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From time to time certain chat rooms (JavaScript and probably PHP, too) attract the attention of a fellow help vampire who thinks he can start sucking from the people in there.

Often their message end up being flagged as offensive (and those flags are likely to be validated, too, because people are annoyed by such behaviour) but it's kind of an inappropriate use of those flags.

I'm proposing a new chat flag type, which is especially meant for help vampires. Flagging it would present the flag to 10k users and owners of the room where the flag originated (no matter how much rep they have). When the flag is validated it would cause messages from this user to be shown with a low opacity for maybe three hours. It could also notify the user that help vampirism is a bad thing and that he needs to improve his behaviour.

Repeated flags of this type - obviously with some time in between in case multiple message which are really part of the same conversation are flagged - should then result in a temporary ban from the room where the messages got flagged. If that doesn't help the next step would probably be a temporary ban from all chat rooms.


For clarification, I'm not talking about the quick "this line doesn't work, why?" stuff but the kind of help vampires who get cocky even though they just got e.g. a link to a SO question which has a perfectly fine and fitting answer. Because hey, you didn't give them teh codez!

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Hm? Wouldn't a simpler solution be to ignore the vampires? –  Yannis Nov 25 '12 at 16:33
    
I was about to joke whether @benlevywebdesign is still hanging out in PHP chat waiting for random strangers to answer his lazy, ambiguous questions like three months ago... Only to just find out that he really still is there. And people are still helping him. Ugh..... –  Pëkka Nov 25 '12 at 23:27
    
Certain #javascript users are probably not much better. –  ThiefMaster Nov 26 '12 at 2:47

2 Answers 2

Possible, but I don't think that this is the proper solution. Chat is one of the places to get quick and dirty help. If you don't like help vampires, ignoring them is the proper solution. Someone else with more time/power/sanity may or may not help him.

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The thing is, it gets really annoying. Quick and dirty help is fine, but the types that sometimes walk into the PHP room are worse than vampires. More like help zombies –  Pëkka Nov 25 '12 at 16:46
    
@Pekka: my point still stands. Ignoring is the proper solution. You don't have to see the noise if you don't want to. –  Second Rikudo Nov 25 '12 at 16:47
    
you are still forced to see the interactions that other people have with the vampire until they grow tired of them. Sometimes it would be preferable to be able to boot a user out (although I can see the new problems that brings, of course...) –  Pëkka Nov 25 '12 at 16:49
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@Pekka: I suggest the ignore to be expanded to people replying to the ignored user. That should be a configurable option. –  Second Rikudo Nov 25 '12 at 16:50
    
that's an interesting idea –  Pëkka Nov 25 '12 at 16:50
    
@Pekka: meta.stackexchange.com/q/123691/166899 –  Second Rikudo Nov 25 '12 at 16:52

The obvious way to block help vampires in chat would be to extend the question ban on SO towards chat, if this is enough of a problem. I don't use SO chat, so I can't really say how large the problem is and if it warrants such rather drastic measures.

This would only be feasible for SO, as the other sites share a common chat server and the collateral damage would be rather high on SE chat.

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