In addition to @apaul's excellent answer, I'd like to write something as well. I hope that by writing this, I can give you some insight into my reasons for 'policing' questions, answers and comments, in the hope that you will realize it's not necessarily 'pointless'. Whether or not you agree with my motivations is up to you, but it's to show that for me, policing as it's done here isn't 'pointless'.
This should be on the interpersonal.SE site but it would probably get deleted so I put it here on meta to try and give it a longer life cycle.
Reason nr. 1 why I am policing questions. Questions that aren't about Interpersonal Skills, but about Interpersonal Skills SE should be on meta. You actually did it right, which is why it is still around. If you had posted this on main, yes, it would be policed and you would have gotten the feedback to move this to meta.
I put it here because I feel it has some small amount of merit to bring a problem to the fore that many active members here (and on a few other SE sites) seem to struggle with.
Oh, so it's about more than just IPS.SE? If this is about StackExchange as a whole, we have a meta for that as well. Another good reason to police questions: to make sure they are asked on the right SE/Meta so you can get answers that are as useful to you as possible. Since you asked on IPS Meta, I can only address this for what's happening here.
Questions such as this are possibly misguided, trolls or just immature angst towards life. If the OP really had the problem described the assistance that interpersonal.SE could offer before or after nanny state censorship of answers and comments would not be able to help them.
Another reason for policing the site, questions, answers, and comments: to attend users to our Help Center and the Be Nice policy that can be found there. This could probably have been phrased a lot nicer, like the whole of your question. If I can help you write a better question/answer or comment by pointing out to you that your language is bordering on being plain rude, I will.
If it's a question, I do this so that people aren't distracted by your words, but will be able to focus on your question and give you good answers. If it's an answer I do so to allow people to focus on your suggested solution, instead of downvoting you for your choice of words. I prefer to attend you to the fact that things can be misinterpreted/be seen as offensive/attacking in a comment.
Comments can't be downvoted, so I will flag these (for moderator attention if necessary) if they aren't asking/providing more information or suggesting improvements. As for why I'm flagging, see this meta. I agree with the most upvoted answer there. Even though you can have made a very funny joke that has a gazillion upvotes, that's not what comments are for. To avoid bad precedents, I flag them if I encounter them.
The search directed visitor WILL NOT BE OFFENDED that the answer was an alternative that sidestepped the interpersonal site core belief system.
Maybe not. But if I'm asking a question on IPS, I'm expecting there is a solution involving IPS that's going to be offered to me. Or at least an explanation about why an IPS solution isn't going to work before people suggest another solution. Take a look at this recently closed question. It's unlikely to have any IPS solution, so it's closed as off-topic. This is, however, something that IPS as a beta site is, in my opinion, still struggling with.
Policing here isn't 'pointless', everything I do, I do so to try to get closer to a clear scope. If you disagree with me, feel free to post a thing on meta, voice your doubt in a comment, or contact me in chat. Just like most users here, I'm open to learning something new.
Now, here's where I'd like to start policing your question.
- First of all, you only give 1 example, which is an answer of your own that got deleted.
- But you state this is about more than 1 SE site.
- You also state you're not the only user affected.
See where this is going? Without more examples, I am unable to address your worries, and provide you with a good answer, that can alleviate your fears. Without more examples, on main, a question would have been closed as 'too broad'.
And for the record, I will police your deleted answer. As you've only included one example of a deleted answer, I can only work from there.
As @apaul rightly stated, your original answer was:
Perhaps your holder can accept a larger bottle.
Here is a google image search with some ideas.
Now, take a look at the most upvoted (and accepted) answer there. See what it's doing? It's actually answering the question ('How can I ask') AND it offers some personal experience stating why OP should 'just ask' before stating that it might be wise to find another way of carrying their own water. Your original answer didn't do that, and so it was downvoted and deleted by a moderator for 'not addressing the question'.
But even if you had said something like:
Don't ask. Instead, see if your holder can accept a larger bottle.
Here is a google image search with some ideas.
I would have policed this answer (read, downvoted and delete voted it). Why? Because the most upvoted answer on that question already says as much, and was posted hours before you left your two-line answer. I don't think it took you more than 6 hours to write those 2 lines, and you could have taken the time to actually read what was already said. You have the reputation, you could have easily left a comment on that answer. Comments that are providing additional information or suggesting improvements aren't 'policed'. You could have easily 'dumped' your link underneath that answer, like 'Oh, in addition to what's said in this answer, you could look for a larger bottle, like this'.
I came here to help but feel violated by puritans who attack those trying to help. ... Those answering are usually trying to help and a workable answer should not be demonized because it was unexpected.
I'm doing my policing in an attempt to help as well. As you can see, the most upvoted answer to your example question isn't demonized because it was unexpected. Your answer wasn't demonized, it was just a 2 line answer that wasn't up to par, and deleted for the most obvious reason. If you ever feel we leave our feedback in too aggressive a way (you feel the people policing this site are attacking you), there's chat. Try talking to some of the users there, they can give you live-action feedback and help you grow here. If you disagree with a close reason/deletion, feel free to take it up here on meta, but as @apaul states, it might be better to do so 1 issue at a time, and not write a 'rant' about how bad SE is.
I also took a look at your profile on Electrical Engineering. You've been on SE for more than 3 years (at least, that's how old your profile there is). You're also a pretty high-rep user there. I suspect the learning curve there was steep for you from the way you wrote this question, but you managed. If you could take my 'pointless' policing and advice, I might get you up to speed here in no-time and you will be able to help people by sharing your experiences.
So, as for 'how to respond to pointless policing...?'
- Take it up on meta, or in chat, if you feel something is pointless. But do so 1 issue at a time please. Or at least, if you write a meta to address several issues, make sure you have several examples to stave your arguments.
- Try to stick to the facts. Putting a lot of feelings into your meta questions will distract users from addressing your problem, instead, they will feel like they need to address your attitude.
- Don't start a comment war, or do edits like to your example deleted answer. Again, the language you used here is, in my opinion, very distracting from your purpose. Feel free to leave a comment (even better to ask in chat or on meta) asking for an explanation or help in making the answer better though.
If you really feel that the policing here is pointless, provide concrete examples and a solid reasoning. I am always open for suggestions about how to better my behavior here. But only if I see that the person offering this feedback is open to suggestions themselves as well, and is actively trying to make IPS a better place, on question/answer/comment at a time!