The author of this answer to a meta post literally told OP to "shut the freak up" (only they didn't say "freak") in both their answer and several comments. (The answer is not deleted, and the vulgar language remained at the time when I initially made this post.)


One of the rude comments that I've flagged and then were removed:

Archive.org mirror link: https://web.archive.org/web/20231224051019/https://meta.superuser.com/questions/15119/why-do-people-attempt-to-discourage-long-well-written-answers-by-instant-ai-accu

According to the MSE FAQ post, Are expletives (cursing, swear words or vulgar language) allowed on SE sites?, using expletives is not acceptable behavior on any Stack Exchange site and is a violation of the Code of Conduct, even on Meta.

I flagged the answer and comments as rude because using profanity here is simply unnecessary, violates the code of conduct, and, well, is rude. The rude comments have been removed and the expletive has been edited out of the answer; however, the flag reviewer declined all my flags ("found no evidence to support it"), suggesting that this behavior is acceptable and doesn't violate the code of conduct.

screenshot of declined flags

I have always flagged rude comments containing expletives on SE sites, and they were always marked as helpful by the moderators. So it was odd to me that my flags here were declined. If the moderators removed the content containing expletives, my flags should’ve been marked as “helpful,” not "declined."

Can the mods re-review these flags? Or is it OK to tell people to shut the f--k up in meta now?


2 Answers 2


I'm not a mod here, but am on other social media sites. This is only a guess.

Sometimes a response other than what the reporter expects is used because it accomplishes what is needed in the moment, or for other reasons.

The post was edited by a mod and appropriate feedback advising regarding the policy of professional language on the site was given in this edit:

enter image description here

With the poor language being removed and feedback already given to the poster, there was no need for further action.

  • I believe the moderation action you mentioned was taken as a result of my flags and this meta post (the expletive in the answer was edited out after this meta post was made). I’m not requesting "further action," but for clarification on why my flags were marked as "declined," considering that the rude comments were deleted and the expletive was removed from the answer by a moderator. This implies that my flags were valid and should have been acknowledged as such, not "declined," since they helped to clean up the offensive content. Commented Jan 7 at 4:07
  • I think you may have missed the point I was trying to make, and it appears JourneymanGeek explained the details of the behind-the-scenes reasons why this was handled as it was. To put it more simply: Marking a flag as helpful only allows certain actions for the mods, and as the actual action taken was not one of those, the only options the mods had left regarding your flag was to mark it declined. It appears to be a limitation in the moderation tools. Commented Jan 8 at 16:02
  • That's possible. Though the mod who handled the flag should confirm if that was indeed the case (mod tools limitation) or if they might have made a mistake (meant to actually mark the flag as "helpful"). Journeyman Geek mentioned in a comment that "it's either drop the hammer and delete it, or decline." The rude comments were deleted, so I'm wondering why my flags for the comments were still marked as declined. Commented Jan 9 at 3:30

While I wasn't the moderator who handled the flags in question - the moderation style here is often about defusing issues rather than trying to take punitive measures.

Frankly at some point, someone should have take a deep breath, and a step back and decided that maybe it wasn't worth the argument.

The edit ought to have been the end of it. We didn't even have to split the baby in two.

I'm a big fan of 'be nice'

And the page for that that used to read

If this is a simple misunderstanding, no harm done. Sometimes it is helpful to remind ourselves on occasion that keeping things friendly and constructive doesn't have to be at odds with being right — so enjoy the site, bring your sense of humor, and please be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know.

You got attention to the issue, it was handled. The wording that caused offence was edited. We might choose to have a word with the users involved but frankly, my beard isn't white enough to hand out lumps of coal over the festive season. Some time for everyone involved to cool off would be good too. Not everything we do by choice is visible or obvious, and I'd rather look at trying to solve the underlying problems than dig into the thought processes behind specific flags being handled.

In short? The moderator handling it at the time felt it was the right thing to do, and clearing the comments was enough to cool things off. I intervened on the question.

In addition comment flags are a little silly and its possible it got declined for other reasons - I don't remember what a simple delete does and I'll need to poke at that.

  • "its possible it got declined for other reasons […] I'll need to poke at that." Could it be that this was a mistake and the mod who handled the flag actually meant to mark my flags as "helpful"? Commented Jan 7 at 3:58
  • pretty much its either drop the hammer and delete it, or decline
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jan 7 at 4:47

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