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A word/phrase for "voice change"

Every piece of opinion is respected. And more importantly they should be respectful. Lambie's comment as it first appeared, if memory serves, was "Your words are all literary. Very funny." I flagged it as this is not the first time the said user criticizes my answers/comments. I welcomed some of their criticisms, but disputed some as they are getting progressively more harsh and difficult to take.

Sadly, my flags have been declined and the next thing I saw is J.R. comes out in full support. While it is true that Lambie has edited their comment with actually content, but the initial aggressiveness is still there in their comments, live and kicking. "Yours are all literary." But how is raspy and husky literary? How is this comment accurate and not biased? Unfortunately I feel like this is a moment when the diamond adds undue authoritativeness to.

I am not saying J.R. didn't make a valid point. But glossing over or even giving approval to the aggressive tone in comments endorses and, if the comments stick, perpetuates it.

On the one point that Lambie made in their second comment which J.R. supports: I was making a point with my comments in response to their objection to the word "husky". IMHO husk has at least two polysemous adjectives. It is my opinion that one (of voice) has been influenced by the other (of men's physique). To say, "She has a husky voice" as in She sounds like men may be a valid usage, but it in no way detracts from the validity of "I have a husky voice from a cold/the protest." See the examples I have found on YouTube after hearing Lambie's later added objection. It seems to me that while I strive to respect every comment directed at me, critical or otherwise, my opinions are laughed at, dismissed, and declined.

I don't even understand why recently I find more than once myself embroiled in dispute with this single user. It is a sad thing.

If this is how moderation works (as in taking non-action towards aggressiveness), ... (lost for words)

Forgot to mention this is a phrase/word request question. As far as I can remember, phrase/word request questions always attract various words/phrases coming from different angles, and rightly so because usually the OP is looking for variety. I could heap examples where every answer is respected, with occasional respectful discussions. I don't know how "Oh your word is too literary" "Oh this word is not for learners" and "Your answer is very funny" comments are constructive in these questions.

Oh, almost forgot the said user's comment to another of my answers the other day. I can't remember their wording exactly but it was along the lines of "What a thought. Haha. Wrong!"

  • This is exactly the problem with the internet. I meant: it's funny. :) That's a good thing. Also, saying something is literary is not negative at all. On the contrary, though I did not explain it specifically, what is literary is usually considered to be complimentary and never derogatory. It implies you have a good eye and ear. I am pretty sure that most English speakers would agree, croaky is a funny word. It makes people laugh.That's good. – Lambie Sep 19 '18 at 20:10
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I just re-read the comment three times:

Croaky? [idiom: to have a frog in one's throat]. That is really funny. Yours are all literary. And husky voice has another cliché meaning for a type of male voice....

While I agree that perhaps the comment could have been worded a bit more gently or constructively, I still think it made a valid point.

Now, to address your concerns:

I flagged it as this is not the first time the said user criticizes my answers/comments.

I’m sorry, but I have to look at each flag as its own case. If you have felt unfairly criticized in other comments, you should have flagged those.

Sadly, my flags have been declined and the next thing I saw is J.R. comes out in full support.

I was hoping my comment would diffuse the growing tension and keep the conversation about learning English. But just because I agreed with Lambie’s skepticism about the usefulness of the original answer, that doesn’t mean I was in “full support”.

The initial aggressiveness is still there in their comments, live and kicking. "Yours are all literary." But how is raspy and husky literary? How is this comment accurate and not biased?

I, too, was a bit confused by the “literary” comment, so I don’t know how to answer that. But I’d like to ask: How is this comment “aggressive”? Taken at face value, it merely makes an observation – one that even you argue makes a valid point.

I think there is plenty of blame to go around here. Could Lambie’s comment have been worded a little less confrontationally and a little more constructively? Probably. But did you take the comment a bit too personally, perhaps because of past interactions with this particular user? I sensed a little pent-up frustration in the comments you made when initially responding, and I see more evidence of that here in your meta post.

Sadly, my flags have been declined and J.R. comes out in full support. The initial aggressiveness is still there, live and kicking. I find myself embroiled in dispute with this single user. Glossing over or even giving approval to the aggressive tone endorses and perpetuates it. This is a moment when the diamond adds undue authoritativeness. If this is how moderation works (as in taking non-action towards aggressiveness), (lost for words...)

Well, if you are going to judge the moderation team based on this one interaction, that’s your choice. But remember this: we delete hundreds of comments every month, to the point where we get accused of censoring when comments suddenly disappear.

In this case, I think the comments served their purpose well. You thought more about your answer, and made a substantial edit – one that I think will make the answer more helpful to learners who visit in the future. Words like throaty and croaky deserve thorough footnotes, before we send a naïve learner to the podium with the words, “I'm sorry my voice is husky and croaky today from a cold” scrawled across the top of her first page of notes.

Had I simply deleted the original comment instead of adding my own follow-on comment, I wonder if those edits would have been made.

This isn’t about me “endorsing aggressiveness,” this is about the community exhorting everyone to give our leaners the accurate answers they deserve.

Now that your answer has been amended and your stance better explained, I suppose the comments have outlived their usefulness. But so long as this meta question is here, I think they ought to be preserved.

Unfortunately, SE has no shades of gray when it comes to handling comment flags. I can either delete the comment or I can decline/dismiss the flag. (Flags on answers have an option that reads “This flag is useful but no further action is required” – but that option is not available on comment flags.)

  • As a footnote, I just reviewed all 217 comments posted by this “said user" in the past 15 days, including the 75 that were either self-deleted or else deleted by the mod team. None of them said, "What a thought. Haha. Wrong!” This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the paraphrase of a so-called offensive comment be decidedly worse than the original. Too often we assume the worst instead of noticing that people are trying to help – something that I experienced first-hand in this particular case. – J.R. Sep 15 '18 at 20:19
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    Yes. The CoC fever is upon us, I tend to be curt and to the point because comments have limited space, and my intention is to self-delete those comments that are no longer needed or have been addressed. But sometimes, a user can be highly sensitive to any criticism and feel justified in flagging it as being unfriendly and unkind. I mean... if I disagree with an answer and I voice my disagreement, in a civil manner, I mustn't than fret whether some user is going to flag that comment and then maybe I risk getting suspended. – Mari-Lou A Sep 16 '18 at 10:35
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    The internet leads to huge misunderstandings. If something is funny, that does not mean it is bad.If something is literary, it also does not mean it is bad. If you like I can construct a literary paragraph to show what I mean in detail. "She had a croaky, old-sounding voice that morning as she had spent the night before hollering and carrying on in defense of her children's antics." So.....my original comment to the OP was not criticism. – Lambie Sep 19 '18 at 20:12
  • "Her husky voice belied her four-foot-ten-inch stature, even though she managed to rasp away at the audience in semi-thunderous tones". Isn't that funny? Isn't that at least (somewhat) literary? – Lambie Sep 19 '18 at 20:18
  • @Lambie: Your examples seem to line up nicely with the definition of literary. literary [of language] associated with literary works or formal writing; having a marked style intended to create a particular emotional effect. synonyms: formal, poetic, dramatic. As for the humor in "Her husky voice belied her four-foot-ten-inch stature," I find that both touching AND funny – but I may be biased. You see, my mother was about that tall, and, as a public health worker, she often gave briefings – sometimes to a hostile audience. My voice was a bit croaky when I gave her eulogy last month. – J.R. Sep 19 '18 at 21:12
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I think that J.R. has already addressed the specifics of this particular instance, and I would like to add some more general points for everyone to think about.

  1. When you see something unfriendly, flag it immediately. If enough people agree, the comment will be removed without moderator intervention.

  2. On Stack Exchange we try to focus on the content in front of us, and not the user that posted it. We should try to not let bad past interactions taint our perception, even though it can be difficult sometimes. We don't have to respond or defend your answer just because someone leaves a comment, but we should think carefully about whether there is a valid concern there that could have been stated more constructively.

  3. Moderators review comments that we come across or that are brought to our attention and delete those that violate the CoC. Whether or not a particular comment or flag caused additional action to be taken is not something we will typically discuss publicly. Ideally, the community should be able to flag it and forget it.

  4. Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else, so sometimes you just need to ignore the folks that get up your nose.1 The CoC states: "If a situation makes it hard to be friendly, stop participating and move on." That said, we will not tolerate any form of harassment of any community member. Be nice to each other, assume good intentions, and don't bicker.

  5. Any past actions that moderators have taken with respect to community members and/or their content isn't something community members should track or worry about. We don't make people carry their past mistakes with them.2 The mod team does take into account if we have to repeatedly contact a user for the same bad behavior, but the community at large doesn't have access to the tools or information needed to do that fairly.


1 If ignoring them doesn't work for you, you could open up a favorite text editor and write a scathing reply... just don't post it.
2 At the end of this timed suspension period, your reputation will be recalculated, and your account will resume as normal. We don’t hold grudges.

  • Without commenting on the rest, I am just going to say that I concur with #4&5 and consider them of great importance. They have been included in my next update. I will discuss them in detail in relation to the case in point. – Eddie Kal Sep 17 '18 at 18:01
  • @EddieKal What would you like to have happen as a result of this discussion? The mod team has taken the action we felt appropriate to this situation. We understand that you don’t agree with it, but we’re not going to undelete unfriendly comments that you can’t remember exactly so we can argue about them. I’m not sure how we can help, so please be very clear about what your goal is here. – ColleenV Sep 17 '18 at 18:27
  • This post is not intended as an argument which I think is made very clear from the title and my several attempts (this comment among them) at talking about things concerning certain practices and moderation in general. It is, though, an attempt to practice the credo that "moderation starts with the community itself". – Eddie Kal Sep 17 '18 at 19:06
  • What I don't understand is what my I perceive as characterizations and posts that swing it in the other direction. I would appreciate permission to hold it from swinging to an argument, from becoming partisan--as ingeniously described by Mari-Lou A--something I fear would happen. I could be mistaken, but the sense I am getting is I see #4&5 pertinent to what I am going to talk about but this intention is not welcome. I believe these community principles are not things that ordinary (or in my case junior) members can't talk about. I will discuss them in relation to what the title says. – Eddie Kal Sep 17 '18 at 19:12
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    @EddieKal You've written pages of text but it's not clear what good can come of it. I think J.R. is wondering why there is so much fuss over this one incident. I understand that sometimes interactions online can be upsetting, but it might be best to just assume everyone was having a bad day, and move on to happier things. I think J.R. explained why things happened the way they did and it's clear you disagree with how it was handled. I don't understand what is left to discuss. – ColleenV Sep 17 '18 at 20:44
  • Yes, and how do all of your think I feel? To have been so misread to be is unnerving. Funny is funny, unless it's odd, which I did not specify. And literary is complimentary, the last time "I looked". I am not in the habit of being sarcastic right off the bat in an initial comment for no reason. I have been sarcastic with a few "head honchos" in chat after they made personal comments about me/to me. My goodness. Think about that for a moment. Can one really describe my comment as aggressive or mean on its face? – – Lambie Sep 19 '18 at 20:33
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    @Lambie well maybe this is a good opportunity to introspect and see if there aren’t some things you could do to make it less likely that your intent will be misconstrued. You need to remember that most of the people reading your comments aren’t going to be native speakers. When we combine that with the challenges of text-only communication, writing in a way that will be construed as neutral, if not friendly, can require effort that we’re not used to having to make. Also, strangers on the Internet don't know you, or your sense of humor, so there is even more risk of being misunderstood. – ColleenV Sep 19 '18 at 20:40
  • I take your point but it's tough to have to explain every little detail of tone.I'd expect those who answer in ELL to be able distinguish this kind of thing. I was mistaken apparently. – Lambie Sep 19 '18 at 20:52
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    @Lambie Sure, but when folks do misread your intention what's wrong with saying "Sorry, I didn't mean it like that." instead of escalating? Take the high road. I understand it's upsetting all the way around when there are misunderstandings about our intentions and we feel unfairly accused or picked on. Let's just file it under "misunderstandings happen" and move on. I think everyone could have done things a little better in this situation, but it's not constructive to pick it apart, so let's just let bygones be bygones and get back to helping folks learn English. – ColleenV Sep 19 '18 at 20:53
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I’m sorry, but I have to look at each flag as its own case. If you have felt unfairly criticized in other comments, you should have flagged those.

But I am not asking that action be taken to address past comments. I am simply stating how things seem from my vantage point: I see a pattern. I see recurrent unfriendly comments. You are right I didn't flag those comments. I didn't see a need to. That user made a valid point, not without a scornful and derisive tone. I didn't want to assume the worst of people (and to your comment about me making paraphrases "decidedly worse" than the original: Yes we shouldn't assume the worst) You are welcome to disagree, but deny me this: The comments this user's made under this question and the ones I am going to link you to are unfriendly.

As a footnote, I just reviewed all 217 comments posted by this “said user" in the past 15 days, including the 75 that were either self-deleted or else deleted by the mod team. None of them said, "What a thought. Haha. Wrong!”

I said it was along those lines. I can't see the comment any more because the comment under this answer, I believe, has been mod-deleted, presumably for being offensive, jarring, or unfriendly. So here you go.

I, too, was a bit confused by the “literary” comment, so I don’t know how to answer that. But I’d like to ask: How is this comment “aggressive”? Taken at face value, it merely makes an observation – one that even you argue makes a valid point.

But the initial comment wasn't that. Could you please do me a favor and post the exact original comment here since I as a regular user don't have access to it?

Also that comment, as it stands now, still has language issues. I flagged it as inaccurate, but still got declined.

I, too, was a bit confused by the “literary” comment, so I don’t know how to answer that.

Well, yes, then why was my flag suggesting the "all literary" comment being inaccurate and biased declined? At this point I feel too tired to even ask how you'd feel if someone told you your answer is "funny" or "What a thought!"

remember this: we delete hundreds of comments every month, to the point where we get accused of censoring when comments suddenly disappear.

Unfortunately, SE has no shades of gray when it comes to handling comment flags.

The observations I made in this question are not to slight your work in any way. But I was a bit shocked that you didn't even edit that user's comment to remove the inaccurate, unwarranted, or unfriendly content. This will and has left other users the impression that you approve those messages in their entirety, including the unwarranted and offensive content. I have seen comments edited by mods to remove their offensive content. I don't know how many there has been. The ones I saw were from weeks ago. I am not suggesting you go through their posts to have my words confirmed, since it would be a lot of work. I do not, repeat do not, want to add to your already time-consuming work. But I am game if you are up for it.

Well, if you are going to judge the moderation team based on this one interaction, that’s your choice.

That is absolutely not what I meant or what I have said. I never said a word about the team. On the contrary, I have had very positive and enlightening interaction with the mod team. By moderation, I mean moderation. The act: reviewing, determining what's in accordance with the Code of Conduct, the fostering of a respectful environment, etc. I am inviting people to consider if the behavior I call into question falls within the realm of moderation. I think it is befitting here to borrow your own words "This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the paraphrase of a so-called offensive comment be decidedly worse than the original".

All this said, like I have stated, I take the point you and the unoffensive parts of Lambie's comments made, but I do not fully agree with the criticism.

I see that you feel very strongly about the point you wanted to make and the disagreement you have voiced about my answer and about some of my observations here. But I hope we can make some common ground here. How about we start by restoring the said user's comments:

  1. Their original unedited comment
  2. Their initial comment under this answer
  3. Talk about if the two comments above were really friendly pursuant to the Code of Conduct

This Meta question is really a discussion about how we should see and act in accordance with the new Code of Conduct. I'd like to use a certain pattern of commenting on the main site as a case in point.

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    (1) You believe wrong. That comment was self-deleted. (2) I haven't seen the "original" version of the comment, because it was updated before the five-minute limit was reached. I based my actions on what was in the comment when I saw it. Based on what you say here, it looks like a user caught themselves being too unfriendly, and then took actions to rectify that before the mod team had to get involved. That's as good an explanation as any for why your flag was declined, and I see no need to discuss whether or not the vanished comments are "friendly pursuant to the Code of Conduct." – J.R. Sep 15 '18 at 23:18

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