For instance, user252244 has asked twelve questions in the three days they have been a member and ten of them have been closed. That's an 83% close rate. These generic "userXXXXX" accounts seem mostly inactive but when they are active they seem to ask a lot of poor questions.

These account names also indicate a minimum of investment in becoming a productive member of our communities (that they didn't take the time to choose a unique, meaningful or memorable username might imply that they won't take the time to formulate useful questions).

Need anything be done about these accounts in general or do we continue to handle them on a case-by-case basis? Can anything be done that is more useful than a "please choose a meaningful/memorable username" suggestion and a reiteration to read the FAQ before asking questions?

  • 1
    "that they didn't take the time to choose a unique, meaningful or memorable username might imply that they won't take the time to formulate useful questions" I strongly disagree with this. To be honest, I think a usersXXXX's lack of English skills are a bigger issue in asking questions than not choosing a name.
    – AngryBird
    Jun 21, 2011 at 19:59
  • @Bill How does that strongly disagree with what I said? It's a lot easier to pick a good username than it is to improve one's English skills. Jun 21, 2011 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


The issue in this case is that someone (I'm looking at you, programmers.se community) voted up quite a few of this user's questions. Looking at the profile I see:

+7 +3 +3 +1 +1

That is basically what is enabling this user to continue asking at this point.

I would also recommend deleting some of the worst questions on the account, as this will hasten matters.

Essentially, what you should be asking yourself is "How many closed, deleted, flagged, and downvoted questions does this user have?"


At the moment we have to handle them on a case by case basis.

We moderators have contacted the team about getting the same poor question detecting algorithms that are implemented on Stack Overflow enabled here - apparently it already is (see Jeff's comment).

To make this algorithm effective you can do your bit by down-voting those questions that are "unclear and not useful" and don't "show any research effort" (taken from the new voting tooltips), voting to close and flagging particularly bad questions. If, however, you can see that there is a germ of a half-decent question present edit the post to try to reveal it.

Don't forget - down-votes on questions are now free - there's no -1 reputation penalty any more.

Please don't just down-vote or vote to close all questions by these users simply because of who posted it. Take each question on it's merits.

Additionally, once an question has been closed you can vote to delete after 2 days (immediately if you have 20K+ reputation) so please feel free to do some house keeping on these bad questions.

  • 1
    it is already enabled. The problem is the community here has made this behavior possible .. see my answer. May 16, 2011 at 21:50
  • @Jeff - Thanks for the definitive answer.
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 16, 2011 at 22:00
  • switching my accept to Jeff since his is "definitive" :) May 16, 2011 at 22:41
  • @Rein - fair enough.
    – ChrisF Mod
    May 16, 2011 at 22:49

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