Sometimes, malicious (usually new) users post

  • a question that is obviously not about a real situation or even a hypothetical situation that the asker is honestly interested in (note that I am not talking about possibly made-up clickbait but more blatant examples such as this one or worse);

  • an answer that technically addresses the question but is obviously not honest advice, but intentionally bad advice.

How should I deal with such posts or posts that I strongly suspect to fall in the above category?


2 Answers 2

  • If you are sure, flag as abusive (it’s abusing our site) and move on. Do not downvote. Do not engage. Six abusive flags will automatically delete the post and impose some bans on the poster. These flags will also alert the moderators (having highest priority). Under most circumstances this is the fastest way to get rid of the post.

  • If you only suspect, flag for moderator attention. Flag for closure or deletion as appropriate.

  • What would be the practical difference, from the mod's point of view, between a post flagged as abusive and one flagged for mod attention because just possibly abusive? Commented May 8, 2016 at 10:18
  • 4
    @MassimoOrtolano: Six abusive flags delete the post and put some automatic bans on the poster without needing any moderator intervention. The only way of deletion that requires fewer non-moderator users is the deletion of answers by three 20 k users. However, this is unlikely to happen faster as flagging only requires 15 reputation.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 10:24
  • @Wrzlprmft Is there a section of any particular SE site or SE in general that lists these rules/implications of actions? Or are we all supposed to search through the Metas until we find a Q/A like yours? Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 2:37
  • @ChrisCirefice: Sort-of. There is Meta Stack Exchange which is about general network rules and which hosts a general FAQ, which contains a section on the rude/abusive flag, for example. Note, however, that this particular Q&A is tailored to address a case that is generally rare on Stack Exchange but has been rather common on Academia recently.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 7:41
  • @Wrzlprmft Coolio, I just couldn't find the FAQ. I know this is an issue specific to Academia, but I see questions about these kinds of things all the time on all the metas and I just never could figure out if there was actually a collection of all this information :) Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 7:45

Also downvote so that the questions or answers get moved to the review queue for faster handling.

  • 3
    I don't think downvoting puts posts into the review queue. It does make it easier for users with "delete" vote privileges to delete a post, though. Also, enough downvotes remove a post from the default front page view.
    – ff524
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 9:04
  • 10
    Unless this is somewhere in the grey zone, downvoting may be bad for the same reasons as downvoting spam: It does not accelerate deletion of the post and may hide it before it is deleted. If you want something in a review queue, flag it for closure or low quality. Abusive flags come with an auto-downvote, which should be enough to enable deletion.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 10:09
  • 1
    Downvoting does allow answers to receive delete votes, however, and potentially be deleted by the community prior to passing (or failing? not sure which! :P) the review queue. I will say too as a moderator on a different SE site I love it when a post has multiple community delete votes on it - it is far easier for me to act than if there are none.
    – enderland
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 2:57

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