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What makes a bad user?

Are they users that ask six times the number of questions than answers:

User           Reputation Questions Answers Upvotes Downvotes 

*****          8317       465       24      776     18        
*****          5767       311       29      528     34        
*****          4844       226       14      465     135       
*****          4546       310       1       439     62        
*****          4359       371       32      452     68        
*****          4350       416       21      395     71        
*****          4193       555       74      487     112       
*****          3230       94        12      201     33        
*****          3187       92        11      331     8         
*****          2084       79        6       184     14        
*****          1973       263       1       175     8         
*****          1944       174       12      170     7         
*****          1929       160       24      216     31        
*****          1901       53        3       163     10        
*****          1771       145       16      182     23        
*****          1742       56        8       180     10        
*****          1550       50        5       138     6         
*****          1534       56        2       127     2         
*****          1514       143       0       256     7         
*****          1513       83        5       141     36        

Or perhaps users that are downvoted 50% or more times than they are upvoted?

User            Reputation Questions Answers Upvotes Downvotes 

*****           1606       6         187     173     110       
*****           1500       214       1       152     78        
*****           1342       4         53      135     76        
*****           1056       124       0       119     75        
*****           918        64        0       109     113       
*****           911        181       1       99      62        
*****           842        43        24      80      53        
*****           746        44        34      53      55        
*****           695        116       7       75      56        
*****           670        12        96      124     142       
*****           644        50        3       35      19        
*****           638        36        0       74      75        
*****           606        21        12      52      36        
*****           585        116       7       40      22        
*****           550        2         46      65      35        
*****           520        0         71      51      29        
*****           516        8         29      30      24        
*****           479        23        29      46      34        
*****           439        30        0       59      46        
*****           422        1         31      31      16        

What kind of behaviors do we not want to reward with high rep?

FYI: I wrote spShog9 to celebrate shog9s awesome formatting and wanted to showcase it a bit. I also wrote this view to make the queries a bit easier.

SQL:

select top 20 * 
into #t
from UserTotals
where Questions > Answers * 6
order by Reputation desc 

exec spShog9

drop table #t

go

select top 20 * 
into #t
from UserTotals
where Downvotes > Upvotes * 0.5
order by Reputation desc 

exec spShog9

drop table #t
share|improve this question
    
title formatting is really hard ... –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 1:40
2  
I don't know if calling out the users is a good idea... People tend to get all upset about that here on meta... –  RSolberg Aug 11 '09 at 1:43
    
Its in the data dump, im just running queries against it. I am not sure that just asking questions is a bad thing in itself. so the first list is not really indicative. the second list is pretty indicative but im pretty sure none of those users are on meta. –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 1:45
    
anyway, if one of the editors sees it fit to hide the names and links, be my guest. –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 1:48
6  
How do you run a query for "Can't take a hint" or "Doesn't even search SO first" or "Won't RTFM"? –  random Aug 11 '09 at 1:51
    
@random, the only thing you can do is look at voting patterns, perhaps you can search through the number of revisions to see if any users get edited a lot. perhaps you can look for a high number of close votes. –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 1:54
    
Moderators, feel free to rephrase this in a less combative manner. or remove names. –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 12:22
    
@Sam: I'm not 100% comfortable with naming names when trying to identify "bad" users. I don't mind you trying to identify and quantify bad behavior at all, but people can change their behavior, so I don't want to label any specific users as "bad". I removed the names to protect the guilty. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 11 '09 at 12:35
    
Heh... Thanks for the recognition, Sam. That'll teach me to read the code before reading the explanation that precedes it... ;-) –  Shog9 Aug 11 '09 at 14:26

6 Answers 6

up vote 13 down vote accepted

What makes a Bad User?

  • Asking numerous questions and not providing enough detail to allow someone to actually help them with an answer.

  • Posting answers that do not answer the question

  • Overly combative with other users (example: taking community edits WAY too seriously)

  • Displays an inability to learn from previous mistakes. User can get told how to do better but will continue acting in the same horrible manner as when he/she was a brand new user.

share|improve this answer

I've no problem with people who ask prolifically but don't answer. This site is Q&A after all, and I don't ask any Q, so I can only hope that somebody else does.

What I do have a problem with, by and large, are people that never learn through their prolific posting (answers or questions), and continue to make the same mistakes and spam the ever-living hell out of the site. If you've seen my comments on some of these, they generally include some version of, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH." I'll also include what they can do to fix it (or what they did wrong), so I'm not just yelling at them.

The bigger issue, methinks, are sympathetic upvotes, and upvoting without thinking. I know that a recalc/recalibration is planned, but IMO, it can't come soon enough for some of the folks.

Anyway, I'm not for publicly shaming anybody outside of their own doings, so I'll leave my comments vague and generalized. However, I will continue my campaign of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH." It's rather liberating to hit that Billy Mays key, sometimes.

share|improve this answer
4  
Sympathetic upvotes are evil. –  random Aug 11 '09 at 1:54
1  
I think its a shame the high rep users do not ask questions, it would heavily improve the quality of this site. –  waffles Aug 11 '09 at 1:55
3  
Indeed they are. I'd go so far as to say that anybody who casts a sympathetic upvote is communist. They clearly have no regard for Truth nor Justice. –  Eric Aug 11 '09 at 1:56
1  
Just write out /A+H+./. It's more generic than "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH." –  XMLbog Aug 11 '09 at 11:26
    
@Welbog: Methinks the people it's meant for would have a wooosh moment with that... –  Eric Aug 11 '09 at 11:51
    
@Welbog: I wouldn't do that. No knowing what it might be interpreted as! –  nagul Aug 11 '09 at 11:52
    
@Welbog: On second thoughts, I know what it would be interpreted as :) –  nagul Aug 11 '09 at 11:53
    
AAAAAAAHHHHGGGGRRRREEEAAAATTT not another one –  Brad Gilbert Aug 11 '09 at 21:01

Guess I should be a bad Super user for posting way too many answers that never get > 1 upvote

I think the question: "what makes a bad user" is highly semantic and is best solved by moderating. Just let people flag the questions/answer/comment and deal with it appropiately.

If you could make an algorithm or query that could track them it would be very interesting though ;-) But you need some sort of blacklist for that, which I don't think is available publicly (and shouldn't be).

share|improve this answer
    
Back in the day NNTP clients had so called kill-files for bad users and sometimes quite complicated scoring rules. OTOH the sheer scale of SO sites would make it unpractical for everybody to maintain their own list. –  Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Aug 11 '09 at 11:54
    
I think the only reason this answer has a down-vote is because of that first sentence. –  Brad Gilbert Aug 11 '09 at 21:04

Without questions we wouldn't have a site (or sites). Ditto, without answers.

Given that we can corporately close/delete the really bad questions, the corpus of content that remains, if not great, isn't bad. So in the context of questions, a bad user is one who has had questions closed and deleted multiple times. Learn once and remember. Is there a rep penalty for closure (beyond any downvotes that might have accrued)?

Bad answers are less quantifiable - there are two classes of answer: those that appear "above the fold", the accepted answer and the top handful, and the rest. It's hard to differentiate a 0-voted answer which just didn't get in quickly enough to gain momentum against a bad answer. Unless we can have a "wrong" flag analogous to closing a question, this will always be a problem.

Basically a bad user is one who doesn't learn from whatever mistakes they might start by making.

share|improve this answer

I don't like the phrasing "Bad User", as others have pointed out it's subjective, but more importantly it takes the focus off of the behavior and makes it personal. That doesn't do anyone any good. I'm sure we all have our own personal mental lists of "bad users," there's no avoiding that aspect of interpersonal relations. However, I don't think there's any way to, or any need to, describe canonically "Bad Users" beyond listing bad behaviors. I think TheTXI gave a good list of bad behaviors with his answer.

After all, what would be the point of identifying "Bad Users" other than to issue the admonishment: "Don't be a Bad User!"

Isn't it much clearer and more direct to say, "Don't engage in these behaviors ..."?

share|improve this answer

Someone asking a lot of questions doesn't bother me that much as long as they did a little bit of work towards trying to answer the question on their own before asking the question. I'm sure we all had a point in our lives where we were also asking more questions than we were able to answer.

To be honest, I think the only "bad user" that might be out there would be someone who is intentionally trying to disrupt the site either through trolling or attempts at software exploits.

share|improve this answer

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