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I think the community does a great job policing questions/answers, etc. and the community has some good tools available to do this. Between flagging questions with some reasons behind it and editing posts, closing them, and deleting them, the only thing that seems to be missing to me is the ability to flag a user.

Reasons to flag a user as abusive:

  • Duplicate User
  • Abusive Behavior
  • Offensive user name or profile
  • Others?
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Isn't "abusive behavior" a somewhat cyclic definition here? Flag them as abusive if they're abusive? –  Jon Skeet Jun 30 '09 at 22:28
    
@Jon - I agree... Just trying to put some ideas out there... –  RSolberg Jun 30 '09 at 22:30
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by design, in that it already exists for moderators only –  Jeff Atwood Jul 5 '09 at 12:54
    
@Jeff - Thanks. I forgot you can flag comments too. Makes sense. –  RSolberg Jul 6 '09 at 4:32
    
possible duplicate of How can I report a specific bad user? –  S.L. Barth Sep 17 '13 at 11:47
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This is not a duplicate, it is a feature-request for a specific solution to the support question linked to. –  Lance Roberts Sep 17 '13 at 12:09
    
If Facebook allows one to flag a user, I don't know why SO can't allow it. Simply allow only moderators to view the info regarding who has been flagged… just like every social network on the Internet. –  psoft Dec 3 '13 at 8:01

4 Answers 4

up vote 23 down vote accepted

If you flag a post from that user for moderator attention, it is highly likely that we will look at their other recent activities, including (but not limited to) questions, answers, comments, votes - and correlations to other users if there is a suspicion of a sock-puppet.

If they are being a nuisance, there are a range of options - but also don't forget that just because they've annoyed you doesn't guarantee that we're going to throw the book at them.

The e-mail approach works too, but don't forget the team is US-based, but between us the moderators have pretty-much the whole day covered; if they are actively an issue, a moderator flag may get acted on quicker than the e-mail. Or do both.

Also; don't forget you can vote... if somebody is being offensive, vote them as offensive. For most puppet accounts, the penalty (100 points) may be enough to take away much of their access.

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My question here would be what is considered to be abusive. There is a user that bugs me, he's been around for a while and once said that he did not care look into duplicates as asking is cheaper --he will either get an answer or a pointer to a good duplicate answer with no effort in almost no time. That bugs me as he is riding on the effort of others, and yet... should I flag that as offensive when on the other hand there are many duplicate questions from other users? –  David Rodríguez - dribeas Mar 7 '11 at 20:27
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@dribeas if there is a repeat pattern, yes. Moderators can, will, and have asked such users to use the site respectfully. And if not; can, will and have taken action against users who abuse the site and the contributors. And yes; asking inappropriately, over a sustained period, against directions otherwise - counts as site abuse. –  Marc Gravell Mar 7 '11 at 21:33
    
how to vote as offensive ? Sorry, i am not aware of it. –  Lucifer Jul 19 '12 at 2:44
    
@Lucifer a "flag" option appears based on your current reputation –  Marc Gravell Jul 19 '12 at 6:23
    
ok, so how much reputation req for that option ? –  Lucifer Jul 19 '12 at 6:26
    
@Lucifer looks like 15. So you you should be seeing it. Described more here: stackoverflow.com/privileges/flag-posts –  Marc Gravell Jul 19 '12 at 6:47

I remember requesting this a long time ago and I'm surprised that nothing really ever came about from it. They went ahead and implemented the ability the flag a post and inform moderators, but not an actual user (which I think tends to be more important in the grand scheme of things)

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as Joel said in the podcast "what is this, high school again"? –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 0:47
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Jeff, you guys already field complaints directly through team@stackoverflow.com. Can you really sit there and try and equate a flagging option (along with a required reason for the flag) with tattle telling? Are you going to suddenly stop listening to email complaints about users? I highly doubt that. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 0:58
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then use the flag post. flag the ACTIONS not the PERSON. Understand the difference? It's an important one. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 1:11
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Yet in Gravell's post above you guys seem to agree that when investigating a flagged post, you will go and look at that user's activities not necessarily related to the question. That sounds just awful like investigating the user and not the particular action. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 1:14
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We need to understand whether that action was isolated, or part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour... for example, if somebody posts pure spam / product advertising - there may be other posts that need to be edited/deleted. But we're still looking at the action(s), not the user. –  Marc Gravell Jul 1 '09 at 6:47
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@Jeff, not all actions are flaggable. Invalid edits to CW's for example. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 8 '09 at 18:06
    
I just found a user that probably made a script that votes "leave open" in the review queue except for questions with a suggested duplicate (which might make you look less suspicious, idk). It would be nice to be able to flag review activity. Another example is a user with an offensive profile/username. Both times I've flagged a random post by the user instead, which is a bit counter-intuitive, but still works. –  André Laszlo Mar 1 at 23:07

There are flags (text-based) on users, but can only be added by, and are only visible to, moderators.

When Gordon Gano sings this line in Kiss Off, it's a reference to what the principal of his high school told him after the band played at a National Honor Society ceremony. While they were still in high school (before they made it big), The Violent Femmes were asked to play some music at the NHS ceremony. They said sure... and then they played Gimme the Car. The students in the audience went crazy, pandemonium ensued, and the principal told Gano, "I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record."

Unlikely to be ever implemented for anyone other than moderators as explained in Podcast #22 :

In the rare event where a user goes haywire — remember that it costs $5 to even join MetaFilter — these users will be given “timeouts” of a day or two until they cool down. There are no scarlet letters or black marks that can be placed on users. The history of the user’s actions, particularly if that history is public, is usually enough to handle the problem. We definitely agree with this philosophy.

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relevant audio begins at around 53 minutes into podcast #22 (may also be earliest mention of richb -- even back then, there were.. issues!) blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/09/podcast-22 –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 0:56
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@Jeff Atwood: I can be your next podcast guest star! –  GEOCHET Jul 1 '09 at 1:06
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@Jeff Atwood: My gravatar was awesome. This was just an early sign of what an overly sensitive user base we would end up with. –  GEOCHET Jul 1 '09 at 1:07
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I guess that depends if you consider a picture of Jesus giving everyone the middle finger "awesome" or not. I tend to prefer gravatars that do not result in complaint emails, myself.. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 1:10
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I thought it was great. But then again I'm running around with quite possibly the most queer gravatar on the entire site. –  TheTXI Jul 1 '09 at 1:12
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@Jeff Atwood: Hey, attribute that to jesus by yourself. I don't believe in fairy tales. That picture looked uncannily like myself. That was my attraction to it. I can help it if the religious people are hyper sensitive. –  GEOCHET Jul 1 '09 at 1:13
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The only Jesus I know speaks Spanish and won't stop stealing the hubcaps off my car. –  GEOCHET Jul 1 '09 at 1:14

It has been stated many times that this will never be implemented on SO. You should remember that from UV.

Email team@stackoverflow.com if you have a chronic problem with a user.

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will never be implemented for non-moderators, that is... this was explained in a podcast. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 0:45

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