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I asked this question. Two people answered it, call them Poster 1 and Poster 2.

Poster 2's answer began: The answer by [Poster 1] demonstrates a remarkable lack of both sound bidding and ethics." Poster 1 commented on this answer, "I have to -1, as you're really misinterpreting what I'm saying."

I jumped into the discussion by writing under the other comment, "I am not downvoting, but I would caution you about your first line. Actions taken by people with a lesser understanding than yours do not automatically imply a lack of ethics, A good, highly meritorious answer otherwise."

Poster 2 wrote back to Poster 1 saying that if Poster 1 would modify his answer, Poster 2 would modify his "first line."

I am dissatisfied with that reply (to my comment). Do I have good reason to be? (When I "called out" Poster 2 on another site, a moderator's opinion was that he and I were about equally at fault.)

Should I also say something to Poster 1 as well?

Or should I let others address this, as I did by coming here?

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    I would argue that there is no reason to attack another user for a question/answer/comment when answering a question. The point about issues with the other post can be made without attacking the credibility of the poster. – Joe W Jun 2 at 23:35
  • @JoeW: OK. You're not the "Joe" that was Poster 1, are you? – Tom Au Jun 2 at 23:39
  • Nope, I don't know enough about bridge to post answers on those questions. – Joe W Jun 2 at 23:40
  • @JoeW: On another site, Poster 2 and I had this rather acerbic exchange: history.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4101/… – Tom Au Jun 2 at 23:42
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If you think you can take an action that's likely to lead to improving an answer, whether by directly making suggestions or asking for clarifications, or by participating in a discussion that could lead to a helpful conclusion, feel free to take it.

If you can't do that, then you should step back. Escalating a situation is worse than doing nothing.

If you feel a situation may require moderator intervention, you can flag a post or comment. However, moderators aren't here to sort out every disagreement; this is more for when people are breaking the rules in some way.

If you feel the situation may involve the site working incorrectly, you can bring it to meta. However, meta also isn't here to sort out every disagreement; meta can help with "is this actually an answer to the question?" but it can't help with "whose comment/answer is right?"

In the end, not every disagreement is going to get resolved, and that's just how things go. We can make suggestions, we can explain ourselves, but we can't make people change their minds. And bystanders - be they meta or moderator - won't even be able to discern who's right and who's wrong in every last situation.

In this specific case, I don't really see much more to be done. People seem to have said what they're going to say, and some voting has taken place that clearly favors one answer over another. The comments on the lower-scoring answer may be quite reasonable! But ultimately, the author is going to do what they want with their answer.

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  • IMHO, this was a "borderline" situation. Worse than a mere disagreement, into the region of "heavyhandedness." Something I didn't want to overlook, but where escalation "was worse than doing nothing." Which is why I treaded carefully. – Tom Au Jun 3 at 15:04
  • I think I've covered all of that. If it's bad enough to warrant flagging, flag. If it's not, if it's just a less-positive-than-ideal disagreement, then there's nothing to really do besides walk away. "I am dissatisfied with that reply" is not really something that moderators or meta need to adjudicate. – Cascabel Jun 3 at 18:49
  • Actually, I was on the verge of flagging the original Post 2 for incivility. When I launched a "probe" and received a reply in return, I decided that "dissatisfied" with Poster 2's reply was an order of magnitude less bad than "flagging." (If I had received no reply, I would have flagged, which is to say that I avoided one flag.) – Tom Au Jun 4 at 17:51
  • Thanks for your help in deleting the underlying answer. I liked the way that "phased escalation" played out. – Tom Au Jun 7 at 16:39
  • Of course. That said, please note that I reviewed the answer and ultimately took that action because of flags; we'd definitely prefer issues to be raised via flags. – Cascabel Jun 7 at 20:00

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