I recently engaged in a lengthy attempt to address a noisy, misdirecting joke comment by a user. After realizing that chat rooms require 100 rep (I was thinking it was 200 rep, for some reason), I moved the conversation to chat, at which point the stonewalling continued, with continuous straw man and ad hominem fallacies thrown at me.

(I flagged one of the later comments under the question for moderator intervention to clean up the entire comment thread, which has since been taken care of)

It's a hallowed (though oft-ignored, it seems) rule on the Stack Exchange network to Be Nice; insinuating that someone has no value on the site because they don't have many questions/answers, or that they have no place criticizing your actions because they have lower rep or fewer questions/answers, is rude and offensive, I think (not to mention wrong). As such, the less than friendly language of the user has me wondering whether such behavior or reasoning of this magnitude is now justified.

The chat discussion is located here: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/25206/discussion-between-tylerh-and-wad-cheber



Having read the conversation, I can honestly say that this seems to be a case of 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other. Neither of you covered yourselves with glory, both repeatedly failed to meet the "Be Nice" threshold and neither of you took the opportunity to flag a moderator if/when you felt the other user was going off the rails until it was much too late.

At any point, either of you could have simply stopped responding to the other user's comments.


In answer to your specific question, having a higher reputation certainly doesn't exempt you from acting appropriately and treating others with kindness and consideration.

Moving forward

Creating a separate chatroom to harangue another user for their supposed infractions was never going to end well.

Wad's original comment (which provoked the initial conversation) was certainly off-topic, but certainly not to the point that it required you to drag him into a protracted discussion. The appropriate thing would have been to simply flag a moderator and move on.

  • 3
    The chatroom was created to move the discussion away from comments (a la "take this discussion to chat"), not to harangue a user for infractions. Unfortunately that doesn't also move existing comments in the reply-chain into the new chatroom. – TylerH Jul 7 '15 at 18:11
  • 1
    @TylerH - As I said, I see no way in which this could have ended well. Wad clearly wasn't responding well to your criticism. You should have ended the chat at "keep hoping" – Valorum Jul 7 '15 at 18:18
  • 2
    @TylerH You pretty much came out swinging with "I didn't think you were being serious, just annoyingly off-topic." You then tell Wad that you responded "In hopes of curtailing the behavior." – phantom42 Jul 7 '15 at 19:05
  • 2
    @phantom42 That's not relevant to the creation of the chatroom, however. – TylerH Jul 7 '15 at 19:26

My take: I have seen tons of joke comments, most of which are well-received as long as they are not personal attacks. This comment was most certainly not, and while yes, technically it is off-topic, like he did say, most comments that receive a lot of upvotes are. So given all that, and the fact we have some precedent for funny comments, I would say that you were rude to call him out like that.

I'm not saying he's blameless - he did make some rude comments, but he didn't start until well after you had kept harassing him about it, and in my opinion handled it well up until he did make a veiled accusation of you not contributing.

Yes, he was rude, and no, that's not ok, but you did contribute by starting it needlessly. Live, laugh, and let live, and maybe the real reason we're all here - to have fun and learn about our favorite universes - will still be the focus.


I'm pretty sure the only comment police we have are the Mods. See something squirrely? Ping a Mod, wave a flag. If you have issues with a particular user, ignore or block him. I've been involved in a spat or two on this site. It's not worth the aggravation to take it upon oneself to lay down the law, and it's not our job to do so. If you need a Mod, flag a Mod. If they see it your way, then yea! If not, at least there wasn't any mud flinging. In either case, everyone can move on from there.

  • There is no option on the Stack Exchange network to block a user. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 5:37
  • 1
    @TylerH I could have sworn there was. Oh well. But I have to suggest you guys just let this go. All it's going to do is give you heartburn, and at the end of the day people will still make off topic comments. Some funny, some not. Anyway. That's my advice. – Major Stackings Jul 8 '15 at 5:58
  • 1
    You can ignore users in chat (across all chatrooms), but not on the site proper. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 6:34
  • That sounds right. Can't avoid the questions and answers or the comments, but ignoring people in chat is possible. – Major Stackings Jul 8 '15 at 6:35
  • @MajorStackings - you certainly can avoid the Q&As - just don't click on them – The Fallen Jul 8 '15 at 17:25
  • @SSummer I might miss out on some rep. That plan will never work. ;) – Major Stackings Jul 8 '15 at 20:51

You are framing the question the wrong way. It isn't a matter of whether rep entitles a user to be rude. Of course rep isn't a license to treat other people badly, and I never said it was. I also never said that low rep makes you less important than anyone else, especially myself - it doesn't.

The real question is this:

Is it rational to expect that someone should show you respect when you have shown them none?

The answer: No. Common courtesy is a two way street. When you begin a conversation by being rude, hostile, and aggressive, the other party is probably going to return your rudeness, hostility, and aggressiveness in spades. If you start off by calling the other person annoying, they probably won't take it very well, and you can't expect him to be more polite than you have been.

Note: I am happy to report that Tyler and I have stopped acting like children, grown up, and apologized to each other for our respective roles in this rather ridiculous situation. We both screwed up, but now we've put it behind us. He made an unpleasant remark to me, and I went totally overboard in return, acting like an absolute jackass. We both should have acted differently, and we both should have let it go much earlier than we did. If there is a bright side to all of this, it is that we have both made so many mistakes that we'll be geniuses by the time we're done learning from them. Sorry, everyone. Our bad.

  • 4
    Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be. – Major Stackings Jul 8 '15 at 2:31
  • 1
    @MajorStackings - Wiser words have seldom been spoken... or sung. I guess that's why Paul McCartney makes the big bucks. See my amended answer. – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 2:52
  • I feel very strongly that you were the first to become hostile, and ultimately far more so than me, so your "give respect to get it" argument doesn't quite hold water. Unfortunately the comment chain that led to the chat room creation is no longer available – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 4:27
  • I take that back; the initial comments are stored in the chatroom, where your first response to me was somewhat condescending/derisive. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 4:40
  • @TylerH - See phantom42's comment under Richard's answer: "You pretty much came out swinging with "I didn't think you were being serious, just annoyingly off topic". You still don't see how you set the tone for the rest of the conversation, do you? You began by calling me annoying. That is offensive and rude. The worst I did was using sarcasm. You replied to mild sarcasm with an ad hominem attack on me personally. I'm starting to think you're incapable of seeing any fault in your own actions. And I'm done with this. Enjoy the downvotes on this question. You've earned them. – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 5:03
  • 1
    Calling your comment annoyingly off-topic is not an attack on your person or intrinsic value as a user, which is what ad hominem means. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 5:08
  • @TylerH - WRONG. You said: "I didn't think YOU were being serious, just annoyingly off topic". Not my comment, ME. You called me annoying. If you're so dense that you can't see the way you come across, it isn't my problem. Stop trying to lecture me. I know what ad hominem means, and I used it correctly. As I said, I'M DONE WITH THIS. Don't expect another reply. Have a nice life. – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 5:11
  • 1
    The frame of reference there is your comment, not your personality. This isn't an attack on your person; chill out. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 5:12
  • @TylerH - For what it is worth, I regret that I ever mentioned rep, because rep is clearly meaningless. I'm going to resist the temptation to defend my specific statements in the chat room, and limit myself to saying that you set the tone for our conversation. From that point on, I was on the defensive, and my conduct was informed by the tone you had set. Do I wish I had acted differently? Yes. Do you share the blame for the way things unfolded? Yes, and most of the above answers seem to agree that you started the unpleasantness. Neither of us are perfect. We both bear the blame... – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 6:25
  • @TylerH - ...for continuing the unnecessary drama. We should have let it go. Both of us. I am willing to apologize for my part in the problem, and it would be great if you could do likewise. We were both rude. We were both combative. We both screwed up. Now we need to let it be over with, because continuing the debate isn't helping anyone. I'm still going to make jokes. Let's agree to go our separate ways as amicably as we can manage, and try to learn from our mistakes in this absurd situation. And we both made plenty of mistakes to learn from, whether you like to admit it or not. – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 6:31
  • 4
    @WadCheber Agreed; I apologize for dragging this out so long. – TylerH Jul 8 '15 at 6:37
  • 3
    @TylerH - Groovy. I'll try to avoid losing my temper so readily. I would recommend that you avoid the temptation to engage people in what might be perceived as haranguing over silly things. And we can both be a bit more tolerant of other people's idiosyncrasies. I'd much rather be your friend than your opponent. We were both acting like jackasses, quite frankly, and if we're both embarrassed by our behavior, we deserve to be. Hell, I'll even admit that after your first comment, I was, by far, the bigger jackass. I'm kind of a jerk sometimes, and this was definitely one of those times. – Wad Cheber Jul 8 '15 at 6:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .