I'll admit, I'm writing this question out of frustration and that's never a good start.

I've spent some time away from U&L partly for personal reasons, and partly because a user launched a tirade of baseless and frankly libellous personal attacks against me1 leaving me a bit shaken. When I came back months later I began to notice that the atmosphere here feels much less friendly than I remember. Maybe I changed maybe U&L has a little.

Besides the rise in bizarre close votes2, I'm particularly concerned at an apparent rise in in personal remarks (personal attacks). One in particular has stood out to me as totally uncalled for:

OK, there's [technology] but it's far beyond your capabilities

Yes this may not have been intended as a personal attack, but the wording reeks of elitist "if you have to ask you'll never know". It constitutes baseless3 attack and is really rude, especially to a new user. What's worse is that it not only attacks the OP of the question but any future reader who happens to come along with the same question.

It bugs me that the same intent could easily have been worded without attacking the OP: "OK, there's [technology] but it's far beyond most common users". With no knowledge of the OP's background, and no supporting comment as to the complexity of [technology] the statement unjustly implies incompetence. It's rude!

I've ended up writing this post after the flag I raised for "rude or abusive behaviour" was rejected 4. That decision sends me a worrying message that personal attacks are acceptable.(explained)

Rather than trying to rant about one specific incident, what concerns me the most is that without careful moderation forums inevitably slide into clicky (cliquey) elitist behaviour. Right now I feel that U&L is headed down that path an we are getting a bit too comfortable with rude behaviour5.

  1. Untrue statements such as "You've only worked on one software project", "you've never done [xyz] development", ...
  2. I'm still waiting for anyone to tell me how "are Linux drivers available for [specific hardware]" is "opinion based"
  3. The new user's question, and others they had made gave no picture of their capability as a software engineer
  4. Rarely a good reason to start a meta post, yet here I am
  5. It's not my intent to blame moderators new and old, but to call out a particular concern about the state of U&L as I see it.
  • 6
    OK, there's [technology] but it's far beyond your capabilities - well, without a broader context it's hard to say if it's offensive or just honest Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 22:27
  • 20
    @ArkadiuszDrabczyk no that's precisely my point. This statement is pretty universally rude (honest or not). In this regard we are not teachers, and it is not our job to test and appraise the capabilities of other users. It's not okay to say to any user "I'm not telling you because you're a noob". It's too easy to convey the same "honest" thought without making it about the user - as I noted in the post above. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 23:21
  • 14
    @ArkadiuszDrabczyk There is NO context where one user deciding that another user is too stupid to do something could ever be anything but incredibly pretentious and rude. "This is beyond your capabilities" is saying "there is a way, but you are too stupid to understand it". Had the author of that not deleted their answer already, I would have suspended. That is absolutely not acceptable under any circumstances.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 12:42
  • 14
    @ArkadiuszDrabczyk, even if there are lots of question writers on SE who, based on their output, appear to lack some understanding of the finer points of the subject matter, and perhaps even the finer points of proofreading and grammar, that still doesn't mean it's ok to go personal and (in effect) call them idiots just like that. That may seem wrong, but it's part of those weird human-interaction rules. Usually, it's better to assume that they are beginners, and just haven't learned the more advanced stuff yet, or to just not write anything if all you can think of is a personal attack.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:01
  • 8
    @ArkadiuszDrabczyk We all make assessments of other user's abilities and attempt to frame a response at the OP's level. What you describe is partly true, but the way we phrase it back to the user is very important. It's fine to suggest that a user might need to read this or that. Sometimes we even need to suggest a user looks at some basic tutorials before taking on the advanced task. But that always infers the user can do what they want if they do this and that first. The phrase in question says "give up here! You're incapable". This is very rude. Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:08
  • 3
    @RichieHH, can you expand a bit on what you're saying there?
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 15:42
  • 4
    Wow, is it me you're discussing behind my back? Amazing! The choice of words is simply astonishing and horrendous: "libellous personal attacks" - there was nothing libelous and personal or even an attack. A DRM implementation is far beyond the scope of not only this website but probably a university course and the question was asked at unix.stackexchange by a person who was seemingly not versed in programming at all,not even on stackoverflow.com where actual programmers reside. The way it was formulated clearly indicated that the OP had no relationship to CS/software/hardware development Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:20
  • 4
    While we're at it, there was no "answers", just recommendations and insinuations. I prefer to be blunt and give an honest answer. Giving a vague answer in the vein of "this might be accomplished this and this way" without any specifics is against the very nature of stackexchange where people get actual knowledge. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:26
  • 3
    Looks like I should have given this answer instead, "Given you possess a PhD in CS, you could accomplish this by implementing DRM either in software or/and hardware" but it sounds preposterous because a person with a PhD wouldn't have asked this question in the first place. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:31
  • 4
    When I was back in school/university I had no troubles admitting when I was stupid/didn't understand a thing/asked stupid questions. Nowadays, with numerous CoC infesting major projects and organizations, looks like we have to be super polite in the face of outright intellectual disability and waste hours of our time catering to people who not only will not benefit from our knowledge but go away dissatisfied. It's strange the term "snowflake" wants to be applied to the whole issue we're discussing and it's doubly weird it didn't even exist 20 years ago. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:44
  • 4
    I'm personally insulted by "libellous personal attacks" (what a fine choice of words - so subtle, so polite, so factual ... not) but you did that without referring to me specifically, which makes it ... OK ... I guess? Yes? This is just crazy and hideous. And while we're at it, you could have spent under a minute removing/editing the "offending" sentence and sending a message to me without starting this whole major conference about my behavior and how I'm personally "destroying" this website. Banish me and have a sigh of relief. I'm such a low person it seems. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 17:56
  • 12
    @ArtemS.Tashkinov, now that you linked that post, let's consider what you wrote: "there's DRM but it's far beyond your capabilities". Then in the comments you say, "certainly far beyond the capabilities of even most IT pros". So, why not say that in the first place? I mean, instead of "it's far beyond your capabilities", which comes out as elitist and as if you consider yourself better than others, you could have just said "there's DRM, but it's hard to get right, causes interoperability problems, and can be circumvented by recording the analog output anyway."
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:17
  • 4
    @ArtemS.Tashkinov, also, dropping the f-word just for getting a downvote? When you know people are, hmm, irrationally allergic to it and it only serves to mark you as being abrasive on purpose? I wonder if it was ok to act like that in your school/university when getting negative feedback? Because if it wasn't ok there, presumably in a face-to-face setting, why should it be ok over the internet, when there's still another person at the other end, even if you don't see them? For some reason, people often seem to forget that the moment they take up their keyboards.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:23
  • 4
    Of course, there might be some cultural differences here, but hey, I'm Finnish and we're not really known for being extra polite, but FWIW, I still think going personal there instead of just saying "DRM is hard, doesn't work, and in general sucks", is unnecessary and marks you as an arrogant asshole. Really, it's not even about avoiding personal attacks because of some idiotically misguided happy-happy code of conduct, but because the point wasn't on the person, who you probably don't really know at all.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:29
  • 5
    @ArtemS.Tashkinov Please don't keep diverting the topic of etiquette onto technical topics of DRM, they are unrelated topics . Nobody here is arguing about the difficulty of DRM. It's about the words you use when talking to other users. "Blunt" is not "personal". Just take the user out of the sentence, that's all anyone is asking. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 10:43

6 Answers 6


To answer the stated question, no, personal attacks are never justified. Specifically on Stack Exchange, they are explicitly forbidden by the Code of Conduct:

No name-calling or personal attacks.

Focus on the content, not the person. This includes terms that feel personal even when they're applied to content (e.g. “lazy”).

The CoC is broader than that:

No subtle put-downs or unfriendly language.

Even if you don’t intend it, this can have a negative impact on others.

Even toning down the comment that was directed at you wouldn’t make it acceptable, in my opinion.

I think in general that many situations would benefit from the advice given at the start of the CoC:

Be inclusive and respectful.

Avoid sarcasm and be careful with jokes — tone is hard to decipher online. Prefer gender-neutral language when uncertain. If a situation makes it hard to be friendly, stop participating and move on.

The last sentence in particular — not for you specifically, Philip, but in general.

I suspect it’s also worth bearing in mind the purpose of comments here, i.e. to help improve posts, not to host discussion, let alone attacks. Just like a good project is defined with its demise in mind, a good comment on Stack Exchange is written with a clear path to its deletion in mind.

  • 1
    I'll click accept on this because I feel SE's chosen position should be put first on the answers. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:18

I am the moderator that declined that flag.

I misread "it's far beyond your capabilities" as "it's far beyond our capabilities", and I interpreted it as "it's something beyond the scope of this site". I did this even though I read the text several times.

I declined the flag because I couldn't see how saying "describing this technology is beyond the scope of what this site is for" was abusive.

I'm not perfect, and I agree with you that certain personalities don't always end up being very helpful when what they want to do is to show off rather than help. It's also unfortunate that many users tend to prefer writing short snappy answers rather than longer answers that would allow them to be more nuanced.

We (users on this site) can never be the judges of someone else's intellect or ability to understand. To say that something's beyond someone's capability to comprehend is not in line with the site's Code of Conduct.

Apologies for my handling of this flag and for the fact that declining this flag in error triggered your meta post, which I'm largely agreeing with.

  • 9
    I appreciate the explanation. If you regard it as a mistake, then hey... we're all human. I wonder if this is a weakness in SO's flagging system: "rude / abusive" flags come with no comment so I guess it's easy to miss why a flag was raised. I wonder if, when flagging entire answers, it may be more useful to raise a custom flag and include a short explanation of the problem. Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 12:48
  • @PhilipCouling There is or used to be one option at the end of flagging box, for "other" reasons
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:34
  • I am happy to see this issue has been resolved. I wish you continue to be less like the majority of the moderator circle in Stack Exchange network.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:34
  • @PhilipCouling it depends. I mean, we're all human so there is no sure-fire way to avoid errors, but if you feel that an explanation is needed, then yes, raise a custom flag.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:57
  • Good answer and well-said. There's also an unknown cultural element here. In some societies saying "x is beyond your capabilities" is akin to a physical attack. In other societies, it is plain speaking and gets the point across clearly and succinctly ready to move on. Which that was, only the original user knows.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 11:28
  • 2
    @Criggie What matters is how it was received, not how it was meant. This means that if one knows that something may be received in a bad way, one may want to rephrase it first. This may mean that one have to learn a bit foreign manners sometimes.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 12:00
  • 1
    @Criggie "- There's also an unknown cultural element here -". I couldn't agree more. I mentioned it in one of my comments below. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 16:15

When somebody is not nice, invites others to not be nice too. Then the comment sections can be a battlefield of insults and personal attacks. Answers with personal references. Editing wars. Flags being raised. People angry and hurt. Moderators have to intervene. And then it all can be quickly go to hell.

CoCs and moderators are there to avoid this kind of scenario. Being nice is not because it's the right thing to do, or to pretend to be well intentioned, or because nowadays anybody can be a "snowflake". It's a strategy for sites like SE to work well and not become youtube.

Social interactions are very complex, we depend on gestures, voice tone and general body language to guess the intention of our interlocutors. This is absent in the virtual world, making more difficult to interpret the real intentions of what is being said. Because of this, the inevitable second guessing in this kind of forum is a waste of time to everybody, since it's up to discussion, negative emotions and the need of third parties to intervene.

Leave personal references, attacks, and insults to personal relations and youtube. It shouldn't be that difficult. If somebody can't control their temper is their problem and no one elses. SE is not the place to deal with that.

SE is (or should be) for people seeking help and people who want/likes to provide it. Niceness is the right tool to make this interaction work properly.

  • Text is the most clear way of communication. It really shows what one thinks.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 0:30
  • 2
    @Tim I disagree, to some extent. Not always somebody uses the right words to convey what they think. And in a context open to misinterpretation, like I consider the cases above described, obviously not everyone understand the same regarding the intentions of posters and commenters. And don't forget the cultural differences, since there are people here from all over the world (I for example am from Argentina). Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 0:59
  • 1
    For people from different cultures who can write in an internationally-used language, do you expect them more capable of speaking than writing in text? I wouldn't think so even for native language users.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 16:52
  • 2
    @Tim They are two different processes, at least it seems so. For example in my case I don't have the opportunity to practice speaking in english, so when I try to, I'm a disaster. But writing is easier, because I practice it, for example now :). So yeah I agree. But that doesn't mean that I'm fluent enough to use the right words to convey my thoughts. Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 17:00
  • 1
    @Tim speaking, in particular face-to-face, transports a lot more information then just the words. When someone speaks to me I can infer the intended meaning from the tone, facial expression and other gestures, which helps in determining if a phrase was meant as hostile, neutral or encouraging. This gets lost in writing even if you formulate carefully (which is a lot more difficult for non-native speakers who likely make up the majority of users here), so it is an issue to consider - emojis were created for a good reason, after all ;)
    – AdminBee
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 9:28

I do not think that I should even enunciate the answer to your question. In any professional community, the answer may obviously only be negative. On the other extreme, if Unix.SE were a gang with established initiation rituals, I would hesitate. But my belief is that Unix.SE is a community of professionals.

I know that there are formal rules, there are moderators, but on many SE sites this number under your username, called, in a weird twist of language, “reputation” (would you call someone's income “reputation”? Looks similar) plays an oversized role. I can relate to you.

Once I edited out a personal insult out of otherwise a good and detailed answer by someone with this so called “reputation” exceeding 30,000:

If after reading that wikipedia page your question is "why would I ever use [filesystem hard links]" then you don't understand what hard links are.

This statement is not only unhelpful, as it conveys zero information (it's quite obvious that if the OP understood the answer from reading the mentioned article, they would not turn for help to the community for an answer and an insult), but also deliberately insulting, and its the only purpose (“I'm smarter than you, but I'll gracefully deign to answer your dumbhead's question”). I removed that single meaningless introductory paragraph.

The proposed edit was accepted by someone (I'm disreputable on Unix.SE, so I can only propose edits). The person who wrote the answer immediately reverted my edit. I flagged the answer as a personal attack. The flag was reset. Then I'm like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: this says something about the person who started their answer with an insult, the moderator's attitude, and Unix.SE in general, but it is what it is, and we are who we are.

I'd say that Unix.SE is by far not the worst in this regard. The only community that I know of where this random number is not considered meaningful is Physics.SE, but there may be other positive examples. Unfortunately, these are rare. It's way too easy to equate someone's qualities, all the way from the knowledge of the subject and all the way to the level of disdain the person deserves, with a single integer number.

This is, in a sense, who we are, and how we think, or “think.” There is a reason Kahneman won a Nobel prize for the discovery of stark patterns in the human thinking (in relation to logical and monetary decisions, but the phenomenon certainly extends to many aspects of interpersonal relationships) identifying what he termed the System 1 and System 2. In my opinion, we can only accept that. Everyone's mental hygiene is in their own hands, and the only person whose one I can improve is myself. Otherwise, I'm limited to observation. Everyone who thinks of themselves as a rational person is deeply mistaken.

In a sense, the fact that we know only this “reputation” number of each other, but not skin color, income, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the home neighborhood, political sympathies and whether we graduated from Yale or a community college is a very, very positive thing. You can imagine, it could have been much worse than knowing a single and, in the grand scheme of human relationships, meaningless toy number...

Another interesting thought that just crossed my mind is that if this answer of mine will receive over 9000 up-votes, I won't be surprised. If, on the other extreme, I'll be banned from Unix.SE for life for it, it wouldn't surprise me either. When you've been on SE for a while, nothing that happens here surprises you.

  • 1
    I don't think that's an insult. It's telling the asker to re-examine their (belief that they have an) understanding of what hard links are. It could be stated less bluntly, perhaps, but being blunt != being insulting. Unless the asker admits they have a lack of understanding and introspects to see where that lack is, answerers are just left guessing as to how to best clarify the misunderstanding.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 15:41
  • 4
    @muru If something can be interpreted in the wrong way, despite intention, it surely can be reworded. -"then you don't understand what hard links are"-. It's personal. It can be interpreted as arrogant. It can be interpreted as "you are dumb". It's unnecessary and very unhelpfu (who cares when reading an answer what the answerer thinks of OP?). It has all the ingredients to be perceived as an insult. I think that in anonymous forum like SE, being blunt serves no purpose. → Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 16:10
  • → There's plenty of choice if you think that somebody has no knowledge of somenthing. Don't answer. Don't comment. Don't mention it. Ans aa always, there's the choice to just be nice :). Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 16:11
  • 1
    @schrodigerscatcuriosity there's also the choice of perceiving things in as uninsulting a light as possible.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:04
  • 2
    @muru Mmmh, that's not a choice, since it's an emotional reaction. Writing a comment is a rational process. That you can choose, you have time to do it, you can foresee if the interlocutor can take it wrong. You can give it intention. Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:10
  • 1
    @miru, thanks for fixing the poor shruggie! On the topic, it's hard for me to agree that the statement is factual. It expresses an opinion, but, most importantly, does not convey any information. Distilled of its form and connotations, the statement becomes "In my opinion, since you ask a question, even after researching it, then you don't know the answer to this question." Huh? Why waste effort typing a paragraph-long tautology? In my view, since meaning is obviously absent, it's the form that was a message. The rest of the answer is informative, in stark contrast with this introduction. Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:13
  • @schrodigerscatcuriosity the immediate reaction, maybe, but there's no reason to just stick to that instead of looking again to see if it could be read differently.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:13
  • @muru But if the intention of a statement has to be guessed, then it's more efficient to just clarify it or remove it, even more when it has a personal reference. Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:17
  • @schrodigerscatcuriosity eh, that's your choice if you wish to do so, but that doesn't make something necessarily an insult.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:19
  • 1
    @muru necessarily is the problem. If something can be taken as an insult (and intentional insults can be very well disguised), it may well be an insult. It's just not easier to avoid the second guessing? Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:25
  • @schrodigerscatcuriosity that's up to you, you're welcome to think so. I don't.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:30
  • @muru, and why then don't just agree with my edit instead of reverting it? It's hard to believe that, given the cohesiveness of the rest of the answer text, that the person who wrote that believed that there is useful important information in this paragraph? The very fact of the edit should have suggested that there maybe something wrong with it, and pay more attention. Would you believe that the decision to revert the edit was made because the author still believed that the message contained non-tautological information on a more thorough reading? I don't. Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:32
  • @kkm you have the right to edit it; but IMO just as important is the right of the author to reject that edit. Maybe the author felt that the tautological information is needed for emphasis. Maybe they had something else in mind. I don't know; but what I do think is that it isn't absolutely insulting and therefore doesn't need to be definitely edited out overriding the author.
    – muru
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:38
  • 1
    @muru, suppose you wrote something which you believe was informative. Then someone edits your answer removing what they perceived as abusive, with an edit comment like "remove uninformative personal insult." Would this make you think of rewording the statement? I'd think "oh shit, I thought it was okay, but I'd better smooth the corners." It's not about "the right of the author to reject," or any right whatsoever. Assume I have the right to disguise an insult in a statement that can be interpreted as not an insult (although in this case, much effort is required). Why would I use that right? Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 17:50
  • 1
    @muru, I have the right to be nice. I have the right to be a bully, if I'm skillful enough with the language to hide the insults behind ambiguities. And I have no obligation to be either. This is too self-evident to disagree. But this argument (if it even deserves to be named as such) entirely misses the point of the OP, IMO. Are we really arguing whether the community benefits from its member being nice to each other? Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 11:12

No. I think, is disgusting in this form.

But it happens quite often on some other sites, that arguments are falsely labeled as personal attack. This is a way to attack people for their unpleasant, but true sayings. So, in general, be careful about the "personal attack", "insult", etc. labels. Unix SE is not flame-ish in this sense.

In your example, I give some chance that the actual intent of the subject was not insulting, only he has chosen an unlucky wording. The post must be even in this case, fixed (or the comment deleted).


If you mistake an objective statement for a subjective one then, don't take this the wrong way, you're taking it the wrong way.

If someone calls themselves out as a neophyte, implicitly or explicitly, there's no harm in saying this is far beyond your [present] capabilities.

St. Paul makes the point pretty clearly when he wrote:

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready

1 Cor 3:2

Nobody said, oh, St. Paul, you're being mean, in fact, he said that for their own good.

To take another point, if someone hands me Frank Zappa's Jazz from Hell and says "play", are they helping me to be a better pianist? No, that's far beyond my capabilities.

On top of it, how do you know the person's not talking about a computer's capabilities. Do we lump our personalities with our machines? If I'm K8S on a RaspberryPi and someone says um.. "don't try putting nextcloud on that, it's far beyond your capabilities" is that person being mean?

Acknowledging that we're different and we can offer concrete answers as experts is the first step to not confusing people, which at a minimum is what effective Q&A entails. I want to know if something is beyond my capabilities. It will save time. It goes beyond niceness into something better called kindness.

I don't think the modern sense of niceness objects to the "far beyond" part so much as it objects to the word "is". If you carry out this plan to its logical extents, one would nuke every sentence written in the imperative sense as it implies how foolish one is who fails to RTFM.

  • 1
    If you asked me to play some of Frank Zappa's music on guitar, would I be able to? The point is exactly this: You don't know if I would or not. Also, you can't really seriously compare a literal saint to anyone here, can you?
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 16:36
  • he also said: "be imitators of me, as I am an imitator of Christ." Which, if anything, means giving people the benefit of the doubt. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 17:20
  • 1
    To imitate is not to be the same as, which is clear from your quote. To give people the benefit of a doubt is not the same as doubting them.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 19:12
  • To Christians Paul had an ethical mandate to chastise if he deemed appropriate. It's difficult to find a parallel mandate in technical discussions on technical forums. Also there's insufficient evidence to form an appraisal. Paul didn't form his from his after reading one question from the Corinthians. The harm isn't in explaining "this is beyond a neophyte". Nor is it in telling someone that their question marks them as one. Missing the "neophyte" link entirely says neither of these things. It gives an imperative "don't do this" based utterly flimsy evidence and with no mandate to do so. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 22:14
  • Worse... 1 Cor 8:9-13... that is to say, it emboldens others to be downright rude. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 22:14
  • 1
    Peter has perfectly caught the essence of my answer. Thanks! Again, I implied nothing personal, I didn't mean to be derogatory, or insulting, I just stated the obvious. I'm struggling to understand why most people here choose to be "nice" to the point of being insincere. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 10:47
  • 1
    @ArtemS.Tashkinov Not being personal is not being insencere. Being "nice" IMO implies just that: somebody can be polite or impersonal, even "cold". There's no need to say anything about the skills or knowledge of other users and still answer or comment properly, and there's no lack of sincerity whatsoever. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 11:13
  • I've given perfect arguments as to why the OP of the original question possessed neither skills, nor knowledge, nor anything relevant to the field to solve the problem he ventured to "solve". I made it abundantly clear and again if I received such an answer I'd take it over "you could this and this and this" without any specifics any day of the week. The "nice" answers he received were not answers and did not bring him an inch close to solving the issue. This is against the nature/guidelines of SE as far as I'm concerned. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 11:23
  • "Being nice" IMO must not mean misleading people into falsely believing they can tackle a certain issue and this is a common refrain here unfortunately. "Let's be nice no matter what". Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 11:29
  • 1
    @PhilipCouling good points and excellent quote on discouraging the "weaker brothers" (i.e. newbies) . But there was insufficient evidence either way so it would seem as though this entire thread is a straw man. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 13:36
  • @PeterTurner The stated question was certainly not intended as a misrepresentation, I firmly stand by it including saying "the phrase wasn't intended as an attack". My perception is that this forum is headed in a particularly unfriendly direction. I deliberately held back on "evidence" because I wanted to focus on this phrase as a "borderline"... and an important, contentious borderline. I largely agree with "dealing with rudeness" here and yet I wanted to call out that this style of phrase is needlessly (if unintentionally) harmful. Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 15:35

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