Here's some highlights from a post I recently flagged as rude or abusive.

The closest parallel I can find is the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. No, that wasn't conduct becoming of a president (certainly not the porky white house intern... if he had been caught with Claudia Schiffer, that might have been excusable).

There's also some passive-aggressive putdowns like.

While Trump may offend people who are predisposed to take offense

Looks like someone edited it a bit after tone down the worst parts, but really? You declined the flag on that saying not to use flags for technical inaccuracies?

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

What happened? Is this kind of behavior considered acceptable here? And why the passive-aggressive decline reason?

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    An even bigger problem is that it doesn't really answer the question. Only one brief paragraph (the penultimate one) is actually attempting to provide an answer, the rest is just telling everyone how great Trump is and how bad Obamacare is.
    – user11249
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 1:07
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    In other news, why women don't contribute here is still a mystery. Then the weather at 8. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 2:18
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    "declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer" is a canned message, not one crafted specifically in response to your flag.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 3:29
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    What flag did you use, Crocodile?
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 4:35
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    @BenVoigt I thought it was obvious, but "rude or abusive" Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 22:15
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    @AndrewGrimm: Spot on, these and similar canned messages are often used somewhat inappropriately, in that they do not really convey the right sense.
    – PJTraill
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


For Code of Conduct (CoC) violations - which at least the sexist comment definitely is - the CoC mentions two options:

  • Flag the harmful content.
  • Contact us. With a link to the site-specific contact form. You can choose "I want to report a code of conduct violation".

You may want to use both options.

Mods will see the flag, and employees of SE will handle the "contact us" inquiry.

If properly handled, this should result in:

  • the removal of the content and at a minimum a warning for the user
  • a violation of the "No bigotry", abuse or harassment section of the CoC can result in immediate account suspension (see "Enforcement" section of the CoC).

If you want to increase the chance of the described enforcement of the CoC taking place, it might be a good idea to use the "contact us" option instead or in addition to flags (which is also what the CoC suggests if you have concerns about how mods handle these flags).

tl;dr This type of content is not acceptable at stackexchange (of which politics is a part). It's a violation of the CoC and the intended consequence is a warning or an immediate suspension without warning. Use the contact form if you want the CoC to be enforced.

  • Seems pretty silly to have to do this, but I think I will have to start doing this and see if things improve. Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 22:13

Monica Lewinsky did a dumb thing at the age of 22. For that, she became the most massively cyber-bullied person perhaps ever on earth. She did a very eye-opening TED Talk on the subject.

As a moderator on Stack Exchange (Cooking), I consider deleting anything that smacks of a personal attack to be my most important duty. As members of an online community and citizens of the world, kindness is everything. That's not a really challenging ideal to hold to on Seasoned Advice, where in any given week the most controversial question we face might be whether dumplings should be flat or fluffy. I imagine that kindness mandate would become a lot trickier here. Obviously, the porky line had to go. Thank you for flagging it. Monica Lewinsky and the rest of humanity deserve better on Stack Exchange.

But Monica Lewinsky is not the only individual in this situation who deserves to be treated with kindness. I looked at what remained of the answer and at other posts here. Specifically, I was looking for similar low-level snark in posts here on Politics that suggest that the author does not support Trump. There's plenty to support the argument that deleting the answer (or even just the snark) to which you refer would be holding a double standard. That would also be unkind.

So please continue to flag anything you feel might be inappropriate. But also understand that these decisions are judgment calls that are rarely black and white.

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    I agree that these are to a certain extend judgement calls. But do note that the CoC does differentiate between bigotry/harassment and unfriendliness. For "language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion", it recommends immediate, temporary account suspension of a day or more. For other misconduct, it recommends to use a warning first, and use suspension for repetitive misconduct.
    – tim
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 14:45
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    This case is definitely at the very low end of bigotry violations that we have here, so I can see why mods may not go straight to account suspension (I wouldn't have either), but it is in a different category than not being kind, and with the history we have here regarding the handling of CoC violations, I think the distinction is important to keep in mind.
    – tim
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 14:45
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 6:35

When I reviewed that flag I unfortunately overlooked the phrase

certainly not the porky white house intern

in the answer. This is of course a sexist statement which should not be allowed here. I apologize for that. I should have noticed and removed it.

In my defense, the particular question gets figuratively bombed with flags. So far there were 41 (!) flags on the question itself, the answers on it and the comments posted below them. This amount of flags is unusual, even for a hot network question. Some of the flags were quite obviously of the "flagged because it doesn't support my political views" kind. At this time there are already 9 more flags we still need to handle. With that amount of flags it becomes difficult to really evaluate each flag as closely as it deserves. But I am aware that this is not an excuse.

However, another user removed that phrase in the meantime, so there isn't really a reason to act any more.

About the rest of the answer: It is certainly not how a good answer should be written. Lots of questionable claims without any sources and an obvious political bias. I used my own personal vote to downvote it. But besides the phrase which was already removed I can not find anything in it which is so bad that it would require moderator intervention.

  • 1
    Doesn't this amount of flags - and answers - indicate that this is a poor question (which IMHO it may very well be as it's rather subjective) and should be considered for closing/deleting?
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 13:18
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    @user4012 That's a different question. But fact is, over 12,000 people have read this question and so far only one of them voted to close it.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 13:25
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    Calling people who may be offended predisposed to offense still seems pretty offensive, and certainly not subtle about it. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 19:39
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    I'm also rather confused by the statement "another user removed that phrase in the meantime, so there isn't really a reason to act any more." Does that mean you can say anything you want so long as it's removed before a moderator sees it? Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 19:40
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    @CrackpotCrocodile I'm sorry, but I am not going to suspend the user for just this one little misstep. Users need to be far more consistent or far more egregious in their site policy violations to deserve a suspension.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 22:30
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    @Philipp I think you're jumping the gun a bit if suspension is the only thing you considered. According to what I read, most first-time misconduct receives a warning. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 23:20
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    Everyone's allowed to have a bad day @CrackpotCrocodile. Your flag was fair, but I do not think that a couple of offhand sentences justify a permanent black mark on a user's account. I think that right now the revision history of the answer is enough to convey the message that those sentences were not acceptable. Of course, if I am wrong and the behaviour persists we won't hesitate to take appropriate action.
    – yannis
    Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 11:38
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    @yannis But isn't that exactly what warnings are for? As a first step before a potential ban? Otherwise, the second CoC violation by the same user also wouldn't get a "permanent black mark" on the user's account, because it's seen as the first violation (because there is no warning notice on the account). Calling a woman "porky" and judging peoples behavior based on a womans looks is definitely in violation of the CoC. This seems like exactly the kind of leniency that has lead to hardcore antisemites, serial harassers, and white supremacists to repeatedly spew their hatred here in the past.
    – tim
    Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 17:46
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    @Philipp If CoC violations are only removed, how does the offending user know that this was a CoC violation, and that they should not repeat this behavior? It might just look like an ordinary edit to improve the quality of the answer to them.
    – tim
    Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 18:18
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    I really don't see that as a "minor" misstep. It's disgusting, and should result in moderator action. A warning is 100% appropriate, and I wouldn't even consider a suspension necessarily overboard.
    – TRiG
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 19:16

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