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I have been suspended last week. No reason or previous warning was given, but presumably it was because of my activity on Tetsujin's answer to "What to do when my Mac is frozen?". Since it states that forcing a power off is the only alternative when a computer is frozen for almost any OS, I added comments explaining that, in Linux, neither is that the only nor the best alternative as long as there is a Sysrq key. Being Linux one of the few major OSes around, I found the claim to be innacurate and that no harm could be done by leaving informational comments.

After some exchanges, Tetsujin did not receive them politely anymore, claimed my point was an utter irrelevance and afterwards grew more offensive. Ten of my and his comments (according to Sathyajith Bhat), which I could not register and in which I tried to convey my message, were deleted by moderators. I noticed the "cleanup", repeated the Sysrq comment (numbered 1 below), because there is nothing wrong with it, and fearing the follow-up would be deleted too, I registered the remaining last five:

(... Unregistered comments. Moderators, feel free to fill in this blank. ...)

(1. Quasímodo) Forcing a power off is not the best option for a Linux system whose keyboard has a SysRq key. For example, if the problem was caused by memory exhaustion, the resource hog could be killed with Alt+SysRq+F, causing the system would come back to normal -- a reboot would not be needed at all -- and unsaved work not related to the killed process would not be lost.

(2. Tetsujin) Jeezus f christ. Shut up about a key that doesn't exist in a Mac. Really. Stop it now!

(3. Quasímodo) I have flagged your comment and I'll keep posting my warning. The question is about a Mac, but that does not give you any reason to say "so this is the same for almost any OS".

(4. Tetsujin) I have flagged ALL your comments & all are gone except this latest swathe of attacks. You are now dipping into harassment territory. Go away.

(5. Quasímodo) This is not an attack, this is information. Read these messages again to see who is harassing.

Upon re-reading the comments, I am still surprised I was the one suspended. I had only added information in the comment 1 (and in previous ones that I could not register before being deleted), but in exchange received some harassment and gatekeeping. The comment section of a user answer is not his property, it is meant for constructive criticism and minor/transient information. Yes, comments may be deleted at any time, but that does not mean they should be deleted or that well-placed comments should trigger a 7-day suspension.

Since the moderators ignored my now 7-days-old message requesting an explanation for the suspension, I would like to hear the community's opinion. Am I at fault? A fault which justified a suspension with no warning, and to not suspend someone who has harassed other users? To be honest, the punishment and comment deletion looks like shielding Tetsujin's answer from criticism, but I would prefer to hear from the moderator (I have tried) before jumping to a conclusion.

Edit

  • I take comment 3 back: The keyword "almost" is enough to make the question true. But it still lacks precision (what is "almost"?), which is OK, I'm not saying all solutions must be perfect and 100% accurate.

  • Still, I would like to keep the comment 1, which is also OK and does not try to falsify the answer, it is just extra information that clarifies what "almost" means there and guides Linux users.

  • Telling a user to shut up is unnacceptable. I have kept the discussion civilized and expect the same tone towards anyone.

  • I would expect moderators to warn users before applying a punishment, see point 6 in A Theory of Moderation and Penalty Box. Also, not ignoring the user if he asks why he was punished is fair.

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    My pleasure, good luck and take care :) – bertieb Nov 13 at 15:58
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    there's a chain of 10 comments prior to the ones posted above where you kept badgering about a key that's not on a Mac keyboard, esp when Mac is specifically called out on in the question, even after being acknowledged by OP and updated the answer after the second comment. That's my definition of harassment, tbh. – Sathyajith Bhat Nov 13 at 16:31
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    its a question about Macs. Unless the question asks for all systems, answer pertaining to behaviour about non Macs would be irrelevant – Sathyajith Bhat Nov 13 at 17:10
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    “I added comments explaining that, in Linux, neither is that the only nor the best alternative as long as there is a Sysrq key.” - So instead of submitting an answer you submitted unnecessary commentary about a operating system that had nothing to do with the question? You could have just issued a downvote. I trust the moderator, in that there is more to those other comments, you didn’t bother to provide – Ramhound Nov 14 at 6:32
  • “I have flagged your comment and I'll keep posting my warning.” Yes; The comment you voted for should have been reported, but continuing to submit the same comment, isn’t allowed either. – Ramhound Nov 14 at 6:35
  • @Quasímodo - Yes; You submit your warning once, with a downvote, and you move on. You could have answered the question and provided a better solution. – Ramhound Nov 14 at 15:59
  • If your answer would have been out of scope for the question, then you must realize, your comment was also out of scope. This is the reason it was originally flagged, it only became a problem, when you kept submitting the same warning multiple times. – Ramhound Nov 14 at 16:11
  • Why don't you suggest an edit removing the sentence that's incorrect? – Donald Duck Nov 14 at 17:33
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    Here on Meta often upvotes/downvotes indicate if voters agree or disagree. In this case I'm upvoting the question not because I agree with you (read my answer to see if I do), but because I think it's an interesting question and I can learn from the entire situation. – Kamil Maciorowski Nov 15 at 13:02
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    Was this person banned? They don't seem to have a profile anymore. – Shayan Nov 24 at 9:40
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I for one don't think you deserved a suspension. Your only real mistake is the threat to flag someone else's comments instead of disengaging, which transforms an argument about the technical topic into an argument about someone else's manners; essentially that's an ad hominem. However, I can see where that comment came from after you were told to "stop", which is also not nice.

In a perfect world, @Tetsujin should have simply ignored your comment instead of telling you to stop, and you, when told to stop, should have done so. If you believe your comment provides information without which the answer is not correct or complete, you can also downvote, since the author clearly won't be using it.

I believe a suspension was rather uncalled for. You were having an argument about an answer, not just attacking a user for the sake of it. It doesn't matter (for the purpose of moderation) who were right in the argument, what matters is that at some point your dialog was no longer constructive, so you should have been told to disengage. I see no indication that you would have ignored a message from the mod telling you to stop: that's when the suspension is typically warranted.

Try to take this the right way: don't get insulted even if you feel a mod was not 100% fair (nobody feels that when they are suspended!), instead, think about how you can improve so that the situation doesn't happen again. And trust me, the way you were handled is nowhere near the point where a mod should be asked to explain themselves. It's a hard job where you have to take decisions and you know upfront no decision will please everyone.

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    I agree. To be fair, however, Tetsujin didn't exactly display mature, exemplary behavior either with his rage retorts. Emotional commentary like that just throws gasoline on interactions like these, interactions which could have been defused had calm/coolness prevailed. – Coldblackice Nov 19 at 3:25
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    @Coldblackice - Tetsujin actions certainly were not perfect in this situation (i.e. Jeezus f christ), but given my own interactions with the user, I can understand their frustrations. I certainly can understand, literally throwing my arms up in the air in frustration, the user frustrated me, and I only had a brief interaction with them. – Ramhound Nov 19 at 13:43
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    @Ramhound I can also understand. All I'm saying is that giving in to triggering, at best, changes no one's mind; at worst, it escalates, further derailing OP, sacrifices screen space, and expends mental energy, participant or not. Tetsujin didn't initiate, but his emotional response, particularly Shut up, threw gas on it, and no surprise, it leveled up into a flag fight. Not to defend the other guy. Your comment above put it well, for everyone: You do X, and then you move on. Whether that's ignoring the instigator or calling for a mod, anything will be better than adding gas. – Coldblackice Nov 20 at 11:31
  • @Coldblackice - it was already a flag fight. His comments had already been flagged & deleted. I had incorrectly assumed that would be the end of it. My less-than-patient comment above was approximately comment 12 on that thread. – Tetsujin Nov 20 at 18:30
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Am I at fault?

I think you are at fault (to be clear: I really cannot tell if you're the only one at fault). Keep reading to know my reasons.

A fault which justified a suspension with no warning, and to not suspend someone who has harassed other users?

This I cannot tell without seeing all the deleted comments. My reasoning is based on the one you revealed:

I have flagged your comment and I'll keep posting my warning. The question is about a Mac, but that does not give you any reason to say "so this is the same for almost any OS".

Note "for any OS" is not equivalent to "for almost any OS". Your statement about Linux (I assume it's a true statement) makes the former false but the latter can still be true. I can see the answer was edited (revision 4) and "for any OS" turned into "for almost any OS". I don't know if it was because of your comment. Anyway, considering what you wrote about Linux adding "almost" was the right thing to do.

Still you kept attacking the phrase "for almost any OS". Even in your answer here you said:

But I'm tired of repeating that the answer made a claim about "almost all OSes", and the whole purpose of my comment on the answer was to show how the claim fails.

The claim doesn't fail. Your statement about Linux falsifies "for any OS", but it doesn't falsify "for almost any OS" or "almost all OSes". The key word is "almost".

IMO a comment about Linux could be useful here (moderately, but still), if only targeted more on sharing knowledge than trying to falsify somebody else's statement (which, after being edited, is true).

It could have been like this:

(You) Forcing a power off is not the best option for a Linux system whose keyboard has a SysRq key. For example […]. Therefore IMO "for any OS" is not entirely true.

(The author) Noted. I changed "for any OS" to "for almost any OS". Anyway macOS is not Linux and the SysRq key doesn't exist in a Mac.

(You) True, macOS is not Linux. I will let my comment stay though. Linux users who happen to wander here may benefit from it.

In a perfect world you would be happy because you learnt something about Mac, the author would be happy because they learnt something about Linux.

If I were you I might argue about "for any OS", but I certainly wouldn't attack the phrase "for almost any OS". If my comment about Linux was deleted, I would probably let it go. Well, maybe I wouldn't, but this would be a mistake. After "almost" was added to the answer, letting go was the right thing to do.

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    I believe this has been the most moderate and impartial answer here. "I will let my comment stay though. Linux users who happen to wander here may benefit from it" sums up exactly what I only wished. Maybe the way I wrote my comment conveyed it as an attack and generated all this confusion. "Almost any OS"... I still think that is too much, but I totally get your point. Thank you, Kamil. – user596332 Nov 15 at 13:07
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    @Quasímodo - Why is a Linux user reading about macOS question? The answer never claimed to solved the problem for Linux and macOS. – Ramhound Nov 16 at 14:53
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    @Quasímodo - Sounds like an unnecessary commentary to me. – Ramhound Nov 17 at 0:58
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. I noticed the "cleanup", repeated the SysRq comment (numbered 1 below), because there is nothing wrong with it, and fearing the follow-up would be deleted too,

So you're aware a comment clean up happened and felt you know better.

I have flagged your comment and I'll keep posting my warning. The question is about a Mac, but that does not give you any reason to say "so this is the same for almost any OS".

Uh... and you're pretty adamant on reposting that warning, even if it's cleaned up.

At some point, it's just worth deciding that maybe, just maybe that comment isn't that important. Especially as, in context, as someone mentioned, that key does not exist

OK, an analogy to illustrate my point. A asks "Are scorpions dangerous?". B answers: "Yes. This is true for almost any arachnid." C comments (not answers): "That is inaccurate. Horseshoe crabs, for example, are arachnids but are not dangerous.". B: "Shut up, this is about scorpions." A asked about scorpions, B extended his answer to arachnids, C added true information about non-dangerous arachnids. Are you going to wipe C's records? Is that harassing? B does not even need to heed C's remarks if he doesn't want

enter image description here

People care about scorpions, and the comment about "Yes, this is true for almost any arachnid" would be deleted. People would probably remind the person posting such an answer to keep it on scope. The question is about scorpions. Not Arachnids, or Horseshoe crabs.

If you kept posting about arachnids, or worse sea lions, especially after folks asked you not to we'd have an issue.

Practically, if something gets deleted, reposting it isn't a good idea. Threatening to repost it is a worse idea.

Good comments often either improve the question or the answer, not act as a space for fragmentary orphaned information.

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5

Based on the information provided, you are at fault. Suspension is justified here for you to cool off in a period of time, before engaging in community again. Not giving warning is a prerogative of a mod when they feel the need to immediate de-escalation.

Everyone else has explained quite exhaustively, but I'm offering another alternative next time you feel the need to correct someone else's answer: make your own answer.

However, the scope of the question was Mac. If you were to make an answer based on that question, it might be downvoted for not answering within the question's scope, or worse, deleted as a non-answer. The solution? Make your own question and self-answer FAQ-style.
Include in the body of the question that this is inspired from a Mac version of post. This is the best way to do to share your knowledge.

If you don't have time or energy to make a new answer or question, then don't comment-war below another person's post (question/answer). The place is reserved for improvement. If the author doesn't want to change their post despite your comment, then move on.

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So, as this morning found I this question on the side bar in the Meta hot list - it seems not only was I hounded in comments, I'm now being hounded, after the OP returns from a ban to cool off, in meta.

Rather than flagging, I'm going to voice my opinion of this as a direct answer.

No-one except moderators can see the entire thread [not even me, of course]. The partial comment thread re-posted by the OP was after many previous iterations of the very same factoid - that unix has some magic sysreq key.
This is of absolutely no import on a Mac, as the key doesn't exist. This thread was eventually flagged & deleted [apparently after 10 comments, according to Sathyajith Bhat♦ as mentioned above].
I made my point that it had no relevance to the question. I saw no reason whatsoever to add this information, & compromised by adding the word 'almost' to the disputed line, after the first couple of insistences.

This apparently wasn't enough for some… more insistence that I should specifically add an irrelevant fact about an OS not in the question seemed to be the only way to mollify this user.

I still saw absolutely no reason to add this. I was now being pinged about every ten minutes by the same user over the same thing. As the Answer poster, of course, I get pinged for every comment, I don't need to be specifically @flagged or have responded.

By the time I posted my irate comment, quoted above, we were well into this truly pointless debate & I thought that the compromise would have been sufficient. I certainly wasn't going to add it to the answer.

Now we're well into harassment territory, which I warned my stalker about.
Unbowed, on he went…

I flagged, he added more, I flagged again, he was banned.

…and now he's back, still blaming me for what is now pretty obviously totally single-minded harassment.
I'm now being targeted specifically, in public.
The OP is still insisting this completely irrelevant information was sooo important he has to raise an entire meta question to once again try to blame me for his appalling behaviour.

Some people really just don't know when to quit.

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    @Quasímodo - Your comment had not relevance to macOS. I have no doubt you hounded Tetsujin. Because I felt hounded just based on the commentary we exchanged. – Ramhound Nov 16 at 13:25
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    @Ramhound I think replying is defined as hounding now? Am I being hounded by you too? – user596332 Nov 16 at 13:29
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    @Quasímodo - I am defiantly getting that impression are very passionate about this particular subject. Far more than I am about the subject. I am also getting the impression you felt you have been wronged. I have no power to change how you feel about the topic. I am also getting the impression that you feel that, because I don't agree with your viewpoint, that my viewpoint isn't with regards to what happen isn't fair. – Ramhound Nov 16 at 14:58
  • I never read the comments you wrote, but you wrote those comments, so that limitation doesn't apply to yourself. – Ramhound Nov 16 at 16:06
  • What about this? (2. Tetsujin) Jeezus f christ. Shut up about a key that doesn't exist in a Mac. Really. Stop it now! That's completely uncalled for in any context – StephenBoesch 2 days ago
  • You have absolutely no idea the frustration that user - now gone - caused me. First in questions, then in here, then in another meta, all to try prove one irrelevant point he insisted on making. You just have no idea. I'm still being haunted by it after he left stack exchange, because of this meta. – Tetsujin 2 days ago
  • Honestly, looking at this whole dumpster fire after the fact, wouldn't the easiest way to stop the whole conflict have been to just remove the paragraph about other OSes from your answer? If the question was only about MacOS, surely it's also just as irrelevant. And without it, there'd be nothing to argue about. – Ilmari Karonen 11 hours ago

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