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I've recently had one member in particular who wastes hours of my time asking/commenting about my posts without contributing anything productive towards answering them. I don't want to appear rude to other members (who obviously wouldn't be aware of the history), so I feel obligated to respond to each comment.

In addition, I've noticed that once this member starts participating I am significantly less likely to get input from other members (probably because they either assume that he's solving the problem, or because they get as big a headache as I do trying to read through the comments), and I'm therefore not getting questions answered if this member responds to them.

I don't believe that it would be appropriate and/or helpful to flag the comments because there's nothing grossly wrong with a comment when viewed individually, and as far as I understand flags don't affect an individuals privileges.

Is there anything that I can currently do to limit and/or block this member from commenting/answering my posts, and if not, is this something that would be worthwhile considering in the future?

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Nope. Just ignore them. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:31
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If they're knocking at your door, or standing next to you waiting for you to answer and you're ignoring them, yes, that's rude. Not replying to their comment on Stack Overflow however, isn't. –  Matt Apr 18 '13 at 20:32
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If they are truly not helpful nor constructive, joining the extended comments will only drive your post into the ground. So, no. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:35
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@ChayaCooper If it's that persistent, flagging might be acceptable. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:37
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@Matt It's her question, not the other user's. If she ignores him when he's making sincere clarifying questions then she appears to be an unresponsive OP. When I notice an unresponsive OP I'm much more likely to walk away from a question early on. –  Servy Apr 18 '13 at 20:38
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"He actually keeps reposting every few minutes until I respond" Those definitely sound flaggable. Also, I'm waiting on someone to show up here and start chatting you up. ;) –  Bill the Lizard Apr 18 '13 at 20:38
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@ChayaCooper Be careful about that. That might land you into trouble. If the comments are really not constructive and lead nowhere, flag for moderator attention and ask for a comment cleanup. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:39
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@ChayaCooper That would not be appropriate. Do not repost your questions just because there are is a long comment thread. –  Servy Apr 18 '13 at 20:39
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I can relate. I'm afraid your only options are to either ignore him, or flag his comments and let the moderators handle the situation. Or both. What you shouldn't do, however, is continue a conversation if you don't feel it's worth your time (or worse). Some people may perceive you not responding to a comment as rude, but that's... their problem not yours. We are all here to learn and have a bit of fun, you are under no obligation to answer every comment and participate in every discussion. If the situation has reached a point that annoys you, just ignore and move on. –  Yannis Apr 18 '13 at 20:42
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@ChayaCooper You should not be reposting a question, ever. It doesn't matter if your original question is closed, deleted, or just unanswered. –  Servy Apr 18 '13 at 20:43
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You guys are awesome :-D –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 20:43
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Just flag your post and use the "other" option. Explain the situation. Comments should only be used to clarify and not get out of hand/lengthy. If the situation is extreme, a cleanup is usually no problem. Don't use that flag just for any comments you don't like though. Use it sparingly. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:48
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Incidentally, if you're worried about his feelings, having some box pop up saying "This user has blocked you from answering or commenting on her posts" would hardly be a good solution anyway... –  David Robinson Apr 18 '13 at 20:54
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These answers and comments have been awesome - not only have I found a solution to my problem, but I also laughed and feel much better about something that's been driving me crazy :-D –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 21:01
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I downvoted this suggestion because I don't think there should be a way to shut out users from one's questions, but I appreciate your spirit and consideration. Keep it up and please don't be put off by the occasionally rough tone on SO! –  Pëkka Apr 18 '13 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

There isn't a way to block a specific user.

If the pattern of behavior constitutes inappropriate harassment, you should flag the comment or answer for moderator attention (perhaps drawing attention to the user's past behavior in a custom flag). But if it's simply incorrect or unhelpful, just ignore them. (If they provide an answer that is incorrect or unhelpful, as opposed to a comment, you can downvote it).

You seem to be worried that not answering the questions will make you appear rude to other users. The question in that case is whether the user's comments, regardless of their source, are worth responding to. If they are, you should be answering them anyway- it doesn't matter who asked them. If they're not, other users will recognize this and won't judge you for ignoring them.


As described in the comments, if you have accumulated a long and unhelpful comment thread, you can also flag your post with a custom flag and ask for the comments to be cleaned up by a moderator. Moderators are often happy to clean up long conversations in comments, and it would not lead to any penalty or even notification for the commenters.

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Thank you so much David :-D That's incredibly helpful :-) Since I'm the one who posted the question, I'd like to think that it's a good question ;-) But unfortunately the same can't be said for most of his :-( –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 21:06
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@ChayaCooper: My apologies, the language in my answer must not have been clear (edited to clarify). I was referring to whether his comments were worth responding to, not whether your question is worth answering. If his comments for clarification are about things other people might find useful, you should answer them. If they're entirely irrelevant, no one will judge you for ignoring them. –  David Robinson Apr 18 '13 at 21:09
    
Thank you for clarifying that :-D I know that I work way too hard when I post questions (both in writing them and in responding to members trying to help me), but I am so appreciative of the SO community and want to do everything I can do make it even more awesome. It would be great if they expanded the voting/flag system to give both positive/neg feedback on specific items/behaviors so that members could learn even more. After all this time, I'm still often guessing about whether or not I've phrased a title or question well or tagged it effectively –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 21:20

Flags are not only for offensive content.
This seems to me like the isolated case for which was invented the text box when you click on other...
When you click on flag, you get the following options :

enter image description here

The one you are looking for is too chatty or other if you can explain why. Either that or you ignore them but I think these are your two only options.

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I'm not too sure a nagging user is "too chatty". I believe that's for when a conversation between members erupts about what they had for tea, and what the weather is like. –  Matt Apr 18 '13 at 20:36
    
without contributing anything productive towards answering them I think it does not have it's place there. –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Apr 18 '13 at 20:38
    
Maybe we can request additional options of that, as well as repetitive question/comment (which is this users worst offense) –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 20:49
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This seems to me like the isolated case for which was invented the text box when you click on other.... My opinion though –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Apr 18 '13 at 20:50
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@PhaDaPhunk Any chance you could link this screenshot to a larger version? This is kind of difficult to see. –  Bart Apr 18 '13 at 20:50
    
@Bart I don't know i'm blind... –  ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Apr 18 '13 at 20:52
    
You guys are awesome :-D You've both solved my problem and gotten me laughing about it :-D –  Chaya Cooper Apr 18 '13 at 21:10
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@ChayaCooper: Only "other" is worthwhile in this situation. –  Won't Apr 18 '13 at 21:13

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