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Recently, I have observed some user M who consistently posts nonsensical questions and in many posted answers takes an opinionated, unscientific, often even illogical stance.

The user has around 100 site rep. and gets consistently downvoted. However, many users are still trolled by M and engage in discussions. I mostly ignore M's posts but it is even annoying that I have to check the username every time I read a new question. Site visitors less familiar with economics may even be misinformed by M's posts.

Is there a way to solve this problem? What should my own course of action be?

I am not sure whether it is OK to post the username and example questions here. If it is OK, I will edit these in.

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My advice would be:

1) Politely engage with the user and peacefully suggest what is that (s)he does that it is out of this site's culture, if not policy, and I would say, in an operational way ("please clarify this", "please explain this and that more", "it seems there is a contradiction there", etc), so that your engagement is essentially an attempt to integrate the user and his or her interests with this site.

2) If in response you are faced with what you think is the same ol' excrement, silently disengage and ignore for evermore (as Edgar Allan Poe would have put it).

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Good question and I believe @Alecos has posted a useful answer for forum users.

However, I wonder if more action needs to (or can) be taken at the moderator end of things in order to uphold the purpose of economics.se, which is a question and answer site for professional and academic economists and analysts.

I personally fear that the number of low quality or opinionated / highly speculative questions and answers are acting as a drag on the site. As such, the OP (HRSE) is correct to raise this issue as a problem.

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  • $\begingroup$ My current implicit policy as a moderator is to allow the community to autonomously deal with low quality posts to the greatest extent possible through down-voting and votes to close. If there is nothing objectively wrong with a post that nevertheless seems bad then the safest approach seems to be for a number of users to down-vote it and let 'the market' drive the cream to the top. But this policy is, of course, open to discussion by the community (who the moderators serve) within the scope of the broader SE guidelines. $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous Feb 28 '16 at 16:56
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Having tried to engage the mysterious user twice I now follow Alecos's advice/2). I don't think anything more can be done. I think on occasion I have even voted not to delete answers that I disagreed with, because they were not purely opinion based. While there are obviously downsides to allowing trolls I think censorship by the (in their opinion well meaning) establishment could be worse. There is obviously some middle ground. The situation may be improved by making the guidelines for moderators on when to close and when to delete better.

Any website with a sufficient following will attract trolls. Hopefully the present and future users of Economics SE are familiar with this effect and will learn to see such users for what they are.

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