This from an answer written by a mod a few days ago:

Even comments should be used only for asking clarifications and suggest corrections on posts (questions and answers) and many comments become obsolete when they serve their purpose. If users want to discuss any topic, they may discuss in chat rooms.

And this is a comment which did not add anything useful to the post and it's clearly attacking an Indian author for his views:

Whatever the answer to this question is. I recommend every sincere seeker of Hinduism not to read Devdatt Pattnaik or see his videos. Its nonsense to say the least. He is highly influenced by western indologists like Wendy Doniger. There is a video on youtube exposing Pattnaik.

– Vishal prabhu lawande 14 hours ago

I flagged the above comment with the following reason.

This comment doesn't add any value to this post. It's only purpose is to denigrate a scholar whose views the user don't agree with. This is exactly how personal attacks start in comments.

– sv. 6 hours ago declined

Why was my flag declined? What is the official policy with regard to comments like the above? Should we or should we not flag such comments?

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    It was rightfully declined, Devdutt Pattnaik and gang cannot interpret shastras however it suits them. – Yogi Mar 7 '18 at 5:34
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    The comment in Qn looks like "criticism", rather than "attack". "Devdutt Pattanaik" is the connecting link between the post & comment. Hence, even though comment looks off-topic, it may have been retained probably as a side note. – iammilind Mar 7 '18 at 6:19
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    I declined your flag, because the comment seemed on-topic to me. The comment was casting doubt on the reliability of the source of the statement, which is useful insofar as it speaks to the probability that the statement is true. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 7 '18 at 13:54
  • "Devdutt Pattnaik and gang cannot interpret shastras however it suits them" - which 'gang' do you belong @Yogi? – Say No To Censorship Mar 7 '18 at 16:39
  • @KeshavSrinivasan The Be Nice policy clearly says: 'Focus on the post, not the person' - so you made an exception in this instance? Doesn't this promote name-calling and other behavior between different sects? Are you advocating calling a person and his work 'nonsense' on this site based on some external references? – Say No To Censorship Mar 7 '18 at 16:46
  • @iammilind 'The comment in Qn looks like "criticism"' - as long as it's related to the post and it's constructive, I agree, but calling all his work "nonsense" -- how does it help? Doesn't it amount to name-calling and promoting hatred on the site? – Say No To Censorship Mar 7 '18 at 16:55
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    @sv. I don't think this is a violation of the Be Nice policy at all. It's criticizing a source of information, not attacking a fellow user on the site. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 7 '18 at 17:22
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    @KeshavSrinivasan 'not attacking a fellow user on the site' - in the hypothetical case Devdutt Pattanaik joins this site and flags the comment, it then becomes personal attack? Also, does this mean I can attack an acharya for his views and say much of what he has written is "nonsense" (because he cannot reincarnate, join this site and defend his views)? IMO, it's much better we don't allow any kind of attacks on this site. – Say No To Censorship Mar 7 '18 at 17:29
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    Yes. Your arguments are also valid. May be this is a case of "poor choice of words". – iammilind Mar 8 '18 at 0:35
  • @iammilind "poor choice of words" -- any number of bad things can be said using that clause. Anyways, I'm getting the sense that I shouldn't be flagging these comments. Mods here are clearly biased where to apply the Be Nice policy and how and to whom. – Say No To Censorship Mar 8 '18 at 19:08
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    "The Smritis and the Puranas are productions of men of limited intelligence and are full of fallacies" @sv. From one of ur own answers.. So here the author is calling many of the Vedic Rishis (who are authors of the Smritis) and Vyasa men of limited intelligence.. Or in other words fools..so is that violating "be nice policy"?.. You regularly make comments like "astrology is non sense (without using the word non sense)" .. but astrology is part of the Vedangas..so it's part of our scriptures.. many Rishis like Parashara are associated with it..so how should we react then in ur opinion? – Rickross Mar 9 '18 at 5:29
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    @Rickross I quoted that line of Swami Vivekananda on the subject of mlecchas going to be eradicated from the face of earth for simply not being born in the 4 varnas of Bharata-varsha. If you disagree with my answer, you can flag or downvote it. "astrology is non sense (without using the word non sense)" - please stop putting words into my mouth using your imagination. – Say No To Censorship Mar 9 '18 at 16:21
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    @Rickross "so how should we react then in ur opinion?" - this is exactly why we have the Be Nice policy, you can comment anything you want as long as you respectfully disagree or you can also flag my comment. Several of my comments are now deleted. But why the bias treatment when hateful comments are made against authors? You cannot pick and choose the kind of hatred you'll allow on this site. It will soon escalate into other areas and mods have to run specials like this. – Say No To Censorship Mar 9 '18 at 16:34
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    "please stop putting words into my mouth using your imagination." No i am not, why will i? i have seen few such comments from u that's y said.. in one of the recent comments (can't seem to find that Q now) u even dragged in homeopathy (don't know how that can be relevant in a comment on this site).. so in that comment you were saying astrology and many other things work just because of the placebo effect.. so isn't that a kind of insult to the authors of that doctrine? All of them are Rishis.. So, my point you should not urself do it, then you have more force in ur side when protesting @sv. – Rickross Mar 9 '18 at 16:53
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    @sv. So see you are still doing the same.. but when others are also doing the same then you will have problems.. "I didn't call them names" that's not enough..don't u see that? they never said that they were unsure or that they do not know how the doctrine of astrology works.. you, by saying it works only because of the palce bo effect, is in fact completely showing an utter disregard for them as well as the scripture.. so that's also a disrespect.. ur way is not the same as those of others.. that's the only difference.. – Rickross Mar 9 '18 at 17:11

After reading this comment, I realised that the flagged comment in main Qn, is indeed a poorly written, probably unintentionally. Either the comment should be deleted or edited by a Mod.

The comment doesn't use any derogatory term, but yet it's not a proper way of criticism. For example, Shila Prabhupada's translation on Gita has lots of translation mistakes, but I cannot assert other users, to reject him. Our responsibility finishes at drawing a line, which is factual.

Imagine, how will we react, if comments are insulting Adi Shankaracharya or Ramanujacharya or Vivekananda. They were humans too & had their own philosophical interpretations, to which many subscribe and many reject.

There could have been better choice of words, which may read as:

Whatever the answer to this question is. I recommend every sincere seeker of Hinduism to see this video to be able to judge Devdutt Pattnaik's work fairly. It appears he has misinterpreted many things.

  • "probably unintentionally" - no, it was intentional, there was a follow-up comment by the same user where he said he wanted to expose Pattanaik. That comment is now deleted, I suspect the mod deleted it but wasn't transparent about it (probably because that doesn't support his cause retaining the user's first comment). On this site, there's clearly bias in which comments are retained and which are deleted. – Say No To Censorship Mar 26 '18 at 0:24

Denouncing authors whose claims are incorrect , whose research is inadequate and whose agenda is suspect is perfectly okay. The author has a viewpoint and the opposite-viewpoint-holder should be able to dismiss those viewpoints.

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    I have nothing to say about what you actually wrote in this post but I recommend every sincere seeker of Hinduism not to read moonstar's posts. It's nonsense to say the least. There are videos exposing her on Facebook and YouTube. -- will you flag this comment? – Say No To Censorship Mar 19 '18 at 15:41
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    @sv. No. However, since I am not a public personality, you may have committed the crime of doxing and other related criminal activities. Reporting it will be far worse than flagging. For you. – user1195 Mar 20 '18 at 2:42

As explained in the article How to disagree well: 7 of the best and worst ways to argue, name-calling and ad hominem are the two worst kind of arguments or reactions to posts and comments.

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The comment that was flagged/declined clearly falls under the ad hominem kind.

Since this site is being considered for graduation, I suggest the site adopt higher standards. Even higher than the Be Nice policy. Respect and follow the Be Nice policy in both spirit and word. Lets not preach one thing and do something else in practice.

We do not want this site to become a battleground for Rajiv Malhotra and Devdutt Pattanaik fans. We already have YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. for those kinds of activities.

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