Stack Overflow has successfully borrowed at least one XBox feature (Achievements). I'd like to see another feature borrowed as well.
Let's say I'm playing Halo online and another player is being a bigot. I have the option to add him to a list of ignored users. After doing that, all the racist things he says will never be heard through my headphones anymore.
Now, on Stack Overflow, I'd like the ability to add a user to a list of ignored users. This would hide all of that user's comments, and maybe his questions and answers as well (not sure if hiding questions/answers is necessary).
This serves multiple purposes:
- It would make it easy for users to avoid other users' flamebait.
- It would give users a more appropriate response to flamebait.
- The ability to start flame wars would be reduced, since fewer users would see those comments.
- Users would now have an incentive to be more diplomatic, as there is now a negative consequence to the behavior (the silent treatment).
- Administrators could review which users are the most often ignored, which would be a strong indication that someone should be put in the penalty box or even locked out of their account.
- Administrators wouldn't have to spend as much time dealing with complaints about abusive users, since users would have a better way to respond.
annakata makes a good point in a comment to an answer, that I thought should get more visibility:
I had a problem, reported it and got the response "not bad enough to do anything about, sorry". Which is kind of true, because the only options available to the mods are the nuclear one (penalty box) and the zero-effect one (do nothing). We need a middle ground option where abuse can be handled for you without also being handled for everyone.