I have read StackExchange for years but have never signed up and never saw the need to comment. Today I landed on StackExchange as a result of an unrelated specific web search and was distracted by a hot question:

Apologizing when you've hurt a stranger's feelings badly

I created an account specifically because no one has addressed one phrase in the Original Post: "She asked why I was making such a big deal" -- The Original Poster does not need to feel guilty. She started it. She stepped on his foot. When the OP reacted in pain she then negatively reacted to his reaction. Next, he reacted negatively to her reaction and now feels badly about it.

A lot of psychology reduces to stimulus-response. Each response becomes a new stimulus that induces a corresponding response.

To improve Interpersonal Skills, monitor your responses. You cannot control a stimulus but you can work on your responses. Responses are directional (since we are Techies here, should I call them Response Vectors?). A positive response often stimulates a corresponding positive response while a negative Response Vector often launches a volley of negative counter-vectors.

Anyhow, that is what I wanted to say and created an account to contribute. The OP should not feel guilty because 1) She attacked him first and 2) when he reacted she counter-attacked him, amping up the current and increasing the potential for a high-wattage duel.

The OP did not manipulate her, she manipulated him into her victim mentality. She's a victim and it is all his fault. Not.

Because I do not have the points or reputation as a new member, I cannot reply to the OP directly. Thus this post.

I understand the need to vett users, but why assume each newbie is awkward or malicious and not worthy of contributing? How can we be a bit more accepting of new members?

  • 1
    (since we are Techies here, should I call them Response Vectors?) Don't assume that we are all techies. While I would indeed expect a higher than average amount of techies here (both by merit of it being an online forum, and being connected to StackOverflow), there's no justification to assume that everone is technologically savvy. Savvy? ;)
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


The system has nothing to do with being friendly. It does have a lot to do with the format: this is a Q&A site, not a forum, and as such, answers must answer the question asked. It's one of the fundamental principles of the site. (The question you asked did not answer the OP's question, btw.)

Comments are meant to clarify the question. You wanted to answer the question in a comment, and could not. The system worked. Your question was migrated because it also included a complaint about the site itself, which is supposed to be addressed in meta. FWIW, almost every site has questions in meta about friendliness. People often confuse adhering to principles with unfriendliness.

Breezing through a red light and getting a ticket is not due to the officer being unfriendly. Breaking into a queue and getting reprimanded for it has nothing to do with unfriendliness. That's a false equivalency.

This site is very friendly to newcomers, as are most beta sites. Are the principles applied in a 100% consistent manner? No, because there are many more visitors to the site than there are moderators to moderate it. People then resort to crying unfair.

There's nothing unfair about one person getting caught going through a red light and another escaping undetected. It's a matter of there being a limited number of law officers to monitor the situation. Mostly society relies on the ability of people to realize the benefit to themselves in obeying laws.

  • 2
    Yes indeed Interpersonal.SE is most welcoming and encouraging of newcomers, compared to many another site on Stack Exchange! This is one of the nicest and most supportive communities on the entire network. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 15:21
  • 2
    I apologize ... I intended to answer in Meta. I was switching windows between Meta and the Question and goofed. And I see your point that I did not answer the OP question. My bad.
    – user9158
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 22:08

What you're willing to answer is already addressed or has been addressed and deleted because this doesn't answer the question.

The question doesn't ask if the OP should apologize or not, that's not our business to judge that. The question exactly ask 'how to start the dialogue to apologize', everything you state here is 'you don't have to apologize', which is an answer to another question.
The same kind of answers have been made too much and as such the question had been protected to avoid even more answers in this way.

You can find this frustrating and I understand it, but from my point of view the protection has fulfilled its goal. There's enough question every hour for you to find something you may answer, blocking one question is not being unfriendly, it's being friendly with every users by avoiding good faith 'side answers' piling up on a hot network question.


Welcome to IPS.

You ran into a problem on that question because it is in the small minority of protected questions. Questions are protected, either automatically by the system or by community members, when they attract too many poor answers -- rants, spam, personal attacks, that sort of thing. Questions that show up on Hot Network Questions or ones that are about "hot" topics can sometimes get these kinds of responses, unfortunately -- some people just can't resist misbehaving in a textbox on the Internet that's just sitting there inviting them in. And so, to add a little friction, for those questions only, people need a little bit of reputation (10 points) to be able to answer. This low limit is actually enough to prevent a fair bit of damage; most spammers and trolls never earn any reputation at all.

Most new users aren't spammers or trolls, of course -- if they were, we'd need to shut down Stack Exchange as a failed experiment. Legitimate users get caught by the limit too and that can be really frustrating, but so far it's the least-bad solution that SE has come up with. The good news is that we have lots of questions that you can freely answer today as a new user, and if you earn a few points of reputation you'll be able to answer the protected questions too. We do want new users who want to participate.

  • Makes sense. Thank you.
    – user9158
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 22:10
  • A very welcome 'side effect' of both the 10 point limit for answering protected questions and the 50 point limit for posting comments is that new users are incentivized to post multiple actual answers and many of them become regular contributors @user9158. Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 12:45

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