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I am fairly new to this forum but I am repeatably running into the same problem. This is the user who has found a formula or data on the internet which they think can be applied to a problem. They go ahead and post or quote this blindly without giving any thought to its applicability and then insist they are correct because they can refer to some web page. Can we do anything in the guidelines reputation or flagging system to discourage this behavior?

The voting system on answers seems to address the problem there. But it does not apply to comments, Perhaps there should be a flag category a little stronger than not helpful say "just plain wrong". If upheld it could lead to a loss of a little reputation which might just make people think before posting spurious information.

So far I have succeeded in remaining polite but the temptation to call some people idiots is becoming overwhelming.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Never call someone an idiot. However, you can serve the same purpose by making it clear that what they say is idiotic. Put another way, attack the message, not the person. Actually that's far more effective at making someone look stupid anyway. Calling someone stupid just makes you look childish. Pointing out the stupidity, if done right, can let everyone have a laugh at their expense. It may even cause them to go away, another desired effect. Sometimes it causes them to lash out and call you names. Now the moderators can make them go away for you. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22 '16 at 12:24
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The first rule here is "be nice." If you have nothing nice — or more importantly, constructive — to say about a post, just skip it. You don't need to respond to everything you see.

But yes, I've often wished for the ability to downvote a comment. Comment votes don't affect reputation, but maybe if one got enough downvotes, it could be grayed out the way that posts are.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does not answer the question but good advice. I will try to be nice. thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoyC
    Dec 19 '16 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Can we do anything" is a bit too broad. You would have to propose something specific that we can discuss. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Dec 19 '16 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Once again good advice. editing question to address. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoyC
    Dec 19 '16 at 16:03
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The internet is full of idiots, and some of them come here. I don't think there is anything we can do about that.

What we can do is deal with their idiotic postings. That means downvote, and usually leave a comment explaining what is incorrect. That mechanism already exists, and seems to largely work.

Your point seems to be about comments. Remember that comments aren't really content at all. They can be, and sometimes are, deleted. If there are excessive comments going back and forth, mods will usually clean out the whole lot, or sometimes move them to a chat room. That's basically the same thing because most people aren't going to follow up in a chat room to continue a tedious conversation.

If someone writes something wrong in a comment, you can say so in another comment. Rember to use the @user syntax so that whoever wrote the original comment sees your response. If things get out of hand, flag for moderator attention and suggest the whole mess of comments should be deleted.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarification of the comments system. \$\endgroup\$
    – RoyC
    Dec 21 '16 at 11:36

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