For over a year now, we have seen an individual post lengthy, vociferous questions multiple times per week from ever new accounts. The idiosyncratic, entitled tone and repetitive lines of inquiry of "Sybil" have led to multiple regular contributors independently discovering the pattern. Unfortunately, numerous attempts at providing feedback on the delivery of their inquiries have been met with little understanding and no improvement.

Some of Sybil's favorite topics include:

Note that the majority of Sybil's content is deleted, and the above samples are selected from the more palatable specimen. Usually, repeated subpar content would lead to a user's account being banned from asking more questions, but since Sybil creates a new account for each post, they evade Stack Exchange's standard mitigations.

Frankly, I find Sybil's activity tiresome and consider it a time-sink for regular contributors. I'm writing about it here to a) spread awareness, and b) invite discussion of how to approach the situation.

  • 1
    Does Community Management know of these ongoing problems? If not, you might try reaching a CM in the Teacher's Lounge (the chatboard for mods on the SE network). – Todd Trimble Jun 21 at 19:21
  • Hey @ToddTrimble , I've tried reaching out in TL once or twice, but the only advice I got was to try to flag it as spam to get their IP banned. TBH, I haven't tried emailing CM directly about it yet, but I guess they might have more powerful tools at their disposal. Thanks for the suggestion. – Murch Mod Jun 21 at 19:26
  • I'm a mod at MathOverflow, and we've occasionally had really determined users who use many accounts. It seems to be true that enough deletions/destructions of hydra-like accounts as spam eventually has the effect of wearing them out, but it can take a long time, and I think your issue merits a more hands-on approach using stronger tools, yes. Good luck! – Todd Trimble Jun 21 at 19:31

After initially spending some hours on editing a number of Sybil's posts to their sporadic viable kernels and providing feedback how they may improve their questions' reception, my approach has now been to

  1. close obvious repetitions as duplicates
  2. liberally downvote low-quality questions of the described pattern instead of expending further effort on them
  3. only edit actually novel questions to a workable distillate

and would like to encourage other users to help cull bad questions.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .