It is a legitimate response, though I do not intend to change what I did in this case. I am fine with saying nothing, but want to understand what is expected. So do I say anything or just let it go, or say I disagree, or that I agree but I am keeping it regardless? I know this is not a forum and so defence or argument is not encouraged.

What are we meant to do? I can live with a downvote, so it is not about that, though I do not think they did downvote.

  • I don't have anything to add to ColleenV's answer, but I do want to say I admire and value your conscientiousness. Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 17:24
  • @StoneyB Thanks. I appreciate being helped and encouraged by everyone here.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


90% of the time the criticism isn't as mean-spirited as it might first appear. Tone does not translate well to text, and this site is particular keen on giving answers that seem dry and matter-of-fact but which may come across as stern and disapproving.

In general my policy it to laugh it off. If someone suggests an edit, thank them and incorporate it into your answer. If someone points out your answer is completely off-base, accept any downvotes with good grace. After all, if you're not having fun, why participate at all? There are plenty of other ways to entertain yourself online.

There are (or have been) users whose comments can seem unnecessarily nasty, and those I report to the moderators as appropriate. Part of the moderator's job is to make sure the community works overall, and the poison from one bad apple can easily taint any benefit from their answers and input.

But again: use humor where you can, and keep an eye on the big picture. One individual question or answer isn't very important in the grand scheme. There are always more questions :)

  • Thanks Andrew, I worded it poorly. The comment did not upset me -- at all. It was legitimate. I was 'schooled' by a mod in another SE site for defending a position, and in that case the comment wasn't fair and the commenter had misread what I said. So I said in a comment that I thought they'd misread and the mod said the comments were not for arguments. So I want to understand before I step into it any further here!
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:26
  • 1
    @WillowRex Keep in mind there are a number of professional and semi-pro linguists who chomp on even minor errors in terminology or taxonomy. Sometimes I just have to laugh and shake my head -- the level of subtle distinction full of abstruse jargon is useless to an English learner, but some of them are so passionate I have to respect their scholarship. This is one reason I've learned to say "thanks!", edit my answer, and move on.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:33
  • @WillowRex in the end the only thing I really care about -- after helping English learners, of course -- is getting hats. But they took those away after January 9th. :(
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:37
  • Well I won't edit if I don't agree, but I am to first to admit I came here because my own grammar is poor and I am writing a book. My novel has dialogue and commas and horrors! semicolons and I am never sure I understand. So I thought I'd try learning by 'osmosis'. I am not thin-skinned and disagreement is a great way to learn. Thank you so much though. This site is great.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:38
  • OMG- the hat thing. I totally did not get that!
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:39
  • I think you just missed the hats. They were only active over the holidays. I'll be damned if I'm going to give up my gold hat, though.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:45
  • Oh no, I earned 11, I think.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 19:48

So the tone is pretty matter-of-fact, but the advice isn't bad. Unless you feel your mistake is instructive, I personally would not leave it in there. It's hard to read huge blocks of strike through (stricken through? struck through!) text, so I don't think leaving it there helps. We can see what it was in all the gory detail in the revision history if you just want to mention the mistake.

Here are a few examples from my history where I made mistakes and let the answer live on anyway:
“Hope this help” or “Hope this helps”?
Meaning of “hard society woman”
Isobel,whose brother he was..or…was he

I'm not particularly proud of my mistakes, but I think that they are OK examples of how to handle feedback that is critical. In the first question, I was obviously wrong but instead of just fixing my answer I tried to explain why I was confused. In the second one, someone pointed out that my interpretation might be wrong, and I could understand where they were coming from, but there was only one other answer. I decided not to delete my answer and just salvage as much as I could. In the last question, I honestly thought folks were getting too hung up on the gender of the name and missing the point of the question, so instead of rewriting my answer or ignoring the feedback, I included both views. If I had to do it over again, I might have just changed the name to something masculine.

My point is, how you respond to it depends on what feedback you get, but I think if it's constructive criticism there is always something you could do in response, even if it isn't exactly what someone is recommending you do. You don't have to defend your answer against every comment, but I think it's really good to respond in some way to someone who has taken the time to try to help you get more up-votes (which is how I try to view feedback on my answers).

  • thanks I am still confused. I feel like my error is useful in the way it shows how wrong it was. I do see the point the person made as valid. You say a person can see the edit if they are interested, but how?
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 0:52
  • @WillowRex - Anyone can click on the "edited XXX" link under your answer and see the history of changes. For example on my first example, here is the revision history: ell.stackexchange.com/posts/51080/revisions The other point I was trying to make was to not just strike out your mistake, but try to explain why you made the mistake or why it wasn't correct.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 0:58
  • 1
    okay thanks, will do. However it will have to wait until my tomorrow. I can hardly type on this tablet.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 1:02
  • @WillowRex I think it would be helpful to remove the strike-through. I'm going to make a small edit just to make it look a little prettier and be less chatty. Don't feel like you have to keep my changes just because I have a diamond next to my name. In the edit history, you can always roll back changes to a previous version (but don't get into a rollback war - if you have to roll back more than once because someone is insistent, flag it for the mod team)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 1:05
  • I appreciate it, thank you very much. I really did not know I could see edits. Info that I will use.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 1:12
  • thanks, now that I can see your edit -- it's perfect. I also found where I can see edits, thank you for that, too. How do I find out who the mods are here? I cannot seem to find a place that says the mods for this stack are:
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:21
  • @WillowRex You click on "Users" on the top right of the page then select the "moderators" tab: meta.ell.stackexchange.com/users?tab=moderators
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:44
  • 1
    For future reference, it's "struck through". ;) Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 18:52
  • @NathanTuggy Thank you! I knew I was wrong but my brain was stuck on the "strike".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:02
  • 1
    Oh and the diamond says Mod! I am such a newbie...
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 20:21

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