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Preface: I’m not deeply active on this site, but respect this site, like its content, contribute to it when I can but honestly I am more active on other Stack Exchange sites and have been for a while. In general, I know how the overall philosophy works and I understand how each individual Stack Exchange has it’s own culture. But that said, I was not ready for this accusatory/non-constructive comment coming for a ♦︎-tagged moderator.

The subject says it all. I was just bluntly accused of trying to “force advertise” another Stack Exchange site by a moderator when commenting to a user baffled by question interactions on their questions on this site. What is this nonsense about? The context is this question:

The question is focused on the new Star Wars film and has little activity past comments and a down vote. I saw this—along with other questions from this user and stated plainly and honestly:

Reading this I cannot speak of the down-votes, but it seems to me that deeper motivations for things in the new Star Wars films might be better suited for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange site. So you might have a good question, but this site—no disrespect since I like it—is not the strongest audience for this unique film/situation. There are already tons of Force Awakens posts there so maybe flag a moderator to migrate?

I posted that in honesty and good faith because while I understand there is overlap between the “Movies and TV” site on other sites, sometimes things might fit better elsewhere. The immediate response I got was from moderator Ankit Sharma who just bluntly stated:

you don't make a sense at all. KIndly don't force advertise SFF here.

What? My comment does not make sense? And I am “force advertising” or whatever that means? You mean I am not allowed to let other users on this specific Stack Exchange site know that (gasp) another Stack Exchange site exists that might be better suited for their question. What kind of nonsense is this?

The reality is there are 36 active Force Awakens questions on the Science Fiction and Fantasy site and—you know what—if these questions are dead as a doornail here for this user, perhaps another Stack Exchange site might be better. Did I flag it to be closed or call for moderator attention? Nope. I’m simply assuming good faith on the original poster and just posted my two cents as an innocuous comment; nothing more and nothing less.

Then a supposed “moderator” comes along and—without any explanation or respect for my comment—tells me I don’t make sense and I’m somehow “force advertising” (!?!) the existence of other sites on Stack Exchange on a Stack Exchange site?

So is my question is one word: Really? Do moderators on this “Movies and TV” site really aggressively smack down simple constructive comments like this as part of their duties? Did I truly do anything wrong with my comment, because I doubt I did but I am open to hearing from anyone saying that—you know what—“force advertising” or simply posting constructive comments is somehow “non-sensical.”

Screenshot below:

enter image description here

P.S.: I am not very active on this site so I only—when I went to post this question—saw this “Topic Challenge: Star Wars” post. I realize it’s a casual competition—and mainly focused on the main Star Wars tag—but perhaps the fact there is a competition here is inspiring excess posts and making moderators a bit blind to their own behavior in moderation?


UPDATE: Preface, I typically do inline edits by adjusting old content to fit new. In this case I want to add more details without doing something like that. The moderator I am mentioning specifically has posted an answer below and there are parts that are so utterly tone-deaf/bizarre I believe it should be addressed here. And here is one of them:

It doesn't answered asker's question but diverted the topic to Star Wars question might be better suited for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange site because they have more question.

What the heck is this? I did not post an answer, but I posted a comment. Had I posted what I posted as an answer, then yes… Absolutely… Please post a comment smacking me down and down vote and even vote to close that answer. But I did not post it as an answer. I posted it AS A COMMENT and now this moderator pops up to moderate me how? I am somehow not allowed to post comments that mention other sites or attempt to provide a rationale towards a question being down voted?

And after visiting stevvve's profile, he also seems to have a SFF account too and he might know whats allowed there too. So its always asker's opinion to pick the site he can ask his question on till its on topic on that site.

This is one of the most bizarre self-justifications I have ever read. Yes, I fully know it is in the “asker's opinion to pick the site he can ask his question” and at no point did I flag the question to be moved elsewhere or forced the point. All I did was do what I believe comments are for: I made a comment and added my thoughts. Had I posted that comment as an answer then you have a right to smack that down. I did not. But it gets better:

Else you might want to comment same on all the anime & manga related question on SFF too with similar comment and too anime related question in here too, as we have dedicated site for that subject too.

Utter straw man nonsense. Does this moderator even know how the Stack Exchange sites work? I did not make one simple comment as a first step towards some bizarre larger “crusade” against misplaced content. All I did was make a casual comment and observation and posted it in a casual comment.

In general this moderator seems to be looking at any comment being made as some sort of thoughtcrime or venial sin and the mere mention of the existence of another Stack Exchange site as something that should not happen. And in my humble opinion, that seems utterly bizarre behavior for a moderator to engage in.

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    I've voted to close. Although you've raised a valid concern about the way in which you were addressed by a Moderator, some of your offside comments seem to be verging on being quite personal in nature. Meta is intended for discussion about the site's general moderation, rather than for airing personal objections to individual moderators (something which should taken up with the CM team by using the "Contact Us" dialogue). – user7812 Dec 19 '15 at 13:46
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    @Richard My two cents—and to anyone else reading this, “something new” as well—I believe in some alternative timeline where my supposed “personal” comments did not exist, the general “circle the wagon” mentality where power-holders (such as moderators) in a community defend their actions by dismissing a complaint would still happen in some way. Some new nonsense excuse would be made to justify/defend aberrant behavior and the complainant would be dismissed as some “wing nut” and such. SE sites are great when the moderation works, but when it doesn’t it’s just like other petty fiefdom online. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 14:26
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    As I've said, I don't dispute that you've got a valid complaint, but the way in which you're airing it is very confrontational and unlikely to result in an outcome you'd consider acceptable. Echoing NapoleonWilson's comment, calming down should be your first move, then perhaps asking him to 'moderate' a discussion between yourself and Ankit on chat. – user7812 Dec 19 '15 at 14:37
  • @Richard “…but the way in which you're airing it is very confrontational and unlikely to result in an outcome you'd consider acceptable.” Please re-read my comment and then re-read what you posted then re-read my comment again until you realize what context I place your comment in. I have no desire to do one-on-one discussion with this moderator. And I do not care what you—or anyone—believes my tone is or should be. My tone and my “calm” are just excuses being made to defend aberrant moderator behavior in my opinion. (1/2) – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 14:41
  • @Richard I have no fantasies about one meta discussion making an immediate change; it won’t. But in my experience-based opinion people who behave the way this moderator did will not change. And a someone like this who was given a role of “power” such as this are even less likely to change because they have been given “power” such as this; read up on the “Peter principle” for more insight. Which is to say, while you currently disagree with my purpose in posting this I believe time will prove otherwise. Not budging on this and perfectly calm. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 14:47
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    Two moderators already said that the moderator's behaviour was not ok, doesn't make your behaviour any more ok, though. Noone is defending anything by saying that you're on the verge of violating the "be nice" policy, for which a moderator doing so first is not the slightest excuse. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 19 '15 at 14:58
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Can we please all calm down a little?

Let me try to look at the situation as a moderator of this site who was not involved in that discussion and didn't see it happen live but only its aftermath (I have however talked about it with the other moderator since). But let's go through the individual stages that escalated this problem.


Advertizing other Stack Exchange sites in comments

First of all, and I'm sure this is common knowledge but I'll still repeat it for the sake of completeness here, those questions are perfectly on-topic here and there are various Star Wars questions, as well as questions about many other SciFi/Fantasy franchises, that have received excellent answers here, albeit also being on-topic on a different SE site. It is upto everyone's own discretion where he asks those questions. Neither are those questions "dead as a doornail" here at all, especially after a few hours on the release day where such assessments are entirely impossible to make yet.

Of course there is no problem with linking to related questions on other SE sites or informing users about other SE sites that might have some interesting insights into their problems. What is discouraged is blatant redirection elsewhere and discouraging users to ask their questions here. And there have been made a few bad experiences with the latter kind of comments which might also have overshadowed onto some of the former kinds of comments. This has also been adressed already in this related meta discussion.

It is appreciated that you tried to help the asker find solutions to his problem by guiding him to a place where he could possibly find answers to his questions. However, note that your comment did not say "Hey, there's a bunch of cool Star Wars questions over there, too, maybe you also find some answers there", it downright said "Questions about Star Wars are better asked elsewhere." And such a comment is definitely wrong and detrimental to this site and its community.

So while made in good spirit, your comment wasn't really appropriate on the whole. Now of course responding to this comment and deleting/editing it could have been the end of the problem.


The moderators' response to your comment

Now in light of this, some kind of reaction to your comment was surely in order. However, I as well as the moderator who made it do agree now that the specific wording with which this comment was made was not particularly constructive and might not have shown the moderators from their best side.

As to "force advertizing", this was surely alluding to the fact that you, as described above, actively redirected users with their perfectly valid and appropriate questions elsewhere. This wasn't advertizing alone, but less constructive and more inappropriate. If you choose the word "force advertize" to describe that or something else is just a matter of vocabulary not worth to really make a big fuss about. At worst, it might just have been a failed Star Wars pun. ;-)

As to you "not making any sense", I would agree that this was a bit harsh. But it might also just have been a misunderstanding when we look at the chat discussion that followed this comment thread:

@JakeGould on the side note he asked for the reason for downvote and your answer was SFF is better suited, it have more questions. Rather then pointing out the clear cut spoiler in title reason. WE all know SFF is more strict in spoilers.

It seems he thought that your comment was alluding to the reason for downvoting (although you admittedly said it doesn't). In light of this it didn't make sense to him.

Could he have said that in a more diplomatic way? Sure. But well, it happens, moderators are humans, too. Which is not so say his comment was ok, but trying to clear any misunderstandings and discussing his bevahiour with the moderator could have been the end of the problem.


Your response to the moderators' comment

But when the moderator tried to calm down and explain the situation by bringing it into chat, it didn't go so well either. Things like this were said (emphasis mine):

Okay, here is my chat with you dear sir: I will post to meta and you can post your thoughts and ideas there. Past that, I don’t care to chat with you or interact with you past this. I don’t care what the rationale is. Your tone was combative and abusive and you are a moderator and your behavior deserves to have a spotlight put on it. So please… Deal with it and bye!

This doesn't really read as if there was any kind of motivation by you to clear any misunderstandings or problems at all and is not a particularly constructive response. We might all agree that the moderator has over-reacted a bit there, but it seems once he did so he was entirely dead to you and there was no way to clear the air at all anymore.

You are of course free to adress your issues in a corresponding meta post like you did, but from those chat comments it seems that the primary purpose was not a constructive discussion about who did what wrong and misunderstood whom. No, it was simply to call out on someone else's behaviour. While it is good to make the community aware of a moderator action you find inappropriate, a constructive discussion on the matter always has to be the primary focus, otherwise problems won't ever get resolved. To cite chat again this doesn't seem to be the case here either (emphasis mine):

Which all means, my opinion of you being a moderator is… You should not be a moderator. If you want some other words a few of them are four letters long and not congratulatory. So again, deal with it. The meta post is not for you but rather you to spotlight your behavior to others. BYE!

(The thing being, though, that the meta post and the chat discussion doesn't only spotlight his behaviour.)


I think on the bottom line we should just all calm down and deal with it. I hope this is the end of the problem.

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I really appreciating you to bring it on meta and for respecting this site. I will try to address it as much as i can and i have nothing against anyone and my intention was never to hurt anyone.

Star Wars is obviously a big thing to happen and it can bring different kind of questions, so does spoiler. And as expected there were spoily questions:-

How did Supreme Leader Snoke seduce "X" to the Dark Side?

Now it was a major spoiler and did attracted a single down vote and even one moderator flag. And raised curiosity of asker and he said:

Downvotes with constructive criticism = :-) downvotes without constructive criticism = :-( – stevvve

Appropriate action here should be an edit rather then the downovte as per my understanding and i did edited it later and similar other questions.

Even tried to answer it in commnets by

I didn't downvoted it but it must be due to spoiler in title. – Ankit Sharma♦

Then two more comments regarding the same thing. And then your comment came :

Reading this I cannot speak of the down-votes, but it seems to me that deeper motivations for things in the new Star Wars films might be better suited for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange site. So you might have a good question, but this site—no disrespect since I like it—is not the strongest audience for this unique film/situation. There are already tons of Force Awakens posts there so maybe flag a moderator to migrate? – JakeGould

It doesn't answered asker's question but diverted the topic to Star Wars question might be better suited for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange site because they have more question.

To me it was not constructive comment and i replied to it with :

@JakeGould you don't make a sense at all. KIndly don't force advertise SFF here. – Ankit Sharma♦

I did overreacted a bit with "sense" part but it did felt force advertisement to me.

I did redirected it to dedicated chat after automatic long trail notification on comment and though to clear the air on chatroom but it didn't went well and you wanted to raise it in meta, which is also fine to me.

My intention was never to hurt someones but I wanted to just clear the point that the comment was non constructive on running discussion and was SFF advertisement and felt unnecessary to me. I do respect SFF too and I have active account there too with bit less activity then here but sufficient enough to know what happens there.

And for the part of where to ask the question, it was discussed many time over both the sites, one example mentioned below:

How do you distinguish when a question should be asked at SE movies vs. SE scifi?

And after visiting stevvve's profile, he also seems to have a SFF account too and he might know whats allowed there too. So its always asker's opinion to pick the site he can ask his question on till its on topic on that site. Else you might want to comment same on all the anime & manga related question on SFF too with similar comment and too anime related question in here too, as we have dedicated site for that subject too.

In the end i do agree that my comment were result of bit overreaction on my part with "don't make sens at all" and it should be reworded with "non constructive".

One the side note repetitive "Bye" is also bit rude too.

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    Of course it didn't answer the question. That's why it was written as a comment. I don't understand your point there. And "Hey, you might get better answers at <SE network here>" comments are very common across all of the sites that I've been on, and this is the first time that I've seen it called "forced advertisement." Perhaps you guys react differently on here, but I digress. You do care about them getting a good answer, don't you? – The Anathema Jun 20 '16 at 23:17

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