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I've participated very little here, but a great deal over 5 years on other SE sites. I made a comment on an answer I believed was quite wrong/unhelpful, so I down voted and left a comment for my reasoning. The comment was deleted. May I have feedback please.

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  • Do you remember what the comment actually said? – apaul Oct 17 '17 at 18:34
  • @apaul I remember some of it. I'd rather have the original content critiqued than my faded memory. – user5547 Oct 17 '17 at 18:40
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    In that case this can only be addressed by the mod who deleted it, or perhaps the person who flagged it. Good luck. – apaul Oct 17 '17 at 18:42
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    Hi fredsbend, this site deletes comments much quicker than most other sites I've visited. It annoys me a bit too. – curiousdannii Oct 18 '17 at 3:18
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    @curious Same on similar sites. I should have expected it. The problem apparently was sensitivity to the word psychopathy, even though the definition is in line with my use and the topic here is interpersonal skills. – user5547 Oct 18 '17 at 5:37
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To paraphrase, the question was how to deal with parents who mislead them (and partner) into eating animal products despite them being vegetarian. The answer stated that the author should elicit regret so the parents would truly understand what they did.

Your comment stated essentially that the author would have to be a psychopath to do this. Maybe you were being parabolic — you stated it a bit more clinically — but in the context of a site that possibly deals in actual personality disorders and antisocial behaviors, this is highly inappropriate. First, you are not qualified to make such an assessment in the context of the information provided, and it comes across as an insulting, ad hominem attack rather than addressing any substantive concerns about the answer itself.

It wasn't my flag or my removal, but I likely would have done the same.


I suppose if you have a tendency for psychopathy this would be acceptable. I think this would ultimately hurt the relationship and is a dangerous habit to get into. – fredsbend 4 hours ago

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  • Well, I disagree, but I'm going to repost without the word psychopathy. Would that be OK? – user5547 Oct 17 '17 at 19:48
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    @fredsbend If you only take the second sentence, the comment is fine. Its the first sentence that makes it rude/ violates the "be nice" policy. – Polygnome Oct 17 '17 at 21:56
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Your comment was flagged as rude or abusive:

I suppose if you have a tendency for psychopathy this would be acceptable. I think this would ultimately hurt the relationship and is a dangerous habit to get into.

I deleted it because it seems to imply that the solution proposed in the answer would only work if someone were mentally ill or that the only person who would attempt to use it is someone who is somehow mentally deficient.

I'm not sure how mental illness or disorder applies in the question as asked or in that answer. The answer seems to be encouraging the OP to use guilt to stimulate feelings of empathy.

If that is not the interpretation you meant to imply, please consider posting a new comment that doesn't risk such an interpretation but also keep in mind that comments are for requesting clarification or adding information. If you disagree with an answer, show that by voting it down.

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  • Re: If you disagree with an answer, show that by voting it down. Sure, but explaining the downvote (of course, without being rude about it) is sometimes a good thing, no? – NVZ Oct 18 '17 at 5:17
  • @NVZ If your explanation is going to cause flags or cause a long discussion/argument, no, I don't think so. – Catija Oct 18 '17 at 5:18
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    One should explain disagreements without being rude. A rare skill. – NVZ Oct 18 '17 at 5:18
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    @NVZ The rarer skill is accepting criticism plainly, instead of reading into it and calling it rude. – user5547 Oct 18 '17 at 5:34
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    @fredsbend Yep. But an even rarer skill is knowing that people will read too much into it. (see also: Poe's Law) – NVZ Oct 18 '17 at 6:09
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OP I saw the text of the comment in question:

I suppose if you have a tendency for psychopathy this would be acceptable. I think this would ultimately hurt the relationship and is a dangerous habit to get into.

I would not have removed it -- I'm wacky that way -- but honestly now, does this comment not come across as a little mean to you? A little condescending, maybe? After all, the answer you were responding to was suggesting giving a guilt trip, not anything really outlandish. Consider the "[X] Guilt Trip" phenomenon... I have heard this cited, for several race/religion/ethnic values of X.

Point being, it probably wasn't a great piece of advice. But likening it to psychopathy was just plain rude. I think you are a smart person, much too smart to really be "shocked -- shocked!" that people might find your comment annoying.

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  • I'd call toying with other's emotions without regard to how they feel is textbook psychopathy. The way that answer was worded came pretty close to fitting that bill. I don't think I ever said I was shocked ... I'm not, but I need to gauge this community if I'm going to participate. Is this a sensitive PC kind of place, or is the skin thicker than that? I'm seeing it's pretty sensitive. Probably too much. I mean, I've rolled my eyes a lot lately. – user5547 Oct 20 '17 at 6:37
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    @fredsbend you're going to be rolling your eyes 'til you're staring at your own brain. That is to say, I find the community is oversensitive betimes. Even so, "you catch more flies with honey". You might find your ideas get more traction if couched in kinder terms. Is that ... fair? Maybe not. Is it pleasing to you and your preferred style? Maybe not. Is it true? Yep. – akaioi Oct 20 '17 at 7:12
  • I guess I expected the term "psychopathy" to be understood correctly in an IPS setting. I wasn't insulting the user. I was trying to point out the answer suggested a rather callous approach. If it was Facebook, I would have just said that, instead of "psychopathy". – user5547 Oct 20 '17 at 20:39
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@fredsbend I think the answer to your question, "Why was my comment deleted?", is clear from all of these responses... The StackExchange sites are an incredible, awesome source for knowledge & information sharing -- but also very closely moderated (which has both positive and negative impacts).

For fear of getting deleted for being off topic I'll cut this rant short, but with an observation: It only take 1 moderator (of the 500+ mods) or 1 user with 2000+rep (of ~8million users) to be offended to have a post removed.

..is there a forum for discussing these types of policies etc?

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  • It actually takes 4 2k + rep users to delete a post (see here). Generally the procedure has nothing to do with them being offended. I think that would violate moderation policy and perhaps have negative consequences if done regularly. – JMac Oct 18 '17 at 14:50
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    The users have to have sufficient rep on this site, it's not users from random stacks just swooping in and flagging stuff. On beta sites it's 1k so that means there's currently ~74 users here who can do that. The forum for discussion would be here on Meta, so you're in the right place :) – Em C Oct 18 '17 at 15:55
  • "Very closely moderated" is absolutely right @ashleedawg -- but also very fairly and consistently moderated, in my 6 months experience on Stack Exchange. Note too that a comment does not need a reason to be deleted. Comments are ephemeral and should not really be considered a 'post' in terms of our official and lasting contribution to this site -- posts are questions or answers.Although members can flag a comment for deletion as rude or abusive, comments can also be deleted by moderators to keep the site tidy and easy to navigate. But a Q or A will only be deleted for a very good reason! – English Student Oct 18 '17 at 17:35
  • Heh. @EnglishStudent comments may be ephemeral, but I got scolded pretty hard for suggesting that they be transient ( interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1893/… ). ;D – akaioi Oct 20 '17 at 4:42
  • I read that post with interest, thanks @akaioi. What I could understand is, "comments are ephemeral but not meant to be automatically deleted on a time-lapse basis." That reinforces the Stack Exchange message to all members: we might retain useful comments indefinitely but don't depend on it. If you want to make a lasting contribution, then write an answer. I fully agree, mainly because comments cannot be downvoted but answers can. – English Student Oct 20 '17 at 4:55

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