If you see sexist / homophobic / whatever-ist content, do something about it.

This may be talking to the person about why they shouldn't say it, but if you're not prepared to do that, flag it instead.

Don't let such behaviour be seen as acceptable.

The chat message in question was one user saying that he shouldn't argue with women, because they're illogical. It was made a day or two ago, and as far as I could tell no-one had addressed his sexism. (It has since been removed)

The community was hostile towards that message being flagged. For example, hippietrail described it as "trolling". I know that he was specifically referring to the flagging, as at the time I hadn't said anything about the person who made the sexist comment for weeks.

I'm not a woman, so someone saying that women are lesser beings doesn't affect me directly. Nor does someone being homophobic or anti-semitic affect me directly. But I don't want to be in an atmosphere where such content is encouraged.

  • 2
    Is this in general, or was this in response to something? I thought you might have linked to it, but you've linked to the (appropriate) be nice rule. Don't forget, if something is offensive / violates rules, call the mods - they're there to help.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 6:20
  • 1
    @MarkMayo it was prompted by the community's lack of action about a recent sexist chat message, and also the reaction by the community to it being flagged, including it being called "trolling" by one user. But I didn't want to mention it in the question, to minimize the airing of dirty laundry.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 6:25
  • I voted to close the question, it's unclear what are you asking.
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 8:32
  • 4
    @Dirty-flow I think on meta, posts do not always need to be questions. There are many posts that aren't.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:37
  • @gerrit I know but it's still unclear, because the OP doesn't want to mention the chat message he's talking about.
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:39
  • 3
    Even if it's not a question, I think the message is clear, and I don't understand, nor agree with, the downvotes.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 9:44

2 Answers 2


General advice on offensive/rude/hate speech to all, as I don't know what particular post you refer to:

Speaking as one of the moderators on Travel-SE, I don't always follow up on everything written in chat, so it's possible we've missed that. If you don't want to point at a particular infraction publicly, you can get a moderator in a private chat room and point out what you think went wrong, and then we'll sort it out.

That being said, please remember a lot of context and sense gets lost without observing the speaker's body language and attitude. For example, a simple "I hate you" can be seen as both innocent and extremely offensive. A lot of it depends on the context, but also on cultural differences. It's best to assume that nobody is "out to get you" and they may be trying to tease you instead of outright confronting you. Myself, and I'm sure I'm not alone, tend to allow myself more leeway in terms of expression when talking with my friends, but I'd be blushing all over if I had to repeat the same things in a more civilized company. Understand people are different and "offensive" for one might be just "naughty" or "normal" for somebody else.

For us as moderators, we are tasked with determining the actual intent of a post that seems offensive, which for reasons I stated above, can be quite difficult. Personally, I rely on the community to self-censor itself instead of persecuting every single instance of a bad word somebody dropped in chat or as comment, and interfere very infrequently. I assume We Are All Adults Here (tm) and can tolerate some naughtiness being thrown our way -- it's a useful social skill anyway. The best you can do in this case is to just.. well, do nothing. Don't feed the trolls, as they say. Do not hesitate, though, to draw moderators' attention to irregularities and outright hate speech.

The main site and the comments are an entirely different matter, though, and we are much more strict on what is allowed or not.


  • Not everybody is "out to get you"
  • When spotting something that rubs you the wrong way, take a deep breath and truly figure out whether it's a teasing remark or an actual offensive post.
  • Do not respond to trolling attempts

This is a professional site, so content should be based on facts and not prejudices or political correctness as well.

If we keep that line, if someone claims the content is sexist, heterophobic, anti-zoroastrianic or whatever, you can state clearly that your statement is based on facts, and he/she should respond to the facts, and not to the emotions triggered by them.

On the other hand, if the content is not based on facts, it will be always disputable, no matter how much will you try to keep your opinion-based statement not offensive to anyone.

You must log in to answer this question.

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