# User vandalising (but not deleting) his/her own questions. What to do?

This user has been vandalising (but not deleting) his/her own questions. He/she has edited the questions, wiped out the title and all the text, and replaced it with "deleted question".

Is there any policy in place regarding this kind of behaviour? Is it allowed at all?

I've rolled back all the vandalising edits, out of respect for the users that took the time to answer, and then flagged one of the questions for moderator attention. But I don't know if this is the right thing to do.

• imho its the right thing to do, if he does it again, flagging for moderator attention would be appropriate too. – PlasmaHH Apr 25 '17 at 10:27
• Yes, I also did that. Thanks for mentioning it. Looked liked the right thing to do as well. – Enric Blanco Apr 25 '17 at 10:32
• What you did makes sense to me. I'd like to hear a mod weigh in, though. – Olin Lathrop Apr 25 '17 at 11:54
• That user has re-vandalised the questions. User @Chupacabras has stepped in to roll back the edits as I did. Now I've left a message in the moderators chat to raise this issue to their attention. Let's see what happens. – Enric Blanco Apr 25 '17 at 11:57
• By the way, this is why I've lately been copying snippets of the question into my answers, including schematics. The blockquote tag can be useful for text snippets. All too often I've had a question changed out from under me so that my answer looks like it doesn't apply anymore. I've even gotten downvotes and hostile comments to answers as a result because others didn't realize the state of the question at the time the answer was written. – Olin Lathrop Apr 25 '17 at 12:04
• It seems like user @Prote has finally found how to delete the questions altogether instead of vandalising them. Or maybe a moderator did? – Enric Blanco Apr 25 '17 at 12:07
• @EnricBlanco: Yes, I went ahead and deleted the questions. They weren't great questions to begin with, and there's nothing wrong with the OP wanting to delete them. The problem is that if a question has any up-voted or accepted answers, the system won't let him do it himself, so a moderator must handle it. He should have flagged them rather than vandalizing them, but low-rep users can't really be expected to know that. – Dave Tweed Apr 25 '17 at 12:22
• OK, good to know. Thanks, @DaveTweed. – Enric Blanco Apr 25 '17 at 13:25
• Not the first time I see this behaviour. Like you, I reverted the edits, since it had valid (and good) answers. – pipe Apr 25 '17 at 21:01
• @OlinLathrop You don't need to type out <blockquote> ... </blockquote> every time. Just use the markup > at the start of the paragraph you're quoting. – David Richerby May 3 '17 at 17:51
• @EnricBlanco Please don't use "it" to refer to people. I'm sure you meant no harm but it's very insulting. It suggests that they're less than human -- even pets are usually (though not always) referred to as "he" or "she". "They" is fine as a gender-neutral pronoun for people. – David Richerby May 3 '17 at 17:55

## 3 Answers

From Dave Tweed (moderator), in a comment:

[...] I went ahead and deleted the questions. They weren't great questions to begin with, and there's nothing wrong with the OP wanting to delete them. The problem is that if a question has any up-voted or accepted answers, the system won't let him do it himself, so a moderator must handle it. He should have flagged them rather than vandalizing them, but low-rep users can't really be expected to know that.

And from Nick Alexeev (moderator), also in a comment:

I took a liberty to undelete the question (and lock it against vandalism).

So the answer seems to be: raise the issue to a moderator's attention and let them handle it as appropriate.

• That's' exactly what I've just done to this one – Finbarr Apr 26 '17 at 18:38
• ...and it's been put on hold, but with the edited question still there and comments pertaining to the original question making no sense. Oh well. – Finbarr Apr 27 '17 at 7:38
• I believe comments can flagged as obsolete, if you're concerned about them not fitting to the question anymore. – Enric Blanco Apr 27 '17 at 13:55

I see now that at least one of these questions has been completely deleted.

I think that is a overreaction. I used that question as a opportunity to explain why a power supply can't control both its output voltage and current at the same time. We see the associated misconception here occasionally, so I thought it was worth answering, and possibly even link to the answer in the future. Three other users agreed enough to upvote the answer.

• See my comment above. You can reuse your answer material on a more appropriate question. – Dave Tweed Apr 25 '17 at 12:30
• @Dave: Yeah, this might be a good occasion for a self-answered question. When I get a little more time... – Olin Lathrop Apr 25 '17 at 12:35
• @DaveTweed I took a liberty to undelete the question (and lock it against vandalism). – Nick Alexeev Apr 25 '17 at 18:05
• Funny enough, after locking the question it can't be commented but the answers can. Just out of curiosity: is that something that can be customised by the moderators? – Enric Blanco Apr 26 '17 at 10:31
• Also, answers can be up/down voted, but that's not the case for the question. Funny, too. – Enric Blanco Apr 26 '17 at 10:52
• @EnricBlanco: Yes, a "lock" applies to an individual post -- in this case, the question. There's no reason to lock the answer. – Dave Tweed Apr 26 '17 at 13:32

No, this isn't acceptable, as posted content belongs to the site once posted here. Questions should only get deleted if they are bad or violate site rules.

When vandalism like this happens, you need to flag one of the vandalized posts for diamond moderator attention.

You could of course rollback the posts, but then you might end up in some rollback-war against the poster. And there can be other reasons why posts get vandalized by the author, such as a hijacked account.

The best thing to do is to let the moderators deal with the issue as whole.

• They do NOT "belong to the site" - nor to the writer. They are CCbySA licenced - it may be useful to see if or how that affects the discussion. – Russell McMahon Apr 27 '17 at 15:47
• @RussellMcMahon Of course it belongs to the site. Otherwise why would SO be concerned about the various spam sites that try to copy/paste content from here? Furthermore, SO is the publisher and therefore juridically responsible for anything posted on the site. – Lundin Apr 28 '17 at 6:29
• I'm not trying to argue - just trying to convey the legal and factual situation re "ownership". if you look at the botton of the page that you are reading this on, and on every other SE page, you will see (usually in very small and greyedish out text " ... ; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required rev 2017.4.28.25783". The links I have shown here are present on the text on the bottom of the page and have the same destination. ... – Russell McMahon Apr 28 '17 at 6:48
• ... The CC-by-SA 3.0 page says "You are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. ... The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms." || Other sites are FULLY ALLOWED to use the material as long as they follow the CC-by-SA terms. See above page, but these include: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, ... – Russell McMahon Apr 28 '17 at 6:50
• ... but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. || The problem with the "spam" sites is no || Which brings me back to what I was originally trying to convey - given the CC-by-SA terms (and freedom on this site to edit content, it may be useful to see if or how that affects the discussion. – Russell McMahon Apr 28 '17 at 6:52
• @RussellMcMahon Whatever. Knock yourself out here where they claim that CC-by-SA has been phased out. How much of this that also applies to EE, I don't know, nor do I care. – Lundin Apr 28 '17 at 7:36
• (1) Thanks, but I'll pass. (2) That's a useful link. The MIT licence only applies to code. On the page you cite they say: - "we look forward to CC-BY-SA continuing to cover prose contributions to Stack Overflow and across the network for all of eternity." and: " Non-code contributions will continue to be available for use under the terms of CC-BY-SA Code contributions will be available for use under the terms of the MIT License". – Russell McMahon Apr 28 '17 at 13:34
• @Lundin, Russell: That never happened, SO contributions are still CC BY-SA 3.0 (The ensuing discussion proved that the proposal hadn't been thought through) – Ben Voigt Apr 30 '17 at 21:17
• @RussellMcMahon A license is something the owner of the content grants to users. There must be an owner in order for somebody to offer the content under the CC license. According to the terms of service, "You [the subscriber] agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license."...So contributors retain ownership, but have licensed their work to StackExchange. – The Photon May 2 '17 at 22:22