I run into a user on this site who, while technically competent, frequently makes comments that appear intended to demean or shame others.

Here's an example:

enter image description here

One can only speculate as to why a Google link was posted, but I'd interpret it to be something along the lines of "I think your question is stupid, so let me copy-paste it into Google for you." In this case, the Google search contains no relevant results, with hits only returned for outdated versions of PostGIS and for geometry objects, not rasters.

I flagged this comment as "rude" and not only was the flag declined, but the comment was upvoted by the moderator, which signifies "this comment adds something useful to the post."

Does this site takes seriously its "be nice policy", which I think sets a pretty high bar:

If you don't have time to say something politely, just leave it for someone who does.

If so, why is this behavior tolerated and even rewarded by moderators? Am I off-base on my expectation of politeness?


3 Answers 3


GIS SE, like all Stack Exchange sites, takes Be nice very seriously, because, despite being phrased as guidelines, it is tantamount to policy.

The second and third guidelines do not seem to be part of your question but I will quote the first guideline here because that does seem to be part of it:

Rudeness and belittling language are not okay. Your tone should match the way you'd talk in person with someone you respect and whom you want to respect you. If you don't have time to say something politely, just leave it for someone who does.

The comment that you flagged falls into the category of LMGTFY i.e. Let me Google that for you which we have discussed on this site previously.

The comment you flagged was the second by the user on that question and both seemed designed to help the asker of the question find their answer. I think it's a fine line to make LMGTFY comments, even when LMGTFY.com is not invoked, but if I had processed your flag I too would have declined it because I cannot see how a link that may help remind a user that google.com does a great job of answering many questions and side questions constitutes "Rudeness and belittling language".

Nevertheless I think it behooves all of us to "be good to each other", and be as "welcoming and patient" with new and old users alike, by taking care not to give any semblance of trying "to demean or shame others".

With respect to your assertion that you know who upvoted a comment, all I can say is that even as a moderator the only time that I can know who upvoted a comment is when I upvoted it myself. Voting here on comments, answers and questions is anonymous to all users, including community moderators, by design, and all users, including community moderators, are free to vote as they see fit (serial voting excepted).


Timeline does not show votes up on comments

enter image description here

I think it was more a for your information (fyi) than an in-politeness to you. I probably could answer that question with an answer but time is short for me currently, so I will let other more talented postgis users out there answer.


"be nice policy"

This kind of works both ways. People that come here largely to answer questions and not ask them are always short on time. That's not to say that we're trying to be mean, but sometimes those that ask questions lean a little bit too much. And that's not nice -- use what you got before you tap into mine. Mental resources are always in short supply.

Could he have been nicer? Yes. But, ask not what your country/community/others/etc can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself.

As far as I can see, there are few potential strikes. To assign blame we have to asses both actions,

  1. It was asked "Does ST_Within utilize an index" here is that it's clearly answered in the docs,

    This function call will automatically include a bounding box comparison that will make use of any indexes that are available on the geometries. To avoid index use, use the function _ST_Within.

    Did they miss it? Did they even bother looking it up? Is their time worth more than the person asking the question?

  2. They went out and said, "haven't tried with ST_Within()". Why is that? Why does he have to respond at all to a suggestion he made in good faith that wasn't even tried? If that person is skeptical, shouldn't they at least test that which they're skeptical of before having others address their skepticism?

  3. And lastly, whether or not ST_WIthin() uses an index or is in the docs is really aside from the point. It's a GREAT question. Unfortunately, it stands on its own -- it's atomic. It needn't have anything to do with what was being asking. We like great questions even if they're reproduced on GIS.se. So upvote the answer or comment that was provided. Ask the other great question here, and if you later find the question answered elsewhere self-answer it here and hopefully it will assist others in the future.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .