So we have a problem, daily, with a trolling jackass posting abuse, nonsense, and more on the site. It's getting pretty old.

Could we:

  1. Get guidance on the most effective way for the community to shut down this offending content and new sockpuppet users when it happens? People seem to be spending a lot of wasted time on close votes and comments and downvoting instead of the things that will actually trigger the SE algorithm quickly.

  2. Understand what the mod team and SE CMs have done/are doing to try to block this behavior, and how we can help enable that?

  • So far I've been dealing with the posts and situation as they come. I have plans to dig deeper into it (i.e. try to find a pattern and submit to Smoke detector). In the meantime continue flagging (will try to work on an answer, g2g now)
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 1:05
  • what is the scale of the issue? I understand it is annoying, but is it a post/day or post/hour? I think i've noticed 2 "troll" posts today (kudos to mods for cleaning it up!) Mar 5, 2020 at 2:58
  • 6
    @aaaaasaysreinstateMonica it is 3-4 posts a day about how to vandalize his office. The title is usually something like "I did not get a raise?" It then gets into how he kills fish, poops on the floor, wastes paper, etc. Then there are just the questions about poop in general. Mar 5, 2020 at 4:22
  • @MatthewGaiser sorry to hear :-( i try to flag Mar 5, 2020 at 4:54
  • 7
    It's not just questions - they're also posting the same kind of thing in answers, as well as some more generally unhelpful and even offensive "answers". I also think the recent lunch thief and financial independence users are probably the same person finally trying a different tack to the raise-and-poop questions
    – HorusKol
    Mar 5, 2020 at 5:43
  • 1
    @aaaaasaysreinstateMonica workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/154410/… here is the kind of question they are posting again and again. Mar 5, 2020 at 6:07
  • 1
    when you see it, flag r/a or report it to charcoal HQ in case you're feeling generous
    – Magisch
    Mar 5, 2020 at 9:34
  • 2
    My advice from the earlier question on this remains in place: flag as spam and it will be gone within minutes.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:13
  • 2
    Perhaps you could contribute that as an answer to more effectively guide the site community to do that?
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:14
  • Could you feature this post to avoid getting more identical ones and help educate the user base please?
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 9, 2020 at 13:31
  • Does this answer your question? That troll again, what can be done?
    – gnat
    Mar 10, 2020 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Understand what the mod team and SE CMs have done/are doing to try to block this behavior, and how we can help enable that?

Flag it, flag it, and flag it, and to not feed the troll. I am usually pretty quick to get to those, but sometimes it may take some time.

The CM team is aware of the situation and that is pretty much all I know. I am confident they will help us out here. Not all trolls/spammers are stupid, and in this case we are dealing with a clever one.

Be patient please, flag it as spam or even as abusive, and do not feed it. Also by flagging it, you avoid any sort of hit to your rep.

  • 2
    There is no such thing as a clever spammer unless they make money out of it. They're either clever enough to monetise it, or too stupid to find something constructive to do. Just my opinion.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 13:24
  • 8
    @Kilisi they consider it entertainment, and the time trolling is considered entertainment time, especially if the recipient starts being frustrated. Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
    – Lucas
    Mar 5, 2020 at 13:53
  • 5
    @Lucas Nice batman quote!
    – Neo
    Mar 5, 2020 at 13:59
  • 7
    @Kilisi incorrect sir. Some do it for sport, I promise.
    – Neo
    Mar 5, 2020 at 14:00
  • 1
    I like to daydream that this troll is really a brilliant (but perhaps evil) data scientist, training some new AI model on how to avoid countermeasures. The posts they're making certainly seem like they were written by a machine, considering the repetitive and outlandish nature of the content.
    – dwizum
    Mar 5, 2020 at 14:23
  • I know some flags are more effective than others at quickly hiding content and sanctioning a related user. Could you clarify the best way for people to flag? And if content disappearing from auto flag action doesn’t automatically come to your attention, is there a way y’all would like to be made aware?
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:16
  • 2
    Right so having been a mod before I know that. I'm hoping you'll add it to your answer so everyone else knows it, since there seems to be a lot of other things people are doing when these troll posts hit.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 5, 2020 at 19:53
  • 2
    @guest yeah I know, wise sounding but actually nonsensical comments are my form of trolling
    – Kilisi Mod
    Mar 5, 2020 at 21:32
  • 1
    At the height of cleverness this might be some extremely bored person using VPNs or similar to have varying (range & individual) IP adresses. In that case the best we can do is keep deleting it until they get bored. In any case, these posts rarely live to see the hour.
    – Magisch
    Mar 6, 2020 at 7:46
  • 4
    @Kilisi - Can't wait to read one of the wise sounding ones. ;-) ;-P Mar 6, 2020 at 13:54
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    Thanks for your efforts. The spam is often disappearing too fast for me to flag it. Mar 6, 2020 at 23:11
  • 1
    Because the SE algorithm works more quickly and bans more effectively if you flag as spam.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 8, 2020 at 6:27
  • 3
    @PatriciaShanahan "Rude or Abusive" should be used for genuine comments and such that are flat out unacceptable behavior. Spam is usually defined as unacceptable commercial content, but it can also be repeated acts of completely worthless material. If you know it's junk from someone that only produces junk. it's not only "rude or abusive," it's SPAM!
    – Booga Roo
    Mar 8, 2020 at 9:41
  • 3
    @JeffreysupportsMonica it's not that it feeds the troll, it's more than if you are going to cast a flag the spam flag is a much better choice as X spam flags can auto-delete questions and ban users. Makes it a lot easier on the mods. And then I think a mix of VTC and spam flags on a post can cause problems.
    – CalvT
    Mar 18, 2020 at 16:30
  • 2
    One point to note is posts flagged as spam can show up in review audits, while abusive don't. I'm pretty sure that's the only difference these days between the two flags.
    – CalvT
    Mar 18, 2020 at 19:47

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