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We have a new user who is being more disruptive than helpful:

First question

The initial question was not ideal for SE, so people voted it down and to close it. That sparked outrage and:

Second "question," closer to a rant

What is supposed to be done about users doing this? Are they supposed to be flagged as spammers? Is something else supposed to be done about that?

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Spam flags on Stack Exchange sites carry a heavy penalty, 6 flags delete a post and the user gets -100 reputation for a successful spam flag against him. They should only be used for spam, posts that are purely promoting some product or site.

If there are direct insults towards other users you can flag those posts or comments as offensive, enough offensive flags will also remove a post. If there is a general problem with the behaviour of a certain user you can flag for a moderator and use the "other" reason to explain the situation. This site doesn't have any community mods yet, so it will be handled by SE employees.

Both questions have been dealt with, one is closed and the other one deleted, so there is no need to do anything there at the moment. If you notice any further disruptive behaviour, I'd just flag for a moderator.

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It's a good question, I was also wondering what one can do. In my experience on some forums, the best to do is usually to ignore them, because they usually enjoy the fight, but I'm not really familiar with the spam-flagging mechanism of SE. Does it prevent them to create a new account?

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This blog by Jeff seems to talk about such users, though I wonder whether it has been implemented in SE. Here's an excerpt:

But in the absence of some system of law, the tiny minority of users out to do harm – intentionally or not – eventually drive out all the civil community members, leaving behind a lawless, chaotic badland.

Our method of dealing with disruptive or destructive community members is simple: their accounts are placed in timed suspension. Initial suspension periods range from 1 to 7 days, and increase exponentially with each subsequent suspension. We prefer the term "timed suspension" to "ban" to emphasize that we do want users to come back to their accounts, if they can learn to refrain from engaging in those disruptive or problematic behaviors. It's not so much a punishment as a time for the user to cool down and reflect on the nature of their participation in our community. (Well, at least in theory.)

Timed suspension works, but much like democracy itself, it is a highly imperfect, noisy system. The transparency provides ample evidence that moderators aren't secretly whisking people away in the middle of the night. But it can also be a bit too … entertaining for some members of the community, leading to hours and hours of meta-discussion about who is suspended, why they are suspended, whether it was fair, what the evidence is, how we are censoring people, and on and on and on. While a certain amount of introspection is important and necessary, it can also become a substitute for getting stuff done. This might naturally lead one to wonder – what if we could suspend problematic users without anyone knowing they had been suspended?

I'm wondering whether it would work here or not - Mods(since being in public beta, I don't think any of the normal users are mods anymore) should act on this...

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  • yes, timed suspension has been implemented across SE, and is available. – 410 gone Feb 22 '12 at 12:18

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