Does anyone else wonder about this question?

How to politely decline my salary due to feeling I don't currently deserve it?

I'm trying to assume positive intent here.

But when I read "I thought about removing my account number from our payroll system", I have a hard time believing it.

Maybe I'm too skeptical, but I'm sensing an increase in the volume of questions from brand new members with subjects that make me say "hmm". I worry that The Workplace is starting to deteriorate.

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    Some people are trolls, others are just very different from what we see commonly. But I agree that I see lately questions where some people seems to need more help about their mental health (anxiety, overthinking details,...) than in the workplace.
    – Walfrat
    Nov 19 '16 at 15:43
  • 1
    @Walfrat - I see that trend as well. I supposed it's not a surprise that if someone reads about mental health related issues here, they would be more likely to post one of their own. Nov 19 '16 at 20:39
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    Seems very much like a similar discussion on serverfault that seems to be brought up quite a few times.
    – Reaces
    Nov 20 '16 at 15:30
  • That one was a real head scratcher. The only possible way that the intent of that post could have been positive is if the OP was under some severe kind of personal distress. Nov 21 '16 at 19:26
  • What is more scary is the number of up votes these questions get. Just VTC and move on.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 22 '16 at 14:50
  • The bigger problem to me seems to be that not enough people are downvoting these type of borderline (or just plain bad) questions, and some even upvote them. That, combined with a few quickly written answers pushes this stuff onto HNQ which results in even more thanks to the strangeness of the question.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Nov 23 '16 at 9:17
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    @Walfrat The difference you seem to make between "mental health issue" and "workplace issue" seems a bit arbitrary and hard to make in general. Overthinking details is a mental health issue? In that case I guess we'll need an ICD code for "nerd" soon... For some people navigating their own and/or their colleagues issues or just... you know... personality is a non-negligible part of their working life, whether they want to or not. Nov 24 '16 at 9:04
  • @SurprisedEuropean some people lack confidence and so overthink some things, that's not the point here, quite some questions have been answered as "you're overthinking this" without being borderline if not crap. Between overthinking about how should I write a mail or interact with a coworker, and remove myself from the paid system, I definitively think there is a gap.
    – Walfrat
    Nov 24 '16 at 9:12
  • @Walfrat Yeah, the question you're referring to is really weird and in that case my suspicion is also that there's a mental health issue behind it. But my troll sensors didn't flash, some people really are that stressed out. Nov 24 '16 at 9:34

This seems to happen on various sites as they grow. It comes around at different times, but you suddenly start to see folks who just ask weird questions - not sure if it's for fun, to troll, or to test out the response, or whether some people are just particularly strange. I have given up trying to query their reasons, or second guess why they come up with such questions.

My preferred tactic on a couple of sites is to point out that hypothetical questions may not work (e.g. On Parenting.SE hypothetical questions really fail, as we can't narrow down the real problem in a made up scenario) and close as off topic.

  • 1
    On another site when I tried to narrow down the real problem I was told by you to accept the question as written
    – paparazzo
    Nov 22 '16 at 14:37
  • If it's the one I remember then there was very good reason :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 22 '16 at 15:58
  • @RoryAlsop I've asked a number of hypotheticals on parenting, and I don't believe any of them failed ;)
    – Beofett
    Mar 27 '17 at 20:19
  • Yours were always well thought out and structured in such a way they would be helpful to future visitors, @beofett. That's relatively rare and says more about your posts than hypotheticals in general :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 27 '17 at 20:29
  • Very kind of you, but that may have been due as much to my familiarity with the community as anything else; my attempt at a hypothetical question here is... not faring as well :)
    – Beofett
    Mar 27 '17 at 20:30

It's getting harder and harder to assume good intent when we've recently been battered by trolls.

One got suspended for a year, then the three latest got deleted including several incarnations of "poonjay".

I've seen this happen to other sites. You get hit by trolls, then moderation tightens up and legitimate discussions are casualties, people complain, there is the obligatory complaining about how everything changed and the moderators are called various and sundry names, and the site begins to rot.

So.... what do we do?

I say, so long as we just "wonder" about these people, and shut down the questions when they are clearly and identifiably used to troll this site, and keep an eye on the people asking doubtful questions.

I don't think we should be too quick to clamp down on anyone, as the trolls eventually reveal themselves as they escalate quickly when they are not getting the reactions they want.

  • 1
    +1 for agreement, this especially: "I don't think we should be too quick to clamp down on anyone, as the trolls eventually reveal themselves as they escalate quickly when they are not getting the reactions they want."
    – Lumberjack
    Nov 21 '16 at 16:18

I cannot in anyway see 'good intent' in that question.

Around the full moon there is an increase of lunatics, unfortunately being an international site, there's a full moon somewhere all the time. And some lunatics have internet access.

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    Full moons are global events. They happen about once a month. :-) Nov 20 '16 at 3:13
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    @MonicaCellio sure, on Earth, but lots of Space Cadets on here :-)
    – Kilisi Mod
    Nov 20 '16 at 3:55

I think there's a good chance that many people have simply misunderstood OP suggestion there. It would be very easy to remove one's direct deposit 'account number' from a payroll system like NetChex without "tampering" with payroll (as many assumed in their answer). That's still wouldn't prevent them from being paid of courae, the company would cut them a check or compel them to maintain an active direct deposit.

In any case, I think a good idea would have been asking OP to clarify that point if it seems odd.

  • I should have known that any actual effort to assume good intent would be met with hostility here...
    – user30031
    Nov 30 '16 at 13:39

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