What can be done when the a user posts the same type of content in various answers and comments on various questions despite not being relevant to the topic and the content cannot be substantiated?

  • 2
    It is just like littering outside. Someone is throwing garbage all over the place, but no one know how to to stop it. Hopefully just asking this question will get things done.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 4:19
  • I asked about trolls a few years ago, so maybe this is a dupe? Not sure. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 22:47
  • For the moment, this individual’s comments must be flagged when they are simply harassments!
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 0:26

4 Answers 4


The Stack Exchange system works well to cope with individuals who appear from time to time and attempt to use the system to

  • propagate a pet theory
  • disparage a theory
  • just have a lot of argumentative strife because they enjoy it

The way it works is by voting. If someone receives sufficient negative votes the user at fault will receive an automatic ban - for a few days, I think it is five - to give them a chance to 'cool down' and to re-think the way in which they are using the system.

No moderator is involved, I understand. It is the system itself which computes widespread negative votes and takes the initiative.

On other sites with which I am acquainted (I prefer not to say which) unhelpful behaviour is rapidly sorted by voting.

On SE-Christianity, I have noticed that far more tolerance is given, by those who have voting reputation, to persons whose agenda is clearly not in the interests of the community.

I have always supposed that this is because, as a 'Christianity' site it is felt that massive tolerance should be extended.

Personally, I think that is a mistake.

Personally, I think that those with voting reputation should take the positive step required to express a discipline that will correct or prevent the behaviour.

That said, there is also a factor built into the system which prevents either unbalanced favouritism or unbalanced discrimination. The system will sense rapid up- or down- voting by one individual towards another individual and will, after a certain point, cancel out the imbalance.

I once received a batch of over-generosity from someone systematically going through all my past questions and up-voting them, resulting in about a couple of hundred rep points in a day (the maximum permitted). The following day the whole lot was cancelled out.

It's a good system : we just need to use it rightly.

  • A ban of a few days is a bandaid here. I would like to see something more meaningful in order to make the point effective.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:42

If someone posts something that isn't related to the question, then you just need to flag the answer as Not An Answer. If they keep doing it they'll soon need not be allowed to post new answers.

  • I have flagged some comments and got this response: “declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention.” Nothing happened. Something more than flagging seems in order!
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 0:54
  • @KenGraham I occasionally have those too, but not often. Do you think it's happening more frequently? Are the posts still visible? Mind sharing links?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 0:56
  • 2
    There is an individual who seems to be causing more unrest than others at the moment. Check the first comment to this question:: ”The question seems implying a Protestanism authority. How can it fall under Catholicism? ” Some of the comments or answers are of the exact opposite that the OP has asked for. The best examples are now suppressed and can not be seen. For example, giving a Catholic answer to evangelical based question. It is just not cool and he is very persistent at it.
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 4:17
  • @Ken I can see deleted answers but not deleted comments, but I think I know who you're talking about. Such a user has been here long enough to understand scoping. I guess we just keep flagging and let the mods decide whether a suspension is warranted.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 5:33
  • What about if some of the content is an answer (it might be wrong, but still is closer to answering the question) but a significant (not necessarily majority) is tangential information that isn't relevant to the core question?
    – eques
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 13:58
  • 1
    @eques If it's not helpful, the tangents can be edited away.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 14:02

So, having a semi-sympathetic moderator probably doesn't help much. I don't believe in trolls and I know, from a few conversations, that there's a person who can be reached in there.

Flag every comment you don't enjoy and I'll promise, at least until we get a new mod or two, to at least mark it as helpful, even if I don't necessarily delete the post right away.

My suggestion is to not engage a person who is talking abject nonsense. How can someone justify banning one person for a two-sided argument in comments?

Also, it takes a lot of imagination to come up with some of those answers, so I'd say lighten up a bit! Maybe Mason or El'inda will, but I don't think I'd ban a person from the site unless they're going to be nasty.

  • " so I'd say lighten up a bit!" I agree that can be decent advice, but not in this circumstance.
    – eques
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 14:01
  • That is all fine and good, Peter. But this person just will not stop. See the comments to my answer, here!
    – Ken Graham Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 23:38

Just asking the question on meta and doing individual appropriate measures likes flagging will get results like this.

Since posting this question, I flagged some comments as being harassment. Some comments included statements that were unfounded or unsupported and others contained untruths. Facts do not lie, they can be misunderstood, but they can not lie.

Thanks for bringing up this situation eques.

  • Thanks. I come here to have interesting discussions -- people ask questions many times I never would have considered -- and to help others with their questions, but it's tiresome when someone keeps injecting their own interpretation and agenda in all sorts of general questions
    – eques
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 14:05
  • 2
    Stackexchange (or anyone except maybe Facebook) hasn't done much to solve the problem of Internet anonymity and it's not remotely inconceivable that users won't return with other accounts. Mods can request that accounts be merged, but the Community Mods (SE employees) seem loathe to do it.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 14:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .