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

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.


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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