The question Should I tell coworkers I have been eating their lunch due to a misunderstanding? has been recently deleted. I did call that question a "troll" in the past, but I changed my attitude towards "troll" questions after reading this meta post Fair to VTC for trolling. I decided to improve the question by removing the trollbaits.

It is not clear why the question had to be deleted over a month after it was last active, especially after it was already "improved" and reopened.

Can we get an official explanation for it?

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    I know in the past moderators have used some of their privileged information (IP addresses possibly) to determine that certain users are known trolls with a history of bad behavior and multiple sock accounts. I know of at least one instance where a moderator has deleted highly-voted questions from the troll, even if the questions are not clearly identifiable as trolling. Since this question was mod-deleted, I would guess that this is a similar situation.
    – David K
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:30
  • I thought of that at first, but as far as I remember, that user has posted a grand total of one question on this site, including that one. Perhaps they were using sock puppets or other tricks, then, of course, that makes sense.
    – Masked Man
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:31
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    Yeah, I think the case I'm thinking of was also a new user that the mods somehow determined was the same person who had been posting a large number of other troll posts, all under different accounts. The highly-voted question just happened to be more passable then all of their other posts. BTW, I flagged this for moderator attention, since I think they're the only ones who can really answer this.
    – David K
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:37
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    @MaskedMan: The IP logs might tell a different story.
    – Jim G.
    Mar 9, 2018 at 0:09
  • Does this answer your question? Why was this question about handling the fallout of a crass joke deleted?
    – gnat
    Mar 12, 2020 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


Thank you for your work to improve the question. I'm sorry for the collateral damage.

That post was part of a multi-site trolling incident. For the reasons explained by Shog in this answer to another question about deletions, I felt it best to remove the question. Unlike there I didn't also delete the account; I'm still reviewing some stuff there. (The account might be abandoned anyway.)

Because I was acting alone, when I deleted it I also left a flag to bring it to the attention of my fellow moderators.

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    Thanks for the explanation. Assume good intentions and then the post actually turns out to be a troll! Such is life, I suppose.
    – Masked Man
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:53
  • @MaskedMan yeah, it's frustrating when that happens. :-( Mar 8, 2018 at 17:11
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    Always consult with your local self-identified master of Trolljitsu. A master always recognizes one less disciplined in the art. Mar 8, 2018 at 20:57
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    @RichardU but does the self-identified master also recognize non-trolls? True positives are good, but we also need to make sure we don't get false positives. Mar 8, 2018 at 20:58
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    @MonicaCellio I don't get many false positives, and there are things that are ALWAYS indicative of trolling, such as something that makes an entire group look bad (The deleted post) or has blatant, salacious content (The post with the woman trying to get a few thousand from the guy) If you get both MM and myself saying "This is a troll", your chance of a false positive is nearly nil. A troll is simply something designed to get a reaction. To be aware, it's not just the unlikelihood of a situation, but the details included that cause a reaction. Mar 8, 2018 at 21:16
  • This deleted question, for example, was clearly a flame-bait troll. I've done them myself. The tipoff was the combination of apparent complete ignorance with English that was clear and coherent. This was reminiscent of the troll by our friend "Poonjay Poundri" and his boss, although in that case it was more You no take candle Mar 8, 2018 at 21:21
  • SE is a good collection of helpful sites, and I don't want to see it damaged. SE is hard to troll, which unfortunately gives serious "troll cred" to anyone who manages to pull one off, which of course inspires others. Mar 8, 2018 at 21:31

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