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I am fairly new to SE, so I came here to ask for advice from more experienced users.

Sometimes the author of a question comments my answer to ask for clarification or because they don't agree on some point I made. I usually edit the answer in order to address their query. In one occasion though, the discussion with the asker went on in the comments and eventually I migrated it to the chat and has been going on for some days.

At this point I have the feeling that the problem will never be resolved in this manner, I feel we don't have many points of contact, probably due to a very different background, but we seem to hardly agree on anything.

The discussion is stalled and I have the temptation to just disengage, but I feel bad for not being able to help the asker.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What behavior do you suggest?

As a side note, this situation happened in physics.SE, but I am asking here because I feel that this community is more welcoming than physics and I am having a good time here, you are great people. The question is relevant here too, because the same situation might happen here in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ Physics SE can be a real quagmire, it's a bad model for how an SE community should work. It's certainly much better than it used to be but there is still a lord of the flies contingent that will drag you into chat rooms and... But I digress. This is a great question! I think that both the community and the moderation team here (and in Space SE) are excellent and I don't think we are in imminent danger of visiting that remote island, but having a good question and answer post about this to refer to later is at least a small bit of insurance. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 9 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ In my opinion, Physics SE is too big, the question rate is too fast and too diverse, and that certainly is not even close to happening here. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 9 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh when I said "same situation might happen here in the future", I only meant that it is possible that I get engaged in a similar discussion here anytime, maybe with a new contributor that is trying to understand some cosmological concept. Although I tend to agree on what you said about physics SE, I wasn't trying to criticize them in the post $\endgroup$
    – Prallax
    Aug 10 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ There is no rule that we all have to agree on answers. I've respectfully disagreed with many of the highest rep users on the Astro SE, with no resolution and no negative consequences. If you aren't making constructive progress, sometimes the best course of action is to disengage! $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia Mod
    Aug 10 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ @ConnorGarcia Couldn't have said it better myself. That'd make a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Aug 11 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ConnorGarcia Thank you for your precious feedback $\endgroup$
    – Prallax
    Aug 11 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage good suggestion, done! $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia Mod
    Aug 11 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ One time, I saw a comment thread in physics.SE with 30 comments all engaging in a heated discussion. Here, engaging discussions gets resolved within 7-8 comments if not more with users posting their thoughts as answer [cc @uhoh]. $\endgroup$ Aug 12 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ Obligitory XKCD on why you should disengage xkcd.com/386 "Someone is wrong on the internet" $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 13 at 9:09
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There is no rule that we all have to agree on answers. A great thing about SE is that the community can vote answers up or down, and the OP can choose the answer they think is the best.

It is wonderful if you can clearly, definitively, answer a question. But if the asker doesn't understand your answer even after attempts to clarify, that is also perfectly fine. If you aren't making constructive progress, sometimes the best course of action is to disengage! There is no badge for getting the last word in a comment or chat thread. Also, disengaging at the right time in some cases can prevent a lot of hurt feelings and regretful posts.

I've respectfully disagreed with many of the highest rep users here on the Astro SE, with no resolution and no negative consequences and no acrimony. That is perfectly ok!

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    $\begingroup$ +1 Very well said. Why waste a Sunday afternoon arguing/convincing (with) OP/other users when you can just say "please edit your question to highlight or specify your doubt"/"if you are disagreeing with me, please post your own answer". $\endgroup$ Aug 12 at 12:39
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The discussion is stalled and I have the temptation to just disengage, but I feel bad for not being able to help the asker.

I would recommend posting an "agree to disagree" comment when this happens and then disengaging.

The temptation (and I've done it myself) is to get involved in trying to prove your point for a variety of rationales. It really boils down (in most cases) in wanting the last word. So the trick (which as I said, I don't always do myself) is to let it go. Agree to disagree and ignore anything else unless it's downright abusive, in which case flag it for the moderators and forget it.

It's a public website and you're going to butt up against people who won't give in and always want the last word. I've had a few cases (on Physics SE) where people keep posting comments addressed to me long multiple times after I have clearly stated I am leaving the discussion. Some people just like arguing I think.

Regarding comparisons with Physics SE :

Physics SE has a very strict "homework" and "check my work" rule and can often seem unwelcoming for that reason. Astronomy SE does not have a similar rule.

Questions on Physics SE tend to demand much more rigor in terms of terminology and defining the question that is often needed on Astronomy SE.

Physics SE has a larger user base and hence comments sections can quickly become flooded with comments. The idea that this would not happen so much on Astronomy SE misses the point that we've a smaller number of active users to start with.

So I don't think comparisons with Physics SE are valid. It's apples and oranges IMO.

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