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4:17 AM
@XanderHenderson @quid there's some pretty nasty comments coming from this user lately. I've flagged several, but it appears that moderator intervention is necessary.
 
 
11 hours later…
2:58 PM
@KReiser Thanks. It appears that they were suspended before I saw this message.
 
 
2 hours later…
4:56 PM
I would like to address the following. We have an unprecedented number of "new users" registering. But without question, some of the "new users" have been using this site for quite some time, abandoning one account for another, each time they have a question. Those who do this regularly, and start out as "a new user" with magical talents knowing how to use mathjax in their "first question" seems to make the coddling by SE of "new users" a farce, in many many cases.
^^@XanderHenderson, @user21820, @ParamanandSingh. I'd love to hear your perspectives on this. You are welcome to add your perspective, too, quid, but I don't want to bother you by pinging you.
 
@amWhy (1) I agree that there are folk who are familiar with the site who create new accounts, and that this can be a problem.
(2) I do not see use of MathJax as a dead give-away. Many folk are already familiar with TeX, or read the READMEs, and learn enough MathJax to get by. It is a red flag, but by no means conclusive.
(3) I have long asserted that new users should be held to the same standards as everyone else, and that there is no reason to coddle them. We are all (or should be) adults here, and should be open to constructive, well-intentioned criticism.
 
@XanderHenderson I agree on (2), but I am talking about those asking high school first year algebra, about fractions, about highschool geometry, etc.
 
@amWhy If you see it, flag it. Creating new accounts to get around a question ban is a violation of site policy.
 
@XanderHenderson As to (3), exactly my sentiments.
 
Unfortunately, possessing multiple accounts is not a violation of policy (things would be so much easier if SE told folk "One account per person.").
 
5:08 PM
@XanderHenderson I also see it as a problem when a user creates another account to ask the same question they asked earlier, under a different username, which was closed or deleted.
 
@amWhy Presumably, this falls under the heading of creating a new account to avoid a question ban. However, posting large quantities of low-quality content is also a violation of policy, and I would tie the quantity of production to a person, not an account.
So, again, if you see it, flag it.
 
@XanderHenderson Indeed. Thanks for you thoughts!
 
NP. And now I have to prepare a lecture.
 
 
1 hour later…
6:22 PM
@amWhy My opinion is not shared by everyone, but I put very little weight on mathjax. I care almost only about mathematical effort, so it almost doesn't matter to me whether a new user uses mathjax or not (so long as they try to use it after being told to). But sockpuppetry (to do something that one cannot do with one account) is unacceptable behaviour, orthogonal to the PSQ issue.
I of course hope that flagging suspicious activity will work.
 
@user21820 I agree with you; I just find it unusual to find legitimately new users asking elementary High school level questions, but they seem to know mathjax, likely from being here many times before. I am quite patient when a legitimate new users tries their best to type out their question.
 
7:22 PM
Another thing I'd like clarification on, @Xander, @Alexander, and quid: Is it fair game to downvote answers because they answer bare bones PSQ's? I would say yes because I truly believe such answers to PSQs are not useful to this site, and are indeed harmful to it.
(Again, quid, as you have objected to many of my pings to you, I trust that if you visit this site enough to know the pulse of it, you'll discover my questions, if you care to, but I wouldn't dare ping you!!
 
8:14 PM
Except for targeted voting basically everything is allowed. One should not concentrate such votes on one or a few users, but if it is a general thing it is certainly not disallowed.
Regarding the new user thing, I agree it is a problem, I would just not give too much importance to the new user marker. It is hard to push back against this. Some might have semi-legit use-cases.
 
8:55 PM
@amWhy: I have seen this phenomenon. Two low rep (rep < 100) users A, B post exactly the same PSQ (like a copy paste) with B adding "I have no idea where to start...". Both the questions are posted in a span of less than 2 hours. One of the questions gets closed for lack of context, but the other one somehow escapes and gets an answer. I don't know for certain if sock puppets are involved, but then I voted to close the other question too.
 
@ParamanandSingh Unfortunately, that happens daily, but the SE network and CM's fail to address it.
 
One may raise a flag if there is something suspicious, but I think it is more important to keep the standard of reviews high. Treat all PSQ in the same manner. Also downvoting answers to PSQ has become common practice. I don't think answerers would mind it too much.
@amWhy: I second @XanderHenderson that we don't need to treat new users in special manner by being extra nice. If their posts indicates some unfamiliarity with site rules and mathjax then we can just comment giving links about mathjax and site rules.
 
@ParamanandSingh I agree totally with all your comments, save for "I don't think answerers would mind it too much", if answering blatant PSQ;s, and get downvoted". They do get angry and they do seek revenge. But I downvote such answers, remembering to overlook user X who happens to answer 8 psq's in a day. I will downvote once, but due to quid's "one should not concentrate such votes on one or a few users, he ties our hands to holding such answerers accountable.
@ParamanandSingh I agree whole heartedly with that too, even knowing that the Current SE CMs want us to babysit and coddle new users.
 
9:13 PM
@amWhy: while I don't engage myself in such downvoting of answers to PSQs, I sometimes explain the downvotes by adding a comment to the downvoted answer. Maybe this kind of downvoting can be discussed on meta to make it more acceptable to the community.
 
@ParamanandSingh I use it only after certain users insist on continuing that pattern, despite comments, lings, etc. The fact that ten of the top 16 users ranked on rep only, overall on math.se, regularly answer mostly, or only, PSQ's, sends a clear message to wanna be stars on this site: "earn rep at all costs!"
 
@amWhy: I know some of these users who will answer any question within their ability. I think it is they who should not mind losing a few reps due to such downvotes because they already have enough reps. The only effective strategy to counter them is the CURED chatroom.
 
I still do not understand why math.se, and its mods do not have the wherewithal to have a stricter homework policy, as does Physics.se. This is a matter that can and should be addressed at the level of math.se. Sadly, too many people, including a couple of mods, want this site to allow them to "show off skills" that most of us have here. So there is always some sort of a tug of war, even between warring mods.;
@ParamanandSingh Indeed. I agree. But I think just like users are banned from asking after deemed asking to many low-quality/downvoted/closed questions, I think that the number of answers an answerer has posted to closed and deleted posts,plus downvotes on their answers, and deletions of their answer, should indefinitely be banned from answering questions,
 
@amWhy: I don't exactly know the view of mods on this, but I think some of these high rep users have earned some real reputation (= respect) in eyes of many users and you know how it happens. It is usually difficult to argue with someone you respect.
@amWhy: even if you argue with them in a chat, it might be difficult to convince them. Implementing a policy of banning such answerers would look like a direct confrontation and may seem like high handedness in the eyes of many other users.
 
9:35 PM
@Paramanand But it's okay to ban askers from asking poor questions??? I think we have, and the moderators have tools, to more closely investigate those answering with low quality answers, or habitually answering very low quality questions. This site features the meeting of askers and answerers, and the tons of support people who aren't ever earning rep by their contributions. Askers will continue to ask poor questions so long as their are rep hunters who ...
 
@amWhy: I can understand your view fully. But I don't think mods are even aligned on the idea of downvoting PSQ answers, banning answerers of PSQ is a distant dream.
 
...who care only about "maxing out their earned reap each day" which invariably involves them answering PSQs, and implicitly telling the askers of PSQ's to come back again to have their homework solved for them.
@ParamanandSingh Indeed, and therein lies the problem.
 
So maybe we need to proceed step by step. First align everyone on "downvoting PSQ answers". If this itself is achieved in form of a policy, it will send a strong message to such PSQ answerers.
 
@ParamanandSingh And in part, for this reason, I'm all the more supportive of measures Physics SE has taken to forbid homework questions, or questions in the style of homework questions. If math se were to get serious, the rep hoarders would need to work harder, and wait longer, to earn rep.
 
Until such a policy is made we have to cure this problem via deletion in CURED
 
9:43 PM
@amWhy The problem is that if you downvote the same PSQ answerer too much, the CMs may potentially step in and reverse votes because it gives the appearance of targeted voting.
 
@ParamanandSingh Indeed. I would also like the mods to seriously consider a flag with ten links to an answerer whose answered ten PSQs in a day, e.g.
 
I think that the problem is that there are strong incentives against downvoting answers, and so not many folk actually cast such downvotes.
Thus even if a person deserves a lot of downvotes on answers, there are only a few people willing to downvote answers, so it looks targeted. :\
 
@XanderHenderson: maybe we can coordinate downvotes on CURED
 
@ParamanandSingh Do not do this.
Coordinated voting is a something that the SE overlords frown on mightily.
 
@XanderHenderson I already addressed that. I realize the limitations. But why aren't there daily quotas on the number of answers one can post, and a weekly quota, and a monthly quota?? I suspect it will encourage answers to not prioritize being the FGITW, nor in answers simple questions likely to be closed and deleted. Why is it so easy for mods and CMs to lash out at askers, but they shake in their boots in front of answerers??
 
9:48 PM
@amWhy I think that the rep cap is an attempt to implement some kind of daily quota.
 
@XanderHenderson: i have not done any such thing so far and won't do unless there is a policy
 
For whatever reason, SE privileges answers, and it much more lax about their moderation. It is harder to downvote an answer, for example.
 
@XanderHenderson Not to the extent that askers are limited. Give me a break. If SE wants parity (example 10 points for an upvote on either a question or an answer, they are way off their goals.
 
I think that there is an implicit assumption that if a question attracts an answer, then the answer is likely to be of better quality than the question. So if the question is not closed or deleted, the answer is probably fine.
This is clearly a problem on Math SE, where terrible questions are often answered quickly.
Answerers are also not penalized, really, for having their answers deleted when a question is deleted.
 
@XanderHenderson: it makes sense for Q&A sites to value answers because well people search answers
 
9:51 PM
@XanderHenderson Yes, I was writing when you posted last. I just find so many inconsistencies in enforcement of and limitations, depending on subjective factors.
 
That, actually, might be a good metric to put into the automatic-answer-ban-manchine: answers deleted when a low-quality question is deleted, or when a question is closed for quality.
@amWhy That's the point; I don't think that SE really does want parity between questions and answers. Answers are given the benefit of the doubt, where questions are not.
I mean, there is no Roomba for bad answers.
 
@ParamanandSingh It's a chicken and egg: which comes first? sort of conundrum. Were it not for askers, there'd be no need for answerers. And if there were no answerers, there'd be no point in asking.
 
I will have to leave now (for sleep which is already disturbed ). Bye @amWhy @XanderHenderson. Will discuss tomorrow more on this.
 
ARG! So much email! My phone keeps buzzing!
I have to turn that off. :(
 
And this goes back to Jeff Atwoodd, who quid recently championed, by quoting him repeatedly. The thing is, he is ancient in the history of SE. And it's time to replace his "A theory of moderation" ... because it continues to change those elected moderators of sites.
@ParamanandSingh Sleep well!!
@XanderHenderson >:{ Email! Humbug!!
 
10:00 PM
@amWhy On thread, 12 emails in the last 10 minutes.
 
@XanderHenderson OMG! From students? Or both students and faculty? or also family??
 
Faculty.
We are trying to hire a new president. I'm on the search committee.
Three more.
Okay, I have to go.
 
@XanderHenderson That's a time-drain, but you have a chance to help shape the direction of the college. \o See you, Xander.
 
10:46 PM
@amWhy where did I do that?
I linked one answer of his along with a couple of other posts, three IIRC correctly.
I recommended specifically an answer written by somebody else.
 
@quid here:
Nov 30 at 14:54, by quid
11
A: What, if anything should one do if a user's "about me" profile section contains extremely inflammatory terms (racist, etc.)

Jeff AtwoodOh, this user, whose name rhymes with "bosshog", definitely knows better. Our general approach has been to take a hands-off approach to the user page -- it's for you to place whatever you want there, within reason. Obviously racism, hate speech, any sort of overt evil will not be tolerated. But ...

 
And where else?
"by quoting him repeatedly"
my emphasis
 
@quid I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that you did so in your private chat. You can delete my comment you quote. It's too late for me to do so. I had a sort of visceral reaction to "jeff atwood's" words being used to justify SE practices and policies 8 years later.
 
@amWhy alright. I don't think this happened but never mind.
 
I took a double take, literally, and It just stuck with me. I am sorry I mispoke, so please edit my comment accordingly
@quid '"I think you're lying" but never mind'?
 
10:59 PM
@amWhy I did not say that you were lying I affirmed my conviction that I did not mentioned Jeff recently anywhere else.
 
@quid Alright. I did not mean to upset you, or disparage you.
 
@amWhy no you just tried to keep up the appearance that maybe the initial affirmation was correct and whence me contradicting it unjustified.
 
@quid What? I have no clue what you mean. Leave me alone.
 
@amWhy what I mean is that you could easily have checked the "perhaps mistakenly" using "perhaps mistakenly" leaves a doubt as to what happened.
This puts me in the position to either accept that or to contradict it.
Either way that's likely a pointless escalation over a somewhat minor thing.
 
11:26 PM
quid Yes, you're being vindictively petty.
 

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