EDIT: Bumping because WillyA seems to have returned, though he is posting his aquagenic urticaria question on Medical Sciences and Skeptics for now.

This post is in part to let moderators and the community know to be on the alert for a particular user and post, and in part a question about what the policy should be for this kind of behavior.


What should we do when a (pair?) of users keeps posting the same question over and over again on multiple SE sites?

Full question

This user and another user (I believe, this user, but many of the posts have been autodeleted) have been repeatedly posting very similar questions on biology, medical sciences, chemistry, and skeptics, asking about blog articles and news reports on aquagenic urticaria.

Here is a recent example from biology.SE. This was the third time the question was posted in as many days. The answer did not appear to satisfy the user, since the question was subsequently posted once a day on medical sciences, and once a day on chemistry.

Some of the questions have been closed, downvoted, and autodeleted, and I don't have a link, but, if I recall, moderators and high rep users can view deleted questions. Per a moderator comment on a recent closed version of this question on skeptics, it seems possible that the two users are the same individual:

This is the fourth time this same question has been asked by you and another user from your home town, with very similar writing styles and similar refusals to accept that Aquagenic Urticaria is not a harmless skin condition, and that a newspaper writing about "allergies" to a lay audience might not be using strict medical definitions of the term. There is nothing left to explain here.

There are examples of good attempts to answer this poster here on biology (see this answer by @AliceD), and medical sciences, and chemistry, but getting an answer does not seem to satisfy the poster.

This behavior does not appear to be commercial spam, but, does feel a lot like the original message board spam... annoying repeated text. I can see an argument that the system is working here (prior questions are closed and autodeleted, current questions are closed, sometimes as duplicates, and downvoted), but for some reason it's getting under my skin (as things sometimes do). What's the policy here? Just keep downvoting and voting to close? Or is there a point where something else should be done?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I've also been very bothered by this. Thanks for raising it in meta. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Sep 26, 2018 at 19:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the pointer and awesome putting this in meta. Please flag these posts and the mod team will dive into possible dupe accounts. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Sep 26, 2018 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Thanks for bringing this problem up here at meta. We (the mods) try to find and identify such users/questions and act as necessary, but we can't be around always.

So if you spot such a question or user flag the question (use the "in need of moderator intervention" point and give a short explanation why you think there is a problem) and we will have a closer look. We will usually also recognize this faster, since there is a notification in our status bar about flags.

Still, you should also downvote and vote to close such questions.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Thanks! I see this has been resolved with a 10 year suspension for the accounts in question. This is somehow very satisfying :) $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Sep 27, 2018 at 1:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DeNovo One of the accounts was a socket puppet of an already suspended user. Trying to get around suspensions is nothing which is welcome on stackexchange :-) $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Sep 27, 2018 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Willy150 may have resurfaced as WillyA. I had flagged his repeat question about aquagenic urticaria with a note about an attempt to get around a suspension, but it looks like it was just dealt with by closing the quesiton. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Nov 21, 2018 at 17:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DeNovo Thanks for notifying. I'll take a look on it. Right now, I will simply have to watch it. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Nov 21, 2018 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ WillyA is back to posting about aquagenic urticaria (see the edit to my question). It seems this is a case of a user trying to get around a suspension again. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Mar 22, 2019 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @DeNovo He is now again suspended network-wide. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Mar 22, 2019 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't feel like typical trolling ... $\endgroup$
    – user3970
    Mar 23, 2019 at 18:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @fredsbend If you are talking about Willy A, he has been now suspended for the third time (network wide) for repeating the same stupid questions over and over again. Not only in our community. And while suspended, he generated socket puppets to get around the suspension, which is a pretty bad idea per se. But starting to ask the same questions again (this is why we spotted him) is without words... $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Right!? It's very weird. $\endgroup$
    – user3970
    Mar 23, 2019 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @fredsbend To be clear, the problem with that user was not their question per se; you could take a combination of their questions and make a reasonable one out of them. The problem was that people explained to that user on many times on many different sites where they were getting mixed up, and yet they would continue to ask and continue to cross-post after being asked not to. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Mar 23, 2019 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Presumably the same person, using many different accounts, has posted very similar questions, certainly hundreds and probably thousands of times, on various reddit sites (/askScience and /askScienceDiscussion, and others). Moderators there delete these questions on sight, and the various SE sites should be prepared to do the same. It seems pretty clear at this point that there is some mental disorder involved, and it's not possible to deal with the person in a rational way. $\endgroup$
    – iayork
    Aug 21, 2019 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @iayork We do this if necessary. If you spot it: Do as described above and we will deal with it. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Aug 21, 2019 at 18:06

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