I'd like to block a few users who from lack of any understanding of programming, end up asking basic php questions (aka "echo get_post_meta()"), and a few others who can't be bothered to google a bit before asking... :-P

The Ignored Tags is quite prominent, but I failed to locate the same for users. Could the functionality be added?

If not, how would you guys feel if we added some kind of "bozo" tag? ;-)


4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Quick search got Ignore Users Script and from discussion it seems that concept is far from StackExchange values and such.

I don't really think it is anything radical enough (so far), but it's certainly time for some downvoting/flagging and for moderators to manage the situation.

Yes, the script is a good way to ignore specific users ... but we should be downvoting low quality content, not ignoring it. –  EAMann Dec 23 '10 at 15:24

Hi @Denis:

Part of me agrees with you. The ones that especially bother me are the ones that don't seem to learn anything from other answers I've already given them on other questions, or the ones that take an answer for granted and in the comments start asking other questions as if they have you roped in to answer for them.

On the other hand, one of the things about WordPress Answers thus far is it has been a more welcoming community than some of the other WordPress communities where they can be very quick to alienate people. I'm pretty sure even you have experienced some of that, I know I have. I'd really hate to see WordPress Answers evolve to the same level.

Yes we have more skill than some of the people asking questions, but we don't know what's going on in their life; maybe there are busy running a business and a few minutes a day is all they can stand? Or maybe they are just struggling with computers? Who knows?

I guess I'm making a plea that at least we at WordPress Answers try and stay congenial to the rest of the WordPress world so there is at least one place where WordPress users don't have to fear being alienated because they are not a guru (yet.)

JMTCW anyway.


I see your point about wanting to make the place welcoming. Then again, I'm increasingly getting the same kind of revulsion when I read WP Answers, that get when reading my forum or ticketing system -- i.e. a nauseating knot in the stomach from not wanting to read, let alone help, users who are stubbornly hacking PHP code without the slightest clue of what they're doing, and who all too often get offended when the reply amounts to a quote to get it done. (If there was some kind of "Add a $$$ bounty" button tied to questions, I'd mind a lot less...) –  Denis de Bernardy Dec 23 '10 at 18:40
@Denis - Yes, I do see your point. Maybe for those who are doing it badly you can come here and propose a "best practices" post we can collaborate on and then be able to use it for future bad answers. As for the "Add a $$$ bounty", now there's an idea... :) –  MikeSchinkel Dec 24 '10 at 0:41
Been poking around and getting the same feeling. I really dislike some of the snappy answers given to stupid questions, because it seems to lower the tone of the entire site. But it is a problem with the system, in a way. Users keep asking questions which have been answered.. but maybe the answer accepted on the previous question isn't necessarily the best or only way of solving the problem. And there's no real incentive to add new answers to old questions which are no longer active. So how do we maintain an active knowledge base without rehashing the same questions over and over? –  goldenapples Dec 30 '10 at 20:54
@goldenapples - +1 Great point! I definitely agree, the system currently incents people to provide more answers and does not incent them to curate the best answer. It seems like there should be some value in topic curation; a way to create a canonical reference to all related answers? Maybe we should add another question in meta to discuss that issue so that Jeff and Robert are sure to see it? Since it was your insight, do you want to take point on that? –  MikeSchinkel Dec 30 '10 at 23:21
Thanks, I just opened a new question. –  goldenapples Dec 31 '10 at 0:41

Totally agree.. i just hope i'm not one of these offending people.. :)

However, would it not be easier to simply rely on the mechanism in place, and down-vote questions we have an issue with?

I've been hesitant with my down-votes/flagging because i don't want to seem like a sour grape that hangs around only casting critique on others questions(plus i'm new to the SE/SO way of doing things), but that said i do feel the same as you do Denis, the repetitiveness of similar questions and/or poor questions(that can be answered with 1 minute on google) is starting to increase and some proactive measures need to taken to ensure good quality questions remain and poor ones go where they belong(into the ether).

If you want to start flagging/down voting poor questions, i'll add my vote...(if we each do it, we'll have 3 of 5 votes required already).

I vote to close almost all questions suggested by others already. I don't bother to down vote threads... Yet. Will try the script dig up by Rarst first - the again it won't necessarily work on the iPad for all I know... ;-) –  Denis de Bernardy Dec 19 '10 at 0:22
"I don't bother to down vote threads..." - That's one of the problems. If you don't downvote something, the rest of us can't quickly see that there's a problem. The downvote mechanism exists for a reason. –  EAMann Dec 23 '10 at 15:23

Moderators can add notes to use accounts to tell one another to keep an eye on their behavior. In extreme cases, accounts can be suspended or deleted by moderators as well.

So if you see someone who deserves a "bozo" flag, by all means flag their posts for moderator attention and explain why. If there's a trend forming, moderators can take appropriate action.

In the end, though, down-voting a question/answer that you think is poorly written, not well explained, or too basic to be handled here (i.e. your example of echo get_post_meta()), is definitely the preferred way of handling this. Users with significant numbers of down-votes stand out and can be easily ignored. It also serves as a not-too-subtle reminder that they need to improve the quality of their posts.

But using an ignore script, I think, is counter productive. If the people who care the most about curating quality on this site hide and ignore the lowest-quality content from their browsers, it makes it that much harder to downvote a bad post or notify a moderator when you see something out-of-whack. When new visitors come to the site, they should see quality and the passion in the community behind maintaining that quality (seen by a clear separation between good and bad posts).

I see your point about not being able to see the low quality stuff. As an aside, when I tried BBPress, I recall there was a bozo plugin that was bundled and which I found extremely sweet. In short, it allowed moderators to mark users as bozos. Bozo users were particular in that their posts could only be viewed by other bozos. Bozos could thus interact and troll together as much as they liked, without interfering with the normal flow of the forum. –  Denis de Bernardy Dec 23 '10 at 18:31

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