Occasionally I spot a few really lazy questions in a row from a particular user, which prompts me to look at their profile to investigate if they deserve to have a lazy question answered.

If my investigation shows the user posts a lot of "plz-send-me-the-codez" questions, I'd like a lightweight way to share the results of that investigation with other users.

I suggest a flag to encourage a user to write better questions. If enough people (of a sufficient rep) agree with the flag then, for the next month the site could:

  1. Give the user a 'nudge' to post good questions, e.g. giving them a popup when posting a question to remind them how to post a good question (with a link to the FAQ).

  2. Display a small warning on all that user's questions, e.g. "some users think this person needs to improve their questions".

Sometimes very short or lazy questions can end up being very popular and useful, but it would be nice to be able to nudge the poster to make more effort if they are a consistent offender.

Some users have definitely provided a great service to Stackoverflow as many of their questions have brought good answers, and a large number of views to the questions. However, some also ask a lot of repetitive and lazy "plz-send-me-the-codez" questions.

  • There are already systems that make it hard for users to post low quality questions. And with enough bad questions, the system will disallow a user to post further questions. – NullUserException อ_อ Nov 3 '11 at 4:35

The system warns us [moderators] if a user has consecutive closed questions. Additionally, we're able to see a more in depth user history when we notice someone appear in our queue multiple times, and we do suspend some users due to consistent low quality over time in some cases.

If you find a user that consistently disrupts the community with low effort, poorly asked questions, flag the question for moderator attention and let us know. We will take action if the past history warrants action. Don't call someone out here (on MSO), as it's not fair to the user in question. These situations should be dealt with by moderators, privately.

A public facing mechanism would just be abused. I have seen questions flagged as "Very Low Quality" due to simple typographical errors, or a mistake in formatting. It's better left in the hands of the site moderators.

  • Fair enough. I do think the 'nudge' to post better questions would be a useful sanction/educational tool for moderators to have though. – Dan J Nov 3 '11 at 15:32
  • @DanJ Well, quality is a subjective thing. The history that you pointed out does have some rough patches, but it also shows at least some effort to improve over time. We do have the ability to 'nudge', we can contact a user privately and let them know if the way they participate needs work. Honestly, the best signal you can give is your vote along with a constructive comment. I do appreciate your frustration, however. – Tim Post Nov 4 '11 at 1:10

Rather than seeking to flag a user based on their posts not being useful to you I think you should treat each post on its merits and if it is not useful to you then downvote it.

If the post is a question and it meets the criteria to be closed then vote or flag to close it.

You can also comment on or edit the post but if you think there are better posts available for you to volunteer your time trying to help then move onto them instead.

  • 2
    You can also flag for closure. No need to wait for the close vote privilege. – rene Apr 25 '18 at 11:18

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