Personally when I see

User:              user298375983
Reputation:        1
Questions:         1 (or 37)
Answers:           0
Accept Rate:       0%

I feel like eating my keyboard - especially if I wasted time helping them.

Accept% by itself is insufficient in providing a thorough representation of the user's overall activity; I'd love to see a feature/label for marking someone as "Moocher" using a combination of their Question/Answer ratio, comment count, membership duration, and up/down votes received. This is especially the case for the 'one-hit questions' who join and post a question which is clearly a work/homework assignment they didn't even bother to attempt.

I realize that this may/will alienate some people from registering and that is exactly the idea: to build a community and alienate those who do not want to give back. I favor quality members over quantity. Otherwise, it's just like rent-a-coder - except for free.


  • 4
    So don't answer, downvote where appropriate and move along – random Oct 13 '10 at 22:21
  • 4
    I could care less about answer ratios, accept percents, rep scores, etc. What we need more of high quality questions. If all a user does is write high quality questions, but they don't accept any answers or answer any questions, I would be happy. - Shoot, I'd buy 'em a beer or two if they had more than 10 good questions. – Peter Ajtai Oct 13 '10 at 22:23
  • @Peter well, to be fair what @Alex is talking about is askers of bad questions. He's just trying to give them some sort of metric to identify them by. As we know, that metric doesn't always apply. – Pëkka Oct 13 '10 at 22:26
  • I don't care for myself personally. I do verify them beforehand and I skip them. However, many people do not - so it clutters the pool with tons of one-shot, unanswered questions which aren't as reliable, IMO. – Alex Oct 13 '10 at 22:29
  • @Pekka - Any moocher metric must include some measure of question quality......... and that makes any moocher metric impossible to implement (votes measure popularity unadjusted by views, not quality). – Peter Ajtai Oct 13 '10 at 22:29
  • @Alex: where do you see those statistics? – Ether Oct 14 '10 at 18:08
  • @Ether: It was a makeshift example illustrating the common properties of a moocher. – Alex Oct 15 '10 at 15:06

Check user12345678 accounts out for their question history before helping them.

If they turn out to be moochers, don't help.

Downvote if appropriate, so the automatic blocking script will pick them up after a while.

  • But what about the shame and humiliation!! – Alex Oct 13 '10 at 22:22
  • 2
    @Alex in addition to not helping, downvoting is a public service in those cases. Users whose questions get frequently downvoted will one day be blocked from the system. That is pretty much all that can be done – Pëkka Oct 13 '10 at 22:29

Moochers suck, no question about it. I mean in general, not just on Stack Exchange sites. Nobody likes to do a lot of work and not get recognized for it. That's no reason to ignore moochers' questions, though.

By providing good answers, you increase the overall quality of the site ever so slightly. You help future visitors to the site who have the same problems as the moochers, but are probably much nicer people. And you can feel good about yourself for being smart.

Not enough for you? If your answers really are good, they'll earn you upvotes from other users, so you won't really be going unrewarded after all. There's even a gold badge — Reversal — for giving great answers to terrible questions.

Still not enough for you? See Pekka's answer.

The site already checks for especially bad users, and your fellow users are pretty good about letting moochers know they need to either improve or leave. There's no reason to make the whole community look mean or elitist by implementing official scarlet letters.

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