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I´ve noticed a few times - when I already had started typing - that I was answering a question of someone with:

  • Lots of questions
  • No / hardly any answers
  • Plenty of rep but...
  • Hardly any votes
  • A horrible accept rate

I think it would be nice to be able to block questions from users automatically according to some of the above criteria; based on their stats.

Edit: This is not about not being able to gain rep. Quite the opposite as it´s almost always easy questions by technically-not-that-competent-people (lots of duplicates) and easy scoring (although not thanks to the original poster). At least where I am looking (php, mysql, css, html)...

Another edit: Well, it seems everybody is extremely disagreeing with me when it comes to this kind of filtering.

What I don´t get is - with all these saints not judging anyone except me :-(

How did a colour coded accept rate ever make it through?!

Yet another edit: Please not that I am not taking about 1 number, I´m talking about general behaviour. And yes, trying to get people to improve their behaviour is propably nicer than just ignoring them. I´d still like to have a choice though...

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I would answer this, but your accept rate is horrible, you haven't voted (yet), you have never answered a question. –  David Pearce Sep 10 '09 at 6:50
    
The downvotes are not judging you. It's just not a good idea to let bad users run amok by turning a blind eye to them when they should instead be dealt with. –  random Sep 12 '09 at 0:03
    
@random: I'm not talking about the down-votes, I can imagine that people don´t agree. I´m talking about the answers... –  jeroen Sep 12 '09 at 16:41
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3 Answers

You should not be considering the user when you are answering a question.

The person is not important. What is important is the question itself. If the question is a good question that you can answer, then answer it. You will be doing more then just the OP a service. You are doing a service to any future user who may be looking for information on a similar problem.

What it sounds like is that you don't want to waste your time on questions where your rep-gaining potential is low. That is pretty selfish.

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You´re wrong about the rep-gaining potential, that is definitely not what this is about as it´s almost always easy questions by technically-not-that-competent-people (lots of duplicates) and easy scoring (although not thanks to the original poster). At least where I am looking (php, mysql, css, html)... –  jeroen Sep 9 '09 at 22:48
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By the way, I also disagree about the user not being important. I like to help someone solve a problem. Furthermore questions without accepted answers - although solution might be right there - aren´t doing any service to users in the future as they would probably think the answer is not there because it is not marked accepted. –  jeroen Sep 9 '09 at 23:33
    
"You should not be considering the user when you are answering a question." - but then we do have the "% of accepted answers" statistic which will influence some folks, whether rightly or wrongly. –  Kev Sep 9 '09 at 23:51
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@Kev: I don't like the accepted answer rating, myself. I would much rather see the percentage of answers that are accepted by the guy answering the question, if anything. In other words, I want to see a quick "success rate" ratio. –  TheTXI Sep 10 '09 at 0:16
    
If the question is a good answer then it should be an answer, not a question. –  John the Seagull Sep 10 '09 at 10:06
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That user still has a problem. A problem that you can solve. And it's your prerogative if you want to help that user. But the system isn't going to help you block people.

What's wrong with blocking people?

What if you're blocking a person due to a language barrier? Are users that are not natively english supposed to run the risk of not getting answers?

What if you're blocking a person that gets better over time and after a while contributes considerably to the community? Should noobs run the same risk as above?

What if users start blocking aggressively, since it's a handy way to keep the frontpage clean and with only "high quality" questions?

There are more, but I don't want to add more.

The issue with block lists is this. People are very keen on putting people on it. But rarely do a postmortem cleanup to unblock.

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Why not? Everybody's time is limited so I for one would like to help the people (if I can...) that at least seem to appreciate it. And here the system can definitely help. –  jeroen Sep 9 '09 at 22:54
    
Limited time? Try tag filtering. Try search. Put up an RSS feed of some query and monitor that while doing something else. –  Ólafur Waage Sep 9 '09 at 23:05
    
Of course, there are tag filtering, search, etc. But what would be so wrong with user filtering? –  jeroen Sep 9 '09 at 23:10
    
Added a few reasons why. –  Ólafur Waage Sep 10 '09 at 0:00
    
Thanks, but the criteria I mentioned are not related to language or badly formulated questions. And if a user improves his stats, he or she would re-appear automatically. Please note that I am not talking about blocking / hiding individual users, but groups of users based on their stats. –  jeroen Sep 10 '09 at 0:07
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@jeroen: I'm puzzled! How can they improve their stats, when they are blocked and ignored? –  Ladybug Killer Sep 10 '09 at 7:55
    
It is so easy to get reputation points here that high score does not necessary mean good questions... And a new user will very often have a very good question. –  awe Sep 10 '09 at 9:12
    
@John Smithers: Obviously it is the combination of no answers, no votes, no approved answers to their own questions but lots of questions; these numbers mean nothing if you don´t combine them somehow. @awe: All combined, new users would be totally unaffected. –  jeroen Sep 10 '09 at 12:14
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There is 3 things I find interesting about these type of request on MSO.

  • 90% of them are by users who have sub-par reputation across all 3 sites. (<2k)
  • 90% of them seems to have NOT read the FAQ on any of the sites at any point in time.
  • 90% of them only joined SO in the last 6 months or less.

Why is this important.

People seem to forget that Q&A is not in any way limited to whether the user asks a lot of questions, or only answers a lot of questions. The purpose of a Q&A site is to get as many questions around the topic that it covers and to provide a conical source of information for future users

We do have users that don't contribute properly, but they are in 1% category compared to the rest of the community and processes are in place to rectify these behaviors. However blocking someone just because you feel that it is not worth answering their question on a site where 2K+ users and moderators can edit questions and answers in a Wiki style to make them better or easier makes absolutely no sense.

Instead of spending time thinking of reasons to block or hide these behaviors, go spend some time and answer some questions, ask questions or even come up with ways to get these users more involved

Throught this process SO is a community, and we respect others. Something the we highlight in the FAQ:

Be nice.
Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

Would you be happy if I added you to my ignore list since you meet all these criteria?

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I have already explained in another comment why I don´t think that questions with good answers that are never approved don´t really help a Q&A site. About your other comments: "Instead of spending time ..." - isn´t that what meta is for? And about the respect part, I have not disrespected anyone, if anybody is disrespecting, it is you, judging me by my "sub-par" reputation and assuming that I never read the FAQ (I did...) and am just recently a member (9 months actually...). By the way, I looked around before posting this question and I don´t know what you mean by these type of request –  jeroen Sep 11 '09 at 23:26
    
When your question is related to ignoring users that in your opinion is asking bad questions then I consider it disrespectful to them. Ignoring them won't help them in asking better questions. If someone has a horrible accept rate, answer and prompt them to accept the answer if it is upvoted. That's positive. Ignoring them is completely negative. I meet the criteria to be ignored on SO, but not any of the other sites. DOes that automatically mean I am not worth your time in answering my questions when I do ask? Also this has come up before, a few times actually. –  Diago Sep 12 '09 at 7:26
    
That´s a misunderstanding, you've been asking, approving, answering and voting on SO so combining that with some magical mathematical formula would definitely exclude you from hiding in my book. Anyway, I see your point, but I still believe in mine :-) –  jeroen Sep 12 '09 at 16:39
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