A couple of you will know the most recent person I am referencing, with a bit of a spurt from a new user constantly answering with bad posts in terms of content, grammar, spelling, well, they're really just all around bad.

A few examples:

How do I challenge my PCs who fsight every battle like Mongol horse archers?

How can I get my group to use actual weaponry, not just improvised?

Creating elder magi

In the first one, SevenSidedDie notes that "the community is reacting to sensing a deeper problem."

What happens with users like this? Do we just let them roam and get downvoted? Or do the users actually get deleted?


3 Answers 3


The best and simplest thing that the community can do is downvote bad answers. It's simple and intuitive, but has more power than is immediately apparent:

A user who consistently gets downvoted, and the majority of whose posts have a negative score, will be automatically flagged by the system, and will have their posting rights suspended. This isn't a temporary ban, but will persist as long as those bad questions are bad. The only way to lift it is to edit the bad posts and have the voters reverse their votes (or new voters upvote it).

Bad users who get downvoted won't be able to "roam free", even if they delete their posts. They will improve, or be suspended.


A few things happen:

  1. They get downvoted a lot.
  2. Their material might be irredeemably low quality and deleted, or the answerer might delete it themselves. The rest sits around, accumulating downvotes, or serving as an equivalent of skulls on the ramparts letting people know what kind of quality doesn't fly.
  3. Eventually, they will probably get answer banned, and become totally unable to leave new answers.

That last one is a completely automatic mechanism. (There's also question banning.) It happens after making a lot of low quality posts. If your answers are getting downvoted or deleted, that counts towards an answer ban - same goes for questions and question bans.

Most users who contribute at all decently will never have to worry about either kind of ban. You have to provide a lot of consistently low-quality answers before you get answer banned, and that will be a significant portion of your answers. You can probably guess where this is going for this user.

The exact mechanisms of question/answer bans are kept secret by the SE staff so that they can't be gamed.

The user has an opportunity to get their ban lifted, if they work at producing quality material: doing good edits, posting good questions, etc. If they can't do that, or they post low quality questions, they might dig themselves an even deeper hole.

(There's a project in the works to redesign or replace Q&A bans, because extremely low-quality contributors can reach a point where they cease to care about bans and post quality completely, and re-register new accounts to post even more, meaning the system has a threshold at which it implodes and completely stops working.)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If a user re-registers new accounts at least they start out at 1 rep. \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently deleted posts count as part of that, so that's good. I was going to write a meta question asking if we should be deleting stuff or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 13:45
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Tridus Deleted posts not only count, but the act of deletion itself adds further weight to the user getting question/answer banned. This might suck for a user trying to improve by expunging their crap posts, but refer to point above where half-decent contributors never have to worry about this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 13:47

Normally quality doesn't require moderator intervention. As users respond to the low quality content by downvoting, voting to close, and voting to delete where applicable the system will flag that person as trouble and limit or block their access to the site, both answers above describe this well.

In extreme cases the moderators may contact users encouraging them to modify their behavoir, or even suspend users for increasingly long periods of time until their quality improves. We don't delete accounts unless they're used for spam or they were only used to post nonsense such as blatant trolling.


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