Sometimes new users ask one question after the other, all of them quite redundant etc.

SO allows to downvote, or close such questions. But closing only punishes the answerers that just happen to prepare an answer. And downvoting very quickly is denied (that is, undone) as it is considered "serial downvoting".

On tag there was this user last year, producing 72 questions more or less on a daily basis.

Now, there is this new user. My downvotes here were now detected as "serial downvotes". So it would have been better not to do anything.

What is the right way to handle this situation?

  • 1
    If the questions deserve the be closed, why worry about those who are answering?
    – Bart
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:49
  • @Bart: By asking the question you ask you are denying the effort put into answering. It is just demoralizing for many. Look into the comments of this 72-questions spree
    – false
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:50
  • 1
    I honestly don't care about answerers answering questions that need to be closed. It's unfortunate perhaps, but if they really have a good answer, perhaps they can answer the dupe. And if it's not a dupe, perhaps they shouldn't be answering to begin with.
    – Bart
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:51
  • If you happen upon a bad post, feel free to downvote. Just don't go seek a user out on the basis of a single post, go through his content, and then downvote all of it. For your downvotes to be detected as serial downvotes, you must have done something non-organically.
    – Bart
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:57
  • 1
    @Bart: If a user posts one question after the other in a row, the how shall they be downvoted "correctly"? Evidently I failed for stackoverflow.com/users/3343775/ishrak?tab=questions
    – false
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:12
  • There are hours between those questions. You're telling me there were hours between your individual votes, yet they got reversed?
    – Bart
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:15
  • @Bart: No. I did them at once, after all they contain all the same code etc.
    – false
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:16
  • Then I refer you to my earlier comment. Just don't do that. If they are duplicates, vote accordingly. If you think there really is a big issue and regular means are not stopping the user, then you can always flag for moderator attention and let them have a look.
    – Bart
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:24

3 Answers 3


Just mark them as dupes. If they're truly redundant, they'll get closed. You may want to leave a comment, though, because they may not understand how SO works and why redundant questions are frowned upon.

  • The Informed badge is very useful in this respect, yes.
    – false
    Feb 26, 2014 at 13:52

Close-vote the question:

  • if it's a duplicate
  • if it is overly broad
  • if it is not clear what's being asked etc.
  • or if any of the reasons listed as close-reasons are applicable

Downvote the question:

  • if you think it's not helpful
  • if you think it's a bad question
  • or for whatever reasons you choose

But don't go about downvoting all the questions of this user. As you've discovered, the serial voting script will detect such activity and reverse it. It's not just your vote -- as time goes by, more people will see the question and vote on it, based on its quality.

If the user asks too many bad quality questions, then they'll get a question ban and will be linked to a document that explains how to resolve the issue. You might also consider posting a link to Stack Overflow How to Ask Page -- it's condensed and easy to swallow. The question asker might be new to the site and just doesn't know where to begin or how the community works.


I would hesitate to downvote multiple (similar) questions from a new user. Downvoting without leaving a note wouldn't make it apparent to other users as to why it was done so especially if the question isn't particularly bad.

If the previous questions had gathered responses (which is usually the case), I'd prefer leaving a note along the lines:

  • What did you learn from your previous question?

  • nth question for the same problem? Consider visiting the Help Center ...

You could optionally chose to vote-to-close it yourself, but chances are that you'd find many users who'd vote-to-close the question in that event.

It's also nice to leave a note urging the user to visit the Help Center and refer to help on how to ask a good question.

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