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I'm thinking of this exchange here Finding the best two predictor variables used conjointly, and levels of each - both in the comments on the original question (and now in the edits to the question) and to my answer. Obviously a good approach as individuals is to stay calm and keep away, but how should we act as a community? I'd like to see a clear message that this sort of behavior is not welcome on the site. But having said that the question is clearly within scope and so should not be closed on any of the usual grounds.

Also, I was surprised to find not much discussion on rudeness in the meta, am I maybe looking in the wrong place.

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    $\begingroup$ I've not much to add to @Matt's reply. I am grateful to you, Peter, for showing such a positive attitude. This user has been kindly notified by the system that constructive and respectful exchanges are expected on this community site. $\endgroup$ – chl May 18 '12 at 10:20
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    $\begingroup$ On behalf of the community I apologize to you, Peter, for any grief your valiant attempts at helping with this thread may have brought you. It was left open while there was some hope for a constructive resolution. To my view, that hope is largely gone now, but not for lack of any effort on your part (or on the part of other interlocutors). One way or another, the entire exchange will be cleaned up soon. $\endgroup$ – whuber May 18 '12 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ No problem, thanks. $\endgroup$ – Peter Ellis May 18 '12 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ @All By means of deletion and judicious editing of comments to the referenced thread, I have retained the content relevant to the question and removed the other remarks contained therein. I hope everyone involved views this as constructive, but if any of these changes have (inadvertently) changed the meaning, please feel free to make suitable modifications or additions. Please just make sure your comments address the substance of the question. $\endgroup$ – whuber May 21 '12 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ I have no problems with your edits, @whuber, but his final comment on that thread - "You people are geniuses, providing a great deal of insight into answering the question. Problem solved! If you're ever in town be sure to look me up so that I can buy you a beer." was clearly sarcasm though I refrained from flagging it. Re: the thread where you ask us to vote on the merits of the question - I admit to being a downvoter. My rationale was that his third question was a thinly veiled re-phrasing of the previous question. I almost close voted but decided to simply downvote. $\endgroup$ – Macro May 21 '12 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ Why don't we just take the final comment at face value and leave it at that? :-) $\endgroup$ – whuber May 21 '12 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, I had another run in with this guy. See the edit history at stats.stackexchange.com/questions/28847/… ... I deleted his solicitation for contact outside of the site a few times in a row (the same material you deleted a few days ago). Eventually he had an outburst that I reverted by editing. At that point I flagged the post. For future reference, should I have just left it alone after he was resisting the edit and flagged it at that point? Or...? $\endgroup$ – Macro May 27 '12 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Macro Thank you for your efforts. It's hard to say what's the right course of action in such circumstances. It's probably a good idea to flag any situation where a fight seems to be emerging, such as an editing/rollback war (as in this circumstance) or when language becomes uncivil. Even the most tactful and reputable user has only limited capabilities to stop a determined individual from harming a thread or abusing the site. Moderators can lock posts to prevent additional changes (both temporarily and permanently); they can contact users behind the scenes; and they can suspend user accounts. $\endgroup$ – whuber May 28 '12 at 18:41
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The question is heavily downvoted, and I think anybody who has seen it would think twice before putting time into answering additional questions from the OP (assuming he ever comes back to ask all of us idiots another question). That's probably enough of a message. That kind of asinine behavior is in violation of our etiquette, so I'd say it is indeed fair game for downvotes or closure (whether or not that's a listed reason - the software guides how we manage the community but shouldn't dictate). You unfortunately caught the brunt of the nastiness, but it looks to me like the system is working basically as planned.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I think you're probably right on all counts, including that the system is basically working. $\endgroup$ – Peter Ellis May 18 '12 at 1:44
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I would like to second what others have said here, which is that Macro and you behaved with admirable maturity in the face of this situation.

I do think it's perfectly acceptable to close or delete a question [answer, comment] if someone's behavior is obnoxious. I think this may be sufficient sometimes to chastise someone and get them to follow simple courtesy. (I actually loosely remember an example in which I flagged someone's comment, it was deleted, and the poster was more appropriate thereafter, but I wouldn't be able to find the thread again now.) However, that won't always work. The individual in question seems dedicated to behaving this way (you can check his other question, and his website). Should these posts have been closed, I suspect more nastiness, possibly via alternate accounts registered under pseudonyms would follow. Unfortunately, the nature of the internet is such that this is destined to occur occasionally, and there's no ultimate solution besides walking away and ignoring it. Thus, I think @MattParker is right that the system worked basically as well as can be hoped.

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