There are a few users on SO for whom I've answered questions with a less than pleasant experience. Be it active ingratitude, repeated cluelessness, a "biting of the hand that feeds [you]", etc. In some cases I simply do not want to answer questions for these people again. Rather than have to remember these few people out of the thousands of people -- some of whom may have the same user names -- I'd like the ability to flag such a user so that when I go to answer a question from that user I'm forewarned that I've had a bad experience in the past.
It's an interesting idea, but I think it could be extended further. Rather than just "people I've had a bad experience" you could take general notes:
- This user is interested in academic issues of correctness (e.g. the .NET memory model details), not necessarily best practices for simple coding
- This user uses term X to mean Y
- This user is a newbie to C#, but knows Java
You could get prompted with that information when you choose to answer, or have it as an expandable box below the question or something similar.
Aside from anything else, this is a bit more of a positive way to think about such a potential feature, rather than it just being related to troublemakers :)
If you have to be "prompted" that you didn't like someone, do you really need to be reminded about that adversity by a computer?
One thing you should remember about the purpose of Stack Overflow -- It isn't primarily to answer a question for a specific user. In reality, you are talking over their shoulder to the rest of the community; to contribute to an archive of knowledge for the benefit of programmers that follow.
Your personal history with a particular user should be somewhat irrelevant.
I don't know if this is such a good idea. It would allow you to hold a grudge forever. Even if this person matures and starts behaving properly at some time in the future, you will avoid participating in any question posed by them because you'll always be reminded about what a jerk they were on that one question posted N years ago.
Let bygones be bygones. If the user is really that much of a jerk that you need to avoid them forever, I would hope that they would eventually be banished from the site.
I think most of this could be solved by
awarding temporary "black" badges to those who exhibit less desirable traits in the community providing more statistics about a user's behaviour tendencies*, so that the community itself can naturally weed them out. This has been discussed lots before but sadly nothing has come of it. :(
The greatest "less desirable" trait I'd like to see more easily displayed against a user is a high number of downvotes on questions and answers, but other things would be useful too, like a large number of their edits being subsequently rolled back and having been put in the penalty box.
*I like the temporary "black badges" too; it may be a more concise way of summarizing the statistics, but I'd rather just see all the stats on the user's profile page. Such statistics could include:
- question/answer ratio
- average question score
- total score amassed from questions
- total score amassed by answers
- average answer score
- percentage of answers accepted
- percentage of questions answered
- total number of comments left
- total score of all comments