I flagged the below-quoted comment by user "Dugg" as rude and offensive. (It was made in the comments below the now-closed Nietzsche commentary translation question.)

@EugeneSeidel I'm inclined to use some offensive language here. However, I won't (yet). But I do ask you to, please, refrain from further commenting. – Gugg 20 hours ago

I ask you, how is this not rude and offensive? I hardly think I'm overly sensitive, it's the first time I've flagged a comment in my 14 months on GLU.

To make things easier for the mods, I even deleted my reply (even though it wasn't rude) to Gugg's offensive comment .

EDIT to add: I shouldn't have to spell this out but I will, just in case. User "Dugg" is threatening to call me names unless I stop commenting on his Question. Well, he doesn't own the Question. Under the Stackexchange terms of use --- CC-BY-SA -- we sign over the rights to the content we produce. Unlike most of you (such as user "Dugg" and two of GLU's three moderators) I comment here under my full, real name. I do not appreciate being threatened and bullied here.

  • It was very very picky to discuss about a translation of Übermensch. Imho the whole discussion had to be removed, simply for being useless, actually even superfluous. - In respect to your flag: It's neither rude nor offensive but provocative. But your first statement was somehow provocative, too. Just consider, e.g., your last sentence. "and poorly". The question is about: is it OK? And you implies in your comment he did some poor work (that's how it feels, it may be meant differently, though). I wouldn't blame any of you but one thing leads to another.
    – Em1
    Apr 15, 2013 at 7:36

3 Answers 3


Arguments are fueled by passion, so you'll naturally have a somewhat different perspective than the third party mediator you call upon for resolution when you've been involved in one. Moderators are unbiased third parties that arrive to the scene, look at the events that took place and then make the most objective call that they can from the limited amount of context available.

The context in this case was a rather heated thread of comments that started off as not-so-great, and then lost all signal as it deteriorated into complete noise. Viewing the thread as another impartial third party, I immediately got the sense that two people got off on the wrong foot, perhaps irreparably, and got carried away by the wrongs they perceived instead of keeping sight of a constructive outcome. While none of the participants were quite at their best, the exchange that you've shown as an example is probably the lowest that the discourse sank. I interpreted the comment more to indicate 'I am biting my tongue!' - just articulated poorly, but I can understand your interpretation and why it made you upset.

In this medium, where we type short paragraphs to one another, we don't have the benefit of voice inflection, facial expression, gestures or other tools we normally use to make both our point, and our intent known to the people we're communicating with. If you find that you're being received incorrectly as hostile and can't figure out why, the thing to do is immediately stop participating in the discussion and involve a moderator.

Speaking of that, a moderator should have been involved much earlier here - before the conversation had a chance to become the mess that it did. Almost every comment in this exchange could be seen as rude/offensive, I can understand why the moderator was confused that only one was picked out from the lot. In hindsight, the thing to have done is remove the entire thread, which I'll leave for Takkat to do at his discretion.

In the future if you've flagged something yet didn't see your desired outcome, please just flag again to be sure that you've articulated your concerns sufficiently - that's why we have an 'other' reason in the flag menu. Disputes like this should be settled privately whenever possible. If you can't understand the action that a moderator took, there's a good chance that for whatever reason, they failed to see what you did. Be as specific as you can , moderators are human too.

At this point, please consider that the best thing to do is simply move on, and try to not let situations like this reach the kind of boiling point that this one did.

  • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Apr 16, 2013 at 7:22

Much of the janitorial work we do here is cleaning up comments after an issue was resolved. Flagging obsolete or chatty comments is useful to point moderators to such comments in case the original poster did not delete their comment line. The following question

is a good example of a question where most if not all comments will not help future visitors. Comments should ask for clarification or request a post edit but they should not answer or half-answer a question. They are also not meant to point to a question that is not a good fit for our site (use your close votes instead). I believe the OP did feel the same. They may simply have disagreed with so many comments when they had expected an answer hence their comment you flagged.

From possible reasons to flag a comment for deletion I disagree with it being overtly rude or offensive. We should restrict this to comments where offensive language is used, or when fellow users are personally attacked in a rude way.

This was not the case here, but I agree that it was a rather harsh wording we should not use after we had agreed to be nice. Had you flagged it as "too chatty" or "not helpful" I would have happily accepted your flag and would have instantly deleted the comment. But deleting a comment after it had been flagged also means that we agreed to the flag reason. This would have given the OP an accepted rude/offensive flag, which I feel is not justified here.

Also please note that a decline of a comment flag does not affect your flag weight. Comments are simply not that important for the SE format.

After an accepted answer does exist now, all comments should be removed for clean-up but we now have to wait until this Meta discussion here was resolved.

  • Takkat, I'm sorry but you are not paying attention. "Dugg" threatened and bullied me right there in plain sight, why won't you see that? Please keep your irrelevancies ("your flag weight") to yourself. I expect you the Moderators to work for us the users. I expect especially that you will protect us against personal attacks, threats and the like when we appeal to you for help. Your un-helpful response makes me reconsider my continued participation here. Apr 15, 2013 at 8:51

Short answer, the comment flag was "declined" because the moderators found something better to do. Like close the question (and set it up for potential deletion). That was basically as good a result as could reasonably be hoped for.

Long answer: On the other hand, if the question had been left open, the flag should not have been declined, IMHO. Among the most sensitive topics on the History, Politics, (and unfortunately German) sites have to do with "crimes against humanity." These topics are best dodged when possible, but they do have historical significance, so they also need to be addressed from time to time. When this happens, it's best if questioners (and answerers) realize that they are treading on "thin ice." Your comment was a reasonable attempt to bring this awareness to the questioner.

"Ubermensch" is a very loaded word, and its interest derives from its use in history. Hence it ought to be kept strictly in a historical context, and a good way to do this is to use a parenthetical, or at least "scare quotes" so that the OP makes it clear that this is Nietzsche's view and not his own. The OP did not do this, and you did well to bring this to his attention.

I wouldn't consider his response a (personal) threat, but do consider it a form of blackmail: Basically it read (to me, at least), "if you don't stop commenting, I am going to use more bad words even if they damage the site." Such behavior should not be tolerated. I wonder why it was.

One flag in 14 months suggests a high level of forebearance. Reminds me about the downvote I cast regarding the use of the word "nice" (without even scare quotes in the original) source of cheap labor [for "camps"]. It was only my fourth downvote on the history site; I probably downvote too LITTLE (saving this action for "obscene" posts like the one about "Red light districts" or the Greek God who supposedly "dated" his daughter; to use my "sanitized" language), with posts that are insensitive about human rights being comparably "obscene."

These issues are somewhat rare on SE sites, although more common than you and I would like. And when they come up, they need to be addressed. We just need to do a better job of making other people believe "It's their fight too."

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