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I wrote this answer and a user began arguing that my proof did not answer the poster's question. I tried very hard to explain that I thought it did. Of course I could be wrong; but nothing this user said made me want to change my argument. I'm fine with being criticised. Especially if it's constructive. I'm fine with the eventual downvote I got. I like getting points but that's not why I'm here.

There was another occasion where I was harangued, but in that case, it was constructive criticism and I did change my answer. It was annoying to keep getting notifications that I had a new response while I was trying to edit my answer, but that is a different topic.

My complaint is that, at some point, attempts to make an answer poster cbange their answer becomes harassment. I tried as hard as I could to avoid "Please avoid extended discussions in comments..." and failed.

My questions are:

At what point does a user's attempt to make me change my answer become out of line?

Does it matter is he is right and I am wrong?

What do I do when I feel it has become harassment?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Namaste, BLAZE, Shailesh, yoknapatawpha, Watson Sep 16 '17 at 16:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ "nothing this user said made me want to change my argument" Nothing, not even "the question was to know if it is possible to use the R.o.S to prove that odd degree polynomials with real coefficients always have a root. But your second paragraph already shows that there are real root, without using the R.o.S."? $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 13 '17 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Did -- I interpreted that to mean : "If I use the rule of signs on a polynomial of odd degree, will it tell me that that polynomial has at least one root". My answer was, "Yes it will". I finally see what was going on and I see I was being dense. My question still stands. $\endgroup$ – steven gregory Sep 13 '17 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ I edited the link. Yours depended on the search function of our site. AND it set user=me as a search parameter. This had the consequence that the search was done among the posts of whoever happened to click the link. Most notably, it didn't lead to a search among YOUR answers. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Sep 13 '17 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ And... any time a comment exchange goes out of line, you can stop replying, and flag it for the attention of the moderators. Note: we won't rule on the correctness of arguments. We just delete rude comments (and, according to some heuristics, comments that we judge to have escalated the matter). $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Sep 13 '17 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ "My question still stands" Sorry but it seems it does not. // Ironically, this meta post implicitely raises the opposite question, which is how to deal effectively with the answerers who remain deaf to the 100% appropriate and mathematically correct remarks made on their posts. And, unfortunately, the site is lacking an effective mechanism to address these situations... $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 13 '17 at 7:11
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and a caveat: I belong to the tribe of the users who think that the answer to "Does it matter is he is right and I am wrong?" is a resounding: Yes it does, very much. $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 13 '17 at 7:12
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    $\begingroup$ @did - I agree with everything you said. Should I delete this question too? $\endgroup$ – steven gregory Sep 13 '17 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ Did anyone attempt to edit your post to make it correct? With no consent on your part? If not, I'd hardly call the comments you speak of in the category of "attempting to change your answer" let alone harrassment (for all know, however, some of those comments have since been deleted.) Some users complain about downvotes when the downvoter fails to leave a comment. Some feel harrassed at any constructive criticism. But I'm hoping you are in between the two extremes. (Again, I cannot see any comments you may be responding to that are off-base, but one or more may have since been deleted. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 13 '17 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy My answer stunk and I was too brain dead to see why. It's not constructive criticism if I don't have a clue what he's talking about. In the last week, I have written maybe three or four bad answers. I know that because "Did" went through all of my recent answers and (justly) ripped them apart. I deleted three of them. I disagree with him on the fourth. $\endgroup$ – steven gregory Sep 13 '17 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ @stevengregory I think that Jyrki Lahtonen gave the best advice here: when you feel that someone is harrassing you, offensive, rude, etc., you're best bet is to flag the offending comment. Then the mods can address it, and delete the comment(s) as needed. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 13 '17 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ At any rate, steven, I see no indication, given your link and your failure to respond to my questions about "Is what's there now, what was there when you posted?", that the asker harassed you, or that the asker expected you to rewrite your answer. I see feedback from the asker of the question you claim to have answered. Period. It seems you were/are upset with having the asker trying to clarify what the question actually had been, and noting that your answer didn't answer the question asked in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 13 '17 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy - My question was not about that particular incident. My question was fueled by that one particular incident; which is why I referenced it. I have already admitted that he or she was right and I was clueless and wrong. You're a mathematician! Surely you know that the answer can be staring you in the face sometimes and you can't see it. I don't care if the evidence of harassment in that particular case is there or not, I feel that my question is still a valid question. $\endgroup$ – steven gregory Sep 13 '17 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ "It's not constructive criticism if I don't have a clue what he's talking about." Ahem... $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 13 '17 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ Why was my comment answering to the OP's direct question at me asking "Should I delete this question too?" deleted? Could any of the users who flagged it explain why (that, or the mod who unilaterally deleted it)? $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 14 '17 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen You know my comments, and you know they are clear. Sorry but I have little patience for post hoc misleading reconstructions of the events by users misbehaving and ready to go to any length to avoid recognizing the fact. Seen too many... $\endgroup$ – Did Sep 16 '17 at 20:29
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If you do not want to engage in a discussion, end it clearly and politely (or at least neutrally).

You could say something like this.

I tried to understand your objections, but I still cannot see your point. At this point I am afraid to continue this exchange is not productive anymore. I will let my answer stand in case somebody else should find it useful. Please feel free to vote on it as you see fit, but I do not wish to continue this discussion.

At this point it is reasonable to expect the other side will respect your wish and either not reply at all or just acknowledge your comment in a neutral to polite way. If they do not, I would consider one final try on their side as potentially impolite but maybe sometimes reasonable. To which you either should reply not at all or with something very short like: "I would really prefer not to continue this." (Except if you then finally see the point, in which the situation changes.)

If at this point they still do not stop I would consider it as going too far and and might flag.

Summary: State clearly that you do not want to continue (without asserting that you are right). Accept one more (good-faith) comment after that. Past that I think you can feel free to flag.

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    $\begingroup$ What I want is to understand. What I want is for people to care as much about being understood as they do about being right. My dad built a chair once. It wobbled. My mom looked at it and said "One of the legs is too short". My dad said, "No, three of the legs are too long." Which one was right? Which one didn't understand? $\endgroup$ – steven gregory Sep 14 '17 at 9:17

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