Is replying to inappropriate messages advisable in chat?

For example, in response to a recent chat message, I first tried replying to it, rather than flagging it. But it ended up being deleted. Link for those who have the privileges: http://chat.stackexchange.com/messages/16116471/history

Does this mean that replying wasn't an advisable response?

  • Actually, that message was meant as a joke, your reply was right IMO. Some people are tensed on behalf of us, so they flagged it, and escalated the issue, while the two involved were away and fine with it. That's my guess. Anyway, sorry for that message, I did not mean to insult or anything. Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 13:36
  • 2
    @MeNoTalk that message wasn't meant as a joke. You said so yourself.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 23:47
  • it was as a joke, I said it wasn't after you got tensed. but it really was :) Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 1:32
  • Nope, all you can infer from this is that the mod deleted it. No more info can be gleaned without asking the specific moderator, which you are entitled to do. It may well even have been the first message that got flagged, and so the mod just cleaned up the conversation.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 14:41

4 Answers 4


If a message is inappropriate, you have a few possible actions:

  1. Ignore it, do nothing. If the person WAS trying to get a rise out of you, they've failed, and may not try it again in future. Disadvantage: the message stays, advantage: it doesn't escalate.

  2. Reply to it. You could calmly and clearly point out why it's inappropriate, perhaps with a link to the rules, or an explanation on how mocking/insulting/whatever they've done isn't in the interest of the chat room . We've seen way too many cases of people trying to claim 'oh I was only joking'. This is the internet - it's not always clear if you're joking, and clarity is required. Of course this also means we need to be understanding - they may well have intended it as a light-hearted comment and it hasn't come across this way. Disadvantage: encourages trolls if you've drawn attention to their comment, Advantage: it helps clear up misunderstandings and encourages communication.

  3. Flag it. This is probably the best for highly inappropriate stuff, where trolling/insulting etc is obviously intended. Don't reply, just call on a mod to deal with it. Responding to such comments can't possibly end well, as the person is being insulting/bigoted/etc already and isn't intending to have a reasoned conversation. The mod can suspend/message/deal with it. Disadvantage: sometimes seen as lacking communication and understanding. Advantage: snips trolls in the bud, stops wars and arguments, and generally prevents situations where two people end up in an argument and both get suspended.

It's not that hard. If it's something you wouldn't say to their face if sitting across the table from each other, don't say it in the chat room! :)

--Disclaimer: examples are not meant to refer to any specific instances of current/past chat room users

  • 3
    Downvoter care to elaborate why you disagree? This is meta, discussion is good, let's hear it!
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 14:57

I know that I am a younger member here and I have a lot to learn from my fellow travellers and in general most people on this planet. Here's my two cents on this matter even though I was unable to view this conversation and do not know the specifics of this conversation.

In general as Mark Mayo mentioned earlier when he was a Mod for this site, we must try to maintain our appropriation and etiquette. Getting into bad mouthing only makes matters worse.

As travellers this is of prime importance to us and not losing our cool is a mark of respect even if you feel respect is not deserved in the current situation.

Getting into misunderstandings and snide remarks is something which often happens on the internet and having lived in a city where this is more common than other places I realise that this can have severe unintended results.

So let's keep our integrity and handle the situation in the calmest manner possible.

If you feel you are making a reply which can be taken offensively, DON'T. Statements on the internet can be taken offensively very quickly and I personally try to avoid any personal comments about anyone, jokes or not.

Let's make the internet a calm and happy place where people come to share their interests with those in different areas of the world.

If you find that someone has made a comment which is or can be viewed in an offensive manner, suggest them to revise their comment and prevent fights. If the user insists on being offensive, flag them. Flags are good, but give the user a chance to revise and explain and regain their cool before you take decisions which would involve moderators.


Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves, is what the purpose of chat is in the first place. I have enjoyed quite some conversations I had in the chat box, but in general I am primarily here for the questioning and answering. Chat is the metaphoricap shower drain of the stack exchange platform and with shower drains it can collect quite some hair balls. So just remove the hairballs and keep on showering. Talking about the hairballs only makes the whole process nasty.

How do you remove "hairballs" in chat, simply ignore. Talking about by discussing or flagging it only makes it so nasty.

But seriously those who flag and are being flagged should really think twice if it is worth it? Due to the bickering I have lost my apetite for spending time on the chatbox. I guess I am not the only only seeing that on the latest issue the flagging just silenced the chatbox for at least 3 days.

Just my 2ct.


Man, if the guy you are talking about is from a terrorist ethnic group, then take the joke seriously! never underestimate the jokes of the terrorists, it could be true! it is a matter of life and death, even if the terrorist apologizes, always be careful! just fire at will to be at the safe side, better safe than sorry.

So, bottom line, do the following if you ever get shot with a joke from a terrorist:

  1. Flag (call for backup).
  2. Reply (hold the ground and defend yourself, fire at will).
  3. Open a meta discussion (to avoid future attacks)

Nothing to worry about, you got an army of people who support you in the name of "Counter-terrorism", even if they act like they are not biased, trust me they are totally with you!

God bless you.

  • Only -3? come on guys you can do better ;) Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 23:27

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