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I'm not a EE. I do a bunch of research, and often have questions that a EE probably wouldn't, but I can't find direct answers to. Oftentimes, my questions get unconstructive, snarky comments that add nothing to the discussion, don't answer my question, and generally have an air of "you idiot, you shouldn't even be asking this".

On a typical forum, my response would be a flame. Is there anything beyond flagging a comment? Would an equally snarky counter-comment be frowned-upon?

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If there's an answer or comment that you feel is condescending, rude, or offensive please flag the post and then ignore it. That gives us moderators a clear-cut situation to judge. It's then up to us to evaluate whether or not there is enough justification to remove a comment (or comments).

That being said, please keep in mind that it can be very difficult to discern tone or intent from written word.

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Flaming and counter-snarking are MOST DEFINITELY frowned upon. And that probably isn't how you want to be perceived in the long term by future users of the site. And such behavior is likely to reduce the amount of help you get from those other users.

More often than not, a comment that may seem snarky is in fact making a valid point, usually about an aspect of the question that is either unclear or irrelevant. It's just the style of some people to do it that way, rather than spelling it out in plain English. It isn't a particularly effective style, especially since this is an international site that has a lot of users for whom English is not their primary language — nuances very easily get lost in translation.

But, make the most of it — take the time to try to figure out how the comment relates to the question, and take the opportunity to edit the question to improve it.

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