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So by now, I'm going to assume that we are familiar with the mod-wsgi troll (refer here, here, and there's a lot more, but this should be enough to make my point).

After a while, I decided to flag these posts to alert the mods that this troll is back with a new account. While this is doing well for my progress to the Marshall badge, I can't help but feel that this adds pressure on the mods. Should I stop flagging these and let simple downvoting trigger Community (the automated diamond user) to delete the post/user? Or is flagging the right way to respond to this troll?

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    Downvotes alone don't delete anything. Only spam and offensive flags do so automatically. – Mat Aug 27 '13 at 20:15
  • If spam and offensive flag applies, flag them away, since those carries penalty and auto deletes the post. Otherwise, you can just flag one of their post with Other reason. (I am talking in general). – nhahtdh Aug 27 '13 at 20:17
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    That's not flag count gaming any more than posting good content is rep gaming. – mmyers Aug 27 '13 at 20:51
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Please flag, absolutely. And... do nothing else at all.

That gives us the least work - often none at all - and gets rid of the troll with the most dispatch, and with the least satisfying interaction from their point of view.

Use the Spam flags, please; those have the most direct effect. And if you really want to, you can add one "Other" flag letting us know about the account itself. But, my guess is in most cases, we're going to kill the user a while before we ever see that 'Other' flag. I tend to check out accounts that get Spam/Offensive flags to see if there's anything obvious, for instance. (Since spammers/offensive folks tend to have habits...)

  • I did put in a feature request that might alleviate your load – inspectorG4dget Aug 27 '13 at 20:34
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    I like the "other" flags for trolls, personally, because of how silent the community auto-deletion of posts via spam / offensive can be. We usually want to look into the accounts of these folks and see if we can't slow them down a bit. Not that much of what we've tried has worked for long with this guy. – Brad Larson Aug 27 '13 at 20:49
  • @BradLarson - details aren't necessary, but do you guys at least have something in the works to deal with this guy on a more permanent basis? It was amusing at first, now it's just tedious. I can see this guy trolling well into next year at this rate. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Aug 27 '13 at 21:27
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    @LBT - I hear Tim Post is working on something in his lab that might help counter persistent attackers like this gentleman and the streaming TV spammers. To be honest, some fairly serious action has been taken against this guy in the real world and he keeps at it. We've seen a restraining order that at least one party has brought against him. – Brad Larson Aug 27 '13 at 21:59
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By all means, mods are there to handle your flags. Don't worry about putting pressure on moderators if all you're doing is flagging potentially abusive behavior. You're not gaming the system—you're flagging posts or users that need attention.

If moderators don't want to see your flags—for example because they are invalid and don't require action—they would simply decline them or let you know through a moderator message. And if there's a moderator who isn't sure about what to do with your flags, they'd just pass it on to another mod or the community team.

That being said, if you cast one flag per user account, that's probably enough. You wouldn't have to flag each post, for example. On higher traffic sites, casting offensive or spam flags would kill any post faster and without moderator intervention. On lower traffic sites where the flag queue isn't as big as on Stack Overflow, a custom flag would also be helpful.

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