I'm part of the private beta for Mental Fitness SE. While MFSE is probably going to be closed after private beta anyway (let's be honest, good answers are hard to come by about mental performance), I've noticed a particular problem user, and I believe this is an issue which may have affected and/or will affect many other private betas in the future.
I'd just like to say that this isn't a plea for retribution against said user. I'm just curious how the community should respond to such users and address their behavior in future private betas.
I'm going to use MFSE as an example, but I intend to inquire about the generic case: What do we do when there is a problematic user poisoning the environment of a private beta? This user's activity composes, I'd estimate, at least 30-40% of the site, and most of it is poor quality content.
This user doesn't break any rules, but their behavior is actively harmful to the community. We are three days into private beta.
- They've posted nine meta questions with scores 0, 0, -1, -2, -2, -3, -3, -4, and -4.
- Their nine meta questions are among fourteen
- They've posted three meta answers with scores -1, -2 and -3
- They do not listen to user feedback about the quality of their answers
Meta comment activity:
User 1: If you would like the site to succeed, take into the account the excellent advice you are getting from Shog and Abby here, and most of all please read some of the documentation thats present, and follow it.
Problem User: naw i dont do demands
During a discussion prompted by a user saying "We need to address these concerns" without specifying what they are:
While a user was trying to explain why their posts are received negatively:
User 1: I think you should listen to the feedback you're getting from users. Your meta posts are all at zero or below, and you have quite a number of answers receiving heavy downvotes.
Problem User: funny would you like your posts to be called spam [User 1]?
User 1: If my posts were being called spam, I would consider why people think them to be spam, and then reconsider the way I ask questions.
Problem User: listen to our feedback as we cuss you...good luck with that
Main site answer activity:
- Answer scores: 4, 4, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, -1, -1, -1, -2, -2, -2, -4 (15 of 32 questions answered)
- Consistently posts questions which are entirely composed of (relevant) copy/pasted (but properly cited) research
- Much of which consists simply of wikipedia links
- Upholds the philosophy that answers do not typically need properly-cited or valuable works
Main site comment activity:
yeah this is a great answer
ok as long as you like it (repeated multiple times on different answers)
Under an answer that consists of two massive blockquotes and links to an abstract and Wikipedia article:
User 1: It would be super helpful and make this answer much better if you summarize key points from the block quote. Thank you!
Problem User: naw a sentence is enough and if they want to know more they can read the abstracts.
They have been asked to stop asking for upvotes on posts, asking if people have downvoted their posts, etc., but continue to do so:
Anyway, I could go on, but I think you get the point. The user is not receptive to feedback from other users, and doesn't seem to respond to polite requests. Additionally, over the past three days, this user has turned slowly more hostile and unengaging.
Here's the problem, though. While this user has not broken any rules, they are still poisoning the formative stages of a private beta.
The fact of the matter is, we need to deal with this user somehow. The normal advice in a situation like this is "ignore and move on," but we don't have a user-base large enough to feasibly do this. Additionally, the poor quality answers do occasionally receive upvotes, which disrupts the community's still-undeveloped conception of a good answer. For this beta, and in the future, how do we handle users who are actively harmful to the formative stages of a private beta?