As you probably have noticed, the question What to do with a student coming to class in revealing clothing, to the degree that it disrupts the teaching environment? has attracted 16k views and 19 answers.

I don't believe there is really 19 different things the OP can do in this situation. Actually I believe there's three: tell her to stop, tell the other students to control their hormones, and tell his higher-ups to take the matter off him. Yet, new answers keep flowing in. At this point, I believe that most of the new answerers just want to chip in and tell the world their opinion but they haven't even read what the other people have written.

Given that the question is already protected, and we cannot close it because it is on-topic (and it's actually a good question for Academia.SE), what else can we do to stop the flow? Is there a "second level of protection", or something more radical that we can do to stop the flow of answers? Or maybe the SE philosophy is "let them answer and downvote them"?

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    Let them answer, and downvote them. :) Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 18:03
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    A moderator once removed my answer to a question because he felt it was not answering it. While it was not properly explained, the answer was right. I left that community (science fiction, if you must know). If you are to take extreme measures, you do have to find a way to do it tactfully without scaring off new users.
    – user21264
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 16:34
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 5:51

4 Answers 4


The next level would be to lock the question but this seems extreme. The real problem in my opinion is that the question is on the hot networkquestion list. We need better control of that. I proposed Allow mods or gold tag badge holders to prevent question from being on hot network questions list

  • Also this proposal. Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 23:30
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    A possibility would be to temporarily lock the question, say for a couple of days. That would let the heat die down but wouldn't prevent new answers for ever. (OTOH, there's still the risk that somebody answering in a month's time and bumping the question would get enough attention to put it back on the HNQ list, so I agree that better control of HNQ seems to be the only long-term solution.) Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 10:31
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    Does anyone know of any research on how many (or if any) of people attracted to a site due to a HNQ stay and become a productive, or at least not destructive, member? I've certainly joined sites after seeing an interesting HNQ.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 1:04
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    @mkennedy see meta.academia.stackexchange.com/questions/3582/…
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 20:29
  • @StrongBad Thank you! Too bad we can't search for the association bonus, then check what the user was doing just before that, AKA were they looking at a HNQ.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 21:18
  • Agree a lot of this is a product of hot network question. I only come here on
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 15:37

I sometimes leave this comment on answers that don't add anything new:

It's not clear what this adds over existing answers that suggest the same approach, such as [link to answer that suggests same approach]; can you edit to clarify? On Academia.SE, we are generally looking for answers that offer a "fresh take": see What are we generally looking for in answers?

It's not exactly "something more radical", but it at least helps inform such users about our expectations.

  • Is it okay for a non-moderator to comment in this way? Or should one flag to request that a moderator write such a comment? Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 19:12
  • @aparente001 The diamond moderators are here to deal with things the community can't see or don't have the same ability to act on - if you flag for a moderator to do something you could have done yourself, it's likely to be declined with the reason "Flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention". TL;DR - don't flag for a moderator to write a comment when you can write one yourself.
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 19:21
  • Okay, I gather it would not be presumptuous for a garden variety community member to make such a comment. If I understood correctly. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 20:31
  • @aparente001 That is correct.
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 21:42

It is true that most of the answers are just emotional responses, but locking the question might deny probable legitimate answers to be posted in the future. @gnometorule seems to have a good trivial suggestion for this matter; downvote answers you feel that are bad and move on.

Also, I feel that your comment under the question is a good solution already: telling them to check all answer posts before attempting to post another answer. It helps people think twice before posting an answer (It sure prevented me from posting an answer).

My thought about this would be to have an option called 'duplicate answer vote', but not sure how well that would work out.

  • Interesting idea. I wonder, could we flag as duplicate, as a variant of not-an-answer? Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 8:01
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    @aparente001 Maybe, but not in this case. Many of the answers posted for the referred question are quite good answers that seem to address the question although very much similar.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 2:49

A moderator or garden variety good Samaritan with foresight and courage could have edited "revealing" out of the title. I think that word caught the eye and kapow, the views started to climb and then skyrocketed.

Easy for me to think of this now....


I will be more specific. Example:

What to do with a student coming to class in distracting outfit, to the degree that it disrupts the teaching environment? h

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    That's a rather important part of the question... While it's good to make a title less clickbait-y (and I actually edited the first version of this question to do that), it should still include the details necessary to understand what the question is about!
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 4:46
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    So, then the title would say the problem is that a student is coming to class in clothing, and this is disruptive? And somehow it would be less disruptive if they came to class without clothing? Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 22:43
  • You could edit the title to say, "(Sorry, no pictures; don't bother clicking through from HNQ.)" ;) Kidding but you're right; there's a definite element of clickbait in the title.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 8:28
  • @NateEldredge - See edited answer. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 20:24
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    Well, I think that makes the question a bit different. There are many other ways an outfit could be distracting (bright colors, noisy jingling metal, controversial slogans, generally outlandish, etc) that should, I think, be addressed differently than one that is distracting specifically because it's revealing. The question could be broadened to cover all clothing-related issues, but risks losing track of the question the OP actually has. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 21:52
  • @NateEldredge - The text of the question can include the specifics of the outfit. What I'm suggesting is that the question be edited to be slightly vaguer and broader, but which still fits the meat of the question. In other words, a title that will cause less of a sensation. // Note, I can imagine some non-revealing outfits that could fit the question as well. For example, someone who shows up to class in a high neckline, long skirt and long sleeves, but with sequins and glitter, might still make some folks uncomfortable. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:56

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