for later expert content.

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