I ran into a "user" while doing a review task on SO. This user has made two answers on the same question, as far as I can tell these are not close to answers they are just html dumps.

I suspect this user to be a bot of some sort and I was wondering if there is a way I could flag a user for some sort of review... Or is just calling them out on Meta enough? I already flagged the "answers" and left a comment. Anything else we should do in this case?

EDIT: the Answers were deleted so they're 10K only now, sorry.

  • How about the other option in the moderator attention flag box? – Martijn Pieters Apr 11 '13 at 16:12
  • @MartijnPieters - that flags a post (Q or A or comment), I'm talking about flagging a user. I think this "user" is not a person so why just delete the posts instead of get to the source of the problem – Mike Apr 11 '13 at 16:13
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    You still flag the posts. Moderators are humans, they'll usually figure out that the user needs investigating.. Flagging for mod attention is for more than just having a post deleted. – Martijn Pieters Apr 11 '13 at 16:14
  • @Josh agreed, Is it possible to flag a user rather than just individual posts is a dup, sorry I missed that when posting. – Mike Apr 11 '13 at 18:55
  • No need to apologize, @Mike. – jscs Apr 11 '13 at 18:57

You can't flag users directly, but you can just flag any of their posts and explain to the moderators why they should investigate this user.

Flagging is preferred over meta for such issues as it is less noisy and user-specific meta posts can get rather unconstructive. Publicly calling out specific users is discouraged.

  • OK, this calling out specific users is discouraged with Martijn's comment pretty much answers my question. "Flag the posts and nature will take its course on the user" – Mike Apr 11 '13 at 16:17
  • @Mike I meant specifically calling them out in public, in a flag it is a good idea to mention if you noticed problems with this user beyond the single post you flagged. – Mad Scientist Apr 11 '13 at 16:18
  • Yes, I know what you meant, and that is how I handled the flagging of the answers from the user that were suspect. I was saying your answer tells me posting suspected bot-users on Meta is not proper, and I thank you for that clarification. – Mike Apr 11 '13 at 16:23

Yes, if you flag with it needs ♦ moderator attention, then a diamond moderator will look into it for you. Use other and indicate your reasoning and justifications.

Though, I'm not sure if two answers constitutes a bot.

Edit: Looking into this user, I have to agree, those edits are pretty suspicious. It looks like attempted advertising of some sort, or just random edits. I'd probably flag it.

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    Given the particular suggested edits by that user, something fishy is going on. Bot-like at least. – Bart Apr 11 '13 at 16:16
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    Even if a flag isn't likely to be really conclusive, if you see something really strange like that, it's better to flag as other and explain. Moderators will generally validate that specific type of flag if they can see why you raised an eyebrow or three (did I mention strange?) – Tim Post Apr 11 '13 at 16:19
  • @Bart I just looked into the user's activity, and I agree with you. It's rather strange. So yeah, flag is a good option. – user206222 Apr 11 '13 at 16:21
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    Based on the sequence of edits, it looks more like someone is trying to write a bot to auto-edit stackoverflow posts. – saluce Apr 11 '13 at 16:27
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    On the bright side, no one approved any of the edits – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Apr 11 '13 at 17:08

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