Just to be sure..


.. deleted within 1 hour,

I feel guilty now, someone's question got deleted, my fault ? I feel my comment about sphenning's remarks was the cause of this deletion, not the question itself. See screenshot below, the topic was removed while I was writing a response comment.

The question had only one close vote and no minus votes, at the time it got deleted.

The first two comments are teasing, imho. Why act so impolite toward eske ? Why refer to eske as "they" .. and if my remark about it was so disturbing, why not redirect a comment discussion to the chat in this case, and leave the question intact ? eske is a new contributor, now there is no way for eske to find it back and read what went wrong..

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Because I am not sure I caused this mess, I would like to salvage the question text for eske to recover, it was this..

How do you build a kingdom under a mangrove forest for a children's picture book?

This fantasy is about a young girl called Devaki who lives in a mysterious world between sea and land. Rupavati, the Queen Mother rules the Coral Kingdom, after Devaki’s father and brother disappeared under strange circumstances which speak of monsters and sea creatures that guard their prison in a lava trench.

This adventure story/fantasy for children is about how Devaki finds her brother and father who holds the key to survival for the Mangrove Forest and its denizens.

The main character is a young girl called Devaki. Her mother Rupavathi comes in the lineage of the pearl-divers of Tamil Nadu. When people discover that she is an outcaste, an Irula, she is banished from her kingdom.

Rupavathi and her husband build a home for themselves under a mangrove forest. Here she teaches her daughter, Devaki, (D) to live underwater, amongst the gnarled roots and mosquito-filled fresh to brackish to saltwater – a home that Devaki loves and where she has many friends.

The Coral Kingdom is tucked into an eerily lit place with schools of fish and tides that Devaki learns to live with. She loves to navigate the tides that buffet her and the salty water that suffocate. The mangrove forest is hospitable and there are any number of birds and animals besides the fishes that Devaki gets to know and learn from. But --

What factors must be considered when building a kingdom under a mangrove forest? What kind of structures that can stay safe when say a tsunami strikes?"

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As I have commented below that post: " I am deleting this question, since the OP has edited the proposed duplicate to match this one." $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @LDutch good to hear from you, but when there's a duplicate, didn't we have close votes for that ? and see comment, I really doubt it actually was a duplicate ! Also I did not see your explanation. I was in the process of writing a comment (5 minutes max) and your explanation message was not shown after I clicked the "Add comment" button. I got a page saying the topic got deleted.. I could only page back. An explanation is good, but why does the forum software immediately delete things ? If you leave it for 30 minutes, people can salvage their text. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 19, 2021 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ You may be interested to note that singular "they" for a person of unknown gender predates singular "you" by about 300 years and postdates plural "they" by less than a century, but we accept singular "you" that without question. It was learning this detail that finally made me just accept the useage. (17thC non-binary useage was "it", "they" for this purpose is more modern) $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 22, 2021 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix my objection refers to a social thing, not a linguistic issue. I was referring to "they" as a plural form, used in the presence of the person, who is actually addressed by the comment. Comments are used on the forum as a reply to the text above the comment. In this case, the text was eske's text. When you start out referring to eske as being "they", in the presence of eske, that not polite, I don't think that depends on language. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 14:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Goodies overusing a name when the person you're referring to is established is equally weird. For example your blanket usage of eske's name without any use of their/they/them comes across as quite strange. It's still a linguistic issue, just a different one, you established the subject by name, use of "they" after that was entirely reasonable. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix you may be quite right about the English language details, I just don't like how this went. The above is not only about the they-word, it is about how this forum handles questions by new people. In this case, I really feel eske was not treated with respect. We have close votes, why not give eske a chance to reply ? it all happened within 1 hour. Submit to deletion. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:38

1 Answer 1



In my own experience, comments do sometimes prompt people, mods included, to take actions on queries. I didn't see either version of the query in Main, but in reading the original question (the closed one) I would have concurred with the close vote. OP took such care to give us solid background; but didn't bother to learn what kinds of questions to avoid asking here. In this case, the question is woefully broad / lacking focus. 15 lines of engaging background to 2 lines of vague query is not a good thing.

I can only conjecture that L. Dutch deleted the duplicate nòt simply because it was a duplicate, but rather because it was a carbon copy of the original query posted by the OP. This is obviously an error on the part of the OP, who is new and doesn't yet know how SE works. It was done using ModHammer20K, appropriately I believe, more as a "for the OP's own good" kind of thing rather than due to any specific comments or discussion. Someone well versed in Indian culture & mangrovian civilisations could have come along and answered the cc question without realising that the question already exists but is closed. It would have been a mess! Deleting the copy simply allows said expert to (hopefully!) find the right query and prepare a good answer for when it gets edited and reopened!

Personally, storybook project & Indic culture notwithstanding, I'd like to see the OP edit this and break it down into some solid questions about mangrovian culture and society.

Obviously, I wouldn't have taken an interest if you hadn't commented and posted this query in Meta! So, that answers the general question begged by the specific.


Just to address your subquestions:

  1. The deletion is not your fault. That was a moderatorial decision made by someone with the authority to do what was done. L. Dutch is generally on the ball, and I think would have deleted it whether you commented or not!
  2. What did you find "teasing" about the comments? I saw, for the most part, people trying to be at least somewhat helpful.
  3. "They" is an ancient, well attested & standard third person singular epicene pronoun in English. It has always been used when the sex/gender of a specific person is unknown and more modernly, when it doesn't matter or is being deliberately obfuscated. I suspect that Sphennings used it properly because they don't know whether eske is a girl or a guy! The other options are perfectly valid. "He" is often used as a sort of "generic person" pronoun (like man in German or on in French; "she" can be used that way too (and is my typical default). Eske didn't specify their sex/gender in his profile, so there's not much we can do but refer to her using less than ideal options.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To OP's excuse, they edited the old question to reflect the new one, after the old one was closed and they posted the new, receiving comments asking them to do so. Deleting the new one saved them from the headache of getting answers to the new while the old was in the reopen queue and so on and so forth. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Dec 20, 2021 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ Baguette-shaped correction pen! Indeed, "on" could be thought as neutral in French, but it's because it refers to something/someone undefined, with a slight tendancy towards someone of our own group -including ourselves-. It's more like "'someone' did this", or "'we' did this" ("on a fait ça"). A better way would be to introduce a noun before : "Cette 'personne' a réécrit son post, mais 'elle' devrait plutôt réouvrir l'ancien" : This 'person' has rewritten their post, but 'they' should rather reopen the old one. Here, 'they' refers to 'person', and indirectly to our character :). $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2021 at 13:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Elemtilas's assessment of why I used 'they' is correct, with one important addendum. It is explicit SO policy to use gender neutral language when unsure. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 20, 2021 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena -- And of course, that neutral on derives from Latin hominem which can person, male human or even bro. But thank you for the correction! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Dec 20, 2021 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas thanks for your elaborate respnse. Please keep in mind I do not object to decisions, L.Dutch and sphennings can take these decisions and I respect that. My objection is twofold 1) the teasing (repeating a link to your own closed topic, the "they" thing) and 2) the speed.. especially the latter.. when I would have been able to read LDutch's explanation, I may not have opened this. I had put 2 comments in a topic that was deleted while I was doing that, not closed. I think this forum should have a provision to postpone deletion for a few minutes, at least the 5 min comment scope. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ @elemtilas I don't think it's a carbon copy, it is a carbon copy now, because someone salvaged the text of the new question, by putting it over the old one. I commented on both. The old version eske first put was just an explanation of her project, with a few names of actors in it, but not without any concrete, worldbuilding question. It was closed for good reasons. This meta topic is about the second question, the mangrove forest city, it was far better quality (imho) and not a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Sphennings, sorry I did not realize "they" could have been a matter of gender too ! Still, I don't think you were polite toward eske, rubbing in that previously closed link. It's a new member ! 15 points now. Let's think along, why can't we talk about mangrove cities.. that was really a new element (a WB element) in the second question. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies That first response was autogenerated as part of the VTC process for a duplicate question. Which given the fact that the texts were identical (except for for punctuation and formatting) at the time of review was the correct assessment. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 22, 2021 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Aha.. except for punctuation.. so the transfer of the new question text occurred before your vote to close. Then it is all a misunderstanding... I did read eske's first question, commented on it.. at the time, it was a completely different text. That first question was really not a WB question, rather a personal member introduction: "I'm writing a children's story" etc. Mangrove were not mensioned at all. I regarded the second question as a big improvement. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Dec 22, 2021 at 16:03

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