Consider "What coding practices are considered derogatory to the compiler? [closed]" on Stack Overflow. I imagine that the poster thinks that this is a joke. At least that is how his/her/its comments read to me. Shortly after it was closed, the poster reposted, a situation that Bill the Lizard took care of.

For the moment I have flagged the question as spam, but I note that I am the only one to have done so. What say you? Is this cause to invoke a stronger mechanism than the usual close-n-delete gang, or have I over-reacted?

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    Pistols at dawn... Jan 23, 2010 at 23:20
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    Just for the record (but not that I perceive this as criticism), I summarily deleted the second post because the poster explicitly stated that they knew it was a dupe ("Yes, someone closed it last time so i'm asking again") and not because it was humorous. I do still have a sense of humor, and I usually just let the community decisions stand on these questions. Jan 24, 2010 at 5:28
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    @Bill: Understood. I was noting that you were aware of the first question, and didn't feel a need to act. Jan 24, 2010 at 16:53
  • @dmckee: The original was already closed when I saw it, so I didn't touch it. I don't normally like to delete posts that are less than 2 or 3 days old, even if they're closed quickly. I think most posts deserve a grace period where the OP can edit and the community can vote to reopen (or close) without moderator interference. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but I didn't think this particular question was so outrageously offensive that it deserved immediate deletion. It's deleted now, so I may have erred on the side of caution. Jan 24, 2010 at 17:34
  • FWIW, it seems the poster of this question was a sock puppet and is now deleted (though I have no idea how forceful that was), and I have little patience for those who purposefully circumvent the system to do what they apparently recognize as wrong in the first place. Something more than just regular closing definitely seems appropriate in that case; the only options available for that, currently, are flagging for moderator attention, flagging as spam/offensive, and posting on Meta, none of which seem too harsh to me.
    – Gnome
    Jun 11, 2010 at 21:24

5 Answers 5


It looks and feels like a joke question; like the only reason the asker is asking that question is to troll. My take? Warning, and if he continues, Box him.

It wouldn't do any good to box this specific user, but if you can narrow down with some specificity who he 'really' is, I'd box that person.

  • @George: "It wouldn't do any good to box this specific user". I agree. You can tell just from this users name that it is a dummy account.
    – Kredns
    Jan 24, 2010 at 4:20
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    Then box his entire line.
    – David
    May 31, 2010 at 17:06

How should "humorous" trolling be handled?

All humorous trolling should be handled by troggy our new moderator using his awesome powers of burnination.


It isn't spam if it isn't going for commercial or personal gain. It should just have been marked as S&A (though off-topic or not a real question might have worked here also).

Humorous posts are not spam, there are more than enough close reasons to handle them.


What say you?

Eh. I never downvote, so I can't comment on that aspect of it.

I'd probably close it as subjective and argumentative. It's certainly subjective - a compiler is a state machine. It is impossible to insult a state machine, therefore the whether input is derogatory or not is completely subjective based on what human is reading the code. Argumentative because the author insists compilers should be treated as having feelings, and argues essentially a religious viewpoint. We cannot prove or disprove his point because he's not giving objective ways to measure compiler unhappiness.

Is this cause to invoke a stronger mechanism than the usual close-n-delete gang, or have I over-reacted?

I don't flag something unless it really is offensive, abusive, hate speach, spam, or requires moderator attention.

In this case, it might be considered abuse of SO, but it's on the line, so I might vote it abusive one day, and not the next.


Maybe we need a second experience measurement to help identify what is funny? Like a second mechanism to upvote and downvote funnyness. I think funnyordie.com does this, maybe this is a good market that StackOverflow should be going after?

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    You have such wonderful ideas. Since StackOverflow doesn't seem to be willing to move in that direction, I'm thinking you might want to jump on that idea yourself. Go to stackexchange and set up your own site with the intent of growing the audience you really want to see - It's free during beta, and for 45 days after it leaves beta. I'm sure with your ideas you can make such a site profitable!
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 23, 2010 at 23:40

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