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My comment was marked as violating code of conduct. Why?

Pavel Gurkov on March 12, 2019

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Hi Pavel, I'm not part of the DEV team so I'll try to give you my "third party" opinion.

You basically told someone, a stranger you likely don't know, that they have no value (!!). If I were to entertain your logic I'd ask "how do you know?". And even if they truly have no value in your eyes (grotesque way to address a human being which has inherent value by... being a human being), what made you decide to look down on them?

Regarding the code of conduct, literally the first point of the standards in the code of conduct is Using welcoming and inclusive language, which that is not in my opinion.

ps. a 17 year-old soon to be a bachelor in computer science seems pretty badass to me, "regular" 17 year olds on this side of the Atlantic ocean are definitely still in high school


Hello rhymes.
Mind you, I didn't tell a stranger, or any person, that they have "no value". That's how you read it, that's not what I wrote. I'm sorry if I made it so ambigous.
I wrote that AMA by that person has no value.
How do you think I could write this in more welcoming and inclusive way?
Also, what makes you think I look down on them? I don't think my AMA would have any value either. That's partly why I don't start one.


Got it Pavel, thanks for clarifying, I think the confusion stems from the exchange between you and @laurieontech .

How do you think I could write this in more welcoming and inclusive way?

Well, you just did in a way :)

Also, what makes you think I look down on them?

I don't, in the context of assigning inherent value to a human being I thought you were doing that.

I'm glad we had this exchange!

I don't think my AMA would have any value either. That's partly why I don't start one.

It might have value to other people, you never know. We tend to think AMAs are just for exceptional industry leaders but I see a 17 year old with a bachelor in CS and a self evident enthusiasm to be exceptional as well.

Yours is a legitimate question though, I'm glad we cleared that up.


I think that's an uncharitable characterization of Pavel's comments -- he wasn't talking about any value or lack thereof inherent to Mikol himself, but specifically about the justification for an AMA. His original phrasing was quite direct but I don't see it as aggressive or offensive.


In which case, why not simply not participate, and see what value arises if any? I'd argue making a statement writing it off as a useless post at best also added no value, and at worst detracted from discourse. I don't know where I fall on the code of conduct decision, and it doesn't matter because it's not up to me, but it's hard to read as anything but mean-spirited.

In the circumstances I think "what kinds of questions are you expecting, given your lack of relevant experience" is a legitimate question! I think a lot of people are leaping to the conclusion that Pavel's writing Mikol off; to me that looks like an opportunity for Mikol to show what he's bringing to an AMA. It's "ask me anything", not "throw me a bunch of softballs". There should be room for challenges as long as people don't get actively antagonistic, which I don't think Pavel was.

I do think it's a legitimate question, and didn't have a negative reaction at all to the first post until the follow up: " I don’t see much to offer. I’m sorry it disappoints you. True, credentials by themselves don’t add value, however I don’t see anything adding value here at all." I agree, nothing actively antagonistic, but definitely dismissive. It reads less like a challenge or a prompt for more information and more like a write-off, which changes the context of the initial post.

I'm not sure I see justification for removing either comment, honestly, that does feel heavy-handed to me, but I also definitely see where the controversy comes from.

I'm curious to see if Pavel can weigh in - I imagine the intent was quite similar to your reading, but the tone was a little problematic.

Hi Pavel, I'm not part of the DEV team so I'll try to give you my "third party" opinion.

To clarify this, we wouldn't "know" per se. This indication occurs multiple mods mark something as low quality. I agree that it's possible this was mischaracterized and some nuance was lost in translation.

I'll look in to this specific case and look for more ways to adjust the product so people get a better experience. @trueneu probably should have been able to bring this question directly to admins for clarity/reversal.

I think this got caught up in a system which has otherwise been pretty good at its job.

The only reason I wrote that comment is for the OP - as well as commenters - to stop right there and think for a little bit, and ask themselves one question, and answer it honestly. To themselves. The question is "why?"
For me, good AMAs are the ones where OP doesn't post anything new because they're exhausted after 12 hours of posting comments. And I don't find disappointing thinking that a person fresh and new to the field can't offer much to others. It's a fact. That's how world works. That's why young learn and old teach. Anyone can have their opinions of course.
How would you tone the message?

I wonder if you could be self reflective for a moment and ask yourself why? Why do you feel only experienced people can have value in a conversation about the industry? Why did you feel the need to express your personal opinion in this circumstance? What benefit did it provide the OP in that circumstance when others had seemingly posted questions they wanted them to answer?

I think "why" is a great question, but I don't agree with your (perceived) assumption that a good answer for it isn't forthcoming. I also agree that a good AMA is a very rare thing, and I'm with you - I'm not about to make my own AMA either.

This person might not "teach" you a skill you didn't have, but they also have a different path and perspective which may be interesting, or resonate with other teenagers. Or it may not. Of course to you, it may indeed be completely useless, but I wouldn't then assume the whole AMA is useless to anyone that reads it - just to you. So I'd argue the best thing to do is live and let live, and don't post at all. If it turns out you're right and it wasn't a great post, it'll peter out on its own without any help. And if not, you might get a good read out of it. The "inclusive" solution is to allow it to be included, with or without your stamp of approval.

When you posted, did you actually think OP might come through and change your mind, or were you just signalling you didn't think it was possible? That's the difference for me - the former I'm on board with, the latter I think we can do without.

I do appreciate your willingness to hash this out, though, and I think it's great that you express yourself directly - we usually need more of that, not less of it. I didn't mean this to be a "pile on Pavel" moment, I think Ben was right in pointing out that there's nuance here the system wasn't equipped for. There no "right" answer here, but increased mutual understanding is always good for the comunity.


  1. You're changing context a bit, as AMA is not an equal two-way conversation. But let's talk about conversations. And I don't think that only experienced people can have value in a conversation; but they're gonna bring in the most value. They have knowledge and experience to offer. What an inexperienced person has to offer? I honestly don't understand, apart from an occasional fresh point of view that might be totally wrong. I've been to a music instruments shop lately, and talked to 60 years old owner of the shop. He told me the story how the music retail changed over 30 years, what's the tendency, and how the market is gonna look like 10 years from now. He had 30 years of selling gear behind him. I had a pair of ears. What could I tell him on selling instruments?
  2. I feel the need to express my opinions from time to time. Why?.. I don't know, I thought most people are like that.
  3. I cannot talk what OP thinks or feels.

Fair enough Dian, I was inclined to agree after the first one but then, after being asked for clarification, I read the second comment and I interpreted at as a dismissal of the OP's inherent value.

I obviously hope to be mistaken in my description of Pavel's comment, after all I wasn't in his brain, I'm just describing what was in mine.

IMHO, it doesn't matter what's in anyone's brain. If whatever they say can be construed as hurtful or non-constructive, it's fair game to be flagged.


Thank you Dian, that's exactly what I meant.


I feel my response to the initial comment explains exactly what the issue is. You agreed that your intent was, in part, to point out a lack of value in the AMA posted. As another commenter mentioned below, there was no reason for this comment. If you don't see value for yourself, don't participate. The need to do so and point out a lack of value is not helpful to the conversation and is not welcoming or inclusive.

Had your response confirmed that your intention was to ask what questions the OP thought they might have interesting answers to provide, I imagine the comments would not have been marked.


If I may just take a slight tangent from the matter under discussion.. I just wanted to express how impressed I am in seeing how maturely this community handles it's issues.

I'm a new member and it's very encouraging to see little hiccups being handled with such consideration.


To wrap this up: I'm glad we had this discussion, and I'm surprised by amount of people reacted.

I'm glad that a lot of people say that the wording is bad, but the message is legitimate.

I'm disappoined that a lot of people say that I should have stayed silent.

Thanks. I'll try to word my comments in a more positive, inclusive and encouraging way as you suggested; though I think I'll just get more warnings and violations anyway.


And I never received any responses to my questions from the original AMA starter.


When someone followed up with you, you said this:

Well it’s both. I’m really curious what the person expects to see as a reaction; and I don’t see much to offer. I’m sorry it disappoints you. True, credentials by themselves don’t add value, however I don’t see anything adding value here at all.

Maybe you didn't specifically say the person doesn't add value, but someone is brave enough to do an AMA and you told them that what you see from them doesn't add value? That is simply your opinion. There are hundreds of thousands of people on this platform and there are so many people that person could help. But as we know from basic human psychology, one negative comment holds more weight than several positive ones.

I'm not a DEV employee, but I am an active member. My interpretation of the DEV CoC is that it prides itself on sensitivity, and this was an insensitive comment. Results matter, not your intention. Here's what standards they uphold that I personally don't think you brought:

  • Showing empathy towards other community members
  • Using welcoming and inclusive language

Hope this helps. When one forgets empathy when posting something they deem as constructive, it ruins it's ability to be helpful.


Thank you for the input. How do you think I could express the same message when being empathic and using welcoming and inclusive language?

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