I have on several occasions had users respond with just plain rude/dumb comments to either my questions, answers, or comments. I flag them appropriately and our moderators to a terrific job of wiping them out.

My question is, do these users ever get warned of repeated bad behavior and is it tracked by the system? I know there is a probation thing you can hit, but I wonder if they are actually told "Hey your were a jerk here, don't do that again"?

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    Yes. Moderators can message users privately to warn them of behaviour issues.
    – ArtOfCode
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:05
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    On a meta-note (or is that a meta-meta-note), for someone who goes by the name of Mister Positive, you sure seem to worry about a lot of unnecessary things. :) On a personal note, I suggest just let it go. Don't carry too many unnecessary burdens, life is too short for that. Found an offensive comment? Flag it and move on. Don't keep checking back every few hours if it was deleted already or not. ;)
    – Masked Man
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:10
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    @MaskedMan "Every few hours"? Heck I check every few seconds ;-) Seriously the one off's don't matter and get filed away appropriately. There a few users who seem to like to stir the pot and when it doesn't go the way the expect, resort to less that professional tactics.
    – Neo
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:12
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    I would say they can and do unofficially track repeat offenders, but there doesn't seem to be any technical or automated "3 strikes you're out" system or similar. The mods themselves seem to require a pretty high threshold of serious offenses to take action.
    – user30031
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:13
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    The mods take the flags very seriously. Flag the offending comment, and forget about it. Do not engage the person, as the mods will just have to delete your responses as well. This system works well and is why trolling here is fairly rare, but it does happen. The best thing is to flag, move on, and forget. Mar 3, 2017 at 17:55
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    What @RichardU said is a good point, too - if there's anything moderators do not like it's trying to sort through a long stream of one-sided comment flags that look like they are being used by the same person who is engaging as well. It's far easier for us to handle flags when it's not appearing to be entirely one sided. We aren't an on-demand weapon to help someone win an argument..
    – enderland
    Mar 3, 2017 at 19:28
  • @enderland I kinda had to learn that one myself.... Mar 3, 2017 at 19:31
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    I have seen users who seem to be 100% dumb and rude in comments, yet they're still doing it, so I assume it's a coin toss unless you flag.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 3, 2017 at 22:40
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    Never mind the members who over-edit your posts or moderators whom one might find snarky :O :D. Mar 6, 2017 at 8:35
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    Just continue to flag. Engage the user does no good. If you get a lot of flags declined then consider flagging less. On moderator elections you can ask them how they handle flags. I wish we could down vote comments.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 6, 2017 at 15:54
  • Agreed - from the normal user side of things, just flag as needed. And it does work - we had one person on the Sci-Fi SE that basically stayed in the penalty box because he/she refused to learn from repeated flags, warnings, and even temporary bans. I think that person finally got tired of it and left, but I could be wrong. Either way, the behavior finally stopped.
    – Omegacron
    Mar 16, 2017 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


The normal escalation process looks like:

  1. Users get a bunch of flags on their posts
    • Moderators discuss if needed and delete flagged comments as appropriate
  2. User gets sent a warning message by moderators (privately, so no one else sees that except SE staff, moderators, and the user)
    • depending on severity of comments, if you go around actively swearing at people and blatantly violating the Be Nice rule you might not get a warning
    • normally this involves some discussion with other moderators
  3. If this continues, the user may be suspended temporarily
    • almost always involves discussion with other moderators

There are a variety of ways this gets tracked or aggregated, I'm a bit hesitant to give too much information here. There's some context in this other meta post I made though specifically regarding comment flags.

Keep in mind that the entire "Be Nice" process is subjective. There's not an automatic way to evaluate "when is too much?" and that at varying times we get accused of being too strict, too lenient, and too biased (on every extreme apparently).

Everyone will have a slightly different "scale" for what level of moderation they want to see. Some would prefer we suspend people for the first minor infraction, some prefer to be way less strict, and everywhere in between.

I can assure you this is an active topic of conversation among moderators too.

  • And this answer is why you are a moderator, thank you! The information you provided in the link is most helpful too.
    – Neo
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:25
  • Can a person get a timeout for not constructive (not rude)?
    – paparazzo
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:46
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    @Paparazzi the only way someone gets a timeout is manual moderator intervention. In this regard, it doesn't "matter" - we will review each case individually.
    – enderland
    Mar 8, 2017 at 18:49
  • From your perspective do you care if it got flagged not constructive versus rude? You are just going based on the content? I won't hit you with any more questions.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 8, 2017 at 18:54
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    @Paparazzi I mean, it's better if they are flagged reasonably - if someone says "go f yourself" that should be flagged rude because it gets a bit quicker attention (too chatty is generally not urgent). I guess the problem here is there's a lot of squishyness. It's definitely helpful if they are flagged well, but it's not the end of the world if not - but it's probably better to error on the side of not using rude when it's not rude. We are more likely to decline a flag of rude on something like "+1, great answer" for sure.
    – enderland
    Mar 8, 2017 at 18:58

I can confirm that these users WILL be punished. I have seen it happen to one member in particular whom I felt very strongly about, and although it took longer than I would have liked, it was dealt with in the end.

Was kind of sad to only see a couple applications in the recent moderator election, but oh well! Users like you help the mods with your flags, so just keep at it.


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