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For the resolution see bottom of post

How do I stop a "more senior" user, that seems to dislike my logic, from harassing every answer I give on StackExchange-RPG?

I'm starting to feel very pushed away by certain user(s), who seem to enjoy claiming 'I can't follow your logic"

Insinuating I'm "stupid" & trying to push me away from explaining my logic with thinly veiled "pokes"

Is there an effective way to have it dealt with other than burning this account and making a new "fake-user" to escape them?

Most of the issues are interpretations of RAW in DnD(5e)

Added after I realized I had misunderstood

I think I mistook polite debate due to my personally passive nature. I would like to openly apologize for my over-reaction and opening this question.

To anyone experiencing a similar issue, directly mention how a comment made you feel IS the correct 1st step, which I failed to take....dont be a me, allow the other party the option to explain

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil thank you, I'm happy to hear an opposite opinion from someone, but to argue with basically "I cant follow your logic (because your stupid and lack logic)" really makes me feel bullied \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Jeffrey! I'm trying to get a better idea of what kind of things you're experiencing since it will help inform solutions. Are you talking about comments on this answer and this answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Feb 24 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara 100%, I can handle a debate, but to just attempt to shut me down with "you have no logic" or "Your answer is nothing but an opinion", like, it gives me the impression i'm a target \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ to the point I almost feel I'd have to leave for it to stop, note same commentor, multiple questions/answers BUT short time period to follow me, a very new user \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil I am sorry if I have made a mis-step. I did address the user directly, asking how I could post for their better understanding, but it seemed not to help the issue \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ My complaint: I am a new user, I feel a more senior user is dis-proportionately making "i disagree"/"your confusing"/"thats not an answer, its an opinion". I say "dis-proportionately" as i'm a very new user, they are a more senior user, yet in that short period I feel they are making comments on my answers "BECAUSE" the answers are mine. I hope that is clear \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mainly, I feel threatened by this, to the point of considering not being involved with stackexchange \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just so you know, there are search settings such as this which looks for "Active" (recently changed) dnd-5e questions, and you appear 5 times within the first 50 results. It is not unlikely that your questions/answers are being found all-at-once because they have all entered the "Active" section nearly all-at-once (7 questions/answers in 24 hours) \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 24 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk-SEstopbeingevil so I must publicly call them out to get assistance? Ensuring every encounter with the user in the future has "bad-blood", if thats the case I might of well just burned the account and never complained \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 24 at 23:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hey, everyone: if Jeffrey doesn't want to specifically name the individual, let's let that be okay. He doesn't need ten people telling him that would lead to more-specific advice, one will do. I'm going to go through and prune some of the comments, as it seems all very well-meaning and a bit redundant/help-piling. (I'm also deleting the first four comments, which predate the migration and aren't germane to the issue, just its venue.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 24 at 23:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty Please do reach out to the moderators. It's not bothering us, it's what we're here for. Flagging is super easy for a reason. Reach out to us via flags on what you're seeing, use a custom reason and let us know what's up. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 at 0:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty I get where you're coming from with the edit, and I hope you'll reconsider. As it stood, with the answers it got (esp. NautArch's) I feel like this stands as a great testament to future users how someone can have a problem here and find a path to resolving that problem. Can I suggest that you restore the original text, possibly with a preamble saying "it's all resolved now, and I'm sorry for the overreaction; future readers who have this sort of problem, I believe $SOLUTION is the best way forward. Read on!" \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 25 at 0:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can do that yourself (/are able to), by going into the edit history ( see the "edited X minutes ago" link next to your name) and rolling back to the previous version and editing from there. (Or I think editing directly from that version, but I haven't tested) \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 25 at 0:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Haha, yes, all edits are visible in the revision history. The only exception is if you edit a post again during the "grace period" - i.e. if you post or edit it, and then edit it again within 5 minutes and nobody else has edited it in between; then, the only changes that are shown in the revision history are those that remain at the end of the grace period. See this MSE post for a more detailed explanation: How does editing work? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 25 at 2:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a person that sometimes says "I don't follow your logic." However, that doesn't mean I think the other person is stupid. Often it is that I just don't understand the chain of the statements. It could be a miscommunication, one of us could be missing information, or I could be too stupid to understand. At no time am I trying to bully or insult anybody. \$\endgroup\$ – NomadMaker Feb 25 at 4:18
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I think it's me and I'm sorry

There is a fine line between helping and not being helpful and I clearly have crossed that with you. My intent was to help provide assistance in improving your answer before downvoting because you are new. But somewhere I crossed a line for you.

There is no bad blood, at least on my side and I can avoid commenting on your answers in the future.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I did not want to name anyone publicly. There is no need for that offence to the other party. Please continue to debate me, your points are often stellar! I may infact owe you an apology. If I make a statement that is "poorly explained" please comment (with minor detail) and I will do my best to expand my statement, or retract any information I find in error. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ To my sensibility, being from a very passive culture, I can be taken a back by direct "assertiveness", if i misunderstand it, which I clearly must of if youd comment this openly. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty From my experience with NautArch, I do believe they meant well and cannot imagine they intended to cause you the grief you're experiencing. We have guidelines that critique on an answer should be kept actionable; you were correct to request actionable feedback. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I mistook the whole chain of events, felt slightly freaked out, then over-reacted \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's understandable. I want to re-iterate: the moderators (and I feel confident speaking for the whole team here) definitely want to be available to anyone suffering this much while using the site. We're here to ensure y'all are doing okay. Please reach out. We'll investigate, take action, talk to folks if need be, and keep things confidential. We signed up specifically to do this. We're sorry you had a rough time over this incident. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 at 0:15
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RPG.SE has particular idosyncrasies which users are expected to adhere to in order to receive a positive response to their answers.

Over time, every online community tends to develop a set of social expectations. Veterans adhere to them easily and even enforce them, but new users don't know the unwritten rules, and often clash with the veterans until they manage to internalize the rules. This can lead to communities becoming insular and occasionally harsh to new users.

In your case, I don't believe they're picking on you specifically, but rather that the manner in which you answer questions has not acquired the same tone and style that the answers of veterans have. The set of critical users tends to be small, because RPG.SE has relatively few users compared to other Stack Exchange sites, even with the D&D 5e boom.

Stack Exchange sites do warn users to be especially tolerant when replying to a new user, but the new user status wears off relatively quickly.

In particular, looking at your five recently downvoted answers, I suspect you are making the following faux pas:

  • Too much bold/italic text. Bold is useful, and I use it myself, but you appear to use it more than is the norm on this particular site.
  • Questions about rules tend to require rules-based citations, either quotes or page references, which back up the answer. Opinions are not highly valued.
  • Answering questions that already accepted a correct answer some time ago. This is usually considered unnecessary. Late answers also tend to get few upvotes in general.
  • Posting comments as answers. On RPG.SE, the answer box is for answering the question, not replying to existing answers. This differs from a forum, where discussion is expected.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am guilty of ALL the bullet-ed points. I will attempt to season myself to the generally accepted "posting format" (aka typing sane, concise points) \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ As the maxim goes: when everything is emphasised, nothing is emphasised. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 25 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty It's worth pointing out that the last bullet point in this answer (the one about answering in comments) is enforced on this stack exchange site moreso than others (I know that they're pretty lax with answers-in-comments over at Sci Fi stack exchange), so these "unwritten rules" can also be different from stack exchange site to stack exchange site. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 27 at 10:11
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There are a bunch of things you can do, and you seem to be working your way up the chain.

(N.B. I haven't gone and dug through your comments/answers to try and ferret out who it is or what the interactions have looked like, as you explicitly are asking to keep it a little bit general. So here's a generalized answer.)

There are lots of things to do, so I'm presenting them in order of response-time as I estimate them.

Public/visible approaches:

1. Comment back with an open mind.

It's a rare person on this site who isn't thoughtful, well-meaning, and trying to help as best they understand how to. And even in those cases we bump up against each other. If a more-senior user's interactions with you feel unfriendly or harrassing, let them know. (And Be Nice while doing so.) Comments like "hey, I know you're probably just trying to help, but I'm feeling chased around and berated. Can you slow down?" will go a long way with nearly 100% of our users.

2. Pop in to Roleplaying Games General Chat.

There are experienced site users there basically 24/7. It's always reasonable to pop in there and say "hey, I'm getting some comments that bug me, can someone sanity-check me?" Again: it's a place full of helpful people, and these ones practice helping RPGSE users more than most.

It is chat, so there's an immediacy and conversational aspect to it that may be useful. However, there is a transience that may not be what you're looking for. And, of course, you're just getting one or two users' opinions. (Though keep an eye out for usernames in italics--room owners--or in blue--moderators. They've been singled out as particularly experienced and/or responsible.)

3. Open a meta post.

Like you've done here. Meta has the benefit of more eyeballs. It's a slower medium, so you get more fleshed-out responses. However, you may get commensurately more requesting of information about your situation. (As you did here.) Again: it's people trying to be the most helpful, all speaking from our own experiences.

Private approaches:

4. Flag a comment or post.

Flagging anything on site* enters it into a queue that the elected moderators check in on regularly. (Flag handling times around here average around an hour or two.) It's helpful if more than one comment/post is implicated--if there's a pattern--for you to choose "custom reason" and use the text field to tell us what you can. Help us do some spelunking, and we'll be right there with you.

5. Ping (@USERNAME) an elected moderator in chat and ask for a private conversation.

The list of the site's elected moderators can always be found here. If you ping one of us in chat and request it, we have the ability to create a new chatroom that's private and add you to the room's access list. You can ping someone by writing @username in chat using their username, so to ping me you'd write @nitsua60. (Note that "private" means only visible to moderators and those on the access list and to SE staff. And "moderators" there means any moderator across the network. So it's not super private, but it's pretty out-of-the-way.)

6. Contact SE Staff.

Every page on the network has a Contact link in its footer, and there are Community Managers (employees ate SE) who see that stream of messages.

* - Well, almost anything. There are some places where a number of flags can produce system-automated actions, like deleting a comment. The intricacies of this are partially documented on meta.SE and partially kept secret for efficacy. Interested readers should go on a quest to meta.SE for this knowledge. If the crone advises you to bypass the bastion of the gargoyle queen, ignore that advice. The Merchant of Bula is a stalwart ally, though quick to anger. A rival user my seek the same information. Beware wolves in sheep's clothing, that's disgusting.


TL;DR: I'm sorry it's been a rough day. From what I see here you're handling things how we'd expect, and in the time I've been writing this post I see that the (presumptive) user you're talking about has apologized for not coming across how they'd intended. I hope the answers here--varied in scope and approach!--help.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I was glad to see the quick responses. I'm sorry that I misunderstood the situation, but perhaps this was a good exercise in "understanding" (for me personally) \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ With "moderator" you mean elected moderator (with a diamond) across the network, and not just users with the moderator privilege (10k rep), right? The terms are often used interchangeably and can be confusing. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 25 at 0:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil yes, thank you! I try to be good about "elected moderator" vs. "community moderator" in my speech, but I slipped up. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 25 at 0:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty I think it's also a good exercise in understanding for a lot of others, too. The accepted answerer clearly didn't realize how things were coming across, and now does. I assume that I annoy/offend someone at least a hundred times a month, and that only one of those people will tell me, so this is a great reminder to me to be best. And hopefully future readers will, as they discover meta, see this (among other things) and come away with the impression "well, they're patient and trying to do well, and here's a resource if it seems like something's going wrong." \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 25 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The very idea that someone thinks you are being offensive offends me. Who are they? Where are they? Let Me At 'Em!!!. (j/k) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 27 at 1:02
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You grow a thicker skin and you grind through it

That's what I did. Well, I already have a thick skin and I am a stubborn SoB.

When I first got to RPGSE (2015) I had no experience with Stack Exchange and Stack Overload stuff; I found that the responses to normal communication were rather bizarre.
I had not quite grokked how SE is its own little animal, how it has a particular character due to it using a model of communication that was built for and by code writing people to help code writing people.

That is what's going on here; learning new jargon, new norms, and a new style of communication. (Similarly, when you first get into the military, you learn a whole new way to communicate).

With a little patience, and some teeth grinding, and a few people speaking to me as a normal human being would, I got over the hump. And I have had a good experience overall.

You are not being stalked. People are trying to help you improve questions and answers, though sometimes that isn't obvious. I find that I have this problem now and again, and I think that's due to having been in the system for a while: now and again, a new user takes what I think is constructive critique as a personal attack.

So we have to work together to get over it.

Hang in there.

RPGSE is a good site with good people, but its norms take some getting used to.

And Welcome! Glad to have you on board! 8^D

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, prehaps I mistook a series of honest debates, from the same user, as a targeted when they were not. I am Canadian, so the idea of someone "aggressively" (to a Canadian sensibility) challenging me is very odd indeed. I will try to keep in mind I may be slightly "softer skinned" than my fellow posters \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeffreyWitty I empathize, and since you have enough rep, please engage any of us in RPGSE chat to talk things over. Naut is a great guy, and most of us don't bite ... 8^D \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 25 at 0:01
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I think there are a couple things going on here

Tone can be hard to read (and easy to misread)

I think the first is simply the fact that tone can be very difficult to convey through internet text messages. If a reader sees your answer and is confused by something, s/he might leave a comment to that effect and think it sounds like an "oh, by the way, I'm having trouble parsing exactly what you're saying here, can you help set me straight?" But then another person reads the comment and it sounds like "Hey, your question makes no sense. It's terrible."

It's the same wording but, for whatever reason, its tone reads differently to different people. It's unfortunate, but it does happen. So I think it's healthy to try and approach what's written on this site keeping the next point in mind:

This is a community of passionate people.

We're passionate about the topic (in this case tabletop RPGs) and we're passionate about learning and teaching. Passion is definitely one of those things that can be misconstrued as "aggressive."

Everyone on this site is here because we want to help other people. To do that, we have a very specific format that is unlike a conventional web forum...

Don't forget the Stack Exchange's format

We have a clear format that we like questions and answers to adhere to. The goal of this site is to provide answers and clarity not just for the first person to ask a question but for anyone else who comes along with that same (or similar enough) question to help them out.

The way we do this is to shape questions and answers such that the context for the question is clear (you've run into some of that with the comments on this question, for example) and the evidence to support the answers is grounded in facts and evidence.

(Some questions blur the lines on this a little, but the goal is always to provide concrete answers and solutions even to things like nebulous social/etiquette questions.)

One thing that helped me in my journey on this site was to shift my thinking: I'm asking a question of providing an answer, but it's not really "my" question or answer. Someone can come along and edit it at any point.

So if somebody is leaving comments that they think your answer isn't quite holding to this paradigm, then understand it's not personal and they're only trying to ensure that the content of this site is the best that it can be for everybody.

And yes, that can sometimes come across as a bit elitist, especially if the person leaving the comment is simply making a quick remark.


From what I can see, looking through your various answers, is that it's not the same person leaving the comments that I think you're reacting to but different people. So, my advice is to try and view the comments that you're seeing as attacks in a new light: an opportunity to engage with the community and to help craft questions/answers that will be factual and informative for others to use as a resource.

Try to view comments that point out things they're seeing issues with not as attacks but as a team member (an editor) trying to help you produce a better answer.

And, as I've learned many times, it's possible to just be flat out wrong (or even possibly wrong, given a different yet valid interpretation of things). It's okay. We've all been there, we'll all (I'm sure) be there again :-P

As Korvin points out, having a little thick skin can sometimes be beneficial (but then, this is the internet, so that's just good life advice).

Also, as Medix points out in a comment, if you have a lot of answers on recent questions, your activity "rises" to the top of the active questions and so you're just statistically more likely to draw more comments. It's not people dog piling on you, you're just "trending," as it were.

I hope your recent frustrations haven't put you off too much and it is really good that you took the effort to open dialogue about the issues. It's always great to see new and passionate people enter the community!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you also for taking the time. I really feel that the person in error was I. Debating/discussing on a world stage will include many "sensibilities", I need to remember that the intent is not "aggression" but personal intensity, that I rarely encounter at home \$\endgroup\$ – Jeffrey Witty Feb 25 at 0:41

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