This question is looking for answers or suggestions for us non-moderators. (Moderators have been seen to use their powers wisely in such situations.)

Very recently a somewhat vague question was asked and the OP resisted putting in clarifying information or a minimal working example and began to get downright nasty. (This particular question was put on hold.)

For this particular case I looked at the user's profile and saw a pattern of being argumentative after asking vague questions on other StackExchange forums. My comment was to repeat a previous comment about providing a MWE.

Other than either avoiding answering or attempting to be helpful are there some specific suggestions as to how to phrase responses to what appears to be a volatile OP?

  • 4
    This is more of a general observation than general advice, but diplomacy will at least let you take the high road, if not to make the "volatile" user not more agitated than necessary. Mar 5, 2018 at 23:16
  • 4
    I agree with the comment above, escalating is a waste of your precious time. You cannot mitigate recurring passive-aggressive issues of internet users. But... if such a user violates the forum guidelines, please do not hesitate to flag any abuse and inform the moderators. IMO this is essential to keep the community healthy, and we have a great set of mods around.
    – Yves Klett
    Mar 7, 2018 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


If it has already devolved to the point of a "volatile OP", then I think there's no point in engaging further. Just let it go.

What seems more common is what I'll call a "resistant OP" who ignores or deflects requests for more info. In this case, I think it's better to phrase comments in terms of "people will be more likely to help you if you provide copyable code / give all the parameter values / simplify your example / etc." so that they realize that doing so is in their own best interest (to get their question answered). If they still resist helping others to help them, so be it.

Beyond that, I think the regular users can support each other by upvoting or echoing reasonable comments for more info, so that resistant OPs see it as a community-wide response, rather than just one picky user nagging them to do more work.

Frankly, it's a damn miracle that there are so many people on this site who volunteer their time to helping others. Thanks! They shouldn't waste their mental energy dealing with volatile or resistant OPs.

  • 7
    "I think the regular users can support each other by upvoting or echoing reasonable comments for more info" - I wish to emphasize this. If, after being nudged by multiple commenters, the OP remains recalcitrant, then you are perfectly justified in taking your interests elsewhere. So, it's both a show of support, and an indicator that you may have to tread carefully with that particular OP. Mar 7, 2018 at 22:23

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