The Problem:

My daily flags are spent on a handful of people, who I see again the next time I log in with the same nasty behavior. They won't get banned, they actually have huge positive reputations by never answering with insults, only using them in the comment section instead.

The tags I am interested in are also the ones I post questions to, so there is no way to ever escape these people.

I mean, imagine if someone just comes along to your question and says your question doesn't have any links, or the code you provide doesn't work. That's a useful comment, right? Except when they're wrong.

So this is trolling. It's harmless though... Right?

Moderators and anyone with 3000 reputation may vote to close a question as a duplicate.

So how can you defend against 3000 reputation person voting towards a nonsensical removal?

Solution: Better/More moderation:

Moderation doesn't fix this: Even if moderators could have the resources, creating trash would still be easier and faster than cleaning it.

Moderators having to review every flagged comment or bogus removal request by hand isn't sustainable.

Solution: Vote on comments:

This could work, but it would also cause lot of bad side effects. Voting is currently a proof-of-stake: Best way to gain reputation is to have reputation.

You can't post questions if your last question was downvoted. If you want to troll people, you can downvote every user you see; this will prevent them from ever asking any questions. If they're new users, this prevents them from gaining any reputation, as they cannot ask new questions, effectively blocking them from the site for a while.

But wait, if new users can be blocked, why shouldn't they be able to block?

Solution: Mute/block users.

Consider the following: Muting. Nothing changes except your profile doesn't see the other profile's messages. This prevents nasty comments, but it still allows you to be trolled.

Blocking would be a more aggressive solution, where blocked users cannot interact with your answers or questions, which prevents trolling entirely.

Of course, you shouldn't be able to a block or mute moderators; that'd be stupid.

And why shouldn't there be blocking? If harassment and trolling is this widespread and reporting cannot fix it, there should be user-lever solutions. This is a social network: We have upvotes and upvote points, badges, activities, birthdays, profile pages and avatars. We are meant to interact with each other as unique humans. What is the point of all this flair if not to show off who you are? You are encouraged not to hide your individuality. Yet, everyone must like everyone else.

We shouldn't rely on moderators to distance ourselves from everyone we dislike; we should be able do it ourselves.

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    out of curiosity, on which site is this happening to you? I only see 1 question and 1 answer on your SO profile, and my SEDE query to find deleted posts of yours on SO finds nothing (maybe I'm doing it wrong). May 12, 2023 at 23:42
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    Allow me to block other users from blocking me from close-voting their posts.
    – 41686d6564
    May 13, 2023 at 0:11
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    "why shouldn't there be blocking?" - because this isn't social-media where personal preferences of who you come into contact with have any bearing on the nature of the stated mission of the company that runs the network.
    – W.O.
    May 13, 2023 at 0:43
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    Re "This is a social network": Is this some kind of trolling? The about page says (my emphasis) "Stack Overflow is a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers.". And "we're working together to build a library of detailed, high-quality answers to every question about programming". And "This site is all about getting answers. It's *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** not a discussion forum. *** *** *** *** *** There's no chit-chat." May 13, 2023 at 2:42
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    @starball deleted posts in SEDE no longer have the owneruserid populated. And you have to use PostsWithDeleted to get posts where a deletiondate is not null. You only find score, tags, parentid and the date fields populated for those rows.
    – rene
    May 13, 2023 at 5:47
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    Perhaps your first step in getting familiar with the ways of the network should be to take the tour and start reading the help centres of any site before posting - we notice that you've not done so so far. We ask that users get to know how we work - and why - before suggesting changes.
    – W.O.
    May 13, 2023 at 8:29
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    @starball turns out this is a repost of something that was tried earlier on MSO (10K only) and that was linked to this SO question (10K only). Not much going on in these questions, except being unsatisfied with the provided solution. In case you're interested: I reckoned the OP might have tried their luck earlier on MSO so I used this query and then hand checked each result. Still an option only for 10k users but you get the idea.
    – rene
    May 13, 2023 at 9:59
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    @GitButtCoder be careful because you repeated insistence on using pointed language can very well be taken as actual harassment and actual insults to other users. Which is not allowed under the Code of Conduct. Do temper your attacks against others.
    – VLAZ
    May 13, 2023 at 11:42
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    @rene wow I actually vaguely remember that MSO post I think. kind of sad that the SO post you link to is self-deleted, didn't even get closed, and took down a non-accepted/upvoted answer with it. really doesn't look good on the asker here. May 13, 2023 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


Moderators and anyone with 3000 reputation may vote to close a question as a duplicate.

Well - someone with 3000 reputation has, in most cases, gained an understanding of how the network works. SE very much relies on a bit of a long tail - with generally very few moderators per site, and most of the moderation is done by the community, and spread out.

You need multiple votes from users to close a question, which means that 5 different users of some level of experience on the site to decide your question is off topic. There's review systems in place to act as a check, including a reopen queue

Allowing a user to unilaterally block closure makes closures essentially useless. (In theory a bounty would but that's another story). Nothing will ever be closed, and we'll end up like Yahoo Answers as someone stops "how I make baby" from being closed on Stack Overflow.

I mean, imagine if someone just comes along to your question and says your question has no links, or the the code you provide doesn't work. That's a useful comment, right? Except when they're wrong.

Are they though? And you don't always need links, and if your code worked, you wouldn't need to ask a question. What's generally asked for is context, and enough code to tell WHY it doesn't work. And are 5 people all going to be wrong and closing posts for the lols?


If you're getting incorrect close-votes, my position on this is just to custom-mod-flag. I'd want to see actual data to substantiate your claim that this currently isn't sustainable. If your flags are getting marked as helpful, and there's a pattern of user behaviour, then a custom-mod-flag is the way to go. The mods will take appropriate action (warning / suspension / whatever they see as reasonable).

Or if you're not sure whether the close-votes are correct, you could raise a discussion on the site's meta site asking about it.

If you want to "block" seeing comments from other users, then just write a userscript or ask someone else to write one for you. But I don't see how that really solves anything. If you're getting comments that violate the code of conduct, then you should be flagging (or someone else should be if you don't have that privilege yet). If the comments are not meeting the conditions for commenting, then they should be flagged for the appropriate flag reason. In any other case, then the comments should have some kind of value and not be harmful, and I don't see any benefit for you or the rest of the ecosystem for you to not see them.

I don't think you should be able to block other people from close-voting your posts. Again, if you see abuse, mod-flag. Or consider raising the issue on the site's meta site. A feature to block specific users from close-voting your posts would be abused itself, and I think it'd be abused significantly more often than preventing legitimate "trolling" (intentionally incorrect close-votes). I think it would do more harm than good to the overall ecosystem. Anyhow, if the root of the problem is incorrect close-voting, then the actual solution is to deal with that behaviour instead of trying to mask it or put a bandaid on it.

This is a social network: We have upvotes and upvote points, badges, activities, birthdays, profile pages and avatars. We are meant to interact with each other as unique humans.

Ehhh... Generally, my understanding has been that on the main sites, we try to interact with content as much as possible, and not necessarily with users. (see also /help/privileges/voting). Even if we're a "social network", we're one with a very very very specific purpose: building a knowledge-base of fact-based Q&A. I think what you're asking for will conflict with that purpose.

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    @gitbuttcoder It seems you are trying to abuse the system, not those other people who care about the sites overall quality! If your question was incorrectly closed as a duplicate, you should edit it, and explain in detail, why that duplicate doesn't answer the question. May 13, 2023 at 12:54

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