12

Summary: a certain user is at large, spamming the site with trivial questions, the answers to which he is aware of, just for votes. Is such behaviour encouraged, if not what’s the solution?


Detailed: Off late, there has been a user who had been answering many Mahabharata related questions. He seems to have a fair insight about where (evident from his answers), to find the material on the sacred texts site, in relation to the questions answered by him. However he hadn’t received many votes, probably due to lack of formatting, hampering readability and used to make trivial edits to answers.

All of a sudden there has been an avalanche of trivial questions related to Mahabharata, the answers to which he seems to be aware of, having read quite a bit of the Sacred texts Mahabharata (as stated above). He may not have read the entire but he has a very fair idea, meaning he asks some (not all) questions for getting votes. It is evident from his comment to this question where he asks, about which asuras incarnated as Kaurava and others? In the answer below, it has been mentioned Karna is a portion of Narakasura, to which he replies:

Karna is not incarnation of narakasura but he is a portion of surya – Abhiram Ekula 16 hours ago

This shows that he has a basic idea. When you know why you asking? This is not even knowledge sharing.

A few people have requested him to discontinue this. Examples of such questions are:

  1. What boon did Rishi Durvasa give to Kunti, the mother of Pandavas?

This is too much trivial. It's a duplicate already. Please just google search.


  1. Who is the guru of Bhishma, Drona, and Karna?

Please don’t ask questions and answers unnecessarily only for votes. We know you’ve read the entire sacred texts Mahabharata. It’s not worth the effort – Archit 12 hours ago

He deleted this particular one thereafter. Despite so many attempts he didn’t stop spamming the site.

Now proof of asking for the heck of it:

He asks Who cursed the snakes that they will die in Emperor Janamejaya's snake sacrifice? about 15 hours ago

After this he asks, Which Kuru king of Pandava race performed the snake sacrifice where the Mahabharata was recited first by Vaisampayana? about 10 hours ago, i.e. after asking about Janamejaya’s snake sacrifice. He knew that Janamejaya performed snake sacrifice yet he asks who which Pandava descendent performed snake sacrifice, just for votes.

And the list goes on and on. As I have repeatedly stated:

He knows where to find in the sacred text version. He just wants votes and problem is he’s not getting as many as he wants. He thinks by asking multiple questions he’ll get answers and at least he can get +2 +2 by accepting them or by chance questions may have a higher chance of being voted. – Archit 43 mins ago

Question:
What is the solution to such behaviour which is not encouraged? There’s nothing the mods can do here.

Every question in such a long list can’t be monitored, irrelevant ones can’t be closed, can’t be flagged as low quality. I would personally find it mean to downvote him when he’s doing this whole drama to get points. Let this discussion apply for anyone else exhibiting similar behavior in future too and not specifically this user.

Yet the site is being spammed and other good QnAs don’t get a chance to be seen by people, as they get lost amongst these kinds of "spam questions". Also, so many unanswered questions bring the score of the site down and DELAYS GRADUATION.

EDIT:-
Also another issue. On going to his profile one will see that he has deleted just few minutes back, all questions which had net downvotes. All of a sudden reputation has shot up, without community voting. Very clever tactic?

EDIT 2:
questions likely flagged as duplicates or downvoted are being converted to entirely new questions

11
  • 6
    A huge disadvantage of this incessant spamming is that several new questions and answers posts, which are good, are lost down the list and thus can't get enough "attention (views)".
    – peace
    May 29 at 7:49
  • 1
    Another problem is if those Q's are not answered or closed.. unanswered% will increase..I m not aware of any policy other than self answering which he is violating..May be we should flag such Q's so that mods can educate such users or take any action if they find some violation..
    – YDS
    May 29 at 11:09
  • Please keep the user anonymous while discussing on meta. You can post links to the posts though.
    – Mr_Green
    May 29 at 16:08
  • 3
    Currently the interesting thing which is going on is, out of top 20 active questions, 16 questions are asked by him...😂
    – Tezz
    May 30 at 0:39
  • 2
    And it doesn't seem to have any end. It keeps on increasing with time.
    – peace
    May 30 at 2:31
  • 1
    Nice information on the edit.
    – GIRIBLR
    May 30 at 13:47
  • 1
    Okay, now he's inventing "ninja-techniques" to evade consequences. :P
    – peace
    May 30 at 15:16
  • 1
    @Vivikta it seems he undeleted few again. Too much effort to update question again
    – Archit
    May 30 at 15:33
  • 1
    Have to bear with IT. No choice, I guess. :(
    – peace
    May 30 at 15:43
  • FINAL UPDATE: THE USER DELETED THEIR ACCOUNT. ;)
    – peace
    Jun 4 at 4:14
  • 1
    @Vivikta woohoo!!!!
    – Archit
    Jun 4 at 4:16
10

As others said in their answers, it is evident here that user is deliberately asking questions just for sake of reputation. If an user vandalizes site with low quality trivial questions, alert the system by heavily downvoting his posts as soon as he posts questions, so that he would encounter question block. This would also defy his purpose of getting easy rep. Heavily downvoted questions also don't appear of frontpage.

From above meta post:

We believe asking questions on our site is a privilege, not a right. If, after a few fair attempts, you haven’t been able to prove that your contributions to Stack Overflow make it at least … not-worse … then we reserve the right to refuse your questions. If we don’t do our part to cull the bad questions, then we risk alienating the true experts who provide what really matters: the answers!

In these cases, community can solve this by voting. If there is no enough participation from community or user doesn't change after encountering question ban, then mods can intervene and either warn or ban him based on severity of issue.

4
  • Thank you moderator.
    – Archit
    May 30 at 6:39
  • 4
    Does the user know that we are discussing his actions here?
    – Rickross
    May 30 at 7:05
  • 3
    The other answers suggesting to not vote even the good questions from this user, for some time being. Also to answer in comments. I am finding it hard to digest. Any thoughts?
    – Mr_Green
    May 31 at 3:38
  • Accepting this answer since it’s the highest voted by the community.
    – Archit
    May 31 at 13:55
7

Currently, the problem is becoming severe even more. Out of the top 20 active questions, 16 questions are already asked by him. One is allowed to ask the questions which one knows as one can self answer also. But asking these huge no. of questions in this short interval of time is certainly like spamming the site.

If one really wants to ask these questions, one should show patience and ask one or two questions daily so that site doesn't get flooded suddenly by a huge number of questions.

In the StackOverflow site, it is a common practice to heavily downvote questions when they do not show any research effort, we might as well do something like this. Doing this we achieve:

  • It stops one from asking questions just for sake of reputation.
  • The system automatically bans such users for a certain time from asking questions.

If this problem stops, then we can slowly edit the questions which we previously downvoted, and undownvote them or upvote them also.

There are some questions which are just asked for the sake of asking questions like:

If Kripacharya can be immortal, why Dronacharya was not offered the boon to be immortal?

What would happened to the earth in Kali Yuga if the Kurukshetra war did not happen and if people with divine weapons knowledge existed in Kali yuga?

What are the similarities of Ravana and Duryodhana besides being the villain of their epics?

Old users of HSE might remember that during the Saxena era also he asked lots of questions but he maintained a time interval between the questions and hence it didn't become like spamming.

Another thing we should stop doing for the time being is we should stop upvoting any questions (he asks) even if they are good until this problem gets solved. We might upvote them later if those questions deserved upvotes. Getting some upvotes in some of the questions might be encouraging him to ask more and more questions.

So here is what I suggest we should do:

  • Let's post the link of this meta question in the question he asks as a comment so that he knows what is going on.

  • Let's wait for the flood of another wave of questions and if the same behavior is repeated let's downvote questions. After his several questions are downvoted he will automatically be banned by the system from asking questions. We might remove our downvote from those questions later if the situation cools down and if they deserve.

  • We can both close and downvote hypothetical questions like the ones in the above example.

  • For the time being let's answer the user's trivial questions only in the comments so that the user can't think of accepting the answer and increasing reputation. We might post a real answer to the question after some days.

If doing these all also such types of behaviors aren't stopped then moderator intervention is a must. Moderators should save the site from being spammed. We can apply similar methods like this for future users also who will flood the questions on the site. This is what I suggest and think we should do. Please give your views on this!

5
  • I don't agree with we should downvote even if the question is good and should answer in comments. Instead we should actively answer, flag/downvote/close if some are low quality. We should take this as challenge. If the answers are simple for good questions, let's just answer it. On a bright side, this will increase our answer rating.
    – Mr_Green
    May 30 at 3:43
  • @Green I explained why you can’t flag. Refer comment. The answer is not saying to downvote good questions, he is saying to not upvote them. There are many users still upvoting some Qs, and he’s not upvoting their answers. Questions which deserve to be closed and downvoted will be closed as well as downvoted, not only closed. Green, you can start flagging and tell us how mods react to low quality flag.
    – Archit
    May 30 at 3:58
  • @Archit if it is a good question, we should definitely upvote it. Not hold it as grudge against a particular user. This is unjust of what this site stands for. We just have to actively filter out but not take a path targeting a user. I will flag/close if it is low quality or upvote if it is a good question irrespective of any user.
    – Mr_Green
    May 30 at 4:11
  • @Green no one is holding it as a grudge. The answer itself is saying wait, vote later, after he stops spamming the site. This answer covers all your doubts. And I hope you won’t go against the community consensus of holding their votes for the time being. Even If you individually dont hold your votes here, other better deserving questions wouldn’t get votes and it’ll be holding a grudge against the community at large I.e. favouring spam questions by upvoting them and holding a grudge against all other community questions
    – Archit
    May 30 at 6:00
  • And maybe you can start the challenge of answering. Let’s see whether he returns an upvote on your answer. (He’s not been doing that for other experienced members like YDS etc but tells them to vote for him)
    – Archit
    May 30 at 6:04
4

Is posting several “trivial” questions in bulk encouraged for the site ?

For starters, we can never actually know if the question is "trivial" or not. That's because, we might have read a lot of literature making those questions trivial for us, but the questioner might very well be a novice to the Hinduism literature or perhaps just a "hobbyist enthusiast" starting their journey here from HSE itself, in the 'infinite ocean of Hinduism'.

So, in general we just cannot assume "triviality" for the blanket users of the site.

However, these kinds of "trivial spamming situations" might better be judged on a case to case basis. META discussions should always be an open door for those discussions, I guess.

In this particular case though, one definitely may be be able to arrive at a certain conclusion. Looking at the OP's profile activity and the QnAs they have posted, we can be atleast 90 % sure that indeed the user is not a novice to Hinduism, and definitely not to the concept of Mahābhārata - which seems to be their favorite staple for QnAs. It won't be far-stretching if we further conclude that the sole aim of the OP is:

  • Either to spam the site with nuisance of triviality. Thus, they're a spammer.

  • Or they're solely after achieving reputation via bulk question posting, which again unfortunately doesn't seem to pay-off that well, as per their "expectations".

Now, I'm not saying vying for reputation is bad. Rewards is what keeps us - most humans working. And especially for sites like this, that becomes more pertinent.

However, this particular user seems most disinterested with other activities of the site.

For example: they never vote up any question (even the answers they accept). Their activity doesn't seem to add any credibility that they might be able to contribute positively to our community in any way. The only contribution they doin' is flush unwanted/low-quality questions which increase the burden of the site with huge disparity in "Answered question ratio" - which is a mere 74 % [as of 30 May 2021; (9:44 AM IST)] - kind of an impediment to the graduation process for our Site, considering a 90 % answered is a sign of a healthy beta.

So, to conclude: In case of this particular user: NO, posting several “trivial” questions in bulk should NOT be encouraged.


What’s the solution for it?

As suggested by other users and as per my Opinion, we can do the following things:

  1. Ignore them: Don't upvote them at all, unless the "spamming tendencies" seem to subside.

  2. Downvote them: This seem a tricky one. As Archit puts it - "I would personally find it mean to downvote him when he’s doing this whole drama to get points". That's true. However, one shouldn't hesitate if this kind of nuisance prevails. I'm not suggesting to go on a rampage downvoting. However, IMHO, their 50 % questions are generally deserveth to be downvoted (considering the "triviality" of those questions as per the "assessed" competence of the OP). Still, this measure need to be practised with caution. Over-downvoting is also not a very good approach, in general.

  3. Spam inform them in comments: Just like they're spamming our site. We can maybe 'Spam Inform' them about their 'spam activities'. Like: if several of us (especially the regular "well-known users" of the Site), at once in the same question comment on their spam behavior in their questions, kind of "politely admonish" them, maybe they might take a learning? Obviously, this must be done in the most polite, and kind approach, with extreme subtlety.

  4. Enforcing a quality check related "Number of QnA Posts per Day" ban: I'm not aware if there's such a system or not with SE. However, to me it seems a good idea, that if the user doesn't seem to take lessons even after several reiteration, they might be sentenced with a "limit of QnAs they can ask per day", which may be ranging for 'n number of days' - depending upon the "severity" of the problem. If there's such a feature already there, we should use it. If not, then might I suggest a "Feature-Request" for the same?

1
  • 1
    Yes true and max of his questions are pretty low quality.
    – Archit
    May 30 at 5:44
2

If I understand correctly, there is a question ban if the user is spamming with low-quality posts. We just have to actively flag/close/downvote for it to automatically take care or mods attention.

Link

If a user cannot demonstrate, after asking a reasonable number of questions, that their contributions are making the site better (or at very least, not making it worse) then they will be blocked from asking further questions until they have demonstrated their ability to contribute positively.

5
  • So you mean we should downvote him? What do you want to flag as?
    – Archit
    May 29 at 17:48
  • 1
    Yes, maybe as very low quality post or for mod's intervention.
    – Mr_Green
    May 29 at 18:07
  • You can’t flag these as low quality because low quality definition as per SE is not bad questions but unreadable, badly formatted posts which can’t be salvaged by edits. For example: cat the fencekew is not blacks povee jump. This doesn’t make sense and hence to be flagged as low quality.
    – Archit
    May 29 at 18:09
  • What can a mod do? Mod can’t take action against a post in scope of site
    – Archit
    May 29 at 18:10
  • Well, If the post is in-scope, not low quality then I see no reason to ban or ask the user to refrain from asking questions, irrespective of whether the user already knows or not.
    – Mr_Green
    May 29 at 18:24

You must log in to answer this question.

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