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I realize several posts have already been started on the feature of blocking a user, but I am seriously in need of advice on what to do with stalkers on stackoverflow - folks who apparently persecute your every post - with unnecessary pompousness and unwarranted insults.

This has become a huge enough issue that I had to leave Stackoverflow for a month, in hopes that this stalker would cool down. Coming back just yesterday, I wasn't surprised that this stalker found my new post, and, when questioned, the usual bitter insults. It seems there is no way to avoid this guy. Stack is a wonderful resource, but it is always disturbing to read a series of great answers, and then suddenly this unwarranted insult.

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Link or it didn't happen. – Shog9 Sep 10 '10 at 16:41
If there is a history of this we need to deal with it. Please email links to I only found rude behavior from one user in two posts in your recent history. I warned the user and will follow up on the warning if that behavior continues. – Bill the Lizard Sep 10 '10 at 19:42
It could be that the two of you are just having the same interest as for the tags you're following? Hence, even if you feel this is a rude user, are you sure you're being stalked, or do you just happen to frequent the same places? – Arjan Sep 12 '10 at 14:13
The user in question is sometimes very rude, but he is that to everyone. That doesn't make it all right or anything, but the accusation of "stalking" is too strong IMO. He is simply active in the same tags as you are. – Pëkka Sep 12 '10 at 14:35
Aw man, not this guy. I've flagged countless #'s of his comments in the past. – womp Oct 14 '10 at 1:48
I'm relieved to say that shortly after posting this message the user seems to have stopped persecuting me - less frequently, at least. I took another long "break" from stackoverflow after posting this message. – ina Dec 13 '10 at 8:40
IMO, judging by the Flag queue, this question is decidedly unresolved. Starting bounty. – Kirk Woll Apr 14 '11 at 18:06
up vote 20 down vote accepted

By the way I looked at Col. Sharpnel's recent activity and I find it very troublesome. This user is exceptionally rude; I actually remember running into him before on SO and arguing with him, at the time I shrugged it off but apparently he is very confrontational and had arguments with virtually everyone.

A few examples, all of them no older than 2 days ago:

  • @Pekka i see no point in your argues. Downvote my answer and leave me alone. Unlike you I am reading not only statement use PHP's EOF string but also reasoning without the hassle of having to escape quotes. And Plain HTML is even better because it lets you format HTML content without the hassle of heredoc either. Large blocks of HTML are always better as HTML, not PHP code. If you don't see it its up to you
  • In this code - no, nothing happen. Why don't you explain what you think will happen? I don't need your "thank you" nor asking for it. But I can correct my code for that case. Why don't you want to learn something useful?
  • this code is awfully redundant. actually only first query is enough
  • No, this field is useless. Get rid of it if you have it already
  • Man, your GetSQLValueString function is wrong.
  • @Artefacto magic methods are not the same. And there is not a single profiling report.
  • sorry bro, it's you interested in such a crap, not me.
  • shit they upvote Amber for the same answer.

While none of these comments is by itself particularly bad, what worries me is that for this user they are the norm. I've reviewed some of his old answers as well, and the same pattern emerges.

Again, this is nothing I haven't done myself on occasion, the problem is that he's like this all the time. I think this user should be monitored and coached very closely by a moderator, to avoid driving users away.

EDIT: after a month I wanted to take another look to see if his behavior improved, looks like it didn't:

  • Lol. Thank you for your question. A perfect example for ones who are eager to tell a noob how to store serialized data.
  • @Tyler javascript is not a solution. Don't be silly, use PHP
  • @Matthew what it was printed is another question. You should ask "How to perform a manual download" instead of this silly syntax question.
  • Sorry, I can't stand that awful code. Edited it
  • @Kenny It seems you don't if you got this error. That's real value of your database basics knowledge. Which you'd better to learn instead of doing such silly mistakes like storing serialized data in the database.
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I've run into him too; people like this are really not taken seriously enough. I guarantee you if he gets his hands on a user in their first week or two on the site, they're going to leave and not come back – Michael Mrozek Sep 14 '10 at 6:53
@Michael: why would you take someone like that seriously? – Shog9 Oct 14 '10 at 1:55
@Shog9 I think Michael is saying that the damage Col. Sharpnel and others can do to the rest of the community, especially newcomers, is not taken seriously enough by the site owners and moderators. – Kyle Cronin Oct 14 '10 at 3:37
There is a bit of a language barrier where he is concerned. I've run into him a few times, each encounter left the impression that he was indeed trying to be helpful .. in his own 'special' way. Needing to have a thick skin when subjecting yourself to thousands of other programmers is nothing new. – Tim Post Oct 14 '10 at 7:02
Reminds me of a guy on comp.lang.lisp in the 90s, who was technically good and incredibly insulting. Oddly enough, people who'd met him in person said he was a nice guy when not on Usenet. – David Thornley Oct 14 '10 at 13:52
Col. Sharpnel is a piece of work... as another commanding officer would call him on Stargate... there ought to encyclopedia dramatica entry on him/her. – ina Dec 13 '10 at 8:41
On days when Col. Sharpnel confronts me, I leave SO for that day. My mood gets completely turned off. – shamittomar Jan 23 '11 at 5:14

Have you reported this user to the moderators with evidence?

I highly doubt that any moderator on SE would have let it go on if it had been reported.

My suggestion: Immediately flag one of the users posts and state that they are stalking you

I am almost 100% sure it will be addressed within the next 48 hours.


I quickly reviewed your account and do see what you're referring to. I have reported it to the SO moderators via the moderator flags as well.

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I've reported that user before as well. – George Stocker Sep 10 '10 at 16:49
I can't find any examples of that on his account – NullUserException อ_อ Sep 10 '10 at 19:32
@AlexCoplan when an ancient thread like this is edited it goes to the front page. There's been no meaningful activity on this thread for almost 5 years - the need to fix "your" and the like is not strong enough to justify the bump in my opinion – Kate Gregory May 18 '15 at 14:17
@KateGregory ah sorry, didn't realise that. It was sort of a reflex response to edit the post, seeing two of the worst grammatical sins just one word apart! – Alex Coplan May 18 '15 at 17:37

Col Shrapnel is still on SO and still causing problems. Generally he posts useless and insulting comments. Why is this allowed to continue 6 months later? What does it take to actually get banned?

Here's the post in question: Pagination bug - When i use 'WHERE' in the query, pages do not remember the data

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Aww man. This has indeed not improved... – Pëkka Feb 16 '11 at 21:51
Looks like whatever you guys were referring to in this link has been deleted. – xiaohouzi79 Feb 16 '11 at 22:07
@xiaohouzi yeah. It was a number of insulting comments on John's answer – Pëkka Feb 16 '11 at 22:20

I really hate when people talk about "a user" who did "something" in a "post". There is nothing wrong with naming names and providing links, to avoid having people spend more than 10 minutes trying to figure it out by themselves, like I just had to do :P

The user in question is Col. Shrapnel, and the most recent example of the behavior described by the OP can be found in this post.

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And then notify the accused, please (I already did that, for this case). – Arjan Sep 12 '10 at 14:19
@arjan: I find the user's response to that link very insightful into his future intents. This is a user who just doesn't give a damn, and will need to be handled very severely before anything sinks in, IMHO. – Ether Sep 13 '10 at 16:31
Actually, mod Bill the Lizard said "Please, do not call out the user by name here on Meta." I'm not saying he's right or wrong, but his house, his rules. – Pops Apr 14 '11 at 18:43

The SOFUE sites offer RSS feeds on individual users, so if someone wanted to grief you they have perfect mechanism for keeping track of what you're up to. Thus, no mystery about how they can pick up on your return promptly after an absence.

As Diago says, this kind of behavior is a matter for the moderators and/or the team, and as Shog9 says, if you want more detailed advice from meta we'll need links.

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