Currently, we have two categories for flagging of posts that should be deleted ASAP: "spam" and "rude/abusive." Posts so flagged get the bum's rush on out of here as soon as possible. Other flags (other than "moderator attention") go into the standard "when we get around to it" hopper and may never be deleted.

What do we do, then, about this kind of answer? I quote it in its entirety:

lay lay lay lay lay lay lay - all the way

Although one might argue that the poster is making a good-faith effort to answer the question, it seems not to be a very serious effort. In my view, it's more than a "not an answer" flag should handle. I would characterize it as trolling or vandalism. It is just a deliberate waste of everyone's time.

Is it possible to add a "vandalism/trolling" flag reason with automatic escalation such as happens with rude/abusive and spam flags? Or at least to broaden the definition of "rude/abusive" to include those offenses?

  • 2
    I think the guidance for the rude/abusive flag already includes vandalism and trolling as a proper use. Maybe the real issue here is that the description and possibly the name of the flag needs to be improved. A link to the code of conduct only covers the abusive toward others, not the abuse of the site or trolling.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 13:28
  • Another example: "fwertyuytrewqwertyuioiuytrewqwsertyuioiuytreweruiop[poiutrertyuiuytrtyuiuytrtyuytrertytreertyuiopoiuytrtyuiop[poiuytrsa!!@#$%ˆ$#@!@#$%ˆ$#$%ˆ&" Commented Aug 6, 2020 at 17:38
  • Now these kind of answers are proliferating. See, for example, this one: "tguykjfyufyrxyfyiglkjkguylgyigio;khjtyuijkjbyfytdefybn nuhghjgfhg". I think there should be a voting system for its deletion. Like it will require 3 'delete-votes' to delete spam answers immediately (fast deletion) or a different category as you say.. Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Is it possible to add a "vandalism/trolling" flag reason with automatic escalation such as happens with rude/abusive and spam flags?

Let me ask a counter-question: how do you intend this flag to be handled differently than a rude/abusive flag? I'm not a ♦ moderator here, but when a post like this gets flagged as rude/abusive on English Language Learners, I think that's a good call from the flagger. (I realize other moderators may have a different opinion on this.)

I will probably delete the post (thereby marking the flag as helpful); there is a (very) small chance the author doesn't really understand the culture here and may become a good contributor in the future. A rude/abusive flag cast by me would prevent them (for a month or so) to submit more posts.

A 'Not an Answer' or 'Very Low Quality' flag will put the post in the Low Quality Posts queue, where the community will handle it. You can also downvote, refresh the page and vote to delete (the refresh is necessary in this case since you can only vote to delete answers with a negative score). Three votes to delete (by 20k+ users) will get rid of the post as well.

  • 1
    I don't intend for it to be handled differently from a rude/abusive flag. I'm asking for it to be handled like that flag, which is stated clearly in the final sentence of my post.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 20:22
  • 1
    Clear; I'd be happy to flag such a post as rude/abusive, but YMMV.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 20:23
  • So would I, but perhaps "rude/abusive" could be extended to include "vandalism/trolling"? (I just now added that to the request.)
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 20:28
  • 2
    @Robusto I’d say vandalism and trolling count as an abuse of the system. But in any case I usually downvote, refresh, and vote to delete, as G says here. That attracts other eyes who also VtD, so the post doesn’t survive very long.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 11:25
  • Using the rude/abusive flag for nonsense posts is already documented as the correct way to handle them: What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work? Abuse of the system or community is everything that is created with the intention to harm them. This includes posts by new users that contain no useful content at all – i.e. gibberish
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 14:43
  • @ColleenV I think the OP isn't comfortable with labelling these kind of answers as gibberish.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 14:44
  • 2
    I guess I am harsh, because repeating a word over and over so you that you can post the minimum characters in an answer without writing a complete sentence to express your thought seems to be pretty straightforward abuse of the community to me. Whether it is technically gibberish or not, the intent seems clear. Thwart the rules that are there to encourage high quality contributions.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 14:47
  • 1
    @DanBron I try to do the same, but that only works if it has 0 score. If someone (and this does happen) upvotes it, you can't vote to delete. Also, I never know if anybody else will add to delete voting - that is a queue that people never seem to look at.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 15:42
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    Only one moderator's opinion, but I hate people using "rude/abusive" for posts which are not rude or abusive towards people. I don't view abuse of the system as warranting a rude/abusive flag. That's for personal, ad-hominem abuse. An abuse of the system should be handled by the system (including community members handling not-an-answer or low-quality flags).
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 20:11
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach: And at least one high-rep user's opinion! I agree "answers" like the one under consideration here aren't in the same league as "hate" posts directed at individuals, and they're not really "spam" either. It's really just "litter" that can and should be cleared away by ordinary users - there's no good reason to dump the extra work on moderators, imho. Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 17:25
  • @AndrewLeach Is it because of the words describing the flag, or the consequences that you think abusing the system shouldn't use the rude/abuse flag? The community can handle rude/abuse flags - it just takes six votes instead of one from a mod, so encouraging people to use the flag as it is described in the usage guide linked from the help center would be an improvement in the "system" handling them. A post should be marked as rude or abusive (formerly known as offensive) if it contains hate speech, obscenities, abuse against people, or abuse of the community or system, ...
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 13:48
  • @ColleenV Abuse of the system doesn't merit the rep fine associated with six "rude" flags.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 14:25
  • @AndrewLeach Why not? It's only 100 rep and that would be a great incentive to not post one word answers with "and I am just writing this because I need to meet the 15 character limit" appended.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:33
  • (I got pulled away before I could finish my thought...) Reputation penalties should be employed to ensure that people abusing the system are less likely to have trusted user privileges in the system they are abusing. Otherwise reputation is well and truly useless. If someone with a association bonus drops by and posts egregiously low quality stuff, they should lose their association bonus at least in my opinion.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:53
  • 1
    I don't think it should be handled differently, but I agree there is value in categorizing it differently. It should be made clear that you are calling something out for system abuse as opposed to user abuse. Call it my OCD tendencies, but I'd rather put all plates of the same shape together, even if they are all used for eating off of … (And it causes me a degree of mental anguish to force myself to put differently shaped plates together.) I, too, would never flag gibberish under the current abuse category. Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 19:02

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