A question came up with a mass number of answers that are all repeats of earlier answers, and some even spam linking to other game-answer sites: What is the meaning of the Black Ops "Ascension" numbers.

Should we be counteracting this low-rep user posts with more than just down-votes and flagging? Moderator attention and 'protecting' a question (preventing users with low rep from answering) are options but may in the long run start to swamp moderators as gaming.stackexchange gets more popular and this issue pops up more.

Would an automatic 'protection' mechanism like preventing all users with reputation less than 10-50 from answering questions solve the problem, meaning a new user will have to submit one or two good questions before being able to answer any?

EDIT: I just saw that some posts are flagged as low-quality, not sure how much that tackles this problem but include it in your discussion if you think it's relevant.

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    Other solutions are being considered: chat.meta.stackoverflow.com/rooms/89/conversation/… – WillfulWizard Jan 7 '11 at 22:21
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    Also we have the new /review page to help us weed out problem answers (and questions for that matter). – C. Ross Jan 7 '11 at 22:21
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    Linking to a page that is relevant to the question is definitely not spam, even if it belongs to the answerer and his or her whole reason for posting the answer was to point to the site. At least by my definition, spam is when the linked page is unrelated to the question at hand - such as a homepage of a general gaming website, or a gambling site. – Oak Jan 7 '11 at 23:59
  • Ouch, the number of downvotes says I shouldn't worry about it. Good points below. – Sadly Not Jan 11 '11 at 18:53

TL;DR version: you need to be actively looking at posts by new users and thinking, hmm, could this person be an asset to our community?

The answer is really this:


Also, any new posts which our heuristic decides are likely to be very low quality are auto-flagged.

Once you get to a high enough answer volume we can flip on the new user new answer EULA as well, which is triggered under similar "ew, this looks like a bad answer" conditions -- https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/how-to-answer


The first reputation points are by far the hardest earned. The last thing we should do is making that even harder by forcing new users to only gain reputation via question upvotes.

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    Aye to this. We all had to start at 1 reputation at some point. I still remember my first answers on Stack Overflow and on Meta Stack Overflow. – Grace Note Jan 7 '11 at 22:27

The whole point of Stack Exchange is to get answers and to post answers. It is one of the two primary forms of participation, and discouraging it in favor of questions is rather counterproductive.

Reputation is not an indication of someone's capacity to answer a question - someone who is fresh to the site may still be able to provide the complete solution. Requiring them to post some questions first hurts both the question asker and the answerer. This denies the asker a solution, and blocks the answerer from entry into the community. Not everyone can come up with good questions, and we can lose a lot of potential experts if we stop them from doing what they excel at.

Protection in itself is a specialized solution. It is primarily used to block questions that are solved from accumulating spam - the assumption here is that the answer is already provided so we don't have to worry about blocking real content. But protecting unsolved questions, especially to expand it to all questions... would be hurting more than it helps.

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