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The user Valorum (formerly known as Richard), commented that he wants to close a question merely to provoke a user. I commented back that his reply says a lot about him. (My comment and his have been deleted within the last 5 minutes. Not sure why they were deleted.)

What is the proper response to somebody that closes questions merely to provoke other users?

I'd also like both his comment and mine undeleted if that is possible. I've only been on this site for a few weeks, so if there is some policy about undeleting comments, please provide a link to it.

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    Oh, ffs. It was a joke. Y'know. One of them things not intended to be taken seriously. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 20:38
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    Rand probably deleted the comments. I'd say, flag for moderator attention, don't react, and that's about it. Oh, and if a question is closed by a user after a comment like that, a flag for moderator attention would handle that situation too. Point out the comment in the flag. – Molag Bal May 21 '16 at 20:39
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    Wow...I'm not even sure what to say other than 1) facepalm, and 2) even as a joke that's not particularly funny. – Ixrec May 21 '16 at 20:41
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    @anaranjada I guessed Rand deleted the comments. I am glad he responded, but I wished he didn't delete the comments. His own comment now seems out of place since readers will see his words, "@Valorum Please don't start fights." and wonder what that was about. I prefer to leave Valorum's rude comment there along with my reply so people know. – RichS May 21 '16 at 20:44
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    Leaving the comments there won't help anybody. It might just stir up drama. – Molag Bal May 21 '16 at 20:45
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    @anaranjada - I think that's the point. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 20:47
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As a general rule, if you see a user behaving in a way you feel is inappropriate, flag for moderator attention. That's one of the things moderators are here for: to handle situations where the problem is with a user rather than with a post (cf. off-topic questions, for instance, which don't need a moderator in order to be handled effectively). From the 'be nice' policy (emphasis mine):

If you see a hostile interaction, flag it. If it keeps up, disengage — we'll handle it. If something needs staff attention, you can use the contact us link at the bottom of every page.


In this particular case, the matter was brought to my attention by a "rude/offensive" flag on the initial comment from Richard Valorum, which said:

The firestarter in me is tempted to close this as a dupe just to see if we can provoke another user into having a meltdown.

(For the record, this was not meant as an attack on you, but as a reference to another recent question about Dementors whose closure as a duplicate has already spawned two meta posts and a great deal of ranting from the OP of that question.)

By the time I saw this flag, you had already responded with another comment:

@Valorum "The firestarter in me is tempted to close this as a dupe just to see if we can provoke another user into having a meltdown." So you close down questions merely to annoy others? That comment of yours, Valorum (formerly known as Richard), says a lot about your character.

This was obviously a fight waiting to happen, so I deleted both comments and wrote a short comment of my own asking Richard Valorum not to make inflammatory comments. Once he'd (presumably) seen my comment, I deleted that too, so no evidence of the drama remains on the question. You've now created a permanent record of it here on meta, but there's not much I can do about that.


For future reference, if you see inappropriate behaviour, flag it rather than engaging the user. The moderators are here to deal with this kind of thing, and we'd much rather have to reprimand one user for a single inappropriate remark than two for an extended argument.

And no, I'm not going to undelete the comments. The entire chain of comments was unnecessary and borderline offensive, and leaving them in place would only have encouraged further drama and possible escalated the situation.

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  • Idle curiosity: can you undelete your own comments if you deleted them yourself? You can't undelete mine if I delete them myself. – Molag Bal May 21 '16 at 21:47
  • @anaranjada Yes, any comment deleted by a mod can be undeleted if necessary. It doesn't often happen though. – Rand al'Thor May 21 '16 at 22:02
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    Dupe of meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/6576/…? I'd flag it as such, but I suspect that would result in even more drama – Valorum May 21 '16 at 22:51
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    @Valorum Yeah, please don't do that. The question you link is about funny comments in general, while this question here is about a comment the OP perceived as offensive and bullying rather than funny. (I realise it wasn't meant that way, but without context it was easy to misinterpret.) And as you say, a VTC as dupe, especially from you, would only increase the drama here. – Rand al'Thor May 22 '16 at 1:33
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    @Randal'Thor - Well, as much as I enjoy these wonderful opportunities for people to take turns slagging me off in public, the OP was (supposedly) asking about the policy, which is well covered in the (dupe) question above. Perhaps wait a few days (for things to cool down) and then dupe it off. – Valorum May 22 '16 at 5:47
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My comment was intended as a humourous reference to another recent similar question about Dementors, one which resulted in a great deal of upset feeling and a particular user having a mini-meltdown.

The fact that you didn't get the in-joke was definitely my fault (a link would have been helpful) and for that I'm sorry, but flinging around words like "bullying" and demanding that the comments be reinstated strongly suggests that your aim here isn't to understand the policy, but just to get as much drama out of this as possible.

If you don't like a comment, the very best thing to do is flag it, allow a mod to deal with it (which they did) and then simply move on.

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    For the record, this isn't the first time a throwaway comment of mine has resulted in a meta question. Hopefully this time we won't need 11 answers (and over five thousand words of text) to come to the conclusion that I need to keep my big mouth shut more often. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 21:06
  • @anaranjada - Oh, I'm certain my fan-club will be along shortly to wade in with their examples about me being curt with them. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 21:19
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    That was that Richard character. I don't know what happened to him, or why people keep confusing you two. Somebody probably just gave you a 188k-rep bounty when I wasn't looking. – Molag Bal May 21 '16 at 21:22

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