Let's suppose I'm a new user (below 1500 reputation points), and all I want to do is gain reputation points so I use the shotgun approach and answer as many questions as I can.

While I'm doing that I'm generating low-quality one-sentence answers that get flagged and deleted on a daily basis. I see a few people telling me that this isn't the best way to answer questions, but I'm on a mission to gain reputation points so I keep blasting away (there are several users that fit this description in the last 2 months).

What is to prevent me from having this kind of behavior forever?

One thing I'd also like to add is the there seems to be a process problem with dealing with these types of people, so my options are:

  1. Flag the post
  2. Downvote

If I downvote, and it meets the low quality criteria, then the post shows up for moderation and gets deleted (probably). I assume that since it's a deleted post, the user gets their reputation points back. If this is the case then there is no recourse for the user; if their post is bad enough it ends up being a good thing for them, and they get their reputation points back.

If I flag then there is a high probability that the post gets deleted. I assume that they get a message in their inbox (or I hope they would), but these types of users are good at ignoring the community anyway.

I'd also like to add that these users are not just posting one-sentence answers; they are repeatedly posting questions as answers and rarely use the comment system. They also don't improve their answers.


Short version: Apply downvotes and flags to low quality answers.

The only mechanism within the Stack Exchange framework that works against users1 who post low-quality answers is the answer ban (or A-ban for short). The inner workings behind the A-ban are undisclosed by the Stack Exchange team2, and they probably change to keep up with times.

In practice, the A-ban affects only the beginners. For example, a new user treats Stack Exchange as a forum, posts questions as answers, and gets A-banned. In order to affect a somewhat established cheap3 rep whore, he would have to receive a lot of downvotes.

1 Users accounts, rather than posts.

2 Similarly, I'm reluctant to share what little I know about it.

3 In case you are wondering, a cheap rep whore posts poor quality answers, a fine rep whore posts high quality answers to low quality questions.

  • By the way, I did apply downvotes to a few of them (only the worst answers). I must have hit my limit because I got flagged and the system (or mod) removed the downvotes (I probably had 13 or so.) – Voltage Spike Mar 2 '17 at 23:30
  • @laptop2d The system probably viewed your downvote streak as revenge-downvoting. – Nick Alexeev Mar 2 '17 at 23:32
  • 2
    It pretty much was, but revenge for the right reasons – Voltage Spike Mar 2 '17 at 23:37
  • 4
    We are not allowed to use that word any more... – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Mar 5 '17 at 8:00

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