I answered this question. The OP clearly disagrees with my answer (or maybe just wishes the answer were different). I've encouraged him to post an opposing answer if he disagrees, but he seems to want to just argue with me in the comments, or add more content to his original question, in the hopes of convincing me to change my answer. He's going around in circles at this point, so there is nothing new that is going to convince me to change my answer.

In this situation, should the OP be encouraged to post an opposing answer?

What's the "right thing" (if there is one) for the OP to do in a situation like this, according to this site's culture? (I know it's not arguing in the comments...)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps OP does not wish to post an answer because it lays him open to downvotes: if so, no encouragement will succeed. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2015 at 23:07

3 Answers 3


You cannot control what other people do, just what you do.

Post your answer. If the OP or anyone else doesn't like it - that's their right, even if they're being a dink. If they post a comment that you think helps refine your answer, edit to take it into account; otherwise don't reply.

It takes two to argue in comments. Don't enable it.

What "should" the questioner do? Nothing. What can they do? Post an answer, downvote, edit their question, nothing, etc. But that's not really your business.

Is he kinda being an argumentative goon who really, really wants the answer to his question to validate his viewpoint? Sure. You don't fix that by also being an argumentative goon. Answer, follow normal protocol, let it stand, get votes. Otherwise, leave it be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ er, don't reply without a good reason, like asking for clarity. Sometimes (less now that I'm slightly more comfortable with the site controls) a high rep user will post a comment on an answer or question or what have you that I don't understand at all or don't unterstand how to follow the advice of. Posting on meta is good for some things, but I think a follow-up comment is the best solution in this case much of the time. Just make sure to really think about how each comment relates to you making your answer better before posting, and take it to chat early if possible. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 6:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the case in question, I was guilty as charged (re: arguing in the comments). But I find it hard to let a comment I disagree with sit without responding, and non-moderators have no way of taking it to chat on their own, until the button appears. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ You say "Let's go to chat" and link the main or another chat room. You can always take it to chat, you just can't move the comments there. You could flag of course. I know it's hard to not argue in comments, if it was we wouldn't need our rules :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 24, 2015 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ fair enough ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 18:21

You can if you want to, but don't have to. Self-answered questions are encouraged on the site. What you shouldn't do is have arguments in comments about the answers you disagree with. Post your own answer instead.



Just because an answer is trivial to verify does not mean that a question is trivial to answer. If someone asked "How do you grapple in D&D 3.5?" and you answered with a homebrew grappling system intended for GURPS, I can (and should) downvote your answer and/or leave a comment explaining how and that your answer is completely off base and possibly flag the question as 'not an answer' or 'extremely low quality'. That doesn't mean I know enough to answer the question myself.

In the same way, look at our (possibly dying :( ) game-rec guidelines. We put a much higher barrier on answerers than those reviewing their answers, and this is for good reason and works well (at least, I think it does...)! Answering these questions well is hard. Reviewing those answers can also be hard, but is generally much, much easier.

Sometimes I ask a question on a niche subject in which I already am an expert here, and very often (unfortunately) the first answer I get will be something like the first answer I got to this: not only completely off base and showing a marked lack of understanding of the subject material, but also plainly stating that the answerer doesn't actually know what they're talking about. I generally downvote and comment on such answers because they are extremely unhelpful, preventing further attention from possibly actually qualified answerers and instilling their wrongthink into potential curious passerby. This doesn't automatically mean that I have my own answer; if I did I likely would have posted it with the question or not posted at all.

In any case, no. People disagreeing with your answer are not and should not be under any obligation to answer themselves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This addresses your actual question, not the specifics of the situation you may be in (mxyzplk addresses that well) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 5:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you said "question" where you meant "answer" a few times in the first paragraph. I'm having a hard time figuring that part out. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, you don't have to, but it might be worth addressing the situation I was in, where the person disagreeing in the comments wasn't just saying "bad answer" but was saying "I think the answer is something else and here's why" -- at that point where the commenter clearly thinks they have the right answer.... does your stance change? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont I think that my answer to that would involve a fair bit of ethical analysis and not really be worth the time to do said calculus since the person who might potentially benefit from said advice is unlikely to be listening. I can say, though, that I do not think he is morally obligated to post an answer just because he's arguing for one in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2015 at 2:30

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