I am finding that there is some friction accumulating with some of the members of the site, through extended commenting on posts. The thing I find most frustrating about this, is:

  • we are all intelligent, thinking people
  • some of the discussion within the comments can be interesting and make an addition of good content to the site (so why not post an answer?)
  • not every post will be our best post

My suggestion is; can users be encouraged to:

  1. post answers or questions, or perhaps, make improvements on posts
  2. otherwise just downvote and flag, if they find a post not suitable or sub standard for the site
  3. to come to Meta or chat if they want to thresh out issues about a particular user (ie mentioning activities of a user within post comments is not useful)

I am suggesting this, to try and create a workable balance for members, who have all made contributions to the site. We are all striving for the same goal, to provide interesting and quality standard question and answers. Afterall it IS a site for cognitive sciences.. what is that thing.... em criticism... em... no... oh encouragement.

please note, I am not claiming to be a victim or pointing the finger at other members, as I am involved in this site also.

ps don't make me start a series of questions on group mentality lol ;-)


More questions is generally a good thing: The site has recently substantially increased in activity (currently around 7 questions per day from historical levels of between 1 and 3 questions per day). We've also seen many more people contributing to the site. I think this increase in activity is great to see for the long term future of our site and the medium term goal of getting out of beta. The main additional challenge is to keep the quality of answers and the answer rate to a reasonable level while we absorb this increase in the question rate.

How to create great questions? Questions are often poorly initially asked on this site. This is not a specific comment on @skippy's questions. Rather it is a comment on questions in general on this site. There are many common problems with questions (a) unfounded assumptions; (b) too broad or unclear scope; (c) not using terminology that makes the question clear; (d) multiple questions that are insufficiently related; etc. However, because of the commenting, wiki, voting, and closing system, we have many ways of improving questions to make them useful and answerable. I think users should use all the available systems to try to improve questions. The initial question is the initial seed of a useful internet artefact. The question can then be edited into something more useful if needed. Here are some previous suggestions about how to edit questions. I think the site is best served when this is all done in a mutually respectful manner, where criticism is given and taken in a friendly but honest manner.

  • Hmmmm good points, I am going to pause and reflect on if I can improve my posting style (both questions and answers).
    – user3180
    Aug 21 '13 at 10:13

I wish you would take more time over each of your individual questions instead of posting so many. Quite a few of your questions are unclear in intent, too broad, contradictory, or full of unfounded assumptions that make the questions you deduce from these assumptions questionable. And that is what I do: question your questions.

For example: What gives you the idea that "brawn" and "brains" are a contradiction, especially if you use athletes as an example? It has been shown repeatedly that athletes score higher than average people in emotional intelligence, thus making athletes more socially capable and therefore more likeable. It has also been shown that athletes score either equally high (i.e. average) or higher than average on general intelligence tests (and certainly not lower). There is even research on the "stupid athlete stereotype" that your questions reflects, and how athletes are victims of the same kind of unfounded prejudice as beautiful women and dark skinned people (who are thought to be less intelligent than the average person also).

A simple Google Scholar search would have given you this information and helped you to formulate a better question.

So, if you would like to receive less antagonistic comments to your questions, you might want to put some more effort into formulating them. Better grammar and orthography would help, too. I find many of your questions confusing and hard to make sense of, and others seem to feel the same, because most, if not all, of your questions had to be edited by other members of the site.

Q: "So why not post an answer?"

A: Because your questions irritate me. If you don't have the time to write correct grammar and do a Google Scholar search, why would I want to do that for you?

  • You see, that's the problem: I don't understand what the "interest of men" has got to do with anything. And as for footballers: Neuroscientist Hans-Peter Thier says (focus.de/wissen/natur/…), and a Swedish study confirms (netzathleten.de/Sportmagazin/Sports-Inside/…) that footballers are more intelligent than chess players (sorry, both sources in German, use Google Translate to read).
    – user3116
    Aug 18 '13 at 21:20
  • 3
    I don't really want to engage in censorship, but I don't think the deleted exchange of comments will help future users of the site understand site policy, which is the aim of meta. I think the deleted discussion is better suited to chat chat.stackexchange.com . But let me know if either of you think I have erred in deleting the comments.
    – Jeromy Anglim Mod
    Aug 19 '13 at 0:56
  • @JeromyAnglim I believe the delete function should be reserved for only the most extreme cases. I don't see how censorship can add, but only take away.
    – Randy
    Aug 21 '13 at 7:48
  • @what If you can't handle the grammar, you can always edit the question to fix the grammar, rather than complain. Not everyone who has questions will have great grammar and asking someone to fix what they don't know is a wee silly imo. How many questions could you have fixed in the time it took to write this complaint?
    – Randy
    Aug 21 '13 at 7:52

I am all for extended discussion in comments. I can't see a downside.

Reasons for extended discussion in comments

  • It increases my faith in the answer. To see two people going at it in comments makes me comfortable that the answer has been well-scrutinized.

  • Extra knowledge is often contained in comments.

  • They have entertainment value sometimes.

Reasons not to have extended discussions in comments

  • The site owners dogmatically don't want it.

Funny logic

If people want to have discussions, they can do it in chat!


We don't want a private messaging system on SE because we want to encourage people to make answers public, rather than solving a problem privately.

Umm... ok. I guess that's why its called "stack overflow". Its the circular reasoning.

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