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What should we do if a user repeatedly post off-topic very low quality questions (this one, for example)?

Add a comment to explain what's wrong, downvote and flag to close is enough? Often this isn't enough and you'll see same comments repeated and repeated over time.

My question: is there any rule about this? Some guideline? Are those actions enough? Should we flag for moderator's attention?

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    Just downvote. Soon enough question ban will kick in and he won't be able to post further questions. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 4 '13 at 16:07
  • @ShaWizDowArd I didn't know about question ban! Thank you! What's that? – Adriano Repetti Dec 4 '13 at 16:08
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    @ShaWizDowArd In the general case, yes. In this specific case, probably not. Just a handful of good questions allows one to get away with quite a lot of bad questions, as that user is demonstrating. – Servy Dec 4 '13 at 16:08
  • @Servy even 1000 rep won't protect from the ban. It's matter of upvotes vs. downvotes. Deleting downvoted closed questions will also help trigger the ban. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Dec 4 '13 at 16:10
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    @ShaWizDowArd I know it's possible, I'm just saying that having a handful of highly upvotes questions, given the way the algorithm works, makes it pretty hard to get post banned. Much like an upvote gives much more rep than a downvote takes away, an upvote pushes you much further away from a post ban than a downvote brings you towards it. – Servy Dec 4 '13 at 16:19
  • @Krampus thank you, actually I didn't know about suspension, I think I'll just flag for moderator's attention: they have tools and experience to pick proper actions (if needed). – Adriano Repetti Dec 4 '13 at 16:28
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    @Adriano There's no need to flag a mod. The system will handle such cases automatically. Edit: oh, ouch. I did not realize that "serial" here meant 119 ... – Bart Dec 4 '13 at 16:31
  • answered in Will asking too many duplicate questions lead to a question ban?: "If many of your questions get downvoted and closed, yes, you will probably end up being question banned..." – gnat Dec 4 '13 at 16:34
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    @ShaWizDowArd It's worth noting that you shouldn't go looking for posts by that user to downvote, or they'll just get reversed - What is serial voting and how does it affect me? – Dukeling Dec 4 '13 at 17:06
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Cast a custom moderator flag against one of their errant posts, and explain in detail what the problem is. For example:

This user has decent reputation, but seems to have a pattern of asking very low quality questions. Can you please look at it?

We will.

The appropriate action has already been taken on the account you cited.

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Note well that this user was able to acquire 1,000 reputation points by asking questions and never posting an answer.

I believe this was achieved by (i) the occasional good question, (ii) symphathetic upvoting and (iii) the fact that the reputation loss on 5 question downvotes is compensated by only 2 question upvotes.

So in my opinion the downvoting mechanism is insufficient and therefore the only redress is to flag the question for moderators' attention.

  • It's worth noting that high reputation does not give protection agaist post bans (although I believe it helps). I have seen users at 1K+ post "O no! I've been Qbanned" questions here on meta – Richard Tingle Dec 4 '13 at 16:46
  • It's more that those few good questions he's asked have gotten lots of upvotes (the upvoted questions are in the 10-15 score range) and the bad questions are in the 0-(-4) range. He has many more questions with a negative score (or that are closed) than with a positive score, but a comparable number of up/down votes on his posts. – Servy Dec 4 '13 at 16:50

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