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This answer completely marginalizes the very unhealthy emotional bonds, which I am sure many people on the site have, to their actions here.

This is one comment. Are there any mistakes?

Can anybody analyze it a bit for me? I don't understand "to their actions here." My present understanding of this sentence is:

I am sure many people have the emotional bonds to their actions here. This answer marginalizes that, so it's good answer.

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    I don't see any "mistakes;" nonetheless, I find it a particularly vexing sentence to interpret. Also, marginalize usually has negative connotations, so I'm not sure I agree with the interpretation that concludes: therefore, it's a good answer.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 2:00
  • I can't see that the sentence is saying that it's a good answer either. "Marginalizes" carries the idea of treating something as less important than it ought to. So, while the sentence is ambiguous, my feeling is that the sentence intends to say that the answer treats the emotional bonds as less important than it ought to.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 2:59
  • I definitely agree with J.R. that I don't get a positive interpretation from that sentence. In context it might make more sense, but I get a negative feeling reading that comment (and I agree that marginalize is usually negative). Out of context, it sounds like a rude comment to me, though I understand that's not your intention. My interpretation: "This answer disregards unhealthy emotional bonds, [something about all users of the site do this too, and that's a bad thing], [something bad about users' actions]". That's the most I can get from it without context. Link?
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 2:59
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    @WendiKidd meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/10107/… Ok, good to know that, maybe this is useful in EEL too, because about meta things. Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 3:02
  • @J.R. ok, I've added the link, about one question in meta. Because I saw the many upvotes for the answer, so I'm not sure the comment is criticism. Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 3:06

1 Answer 1

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First of all, I'm pretty sure that the person who wrote that comment doesn't have a strong command of English.

The comment itself is in response to a meta question on a different StackExchange:

Sometimes, I accept one answer, and it's a good answer, and partly solved my question. So I accepted that answer.

After some time, someone gives one more good answer, maybe better, maybe with much greater details filled in.

Is it good to accept the new answer? Would people be hurt by OP's action?

So, the question is essentially:

Is it good or bad to accept a different answer, after I've already accepted an answer?

(Incidentally, I think the best answer to this question was offered in a comment:

If you want to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, it might a good idea to wait for at least a day before accepting any answer. When you accept an answer, you are signalling to other users that you consider you question fully solved. There are some users who will not even look at questions with an accepted answer. There are also others who will add an extra answer, but only if they think they can offer an interesting different viewpoint. Anyway, accepting any answer, will prevent many new answers from appearing.

but that is not really pertinent to your question.)

Anyhow, another user wrote:

Would people be hurt?

No. Poking a person with a sharp stick usually hurts them. Clicking a checkmark on SE site doesn't.

Essentially, that user is keying off the word hurt, and saying that you can't hurt somebody merely by unaccepting an answer. There's no physical pain involved.

That sets the context for the remark in question:

This answer completely marginalizes the very unhealthy emotional bonds, which I am sure many people on the site have, to their actions here.

I would rephrase this to mean:

This answer trivializes the strong emotions many StackExchange users have toward their contributions on the site – even though such emotions may not be very healthy.

In other words, the user many not be hurt physically, as with a rock or a stick or a punch, but it might still cause an emotional blow.

The respondent also uses the word unhealthy to describe such emotions, which suggests that, while acknowledging some users might have their feelings hurt, those users are probably taking themselves (or their answers) too seriously. In other words:

It shouldn't hurt a user's feelings, but sometimes it will hurt the user's feelings nevertheless.

The upvotes to the comment in question are probably from people who agree with that sentiment.

So, what have we learned?

  1. To marginalize means to trivialize, or to take something less seriously than maybe you should.
  2. You probably shouldn't accept this answer of mine for at least 24 hours. Even then, if someone posts a better one, accept that one instead.
  3. If you do accept my answer, but then someone posts a better one later, you might decide to switch, and that could hurt my feelings – but such hurt feelings on my part may be a sign of an unhealthy emotional attachment, and maybe I ought to take that as a sign that I need to give SE a rest for awhile.
  4. Most importantly, when asking what something means, always provide enough context so that others can answer your question!
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  • Hi, Hurt sometimes could be used to express emotional hurl, right? My heart was hurt by you, not just Physical? Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 2:38
  • Yes, hurt can be used to describe heartaches, personal jabs, and emotional stings – not just physical pain.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 16:29

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