I posted this answer here: https://math.stackexchange.com/a/1121698/205062

My answer was commented upon by someone who misunderstood it but that comment (the second comment) has attracted two upvotes. I find it very rude to misconstrue my post and then pour further salt in the wounds by upvoting what I did not intend!!!

I think this kind of action should be not allowed. It is not conducive to good discussion to have dishonest misrepresentation (I don't blame the commenter but the upvoters).

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry. My first commment made no sense. I did nto read carefully and you link to the question not the answer so I thought it was about the question. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 27, 2015 at 12:35
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    $\begingroup$ Having read the comments I can understand your frustration. But, look at it like this: it somehow proves your point. :-) $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 27, 2015 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ I did not upvote or downvote the answer or the comment in question, but do note that there is only a limited time given to take back your vote (so those who upvoted the comment then later decided to remove the upvote could no longer do so) and that comments cannot be downvoted (so those who did not like the comment have no way of negating the upvotes). $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Jan 27, 2015 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ @quid You actually can, but only for a very limited time (60 seconds). And then you can't vote again for that comment. Meta.SE thread. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2015 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ @NajibIdrissi I never noticed that! Thank you for the information. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 27, 2015 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ My -1 is to be read as: while I agree you were misunderstood, I don't agree this should, or even could, be dealt with by any site policy. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Jan 27, 2015 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ I recommend not answering questions that are likely to be closed because they are not about a mathematical topic, they are about personal or career advice. Also, my opinions are not popular, I tend to get downvotes if I am honest, so I have learned to simply delete my answers then. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Jan 27, 2015 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @WillJagy Sometimes it is nice to be told something unpopular. I do not think you should delete a post which expresses your opinion because that opinion is somehow unpopular. I mean, people in the UK vote Lib. Dem.! $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729, you're right, of course. Mostly it depends on my mood, sometimes on how important I think my point was. I have one Meta answer at -13 votes, that one I will leave alone. I don't, however, keep repeating opinions that people clearly dislike. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Jan 28, 2015 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


Particularly on questions that err on the soft side, there is a risk that people may read other things in your words than you intended. This is as unfortunate as it is inevitable.

Together with such misinterpretations comes the tendency to be more convinced of one's correctness. This incites a sharper tone and a more polarised discussion in general. People will take sides quickly, and in this case this results in upvotes.

There is not much to be done about that from a site perspective, except for closing the post if it is too soft, i.e. opinion-based. Since this has been done, not much more remains.

I would strongly suggest to move on and stop paying attention; comments are not what StackExchange is about, so their value (and more so the value of comment upvotes) is limited.


Instead of being offended by the comments, here's another way to think about it:

The comment is feedback - If so many people misunderstood your point, perhaps the problem isn't with their reading comprehension, but rather with your post.

Instead of arguing with the person who may have misunderstood you, ask questions to find out why they misunderstood (i.e. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to give that impression; what I meant was ____. Is that clearer?"). If you can figure out why, edit your answer so the comment no longer applies. Then, you can flag the comment as obsolete (of course, only flag it if it really is obsolete).

This is the internet. People will disagree with you, and (most likely) misinterpret you. I recommend learning to ask "is this feedback, even if I don't like it, helpful?" If so, incorporate the feedback into your post; if not, ignore the complaint and move on--your time is worth more than to be spend worrying that there's something wrong on the internet.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "This is the internet." I think there are way too many people on this page who forget this. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2015 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the first issue, to quote Lucky Number Slevin, "The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him on the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle." $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jan 28, 2015 at 5:27

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