Stack Exchange sites are founded on the principle of being distinct from the rest of the Internet by trying to do one thing, and do it well.

That one thing is to provide specific answers to specific on-topic questions.

Yet this site in particular tends to end up with individual users who repeatedly make the same sorts of off topic posts and either don't care, ignore, or make invalid arguments when it is explained that these posts are off-topic. Hence the pattern of inappropriate behavior continues unchecked.

To take some specific examples

  • Posing the same "trick" question over an over again on a topic where the poster somehow believes they have something novel to expound, but won't actually make their point until the community has wasted days guessing down their indirect approach to the matter. Despite repeated closures and explanations, this person just continues re-posting the same lead-in to their own future revelation. Whatever the technical merits or non-merits of their ultimate idea, what they are trying to do is blog - and EESE is not a blog.

  • Posting "answers" which are lengthy catalogs of personal experiences and tangential web searching only related to the actual question in the most distant ways. Occasionally there is a tidbit of something non-erroneous and actually relevant or possibly useful buried within but it's all but impossible to find in the literally pages and pages of tangential and often seriously erroneous blabber of this user's habitual posting style.

  • Posting conversational discussion forum responses which don't actually address the question, but only tangential things where the subject typically has much more to do with the poster's personal experiences and expertise, than with the actual question. And especially this habit, when the person goes and digs up ancient, well-settled or essentially off-topic-to-begin-with questions to post in response to.

I don't think the people who do these things really have nefarious intent - rather it's a matter of user education. So far they do not, can not, or will not take time to understand that Stack Exchange is something unique and distinct - that it is a QA site, not a discussion forum and not a personal blog.

So what do we do?

  • 15
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree very much that this has become a problem. I am particularly bothered by users who disparage any answers other than their own, insisting that they are the only one who knows the path to enlightenment. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 22:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Working against us is the fact(?) that the Stack Exchange overlords are desperately trying to repay the venture capital investments, thus have been pressing for quantity over quality for many years now. \$\endgroup\$
    – pipe
    Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 5:27
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @pipe I had a feeling that something like that was going on. It seemed like it had become harder to identify duplicate questions so we are seeing the same questions over and over. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't disagree about possible profit motives upstairs, but the EESE community has tools to deal with these things, we just have not been using them sufficiently to stop particular users with repetitive habits. Abusive duplicates are often recognized by "wait... I already read this" innocent ones may require some searching but am personally a little less concerned with those. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 13:02
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ In particular there seems to be a hesitance to recognize that material which is only distantly related to the question is unrelated, and harmfully diluting. There's nothing on EESE that could not be handled in a traditional forum such as EEVB forums, but the point of stack exchange is to have answers which directly and efficiently respond to the questions, so one doesn't have to read long threads to figure out if there is even anything useful in them. If we lose that direct response to the question efficiency, then we're just a discussion forum with an awkward user interface for foruming. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I have my eye on one in particular and he's now getting the "required treatment" from most senior users. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 12:05
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I can think of at least one user in particular who has recently done all of these things. This user also has a habit of posting many links to just their own questions and answers too, while dealing in the mostly theoretical and "what if" kind of questions \$\endgroup\$
    – MCG
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 11:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have no idea why such users are given a benefit of the doubt: there is no data (like none, zero, nothing, nada) to support spending even a second of anyone's time trying to educate such persons or do anything about them really other than giving them the boot early on. I find it especially surprising that people who have access to data that supports this as the only sensible action still refuse to see the light. It's ridiculous. SE is not a black box. Analytic data is out there for all to see. Such users are a net negative on the network and they are irreformable. Period. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


Blogging or many multiple edits is behavior that is not condoned, the users should be educated and given a period of time to correct their behavior. SE is currently focusing on retaining new users and helping them understand the community, as you may have noticed the many notices on the site to help new users and the new CoC. We want more people in the community and good questions and answers, sometimes it can be a struggle to achieve both of these objectives.

If any user continually has any behavior that creates many problems for the site (and for the moderators). The offending users will get a warning that they should change their behavior. Unfortunately some people do not wish to change, if offending users continually offend then they will most likely be suspended.

This behavior has not gone unnoticed by the EE.SE moderation team and several users have been contacted about their behavior.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad to hear that something is happening behind the scenes, but when highly accurate flags keep being declined while the behavior continues, it doesn't really look that way to the community. Eg, a non-answer is flagged as not an answer and declined over the argument that this flag is not for a technical error, but the issue is not a technical error but rather that the posting is not an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 16:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are only 5 instances when the "Not an answer" flag should be used: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/185073/… The "not an answer" flag is probably the most improperly used flag on the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ You missed a key one: random blabber is not an answer. Link to whatever you want, this is simple reality. And if you don't understand that, then you are part of the problem. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ And we let the user know and give a little forgiveness and give them time to correct the answer instead of immediately delete the answer. And downvote. \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 17:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Random blabber is not correctable. Such users never produce anything of any use. I'd go as far as banning them from the network on second offense - anything more is a total waste of time. There's no data to support that any effort towards persons demonstrating this behavior. They are a total time sink with nothing to show for any of it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 5:44

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