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Can users not call another anonymous user a "nut-case" (or any other name-call) due to said anon-user's upvote or a downvote?

This happened today. I flagged the comment.

So I am asking askers, answerers, and commenters to please refrain from name-calling in comments. It is tempting to do so, but it is hurtful to most users, most of whom vote with good intentions.

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    $\begingroup$ Note the comment was handled: Thanks to the anonymous mod who handled the comment. But I think this post still serves as something we all need to keep reminding ourselves of, including me. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ I think, given the nature of this question, it would be helpful for the anonymous downvoter here to explain their opinion... $\endgroup$ – user1729 May 5 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 The name calling was "the downvoter is a nut-case"... So I haven't any clue who that was. Regardless, the comment was inappropriate, and a moderator has since deleted the comment. Since two users downvoted my plea, I'm assuming at least two users believe name-calling is appropriate. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ I was meaning the downvoters on this question. As in, downvoting on meta means disagreement, and so that means they surely think it is appropriate to call a downvoter a nutcase. So then they would not mind being called a nut-case here, no? $\endgroup$ – user1729 May 5 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what really is the purpose of this post, as it violates the Code of Conduct name-calling should not be used anywhere, not only in the comments, refering to this phrase: "So I am asking askers, answerers, and commenters to please refrain from name-calling in comments". It's written right in the above link what one can do when they see a violation of this code, but perhaps this post also aims to target moderators for not handling flags faster. $\endgroup$ – Zacky May 5 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ We are a religious community we have the same sacred book full of marvellous theorems let"s be polite and care of each other. +1 $\endgroup$ – Aryadeva May 5 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I believe this is a case of preaching to the choir. $\endgroup$ – Don Thousand May 6 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ @DonThousand let's hope so. The other thing is that the concern is more specific than just avoiding to be rude in general terms. It is about the specific phenomenon of insults directed at unknown accounts, and in my observation doing this can happen for users that usually behave better. $\endgroup$ – quid May 6 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ I am a person who often wants to make remarks like this. I have found that a more effective approach in general is to criticize the action rather than the person. Not only is this less personally offensive to whoever did it, it's more accurate. However much I might like to believe that the downvoter is a nut-case, I don't actually know this. I don't know anything about them, and I will never know. It's not useful to speculate about it, and my self-deception, that I know more than I do, can only hurt me. (…) $\endgroup$ – MJD May 16 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ (…) My issue is with the downvote itself. A formulation that is not only more accurate but which is also less likely to get me in trouble would be: “This downvote is (irrational / ridiculous / arbitrary / undeserved / inexplicable). And this really is kinder! Perhaps tomorrow the downvoter will reconsider and will regret their irrational downvote. By criticizing the action rather than the person, you give them a way out. They're not defective, they're just someone who made a mistake. $\endgroup$ – MJD May 16 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ The first four of your word choices are offensive and rude, self-serving, and you assume bad intentions without reflecting that perhaps your answer is problematic. And you probably have learned that writing a derogatory comment yields some pity votes. The last option is less offensive "inexplicable to me" is fine.. Those words say essentially that "I find this downvote to be ... "; not that the downvote is actually ... . So when calling downvotes or people names, you're reflecting more about your own assumptions and presumptions that there is no error or fault to be had on your part. @MJD $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 16 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that's true. I'm a terrible person trying to be a less terrible one. $\endgroup$ – MJD May 16 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ @MJD Join the club. :-) $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 16 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 I was tempted to downvote this question (ultimately didn't) because it doesn't seem that useful to me: it clearly references a specific incident, but doesn't give a lot of information about the incident. If this incident is not part of a pattern, I don't think there's anything to do (that hasn't already been done). If it is part of a pattern, I think we need to say more about what the pattern is. I don't know whether the suggestion is that we need more / better moderation, or that the Code of Conduct isn't doing its job, or people just need to try harder (who?) $\endgroup$ – Ben Millwood May 17 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ I deleted a bunch of comments here. To reiterate something said elsewhere, there is no tolerance on this site for words like nut-case, idiot, etc. That's how it is. If anyone thinks that makes the place dull, fine, then consider it dull. The policy stands. $\endgroup$ – quid May 20 at 16:07
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The post raises a valid concern. Some users have the habit of complaining rudely about unidentified other users, e.g., "the downvoter", "those that upvoted this" etc., in ways they might not complain about user that are identified.

The rationale seems to be that since they necessarily do not know who they are even complaining about, it's not such a big deal. However, the comment might still be read by the targeted user(s), other users that know that they do similar things, other users that actually find what is complained about a good thing, other users that just don't like rude complaining out of principle, etc.

All those might be negatively impacted by such a comment. And, even if somebody convinces themselves that they all deserve this, this seems hard to maintain for the last category, which is I think quite sizeable.

When moderators see such comments or are alerted to them, we certainly will remove them. However, as pointed out in the answer, this can take some time, and even if it would be instant it still takes some effort on our part.

Thus, I think we should adopt as a principle for commenting, not to write anything targeted at somebody or some group, but nobody in particular, that we would not also write with an @-notify to a particular user.

Of course, some users will also write rude complaints to particular users. But that's a problem for another thread.

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    $\begingroup$ In the past I have been guilty of this behavior on a few occasions. But I think over time people learn to control their behavior (may be this is too optimistic but let's be like that in such difficult times). Thanks for second paragraph. +1 $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh May 9 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ Disagree. A complaint against a whole "user class" (such as downvoters of a given post) is clearly bound to a behavior, not to a person; to the extent the author of the complaint knows the person it is directed at, the "nut-case" characterization will hardly overwrite the rest of his picture of said person. No one (right in their mind?) would take (e.g.) "if you have a Mac, then you must have more money than sense" as a personal insult. The example here is just less polite but otherwise analogous. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg May 13 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ But @darij, the offender did not know the downvoter. It certainly was not me. And it was name calling directed at a class of users the offender dismissed out of hand. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 16 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ @darijgrinberg honestly that makes no sense to me. By the same token insults against many groups are unproblematic and no one will feel insulted ever. Really? Even your example obviously has the potential to vex others. $\endgroup$ – quid May 17 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: I don't see insults against this kind of behavior-defined groups as particularly problematic (it's a somewhat different story if the group is one you don't choose to belong to), nor do I subscribe to the idea that anything slightly problematic has to be expunged from comment threads by any means. You can be vexed by my characterization of Mac users if you wish so, but these sorts of statements are all over the literature, and a lot of expressivity would be lost if they were to disappear. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg May 17 at 7:25
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    $\begingroup$ @darijgrinberg I agree that not all groups are the same, and you named a relevant criterion. However, I'd say this is also more subtle than that (e.g., religion), but that's arguably tangential for the groups we are discussing here. I actually also agree that there is a trade-off between expressivity and avoiding risks of offending. However, as a moderator of this site, I will err towards the latter (if I were an editor of a site for political essays I might make different arbitrations). Thus, your disagreement is note, but I will continue to delete such comments and maintain the advice. $\endgroup$ – quid May 17 at 12:04
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This is rather rare and it overgeneralizes the problem. Individual cases should be flagged only. (The OP seems to complain about the inefficiency of mod handling flags in the original version of the question.)

You seem to talk about actions in meta (not the main site, according to user1729's comment above), where situations are usually way more complicated and depend very much on context.

"... users call another anonymous user a 'nut-case'" is much far from clear what the true story is.


[Added:] In the case when such a thing happens on the main site1, as a moderator kindly pointed out below, flagging should still be the most efficient way.

Moreover, the Math Mods' Office, which is

For informal chat(s) with the site moderators about moderation, spam, troublesome users and other issues you need ♦ input on.

is another option. Again, without context, "nut-case" is hardly the full picture of the occurrences.

1 Though, sometimes frictions in the main site may stem from disagreements on meta. Handling with merely the "nut-case" issue may not solve the problem.

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    $\begingroup$ You clearly did not read my post. I did flag the post. I have not generalized; I only said "name-calling happens" and you yourself have called out users for it, and for downvoting, devising theories as to why downvotes occurred, on meta, instead of flagging. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ This is not the way to retaliate; I'm sorry you feel personal animosity towards me. You called out users in your one question on meta for downvoting two main questions. And yes, both your question and mine depend on context. I chose not to name the user, nor link the comment, because I'm not here, like you are, to expose other users. I'm sorry you disagree that name-calling occurs on main. That just reveals your very inexperienced tenure on the site. Have a good day. T. S ! $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: "This is not the way to retaliate; I'm sorry you feel personal animosity towards me." I fail to understand what this is. Unfortunately, I don't consider your accusation in the comment above is factual. $\endgroup$ – T. S May 5 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ Have a nice day, @T. S. I'm not going to let you provoke me. Glad your an eager newbie. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ @amW: by the way, if you leave a comment under an answer, I don't think it necessary to "call a user's name"; the user will automatically get a notification. That will save you a bit of typing. $\endgroup$ – T. S May 5 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Have a nice day, @T.S $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ @amW: thank you for the "Have a nice day" part. $\endgroup$ – T. S May 5 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ A moderator will tell you otherwise: that comment, calling another user a nut-case happened, and prompted my post. The comment has been deleted, but any mod can confirm it. Unlike you, I chose not to name names. Now go back to studying how math.se works, so you can better answer questions. Have a nice day, T. S I'll not respond to you any further. $\endgroup$ – amWhy May 5 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ "You seem to talk about actions in meta" It's rather unclear what gave you that idea. In any case I can confirm the comment was on main. $\endgroup$ – quid May 5 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @amW: "Unlike you, I chose not to name names." Well, to remind me to "have a nice day", you seemed to type my user name many times. I have appreciated it. $\endgroup$ – T. S May 5 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ It's not very clear what context you have in mind. Some user simply commented under their own answer "What nut-case downvotes this[...]" with some appended justification why the post is good. $\endgroup$ – quid May 5 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ @T.S You've intentionally missed the point amWhy makes. They chose not to name the users who this whole post is about; in your rant, you exposed the offenders before it was edited out. $\endgroup$ – Don Thousand May 6 at 12:52

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