We have a bad case of troll-itis on English Language & Usage. This banned user, (who will likely be deleted soon, but who will keep coming back with a new account), keeps posting a particular member's personal information.

Is this the best we can do for banning a user? What use is a ban if a troll can keep up this behavior seemingly forever?

Even when that post gets deleted and locked, it can still be seen (even edit trails) by high-rep users. Perhaps it might be possible to let mods migrate such posts to a dummy SE site that only mods can see?

Sorry if this is a dupe. But I think people like this are a clear and present danger, and I don't feel they are being managed well enough.

  • I'm assuming you went through the whole flagging for moderator attention cycle on this one? To be honest, those who want to keep coming back and post things like this will be able to. Even with an IP ban.
    – Bart
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:25
  • 2
    Yeah, it's just out of frustration. I mean, it's one thing if someone is just being a jerk, but posting personal information is a whole 'nother level of parasite.
    – Robusto
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:30
  • Yes, that is particularly annoying. But I'm not sure if there is anything else to be done than flagging, closing and banning. And then hope he'll run out of steam at some point. I've encountered users on SO (though not with content of this nature) who continued such behaviour for a while. But ultimately they (seem to have) stopped.
    – Bart
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:33
  • 1
    Related: Who has the privilege to delete a revision?
    – Arjan
    Mar 16, 2013 at 14:01

3 Answers 3


We (well, Tim Post) have been on top of this as much as we can and using pretty much all of the tools at our disposal that wouldn't cause a massive disruption for legitimate users. An ugly situation all around, for sure.

That said, unfortunately I don't think migrating posts would solve anything that deletion can't. If nothing else, migration stubs stick around locked but fully visible unless explicitly deleted... in which case they aren't any different than any other deleted post.

We can destroy the offending revisions completely, and even though 10k users can see the posts in the meantime, they'd have had to either see it when it was posted or go URL hunting to try and guess which questions have been removed. It's still a suboptimal situation, but the exposure risks are a lot lower.

So my advice is to edit and delete such posts on sight, and then contact us for revision clean-up or flag for a moderator and ask them to contact us. Don't waste time on trying to reason with any user who pulls something like this. That just tends to feed right into their attention-seeking behaviour. Flag them, delete them and their posts, and move on with as little ceremony and as little time wasted as possible.

  • 2
    I agree about not "feeding" the trolls. Always the best policy. Flush what they did and move on.
    – Robusto
    Mar 16, 2013 at 16:28

Regarding permawiping information: Mods can't do this, but the community team can. (They probably already know of this though, if it's been a persistent problem.) They also have blacklisting and IP ban/rangeblock tools at hand (though these are last-resort).

Most of this can be quickly dealt with as long as the community members and mod team are vigilant, flagging/deleting these things at sight (and getting the permawipe done later).


That is a case where you might want to contact the SE community team and ask for an entry in the blacklist or an IP ban, if that would make sense. If that would not work, the best you can do is to destroy the user whenever you see him.

  • Thanks, I've been talking to @TimPost in chat. He says this particular jerk comes in on a new IP every time.
    – Robusto
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:35
  • 2
    As Tim said, "He's coming from a new IP every time, and they're (recently) from all over the place. Some of them TOR exit nodes." Hmm, I wonder if it's possible to refuse traffic from the darknet.
    – Robusto
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:49
  • 10
    @Robusto: Possible, but too much collateral damage. You'll cut off a lot of our Chinese users, for one. And users behind overzealous corporate proxies. As someone who has helped deal specifically with the collateral damage of IP blocking on Wikipedia, I can tell you that this is not a road you want to go down. Unless you want to have to build multiple support systems for helping those who have been affected by this. Mar 16, 2013 at 12:58
  • @Manishearth: Ahh, I forgot about the legitimate uses. Never mind ...
    – Robusto
    Mar 16, 2013 at 12:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .