I just came across this question on Super User. The user wanted a SSL VPN client and proceeded to ask: "Is there any (free) SSL VPN Client for Windows?" obviously this question is too short and quality standards algorithm picked it up and told him to add some more details (as it should).

Instead of adding pertinent information like specific OS (what version of windows?) and what he is connecting to at the other end he just copy and pasted the quality standards message into the question. What should we do about this? Should I edit it out? Voted to close? Flag for mod attention? Ignore it? Or leave a comment like I did?

In this instance I voted to close and commented because it may be a dupe of the other VPN question (no details so it's hard to tell).

I added this question on MSO since this is an issue that could affect any site within the Stack Exchange network.

  • Since I posted this a mod came along and closed it as a dupe... however if it wasn't a dupe how should I have proceeded? Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:39
  • 19
    Isn't that nice of him? He was informing you that his post didn't meet the minimum quality bar and needed to be deleted. I almost wish more users did this. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:47
  • I do something similar with comments regularly. I usually use ...... for padding though. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 20:21

5 Answers 5


To repeat what @Robert & @MichaelMrozek mentioned, edit the crap out, downvote it, leave a comment mentioning rather than filling further reading and related question info, the user might want to add details which will make someone read the current question.

And oh, don't forget to Vote To Close / Flag it for closing as Not a Real Question.

FTR It's not the first time the particular user has done that.

  • 1
    Thanks Sathya... leading by example as always. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:56
  • Seems like this user does it all the time, but not to fool the filters. This is a very good question where he has a "see also" section. I'm sure he didn't need that to get his question submitted.
    – user1228
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 16:34
  • @Won't Ah yes, I should have been clear - he doesn't do it to beat the filters, it's his posting "style" Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 17:02
  • A "see also" section could potentially be helpful (unless it's an exact copy and paste from the "Related" sidebar, I suppose), but a giant screenshot of the "This post is not good enough" message is never going to be helpful. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 9:18

The usual close, downvote, edit and delete mechanisms should be adequate for handling any questions that get by the filter.

Always downvote such questions; that gets the poster a little closer to a question ban.

  • I have no idea why I didn't think of downvoting... Probably should have just treated it as any other bad question. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:45
  • 11
    @Kyle: If it helps, I recommend frowning very deeply, then clicking the down vote button more emphatically than otherwise.
    – McCannot
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:48
  • 2
    @camccan: If it helps, I laughed while clicking the up vote on your comment. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:55
  • I like this, but I forsee it leading to lots of "why was this downvoted?" comments on borderline posts after editing occurs. How do we deal with that side effect?
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:13
  • Maybe we should educate the user instead of punishing him. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:13
  • @Popular: I think the comment that was left on his post solves that problem.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:14
  • @Lance: This user has done this before. He knows what he is doing.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:14
  • @Pop: Flag them. Those comments are nothing but noise.
    – Aarobot
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:16
  • @Aarobot and Robert, the comments themselves aren't as bad as the incorrect feeling of "other users on this site are stupid and don't know how to vote" that they represent (and erroneously instill before they get deleted). Or the "compensation upvoting" that they may cause. I guess comments like the one Robert linked to should be sufficient to handle things.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 16:25

Certainly edit it out; leaving that in makes the post look terrible. If the post is bad without it, downvote/close it as well, like any other post. Personally I think those people should be suspended, but that's up to the mods on your site; I'd at least flag it so they're aware the user is pulling nonsense like that


As well as editing out the rubbish and frowning with stern disapproval, you might also consider leaving a comment to the effect that the system is suggesting more detail for a reason and that they should take its advice under consideration in the future, since their current behavior is an express ticket to question ban city.

Note that even in the unlikely scenario that the question really is complete, well-formed, and of acceptable quality despite being too short, a word of warning about consequences remains helpful and polite.


Down vote and vote to close, but do not edit it out. If you edit it out, the question will not get as many down votes, and it is less likely the user will be banned.

Flagging as well could be useful, as the moderators may be able to ban the user.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .