Some user comes into the C++ chat room and starts to talk as if he knows us, which makes me look at his profile. So the guy, at 105rep, has not asked or answered a single question, made all of his rep from accepted edits (fine with me), and some stupid "I was here first!" tag wiki editing (not fine with me at all).

Also, when he came to the chat first, he had the user name "Feeds", and even had the fitting avatar with it (which severely confused us at first), but he claimed he didn't know it would be considered bad to do that.

Call me suspicious, emulously competitive, and a grumpy, humorless old man but I can't help it. The guy does come across like cheating his way through SO on so many levels, I just have to ask whether this behavior is considered Ok or not.

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    "this" behaviour... which bit? – AakashM Jun 26 '12 at 16:48
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    He's also had two whole comments! One of which just advertised his chat room and I've cast a flag upon... – animuson Jun 26 '12 at 16:51
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    @YannisRizos: Just like he might indeed have accidentally picked the username "Feeds" including this avatar. Yeah. He might. – sbi Jun 26 '12 at 16:54
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    I strongly disagree with people choosing misleading user names. – Pekka Jun 26 '12 at 16:57
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    His rep is strange to be sure, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Being "Feeds" and claiming he "didn't know" (even if it is a lie) is also not inherently wrong to me. I'd say he hasn't done anything "wrong" yet, but I'd keep an eye on him. – Mooing Duck Jun 26 '12 at 16:57
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    @DiscountGucciHandbags are you saying that you really do have Discount Gucci Handbags? or is that misleading? – Taryn Jun 26 '12 at 16:58
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    Wow, looks like I have lots of edits to roll back tonight... just another user mindlessly using backticks for quoting keywords. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 26 '12 at 17:01
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    I wish I could personally tell the people off who approved those edits... "improved formatting" my hoof. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 26 '12 at 17:14
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    "Call me suspicious, emulously competitive, and a grumpy, humorless old man" I think C++ developer is sufficient. – user1228 Jun 26 '12 at 17:18
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    My inclination is to frown upon such behavior, but to treat it as non-malicious until it can be shown that the user knows it is frowned upon. Yeah, that probably gives some obnoxious, trolling jerks an undeserved break, but it also avoids landing on the innocently clueless like a ton of rectangular building things. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jun 26 '12 at 17:24
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    I wanted to correct "emulously" to "enormously", but it turns out the former is actually a word. Learn something new every day... – Michael Petrotta Jun 26 '12 at 18:00
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    "I think C++ developer is sufficient." - @Won't I think you misspelled "PHP" =) – Josh Darnell Jun 26 '12 at 18:10
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    I'm a native speaker and I have never heard of emulously :P – DeadMG Jun 26 '12 at 22:40
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    @MikeB: sbi was 100% certain of his opinion and the user's guilt yes. His question was "whether [the user's] behavior is considered Ok or not." This is very clearly not a personal attack so much as a rule clarification. The question stands even if he hadn't linked to a particular user's profile. – Mooing Duck Aug 9 '12 at 17:35
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    @Mike: Snort. In the first of your "model posts", the second comment named the user (and otherwise the name would have been asked in the very next comment), in the second question, the victim couldn't have known who dunnit, the third does link to the controversy (and thus to the in question) right in the question, and the fourth is about two specific types of recurring behavior, rather than one concrete case. That is pathetic. And now please stop wasting my attention by swamping my inbox with this increasingly useless discussion. – sbi Aug 9 '12 at 20:49

Full disclosure: https://gamedev.stackexchange.com/users/3588/grace-note

In the case you bring up, it appears from most people that many of the edits were actually pretty bad and should never have been accepted. Unfortunately, there isn't much safeguard against that in the system, and there's little comfort for the future can do as far as alleviating the existing damage. All that can be done is to keep an eye out to prevent any future poor edits from getting through.

Assuming that the user is actually making good edits, though, accruing reputation through suggested edits alone, I believe, is entirely acceptable and not cheating the system. It's a legitimate avenue to contribute to the community.

Keep in mind, though, that any such climb is not only slow (+2 per edit is a lot less than the loosely limited potential of post voting), but restricted to a maximum of 1000 reputation. So while they'll get a good start, they won't even be able to earn any of the major privilege capabilities such as full blown editing or close voting. Helpful or otherwise, they'll have to start providing more solid contributions in the form of questions and answers to get any further.

As for the avatar/name issue, dmckee sums it up best in his comment:

My inclination is to frown upon such behavior, but to treat it as non-malicious until it can be shown that the user knows it is frowned upon. Yeah, that probably gives some obnoxious, trolling jerks an undeserved break, but it also avoids landing on the innocently clueless like a ton of rectangular building things.

After some internal discussion, users mimicking actual system accounts (Community, Feeds, etc.) is equivalent to impersonating a moderator or an SE Employee, which is officially disallowed. However, we'll still work on good faith, so unless they're being outwardly malicious in intent, it's something we can just softly advise them to stop doing as they go forwards.

  • I have to ask -- where is the only-1000-rep-for-editing limit documented? Is there a list of similar such limits that aren't widely known? – Ernest Friedman-Hill Jun 26 '12 at 18:21
  • Ah, I didn't know that is limited. Still, 1k of rep would take 500 edit suggestions that need to be approved or discarded, which, if they are all dumb, needlessly drains resources from more important issues. (And that's why I think his edits do not compare at all to yours, which are a contribution to the community.) Add to this the time we spent on the user name/avatar issue, and any classic help vampire seems to be a nice chap compared to this mischievous guy. – sbi Jun 26 '12 at 18:24
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill It's definitely in the "How do suggested edits work?" faq post. I don't know if it's anywhere else, though. – Josh Darnell Jun 26 '12 at 18:25
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    @sbi For what it's worth, enough rejected edits will automatically suspend someone from making suggested edits for 7 days. – Josh Darnell Jun 26 '12 at 18:28
  • Full disclosure? Huh? – user1228 Jun 26 '12 at 18:29
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    @Wont I have earned 500 invincible reputation on GameDev through nothing but suggested edits to posts and wikis. Mostly wikis. Basically, the disclosure is to note that I have actually done this behavior, and while I don't personally use it to justify the policy on it, it's still important to air it out in advance. – Grace Note Jun 26 '12 at 18:34
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    Just imagine all the abusive privileges Grace Note has earned with that 500 rep! – Ben Brocka Jun 26 '12 at 18:38
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill here's a person complaining when they've hit the limit. Which came after I noticed the limit wasn't being enforced. – Some Helpful Commenter Jun 26 '12 at 18:40
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    Oh, while we're at it, the FAQ on every site also states explicitly: "You can only earn a maximum of +1000 total reputation through suggested edits, however." It's not intended to be hidden or surprising, so putting it in our main bed of instructions seemed like the best place. – Grace Note Jun 26 '12 at 18:45
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    @GraceNote Hm? I thought the FAQ was where we were hiding stuff, it's not like anyone will ever read it... – yannis Jun 26 '12 at 19:25
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    @Grace this reminds me of something that happened long ago - what about users mimicking high rep users by taking their name and avatar? Should this be reported via a flag? Surely people can see the low reputation and everything, but still.. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 27 '12 at 6:41
  • FYI, Grace: The guy is still wasting meta's resources. – sbi Jul 3 '12 at 9:18
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    If it's "officially disallowed" to use misleading user names, why not ban it? I.e. change the system so that you cannot create an account with a misleading user name. feeds, community, Stack Overflow employee names, etc. – MarkJ Aug 9 '12 at 12:39
  • which is officially disallowed mmm, couple months ago I reported a guy whose name was "stackoverflow" and nobody did anything... – ajax333221 Aug 9 '12 at 14:49
  • @ajax333221 "stackoverflow" isn't an official system account, or the name used by any employee or used as part of impersonating a moderator. – Grace Note Aug 9 '12 at 15:08

To add some closure to this - the user in question - going under the name NinjaTurtle was actually an account created by a different user to avoid a 1 year Stack Overflow and chat ban. So suspicious behaviour like this is part of flagging and identifying abuse.


You're a suspicious, emulously competitive, and a grumpy, humorless old man.

Complaining about how a person managed to gain a total of 105 rep points is extremely niggardly.

and some stupid "I was here first!" tag wiki editing (not fine with me at all).

If the community was more active in doing tag wikis, this problem wouldn't occur in the first place.

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    I don't think that was really the main point. The user in question's edits spawned a couple highly voted Meta posts – simchona Jun 27 '12 at 0:58
  • It's good to see you raising to the bait of accusing me to be a "suspicious, emulously competitive, and a grumpy, humorless old man" in such a wonderfully humorous fashion. If it wasn't for that, someone might get the idea you could not have gotten the point of that bait. And we wouldn't want this, would we? – sbi Jun 27 '12 at 7:12
  • @sbi I used a word that's rarely used in English ("niggardly"), just like you did in your question. Doesn't that count? – Andrew Grimm Jun 27 '12 at 7:23
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    Programmers, really. Think they're funny because they applied a word rarely used. Groans. – sbi Jun 27 '12 at 12:10

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