In the SuperUser forums, the majority of the comments have negative undertones and more focus is placed on subtle low-key comments that create a toxic culture by its very nature. Users ignore the questions you post and focus only on compliance with the rules which is understandable, but since your in the area, maybe answering the question after a prick comment would help balance the scales to status quo.

The result of this is the majority of Users (top 1% Veterans to the month old noob) all engage in this pitty patty type of rhetoric where they discuss and point out useless semantics, grammar,formatting so much that it seems the core functionality of the site is lost in a negative, sarcastic, self-indulging, ego train of "Holier than Thou" forum referees with a chip on their shoulder as if my question is not worthy. Regardless of compliance with the ToU/Guidelines, it is easy to pick out arbitrary violations because it's commonly just a matter of individual perspective and can not be refuted entirely, only debated with opinions and counter-productive to answers/troubleshooting.

The false sense of superiority over others in need of help is despicable. I find myself having to defend my position at every post. It's like this game they play where the rules are used and manipulated by Veterans who are savvy at the art of crap posting, and policing the forums for arbitrary reasons citing "Read: How to properly ask a question" or "This is why users with no reputation can not comment". The over use of this has created a crap-culture where a new user like me is forced to fire back with intellectual wit of my own, thus, acting just like them.

I rather be humble in my quest for help from strangers as it is very much appreciated. Knowledge is a valuable commodity, and I realize that spam and crap posts are abundant and this is the structure needed to weed out the environment to provide a more fluid and functional forum system but damn!!! So hostile. I caught myself becoming defensive and went from being humble one minute, next minute I am using my wit to engage in a back and forth battle of who has the best comeback to invalidate the other.

Bunch of crap. Let's see some examples.

Newbie Q: Is there a way to manage filepaths more conveniently in Windows 7 besides the small dialogue box gui provided? SuperUser A: Define "convenient" and edit your post. This is why you should read "Why do I need 50 rep to comment" before posting.

A popular comment to get rep points is; >"This comment does not add anything that is already posted." which is used so vaguely that it can be applied to nearly every post.

It seems like they are on an all out search for opportunities to post quick and easy forum policing comments rather that reading the OP question.

I hope I am not ranting and being overly sensitive. I am capable of this interaction as well but, I rather find more productive usage of my time to resolve issues that are important to me. It's easy to get exchange jabs with someone, but, I lose out in the end by offending Veteran users who have a lot to offer if I can just refrain from taking the bait when I feel insulted.

I also enjoy helping others when I can, and only provide answers that I know can provide resolution or a path forward towards it. Immediately after any answer I post, I get responses such as;

"OP did not mention BIOS" and votes me down. I replied "OP did not mention BIOS" because users with questions do not normally put the answer in that question. The BIOS settings are the 1st step towards troubleshooting legacy compatibility issues.....blah blah, blah.

Totally owned the poor guy and several others. Very smart people are in these forums, way smarter than me, but they are pompous and arrogant for the most part and it is very disheartening as I thought this community was the creme' de la creme' of support forums. -Instead it's just a game of witty debate where no progress is made.

We all have different styles of writing, and approaching a complicated question. Many Questions can not be answered without clarification of course, so maybe new or unregistered users can submit to a less restrictive forum 1st and moved to SuperUser if validated. Seeing some poor guy ask a question, one sentence no details sucks, but getting bashed for it without providing some guidance will surely turn that user away to never return. You can lay down the law and be strict, but, at the same time provide some insight.

The Forum Police seem to post a lot of comments with no effort to answer the question. People who answer are vastly out numbered by the self righteous SuperPolice.

-Please feel free to respond, and put me in my place if needed. Provide some perspective, does this methodology really work and do the metrics show that? Is this a normal stage that noobs go through or am I just being overly sensitive and should consider looking within myself for issues of being overly sensitive. In the corporate world, many times every day we are tempted to react to an jerk end-user is not a healthy formula for success,(and it might be the CEO's nephew) on the other line.

Should I continue as I have been, where I am quick to fire back, or should I just go with the flow and keep it professional and indifferent?

Interpersonal skills are always very dynamic, but SuperUser forums are very Toxic.

Thanks for Reading and Please respond candidly.

  • 8
    I have had the opposite experience. You should note that Super User is not a "forum" in the traditional sense so there is a bit of a learning curve.
    – Burgi
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:29
  • 4
    I feel like there's a really good question in this, but it's clouded by insults and things that just appear childish. However, I also feel that if I edit it, then it's going to be taken as a insult.... Oct 24, 2017 at 11:33
  • 1
    @djsmiley2k Please edit, I would appreciate seeing any improvements, and in retrospect the insults should have been omitted, as I am being overly candid instead of professional.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:36
  • @Burgi Maybe I should pump my brakes and take it all in for about another month. Not trying to be all negative, as I don't have sufficient exposure to judge, but just an initial reaction. I am positive that I will not feel the same way very soon, and I take the blame for my actions as well.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:40
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    The "forum police" are trying to help you ask an effective and on-topic question and provide relevant information that might help someone to help you. We might not have the answers but we can at least get you to provide enough information so that someone with an answer can better tailor it to your specific situation. You can get offended by every passing comment on the internet if you like but for the most part people see a lot of questions here and they value their time highly, if someone can't be bothered to ask a clear and concise question then many people will not be bothered to answer it.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:50
  • @Mokubai Totally agree and will be looking within myself 1st as a professional that should refrain from such engagements. Us noobs have limited functionality which can be frustrating. People also have various writing styles that are not always universally accepted the same way across the board.I can see that I lack the precision and ability to type less by using more effective composition.I'm just a low level Tech amongst all of you sysadmins,programmers and devs with vast array of knowledge.Maybe I get offended easily as I am somewhat out of my league here,but I seek to learn and Thank You.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:03
  • @Mokubai I can see your point. I may be programmed to act otherwise as I provide end-user desktop support face to face daily and must maintain and build a professional repertoire with difficult people.My interactions have not been that dramatic, and I understand as Burgi stated, this is not a Forum, and no one is going to hold your hand. If it works for all you, I'll get over it. But I will not ever bash on someone, subtly or otherwise because I feel I have the tools to elicit a response utilizing a more indifferent user friendly approach without compromising productivity.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:18
  • Additionally, it seems like many users are hunting for questions to close and lock, rather than answer. Oct 24, 2017 at 19:42
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    I just wander around the front page and do as needed. I suspect everyone else does.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Oct 25, 2017 at 0:09
  • Just to add. I slept on this - and I don't see any attempt at constructive discussion. If anyone feels this can be salvaged please feel to do so, and vote to reopen.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Oct 25, 2017 at 0:12
  • I was in your shoes several years ago. 7, I guess, looking at my profile. The early, low-rep stage is frustrating. There are different personalities here in the most active high-rep users (sheesh, I remember when I was on your side of the fence, and now I'm just about to crack 25k), but if you scratch any of them you'll find they want good questions to get good answers. This often means a good deal of back-and-forth happens to get the question in good form, and the result is that the right person with the right answer is more likely to see and recognize that question when they come by. Oct 31, 2017 at 20:30
  • In other words, be part of the solution. You obviously see the value of what SU is and what makes it unique in a world of cookie-cutter tech-support forums. So channel that value into understanding why these high-rep users are the way they are, and find your place in the community and be part of making it better. Oct 31, 2017 at 20:32

1 Answer 1


Balancing between new user friendliness, and keeping our core userbase is one of those very tricky balancing acts for us. I'm not going to make this long - good answers are self contained and supported, and in every example you gave, your answers weren't quite.

I'm going to assume a good chunk of your question is venting, and focus on the comments.

Quite a lot of your question going to win you any friends, and quite a lot of folk comment with good intentions and choose to answer when we can. I didn't get any reputation commenting ;). While its tempting to engage, it feels more constructive to see if these comments could be done better.

Good answers help people, both signed up, or through the internet. Our comment culture mostly is about polishing up and

I've taken the liberty of looking through your answers in this site so far, and about 3 of them, out of 12 have the sort of comments you're talking about.

This one's been deleted. Your answer goes

Try using a Windows Repair Disk.

Microsoft Support

At first glance, it looks like spam. On closer examination its a link only answer. Since one of the CM's has written an excellent answer elsewhere - I'd suggest you take a look to see why its not a good idea. As for the comment - I believe its a stock one, that's part of the review queue.

Now this one seems somewhat speculative, There was no downvote when I checked, so claiming you were downvoted seems somewhat disingenious. Considering OP's asked for more information, and some parts of the answer seems odd, I'd actually have expected more requests for clarification.

Here the comment might have to do with the fact that the commenter has a bounty out, and is going "Yanno? I don't think this would be what I'd give the bounty to" It does basically go "it does this" which every other answer covers, and a bit of scary stuff about viruses - which isn't really what the question is about.

Quite a lot's a matter of perspective. As much as you'd like us to examine our motivations and how we do things - well, a lot of this is the site working as it should, to try to improve post quality as a community.

  • Thank You for investigating. My interactions have not been very negative or dramatic. I did suffer through a learning curve navigating comments vs. answers and did not follow guidelines. I read the user guide,forgot a lot of it, went and read it again after receiving input from mods. As of late I think I have been catching on and realized this is not a typical forum like the others and there is a structure to adhere. My rant was regarding other new users without Tech skills having to deal with pompous tech pricks for asking a simple question,again "Comments Only" no answer.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:47
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    I looked through all your questions. The rest were simple clarifications. " pompous tech pricks" Isn't a nice thing to say by the way. That's not really the sort of attitude that lets you engage a community productively. I'm going to refer you to the be nice part of our FAQ. At this point, I'm going to suggest it is a very good idea to keep that in mind in future comments or posts here.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:53
  • I have not issues that dramatic with any user,just unproductive rhetoric from mods and users that are quick to assume your answer is wrong when they don't even know the answer.How does that work? How do you justify a commenting on an answer, when it escapes you completely to the point where in retrospect you have to delete your crap egotistical post to save face in the event the original answer was right all along and did not have to ask the OP to "Learn How to as Questions" first.We are not here to fetch info for you." Peruse the community,the majority of comments are crap from mods,period.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:59
  • I call it as it is,the culture here is very toxic and the leadership seems to have a cult type following.Maybe online-interactions with end-users provide the comfort level for such responses towards non technical persons.Programmers,devs who work independently are usually socially inept introverts in their own bubble. All I know is I will never allow myself to behave that way towards end-users without warrant. You guys, maybe not you specifically,but you seem to feel guilty,thus the quest to validate your position fell flat,as I accept critique,but will refute crap empty posts in disguise.
    – CymaTechs
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:07
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    I'm a mod. I deal with these things. I spend the time to go - can I help this person, but, I really don't feel like a constructive engagement is what you're here for. I don't have a cult type following or anything, just folk who know I can sort this out.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:12
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    @CymaTechs If you submit a comment as an answer or an answer that reads more like a comment don’t be shocked when you are told not to submit commentary as an answer. You have two choices when somebody mentions something about the quality of one of your answers. You can either improve the answer or react the way you have. If you are calling your own answer a comment then you can’t complain when you are told NOT to submit comments as an answer.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 25, 2017 at 1:41

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