Is the behaviour of a user who:

  • in the majority of his (well) answered questions doesn't accept an answer and goes on asking further and further questions in the comments, almost always exceeding the scope of the original questions, always with a know-all attitude
  • refuses to accept that an answer of his is not appropriately written, leading to misleading statements (their poor English doesn't help as well)
  • unaccepts a previously accepted answer, two months after, without any change in the question or the answer and without giving any reasons for it

considered problematic?

If so is there a way to moderate this behaviour? If not, what can be done? Because generally this specific user is asking many very interesting questions and the answers always require a bit, to a lot of work and I feel it isn't worth to answer because it will result to an endless conversation in the comments and terrible anger against this behaviour, despite I truly want to answer these questions because they're nice and close to my expertise and possibly useful for other users as well.

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    $\begingroup$ Don’t feed the troll. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


First, some specifics for the behaviours you ask about:

  1. Like voting, accepting an answer is completely up to the individual user. Just like there is no "wrong" way to vote on a post, there is no wrong way in accepting or not accepting an answer. The accept mark is really only saying "the asker found this answer the most helpful". They can do with it as they please, there is nothing problematic about this.

  2. Similarily, if you have pointed out a possible improvement on a post and the author refuses to incorporate it, just move on - you have done everything you could. Refusing to accept another user's opinion about the quality of one's post is not problematic in itself, and users are not required to respond to feedback. If this devalues the post significantly in your eyes, you should consider downvoting it.

  3. Comments are for requesting clarification of the post being commented on, or for criticizing it. If comments contain questions that could be asked as questions on their own, you should direct users making such comments to ask a separate question. If they don't and you feel they're asking too many questions in comments, remember that you are not required to respond. If the questions are not connected to the post, you might flag the comments as no longer needed.

And now for some general comments:

Remember that while questions are asked by specific people, you as an answerer are not beholden to them. If OP doesn't like your answer, maybe other members of the community will. You seem frustrated because the expectations of one specific asker seem unreasonable or otherwise annoying to you. But you can simply refuse to engage in trying to satisfy these - from your viewpoint unreasonable - expectations and let your answer stand as it is.

If the question is interesting and you already think your answer might be useful to others, then before trying to moderate away benign variations in how people use this site, maybe you could already be content with that and move on.

On the other hand, if you consider the behaviour of specific users objectively unacceptable (such as violating the Code of Conduct) and not just annoying to you personally, then please also feel free to raise a custom moderator flag on specific instances of such behaviour. If we ultimately find the behaviour not actionable, there's no harm done.

  • $\begingroup$ How about editing your last paragraph to mention the standard flags? Otherwise people might get the wrong idea about what kind of flag they should be casting. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 21:44
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    $\begingroup$ I think I disagree with this answer. While for individual threads all of this applies, if the behaviour detailed by OP here is a wide-ranging pattern encompassing >50% of a user's posts and more than five or six threads (say), then I would argue that, while not against the cold-and-hard rules, it is definitely antisocial behaviour with respect to the standards that this community has been built on and should be able to expect from users. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I think the real question is not whether or not this behaviour is "problematic" or something "the community can expect users not to do", but whether we encourage users not to do this or whether we enforce it. We can best discourage them by doing what I say in this post: Don't reward their behaviour by engaging with it. The only way to enforce it would be to suspend them. Are you willing to go there and say we should suspend people that don't use their accept votes as we would see reasonable and that use comments to ask questions that go over the original scope? $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind Personally I would be in favor of being able to have a personal "rating list" which would tell you if you had such troubles with users in the past repeatedly, to avoid unnecessary work. Has happened to me a few times that I answered a question just to realize later that this was user X (there's more than one X) who would argue endlessly. But I understand this is not going to happen. (Indeed, after a while one even remembers those usernames.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind This is why I used the term 'antisocial behaviour': it is not against any cold-and-hard formal rules, so 'enforcement' is not the right concept to use here, but that doesn't mean that the behaviour is not problematic or should not be addressed. As a (very crude) analogy, take farting in an elevator: it is not illegal, so legal responses are not the right tool, but it is antisocial, and the correct response is a social one. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty It's not necessarily antisocial. Many, many times I've asked questions that go beyond a textbook treatment, and people answer by just reciting the textbook. In these cases I find it completely appropriate to not accept the answer and point this out in comments. Without diving into the details, it's impossible to know whether OP's complaint is about antisocial behavior on the questioner's end, or insufficient answers on the answerer's end. $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ @knzhou There are borderline cases, but there are also clear-cut cases. There are people asking vague (or even concrete) questions and, upon an answer, argueing forever in the comments, asking new questions over and over. I could point out examples but it is not wanted, not really appropriate, and not really worth the effort. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 20:09

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