I am concerned that this site may go the same way the de.comp.security.* group on Usenet went. They started pretty good, but over time ended up with more than 30% of the postings containing insults about how incompetent the previous poster was, suggesting that he or she should stay far away from anything related to security.

The question is up to which point it is best to just ignore insults, and when they start to get unacceptable because they damage the site. I might be a bit over sensitive because of my Usenet experience.

Example which was considered okay by the moderators on security.stackexchange.com

Someone asking a question if teaching one security related issue is still relevant although many counter measurements are in place on modern computer out of the box got this comment:

If you really are questioning the idea of teaching [...], I really don't think you should be "teaching" a class about security.

  • Though a tad aggressive, I personally didnt think the comment was offensive. I did post a comment there, though, addressing the real point of the matter. And, as the answerers here noted, flags help, and soft answers definitely help matters (though I'm as guilty as the next of aggressive behaviour...)
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 7:56
  • similarly,on physics.stackexchange.com,when my question was not correct,some user posted,that I was like a novel character who has hypothetical thoughts. Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 15:12

3 Answers 3


If it bothers you, flag it. If it bothers enough people, it'll be removed. Flagging also brings it to the attention of the moderators, who do not otherwise spend their days reading every single comment.

Beyond that... Don't feed into it. A soft answer turns away wrath, etc... And engaging a genuinely argumentative person just pollutes the site with unproductive noise.

  • Even though this is the internet... :) I lose a lot of faith in humanity when I read the comments on news sites. I'd really appreciate it if we could stay away from trolling one another. OTOH, if I'm wrong, I'd love to hear why I'm wrong and why a different answer is better. Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 2:32

The exact right answer is, as Shog9 mentioned, whenever you see a post that you believe is offensive, sufficiently rude, or unprofessional then please flag it. This is a very sensitive period in the site's life as we help determine what tone we'll have going forward. We are still fairly small, and this is the perfect time to accidentally dish out more flags than strictly necessary. Granted, I am not a mod, and can't see the flags, so take that however you will. When in doubt, skim over the FAQ, let it be a refresher for what may or may not be appropriate.

Speaking specifically to what brought up your concern, I found and read through the thread in question. I can see why you might have gotten concerned, though at this point I'm not sure how I might have acted upon it were I a moderator. I found the tone a little aggressive, though the poster handled it fairly well.


Also, feel free to cite the FAQ -- https://security.stackexchange.com/faq#benice

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

Civility should be the norm, and overt rudeness should not be tolerated.

If I see things like this flagged, I try to edit out the rudeness and leave the content (if any). So don't hesitate to flag meanness and cruelty and incivility.

  • for an example such as this one, is it worth going back and editing out the sentence in question? It would leave the content, but would make the majority of the follow up comments now meaningless.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 11:14
  • @Rory I didnt find that comment to be extremely rude - a bit aggressive maybe, closed-minded for sure, but not really rude or insulting. Not as much as certain other users, anyway...
    – AviD Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2011 at 18:02

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