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I checked a recent Meta post and found strange comments. A user who had been here for over a year seems to be not happy with the moderation or the site guidelines. I don't know if the user is really serious or is just playing pranks (pulling our legs?). If a review of the comments that were deleted shows things got horrifyingly out of hand.

Good bye to you all and all of you may face eternal damnation!

If that guy were a Pope, we (C.SE users) would all go to Hell! I don't know if people are joking around here but if they are serious, how may we cool them down? Are we lacking courtesy here?

I think many users forget that C.SE is a small world and it is on the Internet. There is nothing to take it too seriously. No matter how angry you are, all you can do is type down the words, unless you are a genius who can sent virus through comments. What would happen if we can send our fist over the network and punch someone on the face?

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    That last bit is a standing feature request... – wax eagle Jun 20 '14 at 13:50
  • @WaxEagle - I believe it was actually a way to stab people in the face. – AJ Henderson Jun 20 '14 at 13:55
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    @AJHenderson punching and stabbing is just a matter of a weapon swap :) – wax eagle Jun 20 '14 at 14:01
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    Well, if it were @Peter Turner I'd drive the three hours and use a bucket of cold water. ;-) – David Stratton Jun 20 '14 at 21:33
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Ultimately, it's the users choice whether or not to get angry.

That said, there are things we can all do to be nice, or to fuel the fire.

  • Most importantly, be nice. We're all people here, so let's remember that. Most of us believe we were all made in the image of God, so lets be proper image bearers and show our fellow image bearers the respect they deserver.

  • Deescalate when you can. Suggest that they take things to meta if they have a problem (link it, not everyone knows their way around this site).

  • flag, Flag, FLAG FLAG FLAG FLAG. Seriously, if you see something like this, flag the tar out of it. This is inappropriate and shouldn't be here. And it will keep someone from unwisely responding in a way that makes the situation worse.

  • Leave it to the mods. In this case mods were already involved. But this is our job, if it gets too much for one of us, we'll turn to the others or get SE corporate involved. This is what we're here for.

AJ's answer points out something just as important though, this kind of attitude and reaction is exactly why we've written our site policies in this way. We need everyone to be committed to enforcing them through flags, close votes and helping comments. This users' answer and his reaction to it's deletion were the direct result of an Off Topic question staying open for just a bit too long. Let's get these things closed down before they get answers at all.

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Religion is an inherently emotional topic for many, many people since it deals with deeply held beliefs. This is one of the primary reasons we try so hard to avoid "Truth" questions. It is hard enough to academically look at points that people disagree with, but if we started trying to say which is right or wrong, then emotions would flare much higher and the site would quickly rip itself apart.

Unfortunately, this restriction also causes some amount of trouble on its own as well. Since people have a potentially valid concern that others may be lead astray, to their detriment, by false information, there is a tendency of people to want to say what is "True" and get upset when they feel like their version of the Truth is being suppressed.

We do this uniformly to keep things civil, but for some, even many, people, it is hard to separate the academic study from fearing for people following after what they feel is a false viewpoint. Not everybody will be comfortable participating in this site for that reason.

When a situation like that comes up, conflict is basically unavoidable. The best we can do is to continue to try to explain the purpose of the site and why it is so important we don't try to tackle "Truth" questions. The only alternative causes far more problems than having one person upset that we won't let them argue with other viewpoints or push their own viewpoint when it is unrelated to the question.

All we can really do is be civil, patient and explain why our actions are necessary.

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From @wax eagle's answer:

Ultimately, it's the users choice whether or not to get angry.

Maybe. But even beyond @Caleb, I can tell you from experience that swift, unyielding, and unilateral close votes are uber-frustrating.

To be sure, I'm only an occasional Christianity.SE user, so I don't really know @Caleb's tendencies, etc. But I do remember past moderators on other sites who really rubbed people the wrong way with their frequent unilateral closures. Maybe we can avoid that here?

Having said all of this, I read the user's comments in this case, and he was totally out of line (and I totally support @Caleb in this case).

Hope this helps!

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    in case anyone had been wondering what i meant by "censoring" on c.se, this is it. when someone is abusive or spammy or similar, then censoring is appropriate. but to censor because the content is not what the moderator would prefer is more than just uber-frustrating. it's wrong. simply declaring an answer "low quality" or not on topic (both totally subjective) as a reason does not redeem the wrongness of censoring. – robert bristow-johnson Jul 13 '14 at 19:16

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