This seems a reasonable idea to me, perhaps even with a lower threshold than other flags.

The suggestion of flagging as 'Spam' is factually incorrect.

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    At some point, the way of trolling becomes Spam... moment in which the flag would be appropriate I think. – DarkCygnus Mar 10 '20 at 21:33
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    @DarkCygnus I think the Rude/Abusive flag would be better, if appropriate, or using a custom flag (especially when a troll attempt is more opaque) - spam flags should be reserved for promotional spam. See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/218095/what-s-not-spam meta.stackexchange.com/questions/234032/… – Bryan Krause Mar 10 '20 at 22:10
  • The bottom line is that the spam flags work the best for quick blocking in the SE algorithm. Using anything else will work worse unless SE central implements a feature. They won't, so us doing anything other than flag as spam is just doing things worse. – mxyzplk Mar 10 '20 at 22:15
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    A Troll flag seems reasonable to me, if it worked like the Spam flag does. Maybe it would just be easier to change the text of the flag to say "Spam or Trolling". – Joe Strazzere Mar 10 '20 at 22:26
  • @BryanKrause they involve extra typing of reasons etc,. thats a minor win for the troll – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:40
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    @JoeStrazzere thats a better idea, just a small change of text – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:40
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    @Kilisi The rude/abusive flag seems much more appropriate assuming the content fits that description, rather than Spam. Again, SE defines "spam" narrowly as promotional in nature, rather than a broader definition that includes "junk and noise". See shog's answer here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/218101/401068 – Bryan Krause Mar 10 '20 at 22:44
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    @BryanKrause yeah, doesn't fit all trolling though, I just want an easy click, thats all a troll is worth. See it, click, move on. – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:45
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    I take shog's advice there to support expanding the definition of "abusive" to include abuse of the system (trolling would be abuse of the system) rather than expanding the definition of spam. – Bryan Krause Mar 10 '20 at 22:46
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    @BryanKrause whatever works for you, simple solutions are my preference, not refining definitions. – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:48
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    @Kilisi That's fair, I just wanted to respond to DarkCygnus's suggestion that flagging as spam could work (which you also mentioned in your question as being inaccurate). If one is going to use one of the existing templates, I think it's better to use the rude/abusive one. That's all my $0.02. – Bryan Krause Mar 10 '20 at 22:51
  • @Kilisi - I've edited my answer to also suggest an alternative. I don't know if it will appeal to you, but I want to draw your attention to it, in case it does. – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 11:12

Technically not feasible. We have used all of our custom close reasons (cf previous discussions on adding extra reasons) and I'm not even sure it's possible to modify the flag types.

More to the point: the suggestion remains to use either the spam or rude/abusive flags depending on post content. Both flags will trip automatic removal when 6 such flags are received.

Flags for moderator attention will help if one of us is online but the recommendation as per previous threads remains to use the two main flags above. Close votes shouldn't be used: that's just wasted effort.

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    Doesn't seem very intuitive.But if it's not feasible, then it;s not. – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:52
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    @Kilisi Could you clarify what you mean by that? There's more detail on the rationale here and especially here – Lilienthal Mar 10 '20 at 22:53
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    Exactly, I need to read the rationale (not intuitive),,, which is more effort than I'd make for a troll. But if we can't modify anything then it's ok by me.... I was just suggesting something. – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:54
  • @Kilisi Seems like it'd only be a problem for novice users who either can't flag or don't know how anyway. Vast majority of flags come from established community users with most from regulars who keep an eye on meta as well. I'm not sure there's much else to gain by specifying anything in further detail? – Lilienthal Mar 10 '20 at 22:57
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    it doesn't matter if there was anything to gain, we can't change it so moot – Kilisi Mar 10 '20 at 22:58
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    So, take the question to main meta? – Haem Mar 11 '20 at 10:39
  • @Lilienthal - While your answer is useful in terms of whether or not it could be done, it seems a little out of sync with the question, which seems to be "should it be done?" – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 10:35
  • @AikenDrum Well, only the first paragraph explains why it can't be done. As Haem indicated that means any such proposal would need to go to main meta as a feature request. But the rest of my answer covers my stance on this and why in my view it shouldn't be done. – Lilienthal Mar 23 '20 at 19:54

No. "Trolling" is a very broad, loaded label with extreme prejudice built into it.

Just as some people will quickly call anyone who bothers them politically either a Nazi or a Commie as an easy way to dismiss them entirely AND vilify them in the same word, I think "Troll(ing)" could also end up as a catch-all close reason that's far too easy to apply, far too damning in effect, far too controversial for other mods to get involved with if they disagree ("and remember, @modXYZ supported trolling!"), and far too hard for the target to defend against.

Your own comment, "perhaps even with a lower threshold than other flags" pretty much confirms what I'm saying here.

You have "Rude/abusive" and "Spam". Those are entirely sufficient.

Edit: It occurs to me that I could offer a descriptive alternative that still satisfies your request while being far less loaded and prejudicial, e.g.: "Encourages non-productive discussion"

  • I've actually given up on the whole thing, mods say it's not technically doable, so thats enough for me. I just flag as spam and do the extra mouse click – Kilisi Mar 23 '20 at 11:38
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    @Kilisi - Fair enough, but I still think the question and answers here may be useful in the future when someone else is considering a similar request. Although I disagreed with the proposition, it was still a very good question to ask, which has actually reminded me to go upvote the question itself. 👍 – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 11:59
  • I'm not convinced it's worth an upvote, the only value we got out of it is we now know a limitation to what can be done by the mods. But up to you – Kilisi Mar 23 '20 at 12:11
  • Software is fluid. What's a limitation today may not be tomorrow, so there's always a chance this will become a valid question again in the future. – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 12:17

Trolling is definitely rude, though, so the correct flag reason is "Rude or Abusive."

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    na.... doesn't have to be rude. Our chap is an amateur, hence the poo, racism and swearing, but trolling can be very politely done. – Kilisi Mar 11 '20 at 5:01
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    @Kilisi It's intrinsically rude to troll, though (which is why it's banned in the first place). – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '20 at 5:02
  • thats a different issue.It's rude to disagree as well, but we do it. – Kilisi Mar 11 '20 at 5:03
  • @Kilisi I don't agree - it's almost inevitable (or, at least, unavoidable) that people will disagree, but it's not inevitable that people will troll. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '20 at 5:04
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    I wish I could agree with this, but I've stumbled on numerous people (not on SE) arguing with me that their trolling actually was a little jest and that I should get a sense of humour. – Clockwork Mar 19 '20 at 10:21
  • @Kilisi - I disagree with your claim that it's rude to disagree. I'm not being rude, I'm just offering a different point of view, i.e. that disagreement is not rude. You seem far too quick to assign broad labels without sufficient backing evidence and/or rationale, which is why I've written a "No" answer to your question. – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 10:33
  • @AikenDrum in my culture disagreeing with an elder even if they're totally palpably wrong is extremely rude and has been the cause for war in older times, so it's relative. – Kilisi Mar 23 '20 at 10:36
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    @Kilisi - That is definitely not the norm worldwide. Your elders are just using the fallacy of "argument from authority" to defend their wrong ideas against legitimate questions. In most Western societies that and they would be what is seen as being "rude". It's a bit like how some societies or social castes treat "honor" differently, with commoners seeing honor as something bestowed on someone for their good and humble works, while the aristocracy sees honor as something others are obliged to bestow, lest they suffer the consequences of not knowing their place in society. – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 10:48
  • @AikenDrum because it differs from your non-culture right now doesn't mean it's wrong, probably was the same in your ancestors time at some point. And the whole World? What would you know about that? – Kilisi Mar 23 '20 at 11:35
  • @Kilisi - I simply meant that what you described for your society is not the norm worldwide, not that the norm worldwide is decidedly the opposite. Neither set of social rules is the norm in a diverse world. However, on an English-language site, the majority of users will have Western values and mores. In most of the west, what I described is usually how rudeness would be evaluated. I don't mean to imply more than I've said, nor did I issue a judgement on your society being "wrong"—I only spoke to what you said about your elders having "palpably wrong" ideas they defend via seniority. – Aiken Drum Mar 23 '20 at 11:57
  • @AikenDrum since I'm both an elder and a chief I'll happily confirm that it's an outdated cultural burden that holds back progress :-) and one I regularly flout – Kilisi Mar 23 '20 at 12:04

Flagging it as spam or rude/abusive is one option, and especially relevant to the more obvious cases.

For cases you think might be trolling, but you're not so sure about, you can alternatively:

  • Edit it if the question is technically on topic but there are some offensive details that aren't strictly necessary to answer the underlying question or ones that could be replaced with a general summary.

    This means taking an attempt at trolling and turning it into a good and useful question that can help others. Alternatively, trolls end up posting such questions in the first place to get past our moderation. Either way, mission accomplished.

  • Close it if it's not on topic, or it's a duplicate.

  • Downvote it if you don't feel it's useful. Questions with negative score are less visible on the site and these typically eventually end up getting closed or deleted after a while.

  • Move on regardless of whether or not you did any of the above. Do not comment. Do not post on Meta about it (you can potentially use a custom flag if you think someone else should take a look at it). Dwelling on it wouldn't help anyone, and you engaging with the post (in a way other than simply casting a vote or flag) is what they want.

For both editing and closing as duplicates, it would help if we actually focus on making reference-worthy questions and answers by removing unnecessary or tangential details from questions and giving more general answers instead of what we're currently doing: focusing too much on the specific details of individual questions, which means there are very few cases of questions that would actually provide an answer to someone having the same problem.

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