I am aware this has been brought up before.

I'm also aware it has been brought up specifically for edits before.

However, new features on the site may warrant a fresh look. Specifically, suggested edits on tag wikis.

I've recently hit 10k on the main site and have been reviewing a lot of suggested edits. Today I ran across a user that seems to be making edits with spam content. The ones I found today were for xml related tags in the tag wikis and the suggested content was about buying cheap shoes from china.

Previously the answer to this was "flag their posts!" which was very reasonable. Now, however, users like this are able to cause issues without ever posting a question, answer, or comment to flag.

Does the ability to flag a user need to be added? Alternatively, should we be able to flag suggested edits?

For clarification, here are the edits suggested by this user:

to the xml-parsing tag:

   The US markets opened just minutes ago,china shoes wholesale now

let's cross over to our correspondent Natalie Carney in New York, factory shoes wholesale cheap to see how it's reacting to the downgrade.

Q1. It was pretty ugly today on from shoes wholesale the Asian markets. And it doesn't look like Wall Street will be much better off today, its first session since the downgrade. Tell us, how are investors there reacting?

Q2. There's panic selling on the equity china wholesale markets, but yields on US Treasury bonds have been moving rather modestly, though the risks are supposed to be higher. Looking ahead, will Treasuries remain a safe haven in all this uncertainty?

Website: http://www.igshox.com MSN: igshox@hotmail.com Yahoo: Igshox@yahoo.cn

To the excerpt for the same tag:

How can I found the cheap shoes from china factory or chinese wholesale supplier


This user only posted a suggested edit to a tag wiki and a tag wiki excerpt, and there is no way to flag those for moderator attention.

  • 2
    I think that you can still flag a user by flagging their post. Enter appropriate comments to draw moderator's attention towards the user as well. – user162697 Aug 9 '11 at 18:14
  • 13
    @Siva - the point is there is no post to flag. It's a suggested edit on a wiki and you can't flag wikis or suggested edits themselves. – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:16
  • 1
    I agree with this, nice catch. The flagging model should be updated to account for the new suggested edits feature, for wikis or otherwise. – user154510 Aug 9 '11 at 18:22
  • Point taken. May be we need flagging on suggested edits instead of the user. My thought is that SO should be about the content and not the users. – user162697 Aug 9 '11 at 18:22
  • @siva - I agree, that's why I put in the question Alternatively, should we be able to flag suggested edits? – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:23
  • I updated the title to reflect that too – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:24
  • I think Siva's point was that you can still flag the user account of the person who suggested those tag wikis and ask the moderator to look into their suggested edit history. Just find any of their questions or answers, and use the flag link there. – Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 5:03
  • possible duplicate of Add a flag link on the user's profile page, Flag abusive users – Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 5:04
  • 1
    @Cody - This user had no other activity besides the suggested edits. That's the whole point. It's not obvious now because the user was deleted. – JNK Aug 10 '11 at 10:19
  • Okay, so then flag one of your own posts and include a link to the problematic suggested edits. It isn't particularly relevant what you choose to flag. The important thing is that the information reaches a moderator who can do something about it (like permanently deleting the account). – Cody Gray Aug 10 '11 at 10:20
  • 2
    I know that's possible but it's extremely counter-intuitive. There should still be a way to deal with this that isn't a hack. – JNK Aug 10 '11 at 12:02
  • This would still be nice to have (example). Any progress? – jtbandes Aug 15 '11 at 7:13
  • I guess this guy is exhibiting the behavior you are talking about. I have had moderators reject my wiki edit, subverting the vote process, but this person can get dozens of wiki edits approved? How can he know what the tag is about if it has only been around for a day? – artless noise Dec 10 '13 at 3:08

My concern would be that if every user's profile page had a "Flag this user" link, then minor squabbles and disagreements would be (mis)flagged to moderators all the more easily.

How about adding a "Flag this user for moderator attention" link to the user profile page, but only for users with zero questions and zero answers?

That gives the community the ability to flag such spam puppet accounts, but without placing such a link on every user's profile for misflagging.

| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    Curses! This kind of restriction would actually get through to my otherwise flag-invincible downvote-invincible Game Dev account! – Grace Note Aug 9 '11 at 18:26
  • I think the real correct answer will be the ability to flag the content. The only reason I brought up the user themselves is it's extensible - otherwise the devs will need to add a flag option to EVERY new type of content that gets added to the site, which I imagine will continue to grow. – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:27
  • 1
    Well, just for Grace I'd amend my suggestion to read "but only for non-moderator users with zero questions and zero answers?" – razlebe Aug 9 '11 at 18:27
  • @Grace - I flagged that unflaggable account for you. – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:28
  • True, though adding a feature to flag the user means we don't have to remember to make any future content types flaggable. – razlebe Aug 9 '11 at 18:28
  • 1
    What about only showing the "flag this user" link to users that have a high flag waiting, this should stop most false flagging – Ian Ringrose Sep 7 '11 at 12:03
  • @Ian A great suggestion. Why not post as an answer so I can upvote it? – razlebe Sep 7 '11 at 12:08

From the FAQ on edits:

What about abuse?

There are strict limits enforced. If a user (anonymous or registered) submits many rejected edits they will be automatically banned from suggesting edits. The fixed size queue also helps protect us from abuse.

If enough tag edits are rejected, the user won't be able to submit more.

Concerning the ability to flag users: In theory, flagging a user would be useful in cases like this. In practice, it will probably end up being abused. People would flag users they didn't like (or had objectionable profiles) rather than their posts. Remember that issues should be with content, not personality conflicts. Flagging is intended to be objective. I think this would open a huge potential abuse of the flagging system. Granted, potential is not justification, but SE is optimized on posts, not users.

If spammers or other problem users pop up unnoticed by mods or SE, you can flag their posts (if possible), raise the issue on meta as you did here, or email community@stackoverflow.com.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    I understand about the automatic systems in place. My concern is, this account which provides absolutely no value to the site is using up for other users to review and reject their edits. I think accounts like this are likely to increase in numbers as the google-fu of SE grows. – JNK Aug 9 '11 at 18:31
  • @JNK True enough - I still don't like the idea. I'd rather have all posts (whether edits, questions or answers) be able to be flagged. – Ghost User Aug 9 '11 at 18:49

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