At this moment, the most popular question on our site is this question about a confiscated device. At the time of writing this, it has received around 30,000 views! That's amazing, right?! The question has been great for our traffic stats (analytics say so) but I then ask the question, was the reception of this question good for the OP?

As soon as the question went "Hot" it seems a lot of new users jumped on to the site (which is great) to criticize the OP for how they handled the situation (which is not great). This topic comes up here at Parenting quite a bit. The common topic of how to treat OP, respectively, carefully, and when answering, never deviating from the premise of the question.

Parenting is hard. I find what makes it harder is when anonymous Internet users who are supposed to be courteous skate the lines of being courteous by judging your ability as a parent.

The OP of the original question has deleted their account for unknown reasons but I can only imagine due to the bad taste left in their mouth by the one-off users who visit us when a question goes "Hot". The question mentioned here specifically irritates me because once the bandwagon started of "your parenting is horrible" without further information of OP, it began to slide quickly towards OP bashing rather than providing information that was helpful. The problem was that people assumed information that didn't exist or wasn't provided by the OP.

Now my feature-request is perhaps a little overboard and it is satirical in nature but honestly, how can we stop this? How can we be welcoming? How are parents and children going to be able to come to this website and ask the important stuff if they are completely bombarded with assumptions, accusations, and judgement? How do we ask users to confide in us without driving them away?

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    Given what you've written in the body here, I'm not really sure how your title relates. What are you trying to get at here? What problem would be solved here that isn't already solvable using the tools we have available (downvoting bad, unhelpful answers, flagging for being rude / abusive and delete votes)? How would this flag work? Is this a common enough problem that it warrants it's own reason instead of just using the "in need of moderator attention" flag? None of this is a criticism, I'm just trying to understand what you are proposing here.
    – Becuzz
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 13:16
  • @Becuzz, this was more of a rant than anything. I don't really expect anything to change. However, it would be nice to have some sort of indicator like we have with posts that need cited sources that tells users that information in an answer is assuming information that is not provided in the question. I understand we already have a plethora of tools at our disposal but for some reason, when the bandwagon gets going, it's hard to stop. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


In general, questions that end up on the HNQ list cause us (and other non techie sites) problems for this reason: most of SE is technical/IT based, and users new to this site do not necessarily know the difference. We are one of the most subjective sites on Stack Exchange, and one where everyone feels they know the answers based on their own experience as a parent or child - but the mod team are aware of this and have a range of actions we can take. They do generally depend on you, the community, though:

The best thing you can do is flag for a mod if it looks like we are getting many low quality answers, and we can protect the question, which prevents new users posting. Similarly with comments. If they are rude, abusive, inappropriate etc. - flag 'em and we can delete 'em for you.

Also, just downvote posts that are bad. This always works:-)

Additionally, if you use the first posts review queue, you can mark posts as low quality, and enough of them also alerts mods if we haven't spotted the HNQ or seen flags on it.

  • "but the mod team are aware of this and have a range of actions we can take" and we are grateful for your diligence. Seriously, you guys do a good job to keep that bad stuff out. I'll continue to do my part but my biggest fear is driving people away from our site because I really think we do help people and that's important to me and a lot of people here. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 0:59
  • Oh, I agree entirely. And honestly, the vast majority of our visitors do try to do the right thing - so upvotes on good answers is very important. I meant more that we should shut down bad ones very quickly.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 7:39
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    @SomeShinyObject The best way I've found to help people and not drive them away is to leave a comment that explains why their answer needs work and ask them to edit it. If they are someone who is interested in staying, they typically do. If they don't edit or get hostile about it, they usually don't want to stay or aren't the kind of person I'd like to try and keep anyway. It also helps to favorite the question/keep it tabbed and then withhold the downvotes, etc to give people a chance to correct their error (and if they don't, work to get rid of the crap). People feel less attacked that way.
    – Becuzz
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 13:09

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