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Last week I got a 7-day suspension due to some comments I posted beneath this question (I would have made this post sooner but the system wasn't allowing me to do so while suspended).

A user decided to post an off-topic, snarky comment criticising me for the way he perceived that I organise my music, a comment which ended with the word "appalling".

As a working class Northern Brit, it's in my nature to respond to such snobbishness in kind, and I did. The language I used was certainly a little aggressive, and was meant to be to convey my anger at this user's snobbishness over a matter so trivial and irrelevant to the question, but still, my response did not include any truly offensive language or swear words.

Why then was I suspended for my response to this while the other user was not for their initial comment (as evidenced by their reputation remaining unchanged)? What is the purpose of a "be nice" policy that only punishes those who are provoked and not those who are in the habit of leaving non-nice comments with no other purpose than to provoke?

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    @PimpJuiceIT I got the following email: i.imgur.com/nAO29Dz.jpg. – Hashim Oct 22 at 21:07
  • @PimpJuiceIT Hashim has had two prior warnings over the years and in this case did not attempt to seek clarification more privately via the mod message they would have been sent. At the bottom of the email is a link which could have been used to more discretely discus the matter. As it is though we do not discus sanctions against other users and if they got a warning or suspension is their business until they make it public. – Mokubai Oct 22 at 21:10
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    @Mokubai As I've already said, it's clear they didn't get a suspension because their reputation was intact. I hadn't noticed that that hidden link at the bottom was a way for recourse, but even if I had, I wouldn't have used it - I have no problem with serving my time for my part. My problem is that the user who started the issue was not punished in the same way, and this is a recurring problem on SuperUser. I'm tired of getting warnings and suspensions just because I'm the only one who doesn't have a snidey, passive-aggressive personality and prefer to say things plainly. – Hashim Oct 22 at 21:17
  • Ah.... gotcha!!! This case is different as Hashim did the time and agrees with the consequence but is curious why the other offender using the same or similar language and tone did not receive the same consequence as he did. Could it be a simple matter that Hashim received warnings in prior incidents and received such warning then whereas the other user was new and never received any warnings otherwise? Is there a checklist mod's check that show who was warned when to justify prior warnings for such behavior or does it just depend on which mod sees it & remembers what as they deem appropriate? – Pimp Juice IT Oct 22 at 21:55
  • I think the community does deserve to understand what justifies clearly a suspension handed down by a mod and if that's a group mod decision, a single mod decision, and that the justification for the incident is warranted with accuracy and not otherwise susceptible to human error since mods are humans if only one makes such a decision. Perhaps this detail is already posted on another post but I'm always interested in asking people about their suspension and glad to hear the detail from it as well since I am here to learn it will always be a learning matter to me. – Pimp Juice IT Oct 22 at 21:57
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    @PimpJuiceIT typically a first offence will be a warning. Obviously there is some leeway for particularly egregious violations. Hashim has 2 prior warnings but no suspensions. This was the third offense and as none of the previous messages seemed to have "done the trick" then a suspension was applied. Just because one user got a suspension does not mean that the exact same fate befalls another, history is taken into account. – Mokubai Oct 23 at 9:16
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For context:

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There is a big difference between "snark" in someone potentially jokingly saying, and I quote:

You're going to delete individual songs on albums? Appalling.

And your reply that ended with

Shove your idiotic snobbishness about music, of all things, where the sun doesn't shine.

One may possibly be rude, taken out of context and with intent to take offense, but the other is wilfully abusive.

You could have simply flagged his comment as rude, had it deleted by a mod, and left it at that. You decided to go beyond snarky criticism and in to full blown rudeness.

You have been warned about abusive behaviour several times before. This time it came with a suspension. In future you should follow our code of conduct, be nice and simply flag comments that you find rude.

  • There's a difference between actual "abuse" and what I've been warned for: behaviour like the above, that is simply a blunt response to passive-aggressiveness from people who know they can get away with it, and this recent incident is yet more evidence that that's true - say something insulting but passive aggressive and the mods will look the other way, but respond in a blunt manner and you will be the only who gets a suspension. It's pretty self-evident that that initial comment was not a joke, and the user was not punished for it, reinforcing the fact that it's absolutely fine behaviour. – Hashim Oct 22 at 21:05
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    Then work with us to weed out abusive behaviour rather than dishing more of it out. You've had warnings before and no suspension so it's not necessarily written in stone that a first warning earns a suspension. Be the change you want us to enforce, tell us when someone is rude and let the mods deal with it. Call someone out politely if you want but if you can't say anything without being rude yourself then perhaps that's a time to remain silent. – Mokubai Oct 22 at 21:22
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    I guess referring to someone as "appalling" and telling them to "shove it" for taking offense to being called (or your question) appalling could be the same depending on perception. If someone is offended by certain words more than others, then I think it's fair to say "hey guys, be nice" or whatever and give them the link and remind them before quickly suspending. Appalling also means horrible, awful, terrible, and so forth so I see how people could take offense to that as well. Depends on the reader since we are all reading and not listening to hear actual tone—matter of interpretation. – Pimp Juice IT Oct 22 at 22:07
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    I'm still confused if you gave Hashim warning with this incident or counted another incident against him and just suspended? This is where I get confused about the rules but it sounds like it's per each moderators discretion to do as they deem necessary, right? If you know of a post to clarify all this detail of moderators and their general rules before suspending and such, please send me a link to read. – Pimp Juice IT Oct 22 at 22:10
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    @PimpJuiceIT - Based on the comments it appears that Hashim has both been warned and suspended in the past, for their behavior, the only thing not clear is if the user who made the comment towards Hashim was warned or not. – Ramhound Oct 23 at 4:27
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You escalated a situation and made it worse.

The issue is simply this: You responding the way you did is more egregious than what was done to you. Nobody cares “Who started it…” unless the person who started it was really insulting and out of line.

Have you ever heard of the term/concept of “de-escalation?” You did the opposite: You clearly escalated things in a very aggressive and demeaning manner. Especially when you said this:

“Shove your idiotic snobbishness about music, of all things, where the sun doesn't shine.”

That’s beyond the pale and uncalled for. If I reacted this way to every person who disagreed with me about my music and media collection habits, I would have no friends.

For example, I once told an audio engineer friend of mine that I rip to VBR MP3s, he gasped and explained:

“Storage is cheap… Why not just use FLAC for everything?”

I explained I am on macOS and want to have as much space saved on my iOS devices as possible and at as high quality as I can deal with. He went on and on ranting about macOS, uncompressed audio and this and that and the other…

You know what my response was? It was simply:

“Look you are an audio engineer; I am not. And if I have more music in my collection than I can remember, I find that to be a distraction and not a benefit. And the quality difference between FLAC and MP3 is something I really can’t notice — and honestly don’t care about — for the most part.”

I literally said that.

And that’s it! And that’s in the real world.

Yes, the original poster sounded snooty… But who cares? There is no such thing as a “best” way to manage media. Each person has their own method.

In your case I would have recommended not responding, flagging the comment as irrelevant/“no longer needed” and move on.

If you somehow need to say something just say something like:

“This question is about my specific issues; not a critique of how I am doing things. I’m sorry you find this appalling, but it’s not something I am concerned about.”

Or maybe — better yet — just don’t say anything. Who cares? Before MP3s existed there have always been music and media format snobs. Ignore them; they will never change.

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