From time to time I have wondered if I had come across a user who tries to close questions because they are not able to answer them themselves, or because they believe there is a likelihood that someone else can answer better and will benefit from answering it. Considering the large number of users and the large fraction that are human, just about anything is possible from time to time.

End of background, question starts here:

Out of pure curiosity, I'm wondering if anyone has used statistical tools alone, or in combination with language tools to look for such things within stackexchange, or completely different behavior patterns, and written up their findings in a scholarly fashion such that I can read further.

  • 1
    I did not add the gaming-the-system tag because I am not asking about that specifically. I'm looking to read any game theory type analysis of stackexchange. Such studies can cover behavior that is benign and/or unintentional as well as nefarious.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 11:46
  • 6
    Academic papers using Stack Exchange data may be of interest to you
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 11:51
  • 1
    @Cai indeed! Lots of interesting things there, thanks.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 11:57
  • 1
    I've heard the "user who tries to close questions because they are not able to answer them themselves" theory many times (as well as the downvote version). I've never seen any evidence of this rationale, nor have I ever experienced any human behavior that could be theorized as the motivation behind this. The user would have to be acting irrationally, which would suggest they would exhibit other irrational behavior that could be observed as supporting the theory. But, personally, for me, I draw poop swastikas in bathrooms.
    – user1228
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 16:23
  • @Won't I said scholarly.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 16:34


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