When a spamming account is identified, moderators are supposed to destroy the account. While doing so, there's a step where we specify the reason the account is to be destroyed:

This user was created to post spam or nonsense and has no other positive participation

This tells the system that this was a spammer. However, the 'or nonsense' portion of this describes a good chunk of the trolling I see, so I've been using this to destroy those accounts as well. Moderators were informed via email to not use the above destroy option for anything except for spammers, but there's no change in the verbiage.

I request that the 'or nonsense' in the destroy reason be removed to make it absolutely clear this is the 'this was a spammer, nuke them' button.

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    Either that, or clarify what "or nonsense" we should address with this. Are racist tirades nonsense? Did the posts about the FBI and space aliens that our long-time troll left on SO count as nonsense? Should users who post "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" and the like be destroyed using this? Jan 16, 2014 at 16:43
  • @BradLarson: All of the above. But if SE only wants us to destroy product placements (and simply delete all others), that does need to be clarified. I can think of a few examples of trolls who would be better served by being blocked by the spam filter, but whom do not post advertisements for their product.
    – user102937
    Jan 16, 2014 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Using it on an obvious troll is acceptable. The email you received was to inform you that you shouldn't be using it on accounts that aren't intentionally trying to disrupt the site.

For instance, someone getting around a question block or suspension to ask questions isn't doing so with the intent of creating chaos, they're doing so because they really want to get an answer to a question.

If you need to destroy a user because it's blatantly obvious that this individual is going to do whatever they want despite the objections of the community and moderation team, zap em with that, because you want the system trained on these people.

The verbiage is correct in the delete / destroy menu, the email was just a tiny bit confusing and I apologize for that. I proof read that thing at least five times before it was sent, and didn't see the potential conflict of terminology there. This is probably because I know exactly how the system works, and just didn't pick up on it.

Keep using the reason exactly as you have been. Just don't try to point the spam guns at people that have no real issues other than quality problems or voting a bit too much for their friends.

To clear up any ambiguity, here's the choices you have, and when you might consider using them.

Destroy → This user was created to post spam or nonsense and has no other positive participation

Use this when you spot:

  • Blatant spam
  • Obvious 'lulz' or purely disruptive motives in posting
  • Personal attacks, etc

Delete → This user is no longer welcome on the site

Remember, destroy is not always available as an action. While it is rare, users above the reputation threshold that prevents destruction can and do go sour, and decide that a spectacular rage quit is in order, despite every attempt to calm them. You can also, without worry, use this reason if destruction is available, but you want to make it clear that you're showing the user the proverbial door.

Do not worry about the affect this might have on the spam system, this system is specifically designed so that you don't have to worry about this stuff, and for the most part, it'll all come out in the wash.

Delete → This user was created to circumvent system or moderator imposed restrictions and continues to contribute poorly

This is what you'd use for accounts that never should have existed in the first place, which would be those attempting to evade suspension, or an automatic quality block.

In Conclusion

Don't use the 'loaded' reasons against an account that was not intending to cause any real trouble or grief, and was otherwise just trying to participate normally ... crap questions aside.

When it comes to spammers, trolls, honey badgers that have learned how to type, and the rest - just take action as you normally would. The loaded deletion reason is probably going to be the least used, however it's there because you just might need it, and I didn't want you to not have it if you did.

Also, umm, the primary use case for reasons was so we could tell why you nuked an account when the previous owner came asking where it went. That still very much applies, so try to give additional context in the text box if the reason itself doesn't quite explain things sufficiently.

Did I mention, don't worry so much about what goes on behind the scenes? Good.

  • Next feature request: Hire Tim Post a proofreader.
    – Keen
    Jan 16, 2014 at 17:19
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    Assuming everyone else knows exactly what you're talking about - like a true programmer.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jan 16, 2014 at 17:20
  • @Keen To wit, about five of us reviewed that document at one point or another in the proceedings.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jan 16, 2014 at 17:21
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    @GraceNote Shhhhhhh, we've got a reasonable shot at getting that proofreader.
    – Tim Post
    Jan 16, 2014 at 18:03
  • 2
    @TimPost, talk to your friendly Writers mods; we can hook you up. :-) Jan 16, 2014 at 20:22
  • 3
    I didn't care before, but now I have an irrational fear about what goes on behind the scenes.
    – yannis
    Jan 17, 2014 at 4:34

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