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I thought I may not have left a comment under a question when asked by the OP if I had a mathematical solution. So, I repeated the comment with an "@" directing it to the OP should I have forgotten to make it clear who the intended recipient was. My comment was something like "I have a simulator" or "I only have a simulator". TBH I don't remember the exact words because I was asked specifically by the OP if I could help: -

@Andyaka how about the time it needs to reach the %90 percent of the source ? You have a mathematical approach or formula ? – GNY

I never gave a thought as to it being rude; in fact, not replying seemed to be the really rude thing to do. So I replied again.

Sam Gibson then informed all who had made comments this: -

@All - We continue to get flags on comments which don't respond to the specific question here. The OP wants to understand if there is a mathematical approach or formula to calculate this and does not want to run a simulator each time. Therefore comments which just say to run a simulator come across as unhelpful (even passive-aggressive) since they are deliberately ignoring the constraint in the question. Please don't do that. Those comments are being counted and deleted. Remember: You don't have to comment, so either be constructive & friendly or don't comment. Thanks. – SamGibson

At that point I felt that my comments might be counted against me and potentially counted towards the limit that leads to another suspension hence, this is my question: -

Are my comments to be counted towards another suspension and, if so, on what basis are they seen as being unfriendly (or some other thing)?

Sam Gibson informs me this in his later comment: -

By the way, you are misrepresenting what your comment was. That is NOT what you said. What you said was subtly, but importantly, different.

And that implies to me that he believes I'd crossed some kind of line in rudeness so, I'm hoping for an answer and an explanation. As previously uncovered, if someone reads something offensive in another person's comment and, a moderator agrees then, this will count towards a suspension despite there being no intent to be offensive in that comment.

Well, despite this I insist that there was no intent in my comment to cause offence (given that the OP asked me specifically a question).

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm. I'm rather surprised no one mentioned to the OP that the equation the OP is asking for doesn't seem to be a clean-cut paper napkin type of equation. The OP's question is more akin to giving an arbitrary circuit and asking for a calculation of some arbitrary aspect of that circuit. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 28 at 4:35
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Seems to me, leaving out the word "only" was the difference between a comment that was meaningful to the OP (e.g. "Sorry, I only have a simulator.") and one that was (stupidly) taken offense to. Reading the full comments, maybe you meant "I have a simulator [so you can ask the community for help when yours is unavailable, etc.]" \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Apr 28 at 22:51
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ I'll just add that you probably should have a bit more verbosity in comments, just so the full meaning and intent is clear. But I'll also add that such a comment getting flagged as rude is a waste of mod's time. If I were the OP (or whomever) and took the comment wrong, I'd write something like, "What do you mean? I don't want to use a simulator." instead of immediately crying to the mods about it. Whatever happened to not assuming malice where ignorance may be the case? \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Apr 28 at 22:54
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Andy aka - I think you are overreacting here. I have given you the courtesy of a full reply (I don't plan on doing it again, as I'm getting no thanks for the many hours I took writing the answer and explaining in as much detail as I could - I don't have to reply). You are not suspended. You didn't even get a private warning. You did write an apparently snarky non-constructive comment and by doing so twice, I got involved publicly as that had to stop. And it did. You previously said that you wanted more warning before a suspension. This is an early warning - but all I'm getting is complaints! \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 28 at 23:59
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby - I have deleted your (apparent) claim of corruption & subsequent comments. This is now your warning. Do not make any further comments which are not in strict compliance with the Code of Conduct and Commenting Policy. I recommend you follow the guidance in the Meta.SE post about comment standards for your own benefit, to help avoid misinterpretation of your comments too. (If you disagree, then contact Stack Exchange directly, don't comment here.) \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    May 1 at 11:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Deleting that string of comments (of which I also contributed) seems like trying to hide the fact that there are dissenters against your attitude @SamGibson and, enhancing the potential for folk to believe that there is corruption happening. It's your poor judgement that is under the spotlight here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    May 1 at 17:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka - (a) I already told you that we're done here and to contact SE (which I know you have done). There is nothing more to be served by your repeated criticisms of me and I will treat it as harassment (which breaks the Code of Conduct) if you continue. (b) Deleting those comments has been my attempt to de-escalate. Stack Exchange staff will kindly be reviewing this all in due course anyway (and of course they can see those comments). I look forward to that review. Mine is not the only judgement that is "under the spotlight here". \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    May 1 at 17:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That is incorrect or misleading; I have not contacted them regarding this latest question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    May 2 at 10:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ SOme Moderators have a perception that ought to be verified before assuming they are correct. A simulator is a mathematical physics tool to compute results in a graphic output. Some Mods don't understand differences in perceptions before being too critical. Some Mods think they are clear and politeful about might be construed as coming across rude and under-handed and have no perception that coppying public datasheets is NOT plagiarism. The rule of law is anal retentive at times and one way communication does not help. \$\endgroup\$ May 25 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Same don't tell me the OP doesn't want a simulator. But it is a mathematical tool with graphical solutions. That can then validate your own homework with equations. Or you can be pedantic and just keep saying that's not what he asked. But then doing his homework is worse than given suggestions how to merge theory and practice. \$\endgroup\$ May 25 at 22:16

1 Answer 1

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Intro

I have written this for a general audience, as I expect the background info may be interesting to other site members, with the part responding to the specific Meta question above near the bottom of this answer - see the section titled "Specifics".

To be clear: The behaviour being referred to in the question here was not very bad. The comment was problematic in the context where it was made, and it was flagged both times. Despite most people not questioning simple "mod comments" from me and the other mods, a site member has chosen to do so today. So, to give some explanations to them and others, I'll explain the process I went through. I won't give this level of explanation every time - life is too short.

One more point: The reason why mods react to (what might seem to some people to be) relatively small behaviour issues, is because time and time again, we see something similar to the following sequence of events:

  • Person 1 makes relatively minor but snarky, perhaps unhelpful, perhaps condescending comment(s), perhaps aimed at person 2, or perhaps aimed at the general audience but making fun of (i.e. mocking) person 2.
  • Person 2 at some point gets frustrated, perhaps they flag person 1's comment, perhaps they don't. However they are so annoyed that they reply back to person 1 in a way that breaks the Code of Conduct, angrily saying that the comments from person 1 were unhelpful / condescending / whatever.
  • Person 1 then flags the angry comment from person 2, even though person 1 started the problem in the first place!
  • Then quite quickly we have several flags, some angry people, and we have to sort out the mess, if we're going to rescue that question or answer for the benefit of the site and other site members. We want to stop things before they reach this stage.

(What should have happened is for person 2 to flag the snarky comment from person 1 and then disengage - do not reply further at all, no matter what the provocation. Leave it for the mods to deal with. That way, person 2 does not get into trouble, for the problem caused by person 1.)


Background

People will always be able to criticise what mods do.

If we delete comments and we do leave a comment explaining why, we can be accused of escalating the situation, as everyone can see our comment. And if we don't leave a comment explaining why comments were deleted, then we can be accused of not explaining the reasons.

(And before someone suggests it, it would not be proportionate or appropriate for us to write an official private moderator message to each site member in most cases where comments have been deleted. We already get criticised for sending the more serious warnings using those messages, as some people see them as excessively formal. We will never keep everyone happy.)

So it's a no-win situation for us. Also some people are really aggressive / sarcastic / condescending etc. when they write flags to us, appearing to be very angry. Therefore it's easy to see why those people won't be happy if our actions don't agree with their reason for flagging - and we don't agree with every flag that we receive.

(But thanks very much to the site members who have privately thanked us for the work we do! It means a lot.)


General moderation of comments

FYI there is a guide (not a rulebook) for moderators when moderating comments. That includes the point:

Moderators may generally process comment flags without much deliberation: if it doesn't immediately appear to be needed, remove it; if it might be, leave it. There are almost always more useful things to do than to stress about comments.

In other words, it is up to the writer of a comment to make sure that it clearly doesn't break the Code of Conduct - as we're not expected to go searching around for context, nor to search for non-obvious interpretations. The Meta.SE topic "Let's hold language in comments to the same standard as posts" linked at the bottom of this answer, is worth reading.

Personally I have chosen to usually not add a "mod comment" when I delete the first comment on a question or answer, especially if it wasn't in the "abusive" category, as it might have been (and looking back on previous events, it often was) just a "one-off". No point in shining a light on someone's mistake in that case, and it's simply not always realistic for us to write many comments from a mobile phone, or on a train, or in a restaurant, or with kids running around, or wherever we are. As explained in the linked article above, we generally just action a comment flag and move on.

However, time-permitting (and this can be impossible in some situations - see examples above) I personally may consider writing a "mod comment" if we are getting multiple flags on one question or answer. There I try (within the constraints of comment length and my available time) to explain what problem / behaviour is being flagged and should be stopped. That's because, as evidenced by getting more than one flag on a question or answer, the problem is ongoing (i.e. it's not a one-off) and therefore it may need our active intervention. I did that in this case, as more than one comment had been flagged.

In my early days as a mod, I found that sometimes my gentle warnings was ignored, and problematic behaviour would continue. Therefore these days I am usually more direct. Also, I have had situations where unkind comments would continue despite multiple deletions, as if those site members thought that after the deletions, there would be no repercussions. That is why, if it seems appropriate, I now remind people that deleted comments may count towards further mod actions. If you choose to write something that gets flagged for a valid reason, then self-deleting it (or having it deleted by mods etc.) is not a "get out of jail free" card.

As is my usual approach, I didn't name any specific person in my "mod comment" related to this question above, to avoid causing them unnecessary embarrassment. In this case, they have identified themselves so I'm also free to name them and to explain more.


How comments can be deleted

For those who don't know, there are 4 mechanisms by which comments can be deleted (or 5, if you include that SE staff can also delete comments):

  1. You can always delete your own comment. Of course you will know if you did that.

  2. If a comment includes certain trigger words (e.g. certain profanity) then a single flag from a site member will delete it, without mods being involved.

  3. If multiple site members (minimum 3, but can be more for comments with a positive score) flag a comment then it is deleted, without mods being involved.

  4. After a comment is flagged, it appears on the moderators queue. If actions 1, 2 or 3 above don't happen first, then we will see it when one of us next views the queue. We will review and action the flag (perhaps after a delay) in line with the Code of Conduct and the Guide to moderating comments mentioned above.

The point is that if your comment is deleted, and you didn't do it, then either other site members or moderators (or SE staff) took a deliberate action. Comments don't disappear for no reason. Posting the same comment a second time is unlikely to get a positive response from whoever flagged it, if the first posting didn't. I cannot think of any situation where repeating a comment, that was deleted by anything other than your own action, is a good idea.

One final point that some people don't realise: Comments should be considered as temporary "Post-It" notes so even though most comments don't get deleted, they can be.


Specifics

In this case, the OP's question included the text:

I don't want to run the simulator everytime to calculate the total charge time so a formula would help so much.

So it's quite clear that the OP knows that a simulator could be used, but wants a maths approach.

In a subsequent comment, the OP also said:

The fact that is that I want to calculate it with a formula without using a simulator or pc .

Again, quite clear, they are looking for a solution that doesn't include a simulator.

Then Andy aka commented:

To reach the exact value takes infinite time.

The OP commented back:

@Andyaka how about the time it needs to reach the %90 percent of the source ? You have a mathematical approach or formula ?

Again, no mention of simulator, which has been unambiguously stated as a constraint earlier.

The next comment from Andy aka was:

I have a simulator.

This was flagged and therefore deleted. The reason is quite obvious - it doesn't answer the previous request ("You have a mathematical approach or formula ?") and the OP has been clear up to that point, and since, that use of a simulator is not the solution to their question.

As explained above, for a first deleted comment, no "mod comment" was added.

Nothing more would have been seen or done if things had stopped here.

However Andy aka later added the same comment (with a notification back to the OP):

I have a simulator @GNY

This was again flagged and deleted.


The problem

The problem is three-fold:

a) Repeating the same comment after it was already deleted once, made it appear that the author doesn't respect that the comment had already been deleted once by one of the deletion mechanisms (see above).

b) This was yet another example of similar behaviour which has been flagged recently by other site members - short and/or unhelpful comments which come across as snarky.

c) The OP already made it very clear that use of a simulator is not what they are looking to do. Therefore saying (twice!) that "I have a simulator" while giving no relevant help, comes across as passive-aggressive.

For example, if someone asks "I want to paint my door in blue paint, and I don't want to paint it any other colour. What blue paint do you recommend?" and the other person replies "I use white paint" then, at the very least, that is not constructive. It can also come across as a passive-aggressive condescending criticism of the "asker" for choosing blue paint in the first place.

If the reply had instead been "I only use white paint, so I don't have any blue paint to help with your request, sorry" then that's fine! By being longer and explaining why the comment doesn't answer the original point, it wouldn't come across as being snarky. Or say "sorry, I can't help you", or "sorry, I don't know", or just don't reply - there is no requirement to reply, even if a comment is aimed at you.

The problem in this specific question, was caused by short comments that didn't address the point being asked, which therefore come across as snarky, and were repeated. That caused multiple flags to the mods, so we got involved.


The question

So, to your question Andy aka:

Are my comments to be counted towards another suspension

All aspects of someone's behaviour are considered when that person has caused enough of a problem on the site, that mods or SE staff believe they need a "time out" (suspension) (a) to protect the site from that behaviour, and/or (b) to give them time to cool down. All flags are recorded and may be considered by mods / SE staff when considering if a suspension is appropriate.

It's not as simple as X comment flags = suspension, as we are forced (due to the infinite variety of human behaviour) to consider each situation on its own merits.

if so, on what basis are they seen as being unfriendly (or some other thing)?

I've explained above why the repeating of a short, unhelpful & previously deleted comment warranted a "mod comment" to send a clear warning, and stop the problematic behaviour. I also explained why, being short and not constructive to the point being asked, the comments came across as snarky. And below I have offered some guidance which may help.


Summary

As I said at the beginning: Your comments in the specific question you linked, were not very bad. No-one is claiming that they were. But my "mod comment" was trying to give you an early warning that your choice of how to comment, is still causing problems, as evidenced by the flags. I have also explained why mods react to seemingly small problems because they can (and from experience, often do) escalate into larger problems.

This is also in the context of your disagreements with other site members on another topic very recently, which also led to flags being sent in all directions.

And in your recent Meta question, other site members either gave you feedback in comments (or upvoted them) about how your comments sometimes come across as rude, dismissive, hostile and condescending etc.

Your question on this Meta topic said that you didn't intend your comments to be offensive. I accept that, but we've gone over this already - we don't do moderation based on intention, as no-one can be sure of someone else's intentions. As a Stack Exchange staff member said to you recently: "Regardless of intention, we need to moderate based on the negative impact your interactions are having, so we recommend that you review the CoC, our guidance, and adjust accordingly."

In order to try to give you some helpful feedback (even though I guess you will likely disagree): My view is that your comments are often so short that they seem to convey annoyance and irritation partly due to their brevity. If you don't mean to do that, then this is something you can address to change how your comments are perceived by other site members. For example: Add more explanation. Don't be vague. Clearly address the point being raised. Don't be critical of other people (no "ad hominem" attacks) nor say anything which could appear to be making fun of someone else.

Or, if you don't feel like doing that, then don't comment. With very few exceptions, IMHO your answers are well-written and show your great skill & ability. So perhaps comment less and focus on writing answers?


Relevant links:

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Rule #1 in your 3rd bullet at the bottom: The first thing we should do is actually the first thing we shouldn't do, which is we shouldn't make even more people feel bad about a bunch of comments that we're pretty sure nobody intended to be toxic. - in other words, you are unfairly judging my comment to be toxic and I feel victimized by that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Apr 28 at 10:13
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree that sometimes it is inappropriate to give an answer that violates one of the OP's specs, I do not think that is always the case. Sometimes a poster lacks sufficient knowledge to know when a spec is unreasonable. I am not giving an opinion regarding whether that is the case here. Nor am I giving an opinion regarding whether the comment was appropriate or not. Just hoping to add some nuance. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 28 at 14:04
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @MathKeepsMeBusy - Hi, I agree with what you say and it is absolutely allowed to give constructive criticism in a comment (see here). However it must be constructive (and polite) even though it can disagree. In the specific question being discussed, the very short comment came across as not constructive as there was no explanation - and as a combination of brevity and lack of explanation, it came across as snarky. As I explained in my answer, more explanation would have changed the whole tone of the reply and likely its perception by others. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 28 at 14:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just curious, but do mods get to see who flags things? Is it possible that there's a troll flagging Andy's comments (not the OP) who just has a negative lens with which to view them all? \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Apr 28 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's all wrong. I was asked by the OP to respond and I did. There was absolutely no malice in what I said and it's clearly obvious. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Apr 28 at 23:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JYelton - Hi, "do mods get to see who flags things?" Yes. "Is it possible that there's a troll flagging Andy's comments (not the OP) who just has a negative lens with which to view them all?" No, that is categorically not the case. We do look out for that type of situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 28 at 23:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka - "I was asked by the OP to respond" No, you were asked a specific question. "I did" Your response was not a constructive reply, as it didn't address the specific point asked. We've seen this before & it has annoyed other people in the past. As I said in my answer while trying to give helpful feedback, a longer answer would come across better, and be less open to seeming snarky. "There was absolutely no malice in what I said" That doesn't change that a short, non-constructive answer (repeated) to the specific point asked, came across as snarky, as I explained by analogy above. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 28 at 23:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka - Re: "Rule #1 in your 3rd bullet at the bottom" The part you quote isn't a rule, it's part of the narrative, but if you're going to start quoting things, try this from the same document: "Avoid accidental misinterpretation of your comment by being deliberately explicit about your intent." That's exactly what I've also said - add more detail in your comments, to make them less likely to appear snarky. If that document is good enough for you to quote from it, please read the whole document. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 29 at 0:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ And that is exactly what it was - accidental misinterpretation. In fact of all the interpretations that could have been made, the most ridiculous was made. I am being victimized here and it isn't fair. I think you have some kind of vendetta against me Sam Gibson. As I've said before, justice needs to be seen to be done and, it looks to me like a whole lot of "get Andy" stuff is happening. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Apr 29 at 9:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka - You have made a specific (false) allegation against me, so take it to Stack Exchange (contact form at the bottom of the page). They can see your long history of flags, see how I've even given you extra chances before issuing warnings etc. and they can decide whether I have behaved fairly or not. As I commented above I think you are overreacting in this question, but I have lots of evidence to justify my actions. I have nothing to fear from your unfounded allegation and I will tell SE to expect your complaint. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 29 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ (continued) Previously you complained about a lack of feedback before your last suspension, so I'm disappointed that giving feedback here isn't appreciated by you. A Stack Exchange staff member also recommended that: "you review the CoC, our guidance, and adjust accordingly". No-one wants to suspend you (or anyone)! But if someone rejects guidance (which, if followed, would help to avoid suspensions) then they can't reasonably complain next time they get suspended! The phrase "we did try to tell you" applies. Anyway, take your false accusation against me to SE. We are done here. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson Mod
    Apr 29 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have no faith in the process being fair. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Apr 29 at 18:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ To interpret these posted comments as rude or even snarky is really far-fetched IMO. You are setting the bar for what counts as rudeness incredibly low and I wonder how you'll keep that level consistent over time and across the whole mod team. I see countless of far more snarky comments here every day. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    May 10 at 13:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ RE: "The reason is quite obvious - it doesn't answer the previous request ("You have a mathematical approach or formula ?")" --- I disagree. I does answer the question. It's short for "No, I don't have a mathematical approach, I have a simulator". The question was posted in highly abbreviated language so it's not surprising or rude if the answer also is. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    May 15 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well guys I got a suspension of 14 days for raising this question and commenting on the really poor responses from mods. I'll probably get another suspension for saying this. I have zero faith in the current set of moderators on EE. Mods need to think of the bigger picture and not how hard it is to be a mod and what they can do to shut folk up to make their lives easier. Roll on the new elections (that have just been announced). \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Jun 15 at 21:35

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