I need clarification about downvotes, flags and bad behaviour of Stack User.

First, I'm still learning (or discover) SE rules and its environment. I really appreciate these sites and the result of community sharing. It's simple and very instructive. I (mainly use SO and) always try to add some snippnet code to my answers, link to a reference or tutorial (preference for reference) and comment my code to explain what he/she does wrong. I am not an english-native but I do as I can to always write "good-english".

However, I found on several questions, answers given by the same user - I don't want to "report" his name, it's not a question to doing police, it's about his behaviour - his answers are really ugly and often very low quality. This user copies/pastes other answers without any inconvenience, writes few comment without explain anything, does code mode for all his posts, etc. His words come down to "try this" and "thank you" at the end of his answer. And he does it without "win" any reputation or good response. He just floods SO without (r)editing..

Today - because I see this user since 3 or 4 days - I wanted to make a point, so I posted a comment below his most recent answer: "Please explain your answer and write only your code in code formatting, not your content, thanks". Anyway, he continued. Then, several hours after, I saw him copy/paste another answer inside the same topic, without change nothing not even comments. Finally, I downvoted his answer and added a comment below: "-1 for copy/paste username's answer". No answer! He had another downvote and lost 4rep. But he continues to post answers with the same behaviour.

My question is: What's the point to downvote or flag answers when these responses which flagged disappear and this kind of user recover his down-rep? How can avoid this behaviour of bad user for the community - flooding answers (at least 40 bad answers/45 with bad content, etc.?

Note: I know the first rule on SE: "Be nice":

Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know.

However, I don't understand the goal. I always try to be nice and to explain but how react in front of this behaviour? Because we cannot flagged each time he posts a very low quality answer, or give a downvote.

I hope my request is clear,

  • 5
    Blatant plagiarism? Flag for a moderator. That's what they're there for. Mar 26, 2014 at 7:15
  • 3
    And when it's just low quality, not plagiarism, downvote and move on. Just don't serial downvote by accident. These types of users are not likely to actually perceive a problem until stacks of downvotes eventually trigger the quality filters and they're blocked... and then they won't read the message about why they're blocked either! Trust me, if a few comments didn't get the user to take notice, he or she is a completely lost cause.
    – Charles
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:19
  • @Charles I didn't know this. If I understand clearly, this kind of user can be stuck (to post another answer during a time) if many downvotes are given to his answers?
    – Blo
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:22
  • @michaelb958 Yes, I know, I already do. But when I saw the same guy posting ever and ever with the same behaviour, I don't know how react. I mean, flag all his answers when I see it, it's like target him and "bury" him. And I don't want to be a "serial downvoter"....
    – Blo
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:27
  • 2
    @Fllo, correct, there is an automatic quality ban mechanism in place. That's the Help page for answer bans. There are also question bans. The two operate separately. Asking questions that are taken well by the community can lift someone out of an answer ban, for example.
    – Charles
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:34
  • 2
    @Charles amazing! Thanks for the clarification, I am reassured. I'll carefully read the 2 links that you give.
    – Blo
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:37
  • Hi @Charles you should put your comment on automatic quality ban in answer. This is exactly what I was looking for. Many thanks.
    – Blo
    Mar 26, 2014 at 20:49
  • 1
    As an aside, your English is pretty dern good for someone who's still learning. Nice use of capitalization in particular!
    – user206222
    Mar 26, 2014 at 22:26
  • @Emracool thanks, I think it's the remains from school ^^
    – Blo
    Mar 27, 2014 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


Well, yes, the offending user will regain any reputation they lost due to downvotes when their downvoted answers are deleted as a result of flags.

However, this kind of thing is why we have the answer ban, and it doesn't care whether answers are deleted or not. If said user keeps posting answers that keep getting downvoted, they will get answer-banned eventually, and be unable to continue.

So downvote bad, flag plagiarism, and all that. This is our quality control mechanism; there's no sense in not using quality control on low-quality stuff. (As for possibly invoking the serial-voting script, if you think you're beginning to look suspicious, call for reinforcements in chat, or something. More quality control == good.)

  • Thanks for answer, I was not aware for this automatic quality filter until you, guys, told me. I will not be a serial downvoter/flagger, it was not my goal, it is still not. I will not chase this kind of "bad user", but if I see him, I'll flag his post if there is no change in his behaviour. Just to be sure, when it says: "a significant number of heavily down-voted, zero-voted, or deleted posts" - deleted posts means flagged, right? Thank you again.
    – Blo
    Mar 27, 2014 at 0:06
  • @Fllo Bad posts (not wrong answers, just bad posts) are often deleted by moderators if you flag and give them a good reason. They can also be deleted by delete votes from the community, or the poster can delete it themselves. Regardless of the method of deletion, the effect is the same. Mar 27, 2014 at 0:12
  • Ok thank you again for your knowledge and the clarification!
    – Blo
    Mar 27, 2014 at 0:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .