In response to a recent question, I posted this answer. What I thought to be a fairly innocuous sentence (edited out now) intended to be a lead-in to the next sentence seems to have been misconstrued by Lightness Races in Orbit and led to a series of hostile comments I attempted (maybe ineptly) to diffuse.

I would like to clear the air between Lightness and myself, but I don't feel continuing the discussion in the comments to that answer would be appropriate and the chat room doesn't recognize me as a member of the Stack Exchange community, no matter what I do.

Any thoughts on how I should proceed?

  • $\begingroup$ I was just reviewing an edit on this post, and was going to ask about whether to approve it. Of course, I hadn't seen the comments, only the edit reason, which seemed somewhat dubious. I'm going to approve it, then answer here. $\endgroup$ – Josiah Jun 15 '15 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ LRiO is known to be… provocative… on chat.SO and hot network questions. $\endgroup$ – bjb568 Jun 15 '15 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ @bjb568: Personal attacks in public! Nice. Also, sure, confuse "doesn't like racism" for "provocative"... $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 15 '15 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ I think that there is a good demonstration of what I mean. I am just expressing the general sentiment associated with your name on meta, but you have to take it as a direct personal attack associated with your particular comments. There's nothing wrong with calling out an error in an answer you've found, but engaging in a hostile discussion is not what comments are for. Assume good intentions and be nice. $\endgroup$ – bjb568 Jun 15 '15 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ Both @bjb568 and LightnessRacesinOrbit, please don't turn the comments on a question about resolving an aggressive discussion into an aggressive discussion. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Well, frankly… if you post here asking what to do in order to resolve this issue and restore peace, and the named user comes and behaves aggressively right here too… I'd say it's just a lost cause. $\endgroup$ – o0'. Jun 21 '15 at 21:20

If you want to clear the air, chat is the place to do it. Perhaps you - or someone - needs to look into your problems with chat: what exactly does happen when you try to get in?

Disagreements with an answer, on the other hand, should be resolved in comments. That's what they're for - improvements, information, clarification. (See also Monica's comment below - try to minimise back-and-forth discussion and simply keep it to correcting a mistake.) In the comment thread on your answer, I see some comments which could perhaps have been better said. The following comments are not necessarily directly aimed at the two of you or any specific comments, but are observations:

Instead of assuming people are saying something because they're biased, or deliberately to offend, or with any malicious intent, it is wise to instead assume that they are merely mistaken. Doing so gives a sudden change to your mindset when commenting: instead of "not another wrong person on the Internet who I must correct" (resulting in angry, accusatory comments), you get "ah, a minor slip-up. I'll inform OP so he can correct it." (which results in much more friendly comments).

Conversely, it is also wise to assume that commenters didn't mean to accuse you of doing wrong, and treat them as such. Even if it seems someone is out to get your answer, acknowledge that they might have a point, research whether they're right, and correct your post if they are. If they're not, simply point them to a URL which demonstrates that.

In short, assume everyone has good intentions, and comments will be friendly.

If comments do descend into madness, walk away for a while, come back calmer. You'll then be able to say to your previous adversary, "I said some things there that perhaps were unfortunately phrased. My apologies if they came across badly." All your problems are henceforth so solved.

(Outright rude or offensive comments should always be flagged.)

  • $\begingroup$ When I go to the chat site, it tells me I have to be logged in on one of the community sites first, but I'm logged in on WB. Even if I log into the Stack Exchange directly or log out of WB and back in, it still tells me I need to be logged in on another site. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Sounds like some problems I was having a while back. Have you got another browser you can try? You can also try the global chat login page or the SE chat-user login page. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre You can also try visiting the connection help page to verify whether you can connect or not. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ I did visit the connection page and the SE chat-user login page, no luck on either. It seems to work with Firefox, but not Internet Explorer. Odd. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre IE is notorious... let me check on my system. Perhaps a temporary fix is just to use Firefox for chat. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Strange... IE works fine for me, Win 8, IE 9? 10? something like that. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ IE version 10.0.9200. It may just be my proxy server. The chat room isn't the only site I've had issues with that were solved by using Firefox instead. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I think it probable. Is there any way of disabling the proxy for specific sites? $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, I don't have control over that. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Looks like your only option is to use Firefox for chat, then. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ "Disagreements with an answer, on the other hand, should be resolved in comments." -- disagreements or requests for clarification should be raised (once) in comments, and then responded to with edits to the post (and then the removal of the now-obsolete comments). Comments are not for back-and-forth discussions, which is what often happens. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jun 15 '15 at 18:54

I just reviewed an edit on this question.

Chat is the right place for air clearing...sorry you can't get to it.

It is a good answer overall. While appealing to current events does add interest to the answer, it doesn't seem to me that the sentence about the Middle East had any specific bearing on the answer. So follow the Be Nice rule.

I approved the edit because it's nice. Really. It didn't change the meaning of the post ("Parts of the Middle East"), and made it nicer for people who might be offended. The fact that you didn't mean to generalize/offend made this an easy one.

Probably the best case would have been to say "Oh, that's not what I meant," fix the post to be more clear that you didn't mean to offend, and move on. If Lightness had a problem, 1 comment and a downvote would have sufficed. There wasn't a downvote in this case, so that didn't happen. In fairness to Lightness, he doesn't have the rep on this stack to downvote. One comment is still usually sufficient though.

Don't walk on eggshells, but be quick to edit if there's a problem.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 simply for the last sentence. Solid advice, that, and well worth taking note of. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 15 '15 at 17:21

Most of this conversation was tongue in cheek.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

  • $\begingroup$ The frequent use of bold and/or italics, along with the abundant punctuation, implied, to me, an accusatory tone. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe a smiley from time to time would have helped. :) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jun 15 '15 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre: Note that I said "most". I do find it amusing that I have been accused here of being "provocative" when you were the one painting the entire Middle East as "savage". If you didn't mean to single-handedly offend hundreds of millions of people then you might also have made that clearer. But hey ho. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 15 '15 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ @LightnessRacesinOrbit let's not debate this further. The important thing is neither party meant to offend, so if we've cleared that up then let's move on. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jun 16 '15 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @ArtOfCode: Agreed! I didn't really see the need for a loud meta post about it anyway... $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 16 '15 at 8:28

I have deleted a bunch of comments there. In the future, if you see comments you consider inappropriate -- whether they're outright rude, or not constructive, or too chatty -- please flag them. We mods don't see everything on this large, active community. I saw these because of this meta question.

The best way to resolve an issue with another user (assuming both are willing) is, as others have said, to get into a chat room together. That way you can discuss as much as you like without producing a big pile of comments on the main site. Comments that aren't aimed at improving the post -- such as long discussions or arguments -- tend to get deleted. So if you want to have a conversation, chat is the place to go.

It looks like you've found a way to get into chat now. If you're still having trouble, please let us know.


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