This recent question about $300 meals felt somewhat off to me, and comments moved to chat suggest that many other readers felt that way too. When I saw it in HNQ I recalled that mod advice for "engineered" questions is to flag them for removal from network wide list. Back then, I decided to ignore this advice and abstained from flagging.

I decided not to flag because I thought that some overspending (okay, maybe 10x smaller than in this question) is fairly plausible issue anyway and it may get some generally useful answers. And I especially liked how one ot the top answers clearly and explicitly pointed that this story is not believable.

However later things went in a direction worse that I was expecting. Asker accepted fairly slippery answer (per my reading it was bordering on advice to commit fraud) and updated the story with details that made it look like totally made up, as was explained in comments:

At least 30 colleagues, all of whom were given $43 to spend but chose to only spend a dollar a meal instead of having something decent, all of whom decided to help out someone who chose to eat like a king that week. None of whom foresaw a problem claiming they shared dinner for the purposes of one expense report and then had their actual dinner separately for a dollar. This must be one of the most unlikely resolutions I have ever read on here.

It is too late to flag now because system already removed the question from HNQ due to its age but I would like to learn for the future, what would make better sense to do in cases like that.

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    It's pretty clear that the question and the answer were fabricated nonsense. Note that the member who wrote the accepted answer has only one answer and one question. And that question is nonsense as well: Anti-handwashing in the office Oct 14, 2022 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


I think go with your gut. There's no harm done flagging it for removal from HNQ, at least it brings it to mod attention.

The question is flaky at best in my opinion, the accepted answer even moreso. I'd have removed it from HNQ if I'd seen a flag.

Without a flag I left it as one of those first World issues I have no experience with.

  • 2
    FWIW I just saw a question that looks like an attempt to exploit a popularity of that meals story by engineering its flipside here. Can't tell if this is the same user hiding by a sock puppet account or just some passer-by troll
    – gnat
    Oct 14, 2022 at 7:11

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