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In Can I give flowers to a feminist as a present for hosting a party?, the OP wondered whether it would be a good idea to gift flowers to a (female) feminist, because they were "afraid flowers could be understood by her as a gendered/stereotype/sexist present.".

The OP asked three questions:

  • Have you had any experience on the perception of flowers as a gift among feminists?
  • Are we over-thinking this?
  • Do you think it is an appropriate present?

This appears a bit broad, but you may read the questions as "Is it rude to give flowers as a present to a feminist?".

The answer with the second-highest voting count (74 UV, 12 DV, so 62 overall) had to be edited and is now a stub without much of an explanation (except for a link to wikipedia).

The user concentrated on the second question

Are we over-thinking this?

And the first advice was

If she likes the flowers, then... excellent.

which doesn't seem overly helpful to me.

The second advice

If she's an equity feminist, she'll probably love the flowers.

contains the aforementioned link and no additional explanation.

Then follows the suggestion

For the color, I suggest yellow, because the yellow ribbon was pretty much the official symbol of...

then a picture of two women's suffrage party sashes, one of them yellow

If she goes on a rant AND you remind her at the end that you picked yellow for the aforementioned reason that she missed, you get extra evil brownie points.


I will quote a comment from underneath the answer here:

Given that this answer advocates choosing a gift with the aim of trapping a host in a situation which can be used to deliberately antagonise them, this seems like a completely inappropriate answer to the question "Is my choice of gift appropriate, or could it antagonise the host that I am trying to show thanks to?"

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  • Doesn't our voting system address this effectively 99% of the time? – user1856 Dec 14 '17 at 16:10
  • Not following your logic here. – user1856 Dec 14 '17 at 16:43
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I think it's a good example of an answer that should have been deleted as rude or abusive in the first place instead of doing OP's work for them by editing out huge chunks off of it.

Because of HNQ, the score appears overly positive than it deserves. Many of the visitors can vote up, but not down.

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    What is rude and or abusive about it? Looks more like a defensive move. If the person is not a jerk, then the flowers will be appreciated, if the person reacts, the OP can point to the fact that the color was selected for suffrage. The comment about evil points is smug satisfaction at being so clever, but neither rude nor abusive. – user4548 Dec 12 '17 at 19:38
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    @TheSnarkKnight I'm referring to the full version of it. interpersonal.stackexchange.com/posts/4355/revisions I find it overall "not nice". And we have to be nice here. :) – NVZ Dec 12 '17 at 19:39
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    A bit of snark, but edited out, so it stands as a good answer. Either it was well intentioned with a bit of snark, or ill intentioned. Either way, the edit makes it fine and either helps someone with good intent, or ruins a troll's day. Alles gut! – user4548 Dec 12 '17 at 19:45
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    @TheSnarkKnight For one answer, you are probably right. But this is more than about one answer to me. This user has a long history of posts that require others cleaning up after them. I am including the deeper context of it, even though I probably should not. – NVZ Dec 12 '17 at 19:47
  • then that's an issue for the mods to take care of. The answer itself, not a bad one and the user actually knows enough about feminism to know of the different flavors of it. – user4548 Dec 12 '17 at 19:51
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    @TheSnarkKnight That is exactly the dilemma I see. Almost every post they post is filled with deep insights into the subject matter. I like the knowledge they have to share and I have said this on many occasions, and even directly to them. The problem is, if we keep editing and removing their condescending/rude/snarky commentary from their posts, then we are simply encouraging them to continue this behaviour. – NVZ Dec 12 '17 at 19:55
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    again, that's for the mods to handle. If it benefits the site to have the answer, minus the snark, then it's a benefit to the site. – user4548 Dec 12 '17 at 19:57
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    @TheSnarkKnight Maybe you missed it. Mods did handle it with a month's worth suspension, and removed some of their posts. Anyways, I'm sure your answer is good. I just posted this in an answer box instead of commenting about it, for reasons. – NVZ Dec 12 '17 at 19:58
  • just saying that this stack is still maturing and we don't want to be chasing our tails. – user4548 Dec 12 '17 at 20:00
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    The 12 DV to 74 UV is also significant @NVZ. A good answer might receive 74 UV but it will not receive 12 DV. It might be a fair assessment that at least 60 UV came from HNQ and obviously all 12 DV came from IPS. So many downvotes make it an advice to be treated with caution. That's why it might be sensible to default-display the vote score against every answer as a split score (split up into number of UV and DV), let readers make up their own minds! – English Student Dec 12 '17 at 22:46
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    "I am including the deeper context of it, even though I probably should not" __ You should, @NVZ! Context matters. – English Student Dec 12 '17 at 22:56
  • @EnglishStudent no,we should not include who gives an answer in our judgement to moderate - vote, flag, close, delete, etc. If the answer by itself stands, then it's not a problem. – Vylix Dec 13 '17 at 2:27
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    May I clarify that @ NVZ providing context is good for us to better understand this meta answer @Vylix. Obviously we do not want to make the identity of the author a consideration while voting, flagging, closing or deleting any post. – English Student Dec 13 '17 at 7:09
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Does this highly upvoted answer meet the quality standards?

That's debatable. I read the edit history and did not find the original answer rude or abusive, if possibly a bit biased against feminists, whose typical attitude like any other political ideology is surely fair game for some criticism?

Are we over-thinking this?

Yes, and massively.

If she likes the flowers, then... excellent.

If she gives you a fifteen minute lecture about how sexist flowers are, then also excellent! She's a feminist. Lecturing other people about how sexist they are... it's her favorite hobby! Nothing wrong in providing her with an excuse to feel good...

If she's an equity feminist, she'll probably love the flowers. If she's third-wave... Well, if you want a rant about patriarchy, offer the flowers yourself. If you'd prefer the topic to be internalized misogyny, then your wife should offer the flowers.

For the color, I suggest yellow, because the yellow ribbon was pretty much the official symbol of... [image of party flags here]

+If she goes on a rant AND you remind her at the end that you picked yellow for the aforementioned reason that she missed, you get extra evil brownie points.

After those parts deemed controversial were edited out, the edited final version probably doesn't suffer from quality issues any more than many other answers on this website.

Whether the answer was too highly upvoted seems the more relevant question. As pointed out by @NVZ's answer, the large number of upvotes can be explained by the HOT.Network.Questions "HNQ effect" where Q & A can be upvoted by members from all over the network, but they can't cast downvotes because they would usually not have the sufficient reputation here.

The 12 downvotes to 74 upvotes is also significant for this answer. A good answer might receive 74 UV but it will not receive 12 DV. It might be a fair assessment that at least 60 UV came from HNQ and obviously all 12 DV came from IPS.

So many downvotes make it an advice to be treated with caution, irrespective of the number of upvotes. But only the net vote score is visible to all the readers. That's why it might be sensible to default-display the vote score against every answer as a split score (split up into number of UV and DV), and let readers make up their own minds! Note that this split score can currently only be viewed-on-demand, and only by users above a certain reputation level:

enter image description here

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  • "whose typical attitude like any other political ideology is surely fair game for some criticism?" Is the purpose of IPS.SE to provide a platform for criticism of ideologies? "suffer from quality issues any more than many other answers on this website." Do you think that there are many bad answers on IPS.SE - answers that concentrate on stating mere opinions and without explanation or backing-up? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Dec 14 '17 at 14:51
  • Yes indeed there are many bad answers here on IPS.SE though I don't want to point out examples that are badly constructed expressions of opinion, not well supported by evidence or experience. Since we don't yet have a strong enough downvote culture comparable to upvoting, such weak answers are usually identified by low scores like 0 to 3 rather than negative scores. Similarly, non-regular members will feel free to criticise ideologies, and the best we can do is edit out such off topic content or ask them to do it themself. I wish everyone had your quality consciousness @Anne Daunted. – English Student Dec 14 '17 at 15:40
  • In short it is a mediocre answer like many others that usually score 0 to 3, @Anne Daunted. Our response to mediocrity should be downvoting. Maybe we are not downvoting as often as we should? The only peculiar thing is that this mediocre answer scored 63 not 3, but as noted by NVZ, that is clearly due to the HNQ effect. Please also see this related meta Q & A about a controversial yet much-upvoted answer by (surprise!) the same user: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1581/… – English Student Dec 14 '17 at 16:10
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Yes, it does meet the standards because DESPITE the healthy amount of snark in the answer, the answer itself is correct.

First, the OP pointed out that equity feminists, such as Christina Hoffs-Sommers do in fact exist and would take the gesture as intended.

Second, as a fall-back to protect himself in case the person was unreasonable, the respondent pointed out that yellow would be appropriate because of it's significance in women's suffrage, and if there were any ruckus raised by the recipient, he could point that out.

The snark at the end is just that, a bit of snark. Nothing to lose one's lunch over. It is a very good answer and outlines appropriate behavior, if not pure motives.

So, unless we are going to start judging people by motives as opposed to actual advice, it is a good answer.

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  • "the answer itself is correct." A dubious criterion as, unlike mathematical proofs or code snippets, only the OP's can decide for themselves after they tried it out, whether an answer was correct or not. But you can easily create "correct" answers, that are utterly useless, though - e. g. make them so vague and generic that they can hardly be considered wrong (Q: "How do I gently tell my boyfriend that I don't love him anymore?" A: "Phrase it in a gentle way.") or, as exhibited in the discussed answer, by stating truisms ("If she likes flowers, she will like flowers."). – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Dec 14 '17 at 14:56
  • The user only concentrated on the primarily opinion-based question of the OP. Then they stated: 1) A truism, 2) a link to a wikipedia page (mostly consisting of links itself), 3) a "funny" suggestion on what color the flowers should have (not one of the OP's three questions) with the added bonus of potentially trapping their host. No expanation, no backing-up. So the "best" part of that answer is a link only and yet this is supposed to be a "very good answer"? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Dec 14 '17 at 15:03
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    @AnneDaunted sorry this isn't the answer you wanted to hear. – user4548 Dec 14 '17 at 15:06
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    Isn't this debate solved by our voting system? – user1856 Dec 14 '17 at 16:10
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    @IamNotListening It would've if everyone had equal rights to vote. But that's unfortunately not the case. It was an HNQ question that attracted a bazillion visitors, and of those, not many can cast downvotes. – NVZ Dec 14 '17 at 19:12
  • @NVZ I wonder the why voting mechanism doesn't work on IPS, but does at most of the other sites? – user1856 Dec 14 '17 at 19:14
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    @IamNotListening I'm sure by now you know how the reputation and privileges works. When you visit a new site and sign up, you get an association bonus of 100 rep with which you can upvote anything. But you cannot downvote. A lot of the visitors to the abovementioned answer upvoted it. A lot of the visitors who wanted to downvote it simply couldn't. So its quality is currently not decided by the votes. – NVZ Dec 14 '17 at 19:16
  • @NVZ Your right, I do know. I think the system works pretty well most of the time. – user1856 Dec 14 '17 at 19:45

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