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Within the last $6$ hours, an answer was posted to a question which has been downvoted $9$ times (I haven't provided a link to the question, but I can if needed). What is interesting is that the comment thread is quite long and the majority of it is discussing MSE, not the mathematics involved.

Shouldn't this sort of discussion be done here on the meta site? If so, why did this not occur in this particular case?

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  1. Usually the moderators would prod such a discussion along. Unfortunately, the software notifies us of a potentially out-of-hand discussion when the number of comments reaches 20. When that had happened for this particular thread, the majority of the discussion (except for the OP's insistence that no-one should downvote unless he/she has an alternative answer) was actually about the mathematics, and about the given answer in particular.

    Therefore a moderator (I think rightly) cleared the flag as helpful, but didn't do anything about it, since mathematical discussions are supposed to happen on the main site. It is unfortunate that the discussion got out of hand subsequently.

  2. While in general meta discussions should be had on meta, reading through the specific comment thread you mentioned (I'm pretty sure I found the right one), I rather doubt it will do a lot of good. If it has already degenerated into two parties butting heads on how the site should function, there's rather little a discussion on Meta could help.

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    $\begingroup$ Is it unethical in some way to link to the post (which I found, thanks)? $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Jan 4 '13 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ @did: I don't think so. I didn't link to it because while I am confident I found the correct one, I may still have made a mistake, which would've confused the discussion. I must admit trying to answer "why did this not occur in this particular case" without the reference post takes a little bit of sleuthing. $\endgroup$ Jan 4 '13 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ Come! Are there so many answers so heavily downvoted in such a short time span? I hope not... :-) (But I will not link to it myself and anyway, said answer is deleted now.) $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Jan 4 '13 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @did: at least when the site first started it was common enough that I posted on meta about it. Caveat: I left that post up for historical reasons. I no longer hold the view that "piling on downvotes is necessary bad". $\endgroup$ Jan 4 '13 at 14:29

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