Another user recently asked the question Where can I ask questions about Metasmoke and Smoke Detector? and it was promptly closed as a duplicate of my older question Where can questions about our community-run moderation tools be asked? . That's all well and good, but the question was promptly deleted by a moderator, and using the 10k privileges to view it shows the message "This question was marked as spam or rude or abusive and is therefore not shown", indicating that it got a spam or rude flag.

I don't quite understand what was so bad about this question. Sure, it was a duplicate, but it seems like a good duplicate - a question that is phrased differently but relates to the same subject matter as a previous question, and thus deserving of a linkage. A user, especially a new user, might not know that Metasmoke et al are "community-run moderation tools" and thus not realize that the older question has the information they seek. I also don't see how it was anywhere near red flag territory - it didn't contain an advertisement, didn't attack anyone, didn't use disrespectful language, nor was it complete gibberish.

Why was this question so poorly-received by the community and moderation team?

  • 5
    Wrong question. You only noticed cause part of the moderation team was woken up at 2am, 4 am and 6 am by the unoffiical part of the moderation team. Otherwise, you wouldn't even have noticed. So the question is "why did it take so long I even noticed it?" Aug 3, 2020 at 0:28
  • 14
    That account is a known repeat troll. One that thrives on their constant victimisation because everyone knows they are a troll but they would improve if only someone would listen! (And then they troll again). Posts like that one are their soap box, instant deletion is the troll-repellent. This one post of theirs stuck around a bit longer than normal, unfortunately. Aug 3, 2020 at 0:32
  • Another prior related question: meta.stackexchange.com/q/352594/282094 - A FYI, as opposed to duplicate or closely related.
    – Rob
    Aug 3, 2020 at 2:53
  • 3
    From the title of the deleted questions, this seems like another possible duplicate target: What is the right place to ask questions about the SmokeDetector?
    – Martin
    Aug 3, 2020 at 7:03
  • And the fact that not only the question was deleted ... but also the user was thrown out ... might have given subtle hint ;-)
    – GhostCat
    Aug 3, 2020 at 8:20
  • 1
    Probably it's already obvious now, but since the cat is already out of the bag, I'll just note that the troll knows about SD and have interacted in Charcoal HQ before. Aug 3, 2020 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


In addition to those in the know, since it's a known problem user - there are two advantages. There's no specific user who is listed as deleting the posts, which is "safer" (since the troll may choose to try to harass them) and it feeds the IP address into the internal abuse tools, which means that the user's going to be IP address-blocked or hobbled, which will annoy them, which is always a positive.

R/A flagging can be appropriate if you're sure. If you're uncertain but it doesn't quite pass the sniff test, custom flags are a reasonable idea in this specific case.

They're prominent enough that we've got "regular" MSE users often spot things before we do.

  • 1
    I’ve been (trying to) keep an eye on these posts across the network for a couple days now. I’ve been using a custom flag for now; should I switch to R/A? Or would you prefer I ping you (or someone else) in the Tavern or someplace? (Also, what about when I see posts from the same person on sites besides MSE?)
    – NobodyNada
    Aug 3, 2020 at 3:05
  • 4
    Both are fine. I prefer a flag to chat cause it's less obvious, and any mod or staff can pick it up Aug 3, 2020 at 3:07

Because it was asked by a troll who thrives on attention and is breaking the rules to post. Better it get asked again, if needed, by a user who could actually be helped by the information and is playing by the rules.


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