I posted a well-received puzzle the other day where users needed to find out what word goes into the blank spaces in a few sentences, and the first user to post an answer got it right.

I didn't want to accept it immediately, because

  1. I like the suspense.
  2. There's nothing wrong not immediately accepting the correct answer.
  3. One of the first accepted answer I've ever posted got accepted days after I posted it, which I thought was interesting.

A bunch of answers started to pour in, some made sense, while the rest didn't. I pointed out the issues with those answers in the comment sections. On many of the answers that I commented on, a downvote had already found its way into the answer, or the answer got downvoted later.

Less than one day later, I accepted the first answer posted, and later the author of the accepted answer's account got deleted.

Now, I wouldn't be too surprised, as that answer was the only answer that user ever posted, so maybe they simply wanted to get a feel of the site, and then move on.

But soon a user started to comment their suspicions on my post. They said that it's strange how the user's account got deleted, that I must be the user who created that account to "hoard rep".

Another user strongly claimed how I downvoted all the answers where the suggested word would invalidate the grammar of the sentences, while my intended answer would also invalidate the grammar of the sentences.

  1. I did not downvote all the answers. To be honest, I've downvoted one (before I accepted an answer) that I thought was absurd, but only one (I never would have thought that one day I'd have to clarify my votes like this).

  2. The intended word does not invalidate the grammar of the sentences. My intended word would make part of the sentence "to give someone pressure", and the user said that it was incorrect, that the correct grammar should be "to put pressure on someone". I am fully aware of the idiom "to put pressure on someone", but I chose to use "to give someone pressure" because I didn't want to answer to be so obvious. It was grammatically correct, just not phrased like the idiom.

Before I became aware of the comments (I was away from the internet), some upvotes have already landed on them and so they rose up from the thread of comments, causing what I later had to say to be hidden by the view more comments button.

Now users who come to see my puzzle (I can tell it got hot due to the 2K views in just one day) will assume that I did ruthlessly downvote many answers and I do have a flaw in my puzzle, and likely downvote my post.

What can I do in this situation? I tried flagging many conversational comments so that my comments won't be at the very bottom of the long thread and would be more noticeable, but after waiting all day, the flags are still pending. Would it be appropriate to edit my comments into the post for more visibility?

Update: If you go looking for the post, the comments that cause the issue are (thank goodness) mostly removed.

  • $\begingroup$ You can also see that it became HNQ'd in the edit history - for your question, there's an event 2 days ago titled "Became Hot Network Question" $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble I do have implies how there's been a debate/argument, while I have doesn't. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ You can make it "that I do have" if you want. It seemed a bit ungrammatical to me, but you really don't need to ping me if you think an edit of mine was wrong in such a small way - just re-edit the question. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 5:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @bobble I didn't mean to be disturb you, sorry. I just thought it would be more polite to explain myself before removing an edit made out of good will :) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed that weird choice of word in your title here, but after searching for your question now I understand it. Haha. On topic, I believe there is only one person with negative comment in your question, and unfortunately it somehow managed to influence your question score. But I see that it has since been deleted, so I guess it's fine now. $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 4:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @justhalf Oh, you have no idea! They got deleted, most likely due to violation to the code of conduct. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ But not deleted soon enough... The was actually a long thread there, now it's cleaned up. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 4:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah, ok. Perhaps next time you can try adding "not the downvoter, but I believe ..." when replying to a comment asking "why the downvote" when it's not you downvoting. Your current one is good, but I guess not clear enough for some people. $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


It seems that this particular situation has bothered you somewhat. If I understand it, you want to explain your side (including your reason for the accepted answer) clearly.

You can do this in comments or edit it in the text. I have seen both on this site. Of course if you chose to edit it in the text you will have to give the context and reasoning.

I, myself do not take many of these negative comments very seriously. It is supposed to be a fun Puzzling site with some really talented puzzle setters (such as yourself) and incredibly smart solvers. I truly enjoy it from that perspective. I have experienced mostly great feedback. But occasionally some thing close to what you experienced does happen. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I consider constructive comments and try to improve. Clearly negative comments-- I just ignore.

One small point. It may be just me but I do not downvote any answers to my puzzles unless they are spam. rude or abusive. The answerers, in most cases, have put in some effort to read, understand and solve our puzzle. I leave the downvoting to the PSE community. I do upvote.

Since this is a discussion also, I have put in my 2 cents. Please do not get discouraged. Keep writing those interesting puzzles

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Here are some things I want to address, though: "You can do this in comments" I explained in this post how it doesn't work. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ "Clearly negative comments-- I just ignore." Me too, but the result was a well-received puzzle getting downvoted below zero due to some false defamatory comments (creating sock-puppet account, downvoting many answers, hypocrisy). Would you put up with that? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate the disgust over the "defamotory" comments. But like many other sites, this is just a "participation" site with no "court or mediation system". Apart from challenging their comments what else can you do? I suspect you like setting puzzles for specific reasons that give you satisfaction. May be you can focus on those and just ignore these comments? $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ Flagging as harassment? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure what criteria is used by the moderators to consider something as harassment. Maybe that should be a Meta question $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 15:20

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