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When I see what looks like spam by a new user I go check out their other answers. Very often they all promote the same product or service. In the early days I would only flag one such answer but discovered that their other answers would sometimes remain intact, so these days I flag each answer.

Rather than flag each answer it would be better if the user account could be flagged. Because we only have 5 spam/offensive flags per day they can be very quickly used up on a bad day. I know we can still flag for moderator attention once we've used up out daily spam flags but I also think there is advantage in the moderators' attention being drawn to the user, where it will be more obvious that there are a multiple answers that need attention. Oddly enough, I nearly always see 3 per spammer.

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  • Thank you for doing what you do by the way, and I fully support what you discuss. – Chopper3 Mar 17 '11 at 7:49
  • (re: 3 per spammer) This reminded me of the "celebrity deaths come in threes" – adamo Mar 20 '11 at 13:33
5

Flagging a single post (any post) is sufficient.

Moderators have a handy "one click destroy" function that we use on spam users which makes cleanup trivially easy.

It deletes the user and all their posts in one swell foop. It is as if they never existed.

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  • perhaps things have changed since I used to only flag a single post but, as mentioned in my question, I've previously see instances where the post I flagged got deleted but other spam posts by the same user were left on the site. FWIW, spammers are the only case I can envision where flagging the account would be desirable. – John Gardeniers Mar 18 '11 at 11:41
  • @john that's moderator failure if so; I always destroy accounts that do nothing but post the same links. – Jeff Atwood Mar 18 '11 at 11:55
  • I'll go back to flagging a single post and try to monitor the outcome. – John Gardeniers Mar 18 '11 at 21:51
2

This has been proposed many times, and denied.

If you want to bring an abusive user to the attention of a moderator, flag one of their posts for moderator attention and describe what's going on in the field provided. Moderators are perfectly able to follow the link from the post to the user, and can then quickly deal with the account.

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  • This isn't just a question of what's possible but what's better. It's possible for me to walk the 25 miles to work every day but I choose to drive instead because that's more efficient. Same thing here: It's possible to flag in the way you describe, I've done it in fact, but that doesn't mean that it can't be made better. – Rob Moir Mar 17 '11 at 20:19
  • @Robert: please read the answers to the Meta questions I linked to, especially the last one. This feature does exist - for moderators, who presumably have a frequent legitimate need of it. For normal users, the focus is supposed to be on the content: if you're "flagging a user", it should be because of something they've written... So flag that. The moderators will have to review it anyway. – Shog9 Mar 17 '11 at 20:33
  • @Shog9, I really don't care how many times this has been asked and answered elsewhere. It has not been asked before on THIS site, which is the one where we discuss issues relevant to SF. The fact that it may have been asked multiple times elsewhere merely indicates that I'm not the only one who believes it's an idea worthy of consideration. As for flagging just a single post, have another read of my question, which covered that. – John Gardeniers Mar 17 '11 at 20:53
  • @John: I'm not asking you to care about other sites. But if you truly care about seeing this implemented, you'll make the effort to understand why it isn't already available to you. – Shog9 Mar 17 '11 at 21:03
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    @Shog9, it isn't that I don't understand the arguments made before, I simply disagree with them. – Rob Moir Mar 17 '11 at 21:09
  • @Robert: of course, but if you have something to add you may wish to contribute it to the discussions on Meta... – Shog9 Mar 18 '11 at 2:52
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    @shog9 - no thanks, whenever i've seen people from SF discuss SF concerns on the main meta its been fairly clear that we're not welcome. – Rob Moir Mar 18 '11 at 8:11
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    @Robert, my thinking exactly but I can also understand that they view MSO as the place to discuss SO, not other Stack Exchange sites, just as we see MSF as the place to discuss SF and would not welcome SO discussions. – John Gardeniers Mar 18 '11 at 11:36
  • I know what you mean John - which is why I don't want to add to the burden of either "side". – Rob Moir Mar 18 '11 at 14:54
  • @John: MSO is a bit different from the other meta sites. From the FAQ: "If your question is about: Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange Area 51, The core Stack Exchange engine that powers all Stack Exchange websites... it is welcome here." Contrast that with the FAQ on this site. You're asking for a change to the underlying engine - if there's a reason why SF might need it more than the other sites then you should mention that (but given the past discussion I suspect this is a site-agnostic desire.) – Shog9 Mar 18 '11 at 15:07
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    @Shog9, I understand both that MSO is different and why it is so. That doesn't alter the fact that many of the participants treat it as just an SO discussion area and make those from other sites feel quite unwelcome. Of course SF is a bit different from SO and SU in that it's intended only for professionals. We therefore normally (well, much of the time at least) treat each other professionally and expect to be treated likewise. – John Gardeniers Mar 18 '11 at 21:47
  • @John: If I came off as rude or otherwise unprofessional in this answer or the comments, I sincerely apologize - I merely wished to point out some information on why the system behaves as it does. I'll freely admit that I'm not especially familiar with the "local culture" here, so if I've stepped on any toes please be assured that was not my intention. – Shog9 Mar 18 '11 at 23:04
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    @Shog9, Sorry, I never meant to imply your answer was rude or unprofessional. I was referring to MSO in general. – John Gardeniers Mar 19 '11 at 6:35

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