A question came in last night that drew some comments from people that weren't entirely necessary or helpful and a barrage of downvotes that seem a little, well, excessive.

Awkward situation with the director of our lab, due to a hookup after the holiday party

I'm bringing this to meta because I've noticed something of a pattern. Nearly every question that has anything to do with lgbt+ issues or relationships draws a certain amount of negative reaction and that's not great.

This particular question did need some additional information to be answerable and Catija and I both commented to that effect.

But it seemed like some of the other comments and reactions focused on the explicit detail included in the question.

We're both male and gay, and we had consensual, anal intercourse back at his apartment, with me being the receptive partner.

Now I know that makes some of you really uncomfortable and you'd rather not see that sort of detail in a post. Some people feel uncomfortable seeing any mention of homosexuality and some people likely reacted because of the specific detailed information about what kind of sex they had.

So let's separate issues here. If you just feel uncomfortable seeing any mention of LGBT+ issues, don't chime in. LGBT+ people don't need to be reminded that there's intolerance in the world, we see and hear it all the time. All. The. Time.

If you feel uncomfortable seeing the specific detail about anal sex and who penetrated who, don't chime in. This detail may feel gratuitous to you, but it is relevant to the question. It's different psychologically and emotionally for the person being penetrated than it is for the person doing the penetrating. I realize that many hetero people aren't aware of that, that's why I'm stating it plainly.

If you don't have the specific life experience to answer or help with a question, sometimes it's better to just skip it. Not all questions and answers are going to be for all users and that's ok.

If something doesn't apply to you, or you don't feel comfortable with a topic you don't have to chime in.

And, as always, remember to bring your sense of humor...

  • 9
    It's got 5 downvotes. That doesn't seem excessive to me, why does it seem too much to you? Especially since people tend to combine down- and close-voting. Of course, all questions are welcome here, but they have to have a goal and enough detail to answer. This one has a lot of detail, just not the right kind ;-)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:40
  • 3
    "This detail may feel gratuitous to you, but it is relevant to the question. It's different psychologically and emotionally for the person" __ crucial point that the H-normative majoritarians might not (but need to) understand: it was an important new information for me, thanks for pointing out @apaul34208! Unfortunately I got rather a 'troll' vibe from the question and the vastly more experienced Shog9 apparently has the same suspicion, as pointed out in his answer. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:03
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    Actually, we need to be better about chiming in, in my opinion. I chimed as loudly as I could. It had/has absolutely nothing to do with the OP's sexual orientation. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:25
  • @Tinkeringbell 5 down-votes is enough to effectively burying a post from view to many users
    – user10743
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 17:48

7 Answers 7


Firstly - I'm going to get out of the way that this question is probably a poor example to use for this meta discussion. Be that as it may, it's the example that you've used and - to be honest - it's more overtly pushing the line than any questions we've had in the past (as far as I'm aware). The closest thing that we've had that people were concerned about was the furry pornography question which - I hope we will all agree is actually a great example of a question about sexual content that generally had a good response from the community. It also garnered this very helpful meta response from Robert Cartaino.

What are the problems with this question:

  1. Irrespective of the sexual content, there's insufficient detail for it to be open on the site.
  2. Despite multiple requests for more information, the OP failed to provide it.
  3. The sexual content makes some people react and needing to decide where to draw the line is complex and subjective.
  4. The original title failed to give any indication of sexual subject in the body (this has been fixed, I think).

But, lets look at your statements broadly:

I'm bringing this to meta because I've noticed something of a pattern. Nearly every question that has anything to do with lgbt+ issues or relationships draws a certain amount of negative reaction and that's not great.

I think that many of the LGBT+ questions do attract some degree of unwelcome chatter in the form of comments and answers that don't meet the network's "be nice" policy. I've definitely deleted a lot of comments off both questions and answers on these posts. I generally would attribute much of this to users finding the questions on the HNQ list but it's not universally transient users. I've definitely seen active users of this site make comments, most recently on the furry question.

In general, I find the support for these questions vastly outweighs the rudeness. Comments and answers that deride the person asking the question are generally removed quickly and the questions, when asked well, get more upvotes than down by a good margin.

If you, or anyone, starts to see this changing over the course of several posts, please, bring it to meta so that we can discuss it. At this point, I don't think that a single closed and downvoted (poorly asked) post makes up evidence that this is a recurring problem.

The recent answer on "How to deflect awkward questions when shopping for women's clothing as a man?" was deleted within 15 minutes and the user account was destroyed... by staff. I've since protected the question to prevent future answers from these sorts of accounts... but that's really the only way we can prevent these answers. Comments are generally prevented due to the comment reputation requirement, so only users with the association bonus can write comments. They do happen, but there's more risk to them if they're doing it openly, using their main Stack Exchange account.

But it seemed like some of the other comments and reactions focused on the explicit detail included in the question.

I did this, too... it's part of my comment because it was something that I was concerned about... which you know because I asked you about it, too. I hoped that the user would explain whether they felt the terms were necessary but no response was ever given.

My response, however, had nothing to do with this being related to homosexual sexual relations, it was specifically about whether the information was necessary to the question at all. If they had been describing a heterosexual relationship I still would have asked whether the information was necessary or not because the question was unclear about what their real concern in the situation was - the specifics of how the encounter went down may or may not be important.

I appreciate and respect that this is an issue very close to your heart and I want you to know that I'm always willing to hear your concerns and address them as best as I can. I hope that this site can be a welcoming and open place for users of all sorts who are honestly looking for help with their interpersonal skills.

Since it seems to be part of this discussion, I thought I'd lay out my thinking in relation to not immediately closing or deleting this post.

I saw it shortly after it was posted and I reached out to others for help. I asked in the TL for advice and I got conflicting responses from the two people I spoke with.

One person was convinced that it was a troll, and the other that it was an honest post... and that even if it were a troll, our point was that responding to the troll accusing them of trolling or deleting the question with no proof of a history of trolling doesn't follow the first rule of be nice "Assume good intentions". It also only works to feed the troll's behavior and potentially harm an honest question.

So, yes, my first action was to point out the faults in the question and ask for clarification rather than immediately delete it... but I did also look into the user to the degree I can as a moderator and, had I seen anything concerning, I would have taken action. The CMs, having access to the entire network rather than just our slice of it, are better able to see if there's a connection to other sites.

This site is very likely to attract uncomfortable questions from many users and I expect that we will often get such questions from newly-created accounts that belong to trusted users who don't want their questions here to be traceable to their identity on the wider network or their actual identity in the real world.

Yes, I'm glad to have the warnings to be wary of unwanted questions asked in bad faith and I will endeavor to be on guard for them but at this point, lacking that evidence (and with the support of the Team), I'm willing to let pointing out that the question was of low quality be the reason it's closed (and maybe eventually deleted) rather than playing into a troll's need for attention.

  • 1
    Is there even any way to be very sure that a particular post is trolling? In the few incidents that got discussed on meta in the last few months, some members thought it was trolling and some members disagreed with that assessment. To be fair you can't be expected to take action against a post merely on the suspicion of trolling. Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 22:14
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    There are technical signs that point to it very strongly, yes. You generally can't tell from the content alone but the moderators can check a few things and ask for more insights from the Team if they're concerned. In this case, there was little evidence in that way, only the content of the post and the overt actions (or lack of response, really) of the OP.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 23:58
  • Trolls like this don't have a history of trolling, so looking for "proof of a history of trolling" won't get you very far. As Shog said, they purposefully look like first time users. Trolling about sexual content is (in my experience) the most common subject, but we've had trolls against Muslims (seriously) and women in Parenting. I think the idea of putting off a troll by being kind/helpful/ is nice in theory but bad in practice: the troll still has his trollish content up there making people uncomfortable. There is a big difference (to me) between being uncomfortable because I'm a prude... Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 1:12
  • ...and being uncomfortable because something is shockingly inappropriate. That's what the trolls go for, by and large. I'm not a prude; you can't do what I did day in and day out for decades and have any prudishness left. I wish I could tell you some of the shockingly funny things I've seen in the ED, but it would look like I was trolling. And as for the support of the team, there's a bit more to that ("...prolonging the pain by delaying a necessary action.") Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 1:22
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    You know @anongoodnurse, if you had actually said some of that yesterday, rather than just asking me, twice, if I thought it was a troll... no, really, do you really think it's not a troll... we might have actually had a good discussion about this. I have zero understanding of your experience... I've been told that it's considerable but that wasn't until today, so, please, in the future, start a dialogue with me about it... "Hey, I'm worried about question X... I've seen similar stuff on Parenting and it's probably a troll... here's why".
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:05
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    I'm more than happy to learn and grow as a moderator but trolls aren't part of my repertoire and you gave me zero indication that it was in yours. I tuned out of the conversation because I didn't want to argue with you when all you seemed to want to do is push me that it was a troll without any sort of explanation.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:07
  • @Catija - I don't usually go about trying to convince people that I'm right, especially not by claiming a lot of experience in anything but medicine or mental illness/drug addiction. You didn't ask me why I thought it was a troll, so please, I was following your lead. I asked you twice, and you answered, quite bluntly, "No." It's not my site, as I said yesterday. If you had been more amenable (and I did say some of this to AJ), I would have been happy to discuss it. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:37
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    You claim in your answer that you "did contact a mod to alert them to the trollish nature of the post." I don't think that asking if I think it's a troll fits that description, @anongoodnurse I really don't understand why I have to ask if you have any knowledge in a situation. If you want to help this site, help.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:43
  • @Catija I think you're not representing the situation accurately. You can go back and read the transcript. I was trying to help. I went to the TL, I wasn't called there, to alert you to the trollish nature of the question. Of course we discussed it somewhat, and you fairly vehemently refused to entertain the idea, so far as to say helping would be a good way to deal with it if it were a troll. Please do not misrepresent me; that's something I strongly dislike, and I will defend myself against. I was trying to be polite. You were uninterested. I don't push myself where I'm not wanted. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:47
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    I've re-read it like six times today... so clearly we don't communicate in the same way, @anongoodnurse. All I saw was you asking if it was a troll, making a generic statement about trolls, and then asking again if I really don't think it was a troll. To attribute the statement "no" as "vehemence" is a bit too much, though. It was exactly two messages on my part and the entire content of one was "no". We're both, clearly, misinterpreting each other. Mine was a simple statement of my honest, personal feelings at the time.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 2:56
  • 1
    It's hard to interpret the subtleties of the written word. If I ask a multi-word question, and the entire answer is "No," it appears definitive. But it has no other context. What is someone supposed to say? I even said, ok, it's not my site. But all this is done now. You had your first troll (actually, I don't think it was the first, but it was the most obvious.) Hopefully we all live and learn. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 3:09
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    Maximum clarity in communicative writing is my English goal for 2017-18. I got into a few misunderstandings in SE comments on multiple sites through extreme delicacy and politeness this year. It can be surprising how the politest way of saying something does not sometimes quite convey the intended meaning. We might hesitate to tell a moderator how to moderate, but looking back at it now, would you have considered it all right to say to Catija, "I strongly suspect that is a troll" @anongoodnurse? Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 5:41
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    @EnglishStudent - How gentle and polite your comment is; I think it's charming. But to answer, I would not change anything. I, too, reread the transcript. I can't post anything from that room, but to me it is very clear that I tried and I was shut down. No one likes to be painted in an unflattering light, but sometimes we all do unflattering things. If a mod makes it clear that they disagree with me, I back off. It's only polite to do so. My belief was clear to both mods with whom I communicated, one much more than Cajita. I did all I could reasonably do without being overbearing. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 6:47
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    Thanks a lot @anongoodnurse. You must definitely keep providing those inputs. Our mods try their best. Senior members are indeed site leaders and all SE sites benefit from good collaboration between experienced members and moderators. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 7:29

Okay. Here goes:

Drew some comments from people that weren't entirely necessary or helpful

I can't see the deleted comments on any lgbt+ tagged post. I've seen some passing by though, I helped you flag them.

From what I remember, most of these comments are made by people having gotten their voting privileges through an association bonus. I don't know for sure though, so I don't have any statistics on that. Maybe a mod would be willing to check out one or two questions and user profiles and add that information?

On the assumption that these comments are made by drive-by users that get their rep through association bonuses: That's not the IPS community chiming in. These are those monsters I told you about before, in chat. Those that we can't fortify our questions against, only grab our torches and pitchforks from the corner of the barn once they have arrived, to drive them out again as soon as possible.

I think the same goes for the deleted answers you mention in this comment.

I picked the top 10 questions (based on votes, because these are most likely to have hit HNQ/have had a lot of attention). What I'm seeing doesn't really scare me much.

2 Rude/Abusive from users new to this site, who don't seem to be very active members of the community judging from the profiles activity.
1 R/A from a troublesome user that's known for going over the line.
7 deleted for being vlq/naa. (at least they don't show up as being rude/abusive)
1 borderline, where the answer wasn't making a point in a very nice way and the comments definitely were out of line. Deleted as NAA by a mod though.
1 from which I edited out the offensive language.
4 deleted by their owners, sometimes after feedback in comments, not rude.

Now, I'm not saying the rude answers aren't a problem. But I want to say that I'm not seeing the core of this community doing the chiming in. Instead, we're all pretty good at downvoting stuff, flagging comments and keeping the site 'Nice'.

Again: We can only work out the monsters once they're in, we can't fortify the site against them.

Most all questions that mention LGBT+ issues receive a heap of comments and answers that are later deleted

I think the comment bit has to be addressed by a moderator, I'm curious to see how the statistics on those are.

I think I addressed the answer bit myself already. This meta to me reads more like you're reminding the people who are already not doing it, to keep up the good work.

I don't think we, as the core community, can do more than what we're already doing to try and keep this site clean. If we get lots and lots of troublesome users, we call in mods. If we're overrun by hostility, we have CM's. I don't doubt they're monitoring this site closely...

Now, about that one specific question you linked to, I don't think the 5 downvotes are 'excessive', since most of the time I tend to combine down- and close-voting. If your questions happens to be closed by 5 people that tend to do that, it will get 5 downvotes. Even then, users that don't have close-vote privileges but are still seeing a bad question are free to downvote it.

The problem here arises when the community decides we should leave a question open. If such a question is receiving downvotes at random, yes, that will hurt. But again, I can't see a solution that will fortify the site against such nastiness.

@Shog9 was right about one very important thing in his answer though:

Most of all, don't get baited into relaxing the norms of the site - a classic technique is to abuse the sympathy and kindness of those within a community to get around the rules normally intended to prevent problems.

So, for the specific question you linked to, I don't think the downvotes and close votes are a problem. You confirmed this. And I think you might have to brace yourself to this happening more, since lgbt+ is (sadly) an easy topic for writing troll questions. Just like any other topic with regards to sexuality or mental health problems, it's edgy, it attracts users with many opinions but little IPS knowledge on the topic.

Long story short, this is a great public service announcement, but I don't think that right now the core IPS community is the problem here, and I don't see how we can get those from the outside to abide by our rules. If someone wants to stir trouble, they'll find a way

  • "That's not the IPS community chiming in. These are those monsters I told you about before, in chat. Those that we can't fortify our questions against, only grab our torches and pitchforks from the corner of the barn once they have arrived, to drive them out again as soon as possible." __ too true @Tinkeringbell: abusive commenters are venting their intolerance of certain social groups and troll question writers are expressing their contempt for the whole IPS approach. Continued vigilance from committed members is the only solution. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:36

My attention was directed here by a comment left on the question. Shog already said much of what I would say.

I did not vote to close; I didn't even DV for 12 hours or so. But I did contact a mod to alert them to the trollish nature of the post. My concern was dismissed with the reasoning that even if this were a troll - which was doubted - the best way to handle it was to be helpful.

I agree with @Shog9's answer. In my limited experience, the unnecessary amount of "prurient or salacious content" is the tip off, as well as the story-like account (he put his hand on my shoulder..., etc.).

I am not against lgbtq questions at all, and I don't think Shog9 is derailing anything. I'm fine if this site is limited to lqbtq questions. Or only people with depression. Or any other quality. Everyone needs help. But it's open to all, which is best.

However, one helpful comment was made about TMI, and it was removed.

I would not like to see a heterosexual question of the following nature:

I had a little too much to drink at an office party last week and made a bad mistake. On an unused office desk, I let my male co-worker perform cunnilingus on me, and then I returned the favor by performing fellatio on him. The next day, he gently placed his hand on my shoulder. "Are we OK?" he asked. I answered, "We're fine."

But I still feel bad. What should I do? (add necessary IPS question here:) Email or face to face?

This is just TMI, and it doesn't just whisper "troll". It at least speaks it loudly. It's not "refreshing". It's TMI.

We've had these kinds of trollish questions on parenting. E.g.:

I just found out that my (shaming epithet) of a 14 year old daughter has (explicit sex act/acts) with almost every male in her class, sometimes in groups as large as 10 or 12.

Sorry. TMI. And really, if you just found that out about your daughter, would posting it on a parenting site like that be the first thing you'd do?

When things don't make sense, there's often a reason.

My concern last night is what will happen to the site if trollish questions aren't dealt with quickly enough.

Maybe nothing. Maybe they will be encouraged and appear in greater number. Maybe not. We might not get another trollish question for a month.

I am concerned, though, that not dealing with them on this site in particular will be detrimental to the site.

  • 2
    "even if this were a troll (...) the best way to handle it was to be helpful." -- I don't understand their reasoning. Explicit phrasing of that type seems uncharacteristic of an emotionally vested 'true user'. Trolling questions certainly need quick reactions. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:20
  • @EnglishStudent - I didn't really understand it either, but I'm not a mod on this site, so I'm not going to argue. I just put my 2 cents in a couple of different ways and called it quits early. I can't think of a better troll alert than a direct and immediate expression of such to a mod. One is often present in chat; a ping to chat should be good. I'm glad there aren't many on this site, too. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:23
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    Totally agree @anongoodnurse. The genuine interpersonal questions have a healthy frequency and far outnumber any possible troll queries. I also think the best reassurance for the community that a suspicious looking question is not trolling would be a prompt and convincing clarification from OP. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:26
  • 1
    I appreciate that people think the OP sited in this question was a troll, but it kind of misses the point here. People weren't commenting about the legitimacy of the question asked, they were commenting on the content, which to me, looks like a symptom of a larger problem. Most all of our questions that talk openly about queer issues or relationships seem to draw comments and answers from hetero users that are often tone deaf and sometimes openly rude. I was hoping to address that issue, unfortunately it seems I may have picked a less than optimal example of the issue, but the issue remains.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 22:52
  • 1
    @apaul The issue? If it's rude comments, just flag them. Since they're not nice, they will be removed, no matter what the subject matter is. Other than that you can't change people's views regarding the subject overnight over a meta.
    – NVZ
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 2:51
  • 4
    FWIW, I think the mods were right insofar as they shouldn't normally handle posts differently on the mere suspicion that they may not be asked in good faith; that's a dangerous road to go down. But, the opposite is just as poisonous: if you refrain from editing, closing, correcting out of fear of scaring off new users, you set the site on the path to ruin even without the aid of overt trolling! The goal here - as everywhere - is fairness to all, to be nice but unwavering.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 5:08
  • 1
    @Shog9 - I disagree. The mods have the ability to get delete/close down users immediately. Perhaps more important on a slow site like parenting, mods have to do this. On this particular site, the problem is the extremes of opinions people have on what constitutes a "good" question. It's not unusual at all to see a closed question with 4 reopen votes, all done without an edit/significant edit. Mods are important initially in clearing out the crap. Trolling questions are crap. It doesn't mean mods need be unkind or unfair. Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 5:59
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    @Shog - The reason I didn't edit is that, frankly, I don't know what is and is not on topic here anymore. Relationship advice is off topic, but facilitating hookups is not. I'm just not sure enough anymore. So I pinged a mod. I think I did as much as I could do, given the answer I got. On parenting, I delete trolling questions. If I am unsure, I discuss with other mods or ask in the TL for advice. Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 6:03
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    To clarify: I meant "you" in the plural sense, as in "you who moderate this site" - diamond-mods, privileged users, flaggers... If one sees a problem, knows how to handle it, and has the privilege to do so... but does not out of concern for the asker... then one should ask one's self whether there isn't a better approach that could be applied to all such problems, or whether one is merely prolonging the pain by delaying a necessary action. See, I sound all snooty when I use "one", and "you" causes confusion; I should really just stick with "y'all".
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 6:13
  • Personally I think "y'all" is clearer than the alterntaves! Thanks for clearing that up. Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 6:24
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    @anongoodnurse Relationship advice is off topic, but facilitating hookups is not. ... Hmmm, that sounds like we missed a question when close-voting? Care to share a link/ make another meta? I think you found a genuine loophole here that we might need to discuss further if it's as bad as it's sounds here...
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 12:36

Seeing that I'm the first close voter, I should probably say something...

I closed it as "unclear" regardless of its subject. I downvoted it for being not useful in its state at the time. I now see some constructive comments and queries under it, and I notice that there is some edits done.

As always, I'd gladly reverse my votes when I see it's improved. I for one don't have anything against the subject matter of it.

  • I agree that it should be closed in it's current form. This meta post was more a response to the comments that were posted there and the general trend of LGBT+ questions being answered, commented, and voted on in an inappropriate way.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:38
  • @apaul In that case, I'm afraid there's no way you or I can change people's views regarding the subject. They will vote as they see fit.
    – NVZ
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:41
  • @apaul Perhaps the comments you refer to were removed? I fail to see any abusive comment thread under it.
    – NVZ
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:42
  • Yes comments were removed. Most all questions that mention LGBT+ issues receive a heap of comments and answers that are later deleted...
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:44
  • 1
    @apaul Exactly inappropriate comments and answers are typically removed. Just flag em.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 20:26

Having read the question, I'm instantly suspicious that this is a set-up: someone's trolling this site.

This is something that sister-site The Workplace has had to learn, and if anything this site is even more vulnerable to it.

Now, don't be paranoid - we don't need witch hunts. But don't get played either. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Unnecessarily prurient or salacious content. If it looks like the summary for a cheesy TV drama (or comedy...) it was probably written the same way.

  • First question from a brand-new account or new question from an author with a history of such questions. This is an especially strong heuristic if the question lacks obvious new-user mistakes: chances are, the author has been watching the site for a while, honing their approach.

  • Exaggerated or stereotypical mistakes. This can include attempts to imitate emotional or immature language, incongruous typos or misspellings and sentence structure that mixes common ESL patterns from multiple cultures.

  • Refusal to clarify or correct mistakes - either by a complete lack of follow-up from the author, or mock confusion (edits that intensify rather than reduce problematic areas of the post, angry or baiting comments, etc).

Again... Any of these can appear in entirely innocent posts, and you should be careful about jumping to conclusions from one or two... But rare is the troll so skilled that they're able to effectively mimic the patterns of a sincere new user consistently, so be on the lookout. Most of all, don't get baited into relaxing the norms of the site - a classic technique is to abuse the sympathy and kindness of those within a community to get around the rules normally intended to prevent problems. If the question cannot be edited into shape and/or the asker doesn't cooperate, close and delete and move on.

  • 1
    Rare is the troll who doesn't stir the pot to keep the action going...
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:00
  • 3
    Heh, oh no. If this is the guy I think it is, he's had a LOT of experience and isn't gonna give the game away if he can accomplish his goal without it. He hooked you after all.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:01
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    You've also neatly evaded the point of this question. Whether this specific instance was a troll or not is immaterial when there's still a larger pattern to consider.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:07
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    @apaul, I think it's useful, but in a very indirect way: If this is trolling, it doesn't really deserve our attention as an example of a question that's getting bashed without that being necessary? ... Maybe if you could rummage through our questions and find another example or 2 (and preferably even one that's not closed and has never been? (so the downvotes aren't coupled to close-votes..) You might make stronger case...
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:20
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    @Tinkeringbell take your pick, interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/lgbt%2b you can see deleted answers, and I'm sure a mod can confirm that most of these received inappropriate comments that had to be removed.
    – apaul
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:25
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    @apaul ^That isn't nice, you're a grown-up community member. and should know better. I can see how this answer isn't helpful to you. I agree that we shouldn't turn this into a post about trolling. He's got a point, I'll write my own answer. That said, I can see most answers on those questions being from 'new' users... I don't think the community is doing the chiming in here?
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 19:40
  • I think this answer ignores the fact the some consider descriptions of gay sex "salacious", but the details of positions and actions are very important to determining the dynamic between two gay individuals. @apaul was clear about that in this question IMO.
    – user10743
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 18:19
  • Don't see what that has to do with this answer, @dorito.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 19:54
  • @Shog9 ...you don't see what ignoring part of the question has to do with the answer? Okie dokie.
    – user10743
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 21:11
  • Did you mean to comment on the other answer I posted here, @dorito? This answer ignores nearly the entire question, as the main-site question it cites was not posted in good faith and I wished to provide some information to help the folks here identify it. For thoughts on dealing with good-faith questions, please see the other answers.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 21:28
  • No, I think part of the question refutes the entire premise of this specific answer (The other answer doesn't have that issue IMO). I explained why I think this way in my original comment, but I don't get the feeling you fully digested it there. I realize this is an old question and my comment is a bit picky, so I'b be happy to move to chat if it's still not clear.
    – user10743
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 0:12
  • Increasingly I suspect you haven't read the answer you're commenting on, @dor.. but for the sake of argument, how would you modify the heuristics here to avoid the problem you fear exists currently?
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 1:35
  • I'm not sure how many times I can go in this circle, so I'll bow out for now, with one parting bit of food-for-thought: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting
    – user10743
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 1:38
  • 1
    Here's one for you, @dorito: luckyottershaven.com/2017/12/08/…
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 1:50

Much as it irks you, I didn't intend to address the main point of your question at all; I think the example that supports it is too weak to do so and thus my first answer focused on that.

...But Catija linked to this answer by Robert Cartaino, and I realized that in a single paragraph it identifies both the same problem you're attempting to hit here and provides a solution. So I'm answering again for the sole purpose of quoting that paragraph:

Folks shouldn't generally find themselves accidentally stumbling deep into a subject without being at least somewhat aware of what is being discussed. If you are not interested in the subjects being discussed in a thread — without pretense — kindly move on and find something better suited to your interests.

If I, knowing nothing about a given topic, choose to seek out that topic and offer my uninformed opinions... Shame on me.

If I get tricked into clicking through to a question that seems to be related to a topic I know about and leave uninformed opinions because it's actually about something else... Then shame on all of us.

We can all edit or suggest edits, so anyone drawn in by a vague, click-bait or otherwise-misleading title has every reader who came before them to blame for their wasted time, frustration or discomfort.

The rest of Robert's answer provides battle-tested guidelines for how to balance the desire to host sensitive topics with the need for propriety. I highly recommend referring to them the next time something like this comes up.


Thanks for posting this apaul! As a fellow LGBT member of this site (although not a very active one), I also initially felt quite concerned with the reactions to this question and controversy the language seemed to cause. However after reading these meta answers I am more than happy to take everyone’s word that the issue was the sexual content alone and that ANY sexual content would be dealt with similarly.

But, to be honest, this stance itself was news to me. I had a look in the help centre but couldn’t find anything about sexual content or what is considered inappropriate or TMI (possibly because the help pages are not complete?). And as the answers here make clear, people will have wildly different opinions on what is or is not appropriate. (I myself might have posted content of a similar nature if OP hadn't gotten there first and started this discussion.)

Like you said, this information MAY in fact be relevant to any given question (your post here is worth a reread or two for anyone who missed that important point). And I think that’s definitely something we should all bear in mind. Sexuality and issues related to sex are bound to be brought up here, and we must be able to deal with them when they do without alienating the OP in the process.

I know I am a little late to the party, but I am happy to find that this topic is already being discussed in another meta post. I honestly hope there is some room to discuss genuine interpersonal, sexual related issues on this site and that we will be able to use appropriate language to express ourselves here without fear of backlash, for whatever reason. I look forward to seeing the result of this discussion!

And thanks again for supporting the LGBT site members!

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