I made a Q&A which resulted in a conflict that could be avoided. It was discussed on this Meta.

This thread attempts to inform of potential causes of such conflict in hopes of preventing it, while hearing dissent to provided suggestions.

Below is complemented by Olli's guidelines, most of which I agree with. Below is also better understood if read alongside my "Main response" here, but not strictly necessary.

My guidelines

  1. You don't work here. You're not obligated to vote, comment, or read any post. So,

  2. Read fully before voting. It's the most basic decency I grant everyone, with rare exceptions. There's many reasons I may open my post with what looks like you disagree with, only to clarify otherwise later in the post.

  3. Read fully before commenting, or disclaim your commentary. How do you know I've not already said what you did? If others are as impatient, it suggests a contradiction with my post.

  4. Read fully before answering. It's a reasonable standard to be held to. Again there's reasons I may not include the whole question in bullet points - the bullets are there to assist, and I could easily force reading of the entire post instead. This includes questions and answers; how do you know you don't repeat me (or others)? Or that you're even answering what's being asked?

    • "and answers" isn't critical, but if your answer implies a contradiction with another due to length/order of presentation, it should be disclaimed (e.g. "To add to OLGD's answer", "This answer is another perspective, not contradicting..."), if e.g. notified by answerer

"Read fully" really only goes as far as "ensure your vote/comment/answer wasn't addressed", for which a tactful skim most often suffices, but even that much is not being done. Partial exception for "answer", as described in 4.

  1. Retract downvote if problem is solved. This is most relevant if the answer's in net-negatives; most cannot see the + -, and the post may effectively be destroyed.
  2. Ignore the speaker, at least for some duration. A decent self-check would be, Would I say it to Matt L? I've lostd count of instances of positivity and negativity that are explained almost exclusively by who's behind a post, rather than the substance of the post. I lack proof but have evidence I won't be digging up. I'm not denying the role of the speaker in what's spoken, only saying it's drastically exaggerated.
  3. Acknowledge you aren't all of signal processing. The 30-ish active users don't remotely encompass the full diversity of viewpoints and attitudes toward any given concept. This includes, and especially concerns, concepts one's been long familiar with. This doesn't mean ignoring fallacies, but rather withholding condemnation unless you know exactly what's being said; being confused doesn't count.

What's the community think of these?

  • $\begingroup$ I think most of these are good for everyone to keep in mind. My only objection would be to have issue with repeating important elements of the question (if part of the answer is provided in a question, there is nothing wrong with repeating it in the answer so that the answer is complete and stands on its own.). The reason for the question is the question itself and not to show off what the OP knows, that said why would there be any concern if an answer repeated items answered in the question for completeness? $\endgroup$ Mar 11 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding 7, I would like more emphasis by all to work toward using commonly used terminology when that exists, and feedback on what would commonly be used should be accepted. I see some users with less experience in signal processing insist on using confusing terminology even when the correct terminology and use is later given. Hopefully that isn't perceived as a condemnation. $\endgroup$ Mar 11 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ "repeating question in answer" - yes, not inherently wrong. The precise sentiment is when this repetition becomes the primary answer, or presents itself as news to OP. -- "terminology" - strongly agreed. I don't know if this is referring to more than me, but always feel free to point it out to me. I recall some instances of agreeing with suggested terminology changes, and some of disagreeing, but I'm never ignoring. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. Yes, this is not referring to you specifically. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 at 12:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ One other thing that I try to do (but often fail at) is to not use "you" when referring to the question in an answer or comment to commenting on a question. Try to reference the question not the asker or the answer not the answerer. I see this as a corollary of your point 6 above. I find use of "you" sometimes makes it personal or subjective, rather than objective. $\endgroup$
    – Peter K. Mod
    Mar 14 at 1:19
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Reading the other answers before answering is not that critical in my opinion. What is asked should be in the question. If there is overlap between answers, then perhaps one of the answers manages to explain the thing better. It would be a problem in a high-volume site if a simple answer suffices. The softer (less well-defined or fact-based) the question, the less it is a problem to have multiple takes. Especially if an answer explains something in an unclear way, it would be good to have a more clear answer explaining the same thing. $\endgroup$ Mar 14 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ @OlliNiemitalo I agree, it's not generally critical, and re-explaining can help. The case in my mind is when such answering is almost entirely a shorter restatement of a part of another answer, which becomes a distraction when such answers out-rank the longer answer, while implying contradiction with said answer. Shorts are viewed more, and if the longer answer purposefully opens in ways that short answers contradict, it misleads the wider audience. A solution is to disclaim said short answers as not being contradictory, as is often done, but wasn't in my case. Updated. $\endgroup$ Mar 14 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterK. I edited the post to be more suitable for general discussion. I think much of our effort is wasted if not reaching the relevant audience. $\endgroup$ Mar 14 at 14:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Or maybe the solution is to change the opening of the long answer so that there is nothing to contradict. $\endgroup$ Mar 14 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @OlliNiemitalo A "discovery"-based answer can deliberately state a partial truth, or not state the thesis at all, in the opening, and instead develop ideas gradually. Restricting this style is one solution, another is simple courtesy. $\endgroup$ Mar 14 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ ???? i dunno. Over, are you referring to me? $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ @robertbristow-johnson This post addresses you and others 'involved' in the conflicted Q&A. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 11:43


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