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My questions keep getting locked up whenever I put a bounty on them. How do I deal with this? I feel as though I am being abused or just harassing as a novice.

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    Can you give us an example? Link us to a post? – AncientSwordRage May 14 '14 at 18:01
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    So you have a single example? The first step should have been to ask why that particular question was locked, not immediately jumping to claims of abuse or harassment. – Anthony Grist May 14 '14 at 18:12
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    Did the question really warrant/need a bounty? It's got 2300+ views in 2 days, and 2 non-deleted answers. – phantom42 May 14 '14 at 18:27
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    @giacomocasanova If you wanted to do that you should have selected the option that corresponds to that, not the "Draw attention" one. – Anthony Grist May 14 '14 at 18:39
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    youtube.com/watch?v=jVfkYZmXHAg – Valorum May 14 '14 at 19:07
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    I stand by my answer. If I want to promote a question with a bounty, it's my right to do so - per the Help Centre "if...you feel a particular question still isn't getting enough attention, adding a bounty may help". It doesn't say when I'm allowed to do it. – Valorum May 14 '14 at 20:38
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    @Keen - If you're referring to your own comment on Richard's answer, that does NOT in any way read to me like "Don't post bounties to bump". Merely an explanation of WHY he wants to do it. Moreover, NOWHERE in the site rules does it say (AFAIK) that you can't use bounties to gather views. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 14 '14 at 22:45
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    @keen - I'll take your word for that, I didn't see that being stated on the original Meta question. And why was he told not to use bounties? That's a perfectly acceptable reason to use the bounties according to the site rules (which basically there are none). Stupid reason, but not against the rules. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 14 '14 at 23:04
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    @JimmyShelter - um... NO. Frequent edit bumps are frowned upon because they cause problems for the site. No problems can be caused by bounties, both due to their nature AND the fact that you can't put them too frequently – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 14 '14 at 23:12
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    @Izkata - Wanting to get a views badge is NOT in and out of itself against the site rules. So no, using a bounty is NOT "the same" - the former is doing something detrimental to the site (polluting activity feed AND wasting reviewers time) with great frequency; the latter is once a week non-impactful activity. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 8:04
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    @JimmyShelter - you are on a meta question about locking a VERY SPECIFIC question. Not about locks in general or user's pattern in general. This question had no bad activity on it. The only PROPER answer is "the question was locked because a mode felt like it". Other questions with edit bumps are 100% irrelevant- they WERE locked, and somewhat justifyably so. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 12:57
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    @JimmyShelter - lack of ability to express himself clearly on this guy's part (he was only talking about one post locked for bounties, not multiple) doesn't excuse the mod's actions – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 13:25
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    ...and now the poor guy is suspended? :/ – Martha May 16 '14 at 21:40
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    @Martha - He was also abusive and spammed 30+ questions onto a moderator's feed. Arguably he had quite a good case for reversing the lock on his question but he then shot himself in the foot with his later actions. Frankly he needed banning for that but Keen seems to have taken pity on him. – Valorum May 17 '14 at 17:58
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    @Richard: he was wronged and he lashed out in frustration. Totally understandable. A timely apology would've gone a long way... Anyway, I guess I can see that a suspension was in order for his later actions, but it's still an unfortunate situation. – Martha May 17 '14 at 18:09
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I kind of see both sides of the issue.

As phantom42 asks, did the question need a bounty at 2300+ views in two days? Not really, no. But my opinion is completely subjective in light of Richard's point that, technically, the OP is not breaking any of our site's rules. DVK also makes several comments that I think are important, in that applying unilateral decisions that affect a user's standing in the community have to be made with objective forethought. Unilateral closures can't be a reaction to personal feelings about a user's (alleged) motives if the user's actions are firmly within the scope of the site's rules, no matter how annoying we may find the user's practice.

But really, what's wrong with aggressively pursuing badges? There's nothing bad about those users who really go after points and badges.

I also see nothing wrong with letting someone know they're pushing the boundaries of the site. True, they may not care what you think, but it's still proactive to say something. Moderator communication and well done warnings can really go a long way in justifying future actions. A unilateral, unexpected smack on the hand does nothing to affect positive change. This is why I disagree with the locking of the OP's question -- what purpose did it ultimately serve?

Bounties are allowed and the site does let us use bounties to bump our questions. Solely because of this I don't think it was a good idea to lock the question, especially unilaterally. Until the rule changes, what constitutes appropriate application of the bounty guidelines (i.e. How often can I bump questions?) is undefined. It's unfair to punish someone with a lock, closure, ban, whatever, under these circumstances.

So, objectively, because I really have no iron in this fire, I want to encourage the moderators to affect change and provide us clarity by either having upper management better explain the current rule for our benefit, or by holding a special SFF.se election re: bounties, or by following the rule as it is -- like the rest of us have to.

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    I think you've hit the nail on the head. Keen seems to have overstepped the mark by locking an objectively valid question, Giacomo then shot himself in the foot by abusively complaining. The fact that he's not perma-banned is probably the clearest indication that the moderators recognise that something went wrong on both sides. – Valorum May 17 '14 at 22:03
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4397/… - "Very frequent bumping with no visible change to the question will probably result in it getting flagged and locked" - the only question is: do we define this users actions as "very frequent" or not. – user8719 May 18 '14 at 2:55
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    @JimmyShelter - there was no "very frequent" bumping. As my answer proved. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 18 '14 at 11:11
  • @JimmyShelter - His "bumping" was well below the level of editing and re-editing we see from the top 20 users. The edits he made also seem generally sensible and in line with policy (e.g. to improve the posts he's made). – Valorum May 18 '14 at 16:03
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Keen isn't a user, he's a moderator. That means that he gets to make decisions and we get to respect them.

I can only speculate as to why this one was locked, but since it was asked only 2 days ago it seems a bit early to be locking it.

Despite that, from looking over your previous questions you do seem to have recently acquired something of a habit of bumping. Examples:

Please note that I said "seem" here. I'm not accusing, I'm just saying that there is a pattern here and that this pattern seems to have developed recently, although you as much as admitted that you were just bumping to get extra views in your previous Meta question.

Ultimately only Keen can clarify the reasons for his actions, and all I can add is that you may be doing this in good faith, but on the surface it looks like needless bumping to me too.

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    Well, that saved me some typing. Thanks for the excellently-researched answer. – user1027 May 14 '14 at 22:41
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    The irony that I gave these questions extra views while researching is not lost on me. :) – user8719 May 14 '14 at 22:47
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    Also, from this user's profile: "please view my clockwork orange question". – user8719 May 14 '14 at 22:55
  • book-vs-movie was added on the May 5th edit – Izkata May 14 '14 at 23:43
  • @Izkata - my bad, I missed that. I'm removing that comment then. – user8719 May 14 '14 at 23:45
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    -1 for "we get to respect them". Respect is earned, not granted. This specific kerfuffle is the opposite of that. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 12:55
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    I'm glad to know we "get to respect" any moderator carte blanche simply because he/she is a moderator! Do you feel this way about all elected officials? ;) But seriously, it's disingenuous to tell us we should just blindly respect all mod decisions and then state you're "speculating" as to why the post was locked to begin with. I'm sure you know fully by now, but I feel my point still stands. I don't like being placated and if I object to something, I reserve the right to say so. Objecting isn't wrong. The user profile doesn't bother me, fwiw. He can request, but we can choose not to look. – Slytherincess May 17 '14 at 23:48
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    @Slytherincess - as far as user profile, I just read on MSO that nearly ANYTHING (including even swear words) are considered OK in a user profile outside explicit racism (That was from SE employee or SO mod). So posting a request to view a question is so far from objectionable it isn't even funny. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 18 '14 at 0:28
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    Flippant comment for the sole purpose of opening an answer in a humerous manner gets taken absolutely literally. Sigh. Given that a community manager is looking over this sh-tstorm I'm saying nothing more until she reports back. – user8719 May 18 '14 at 2:06
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    "Respect" != "agree". There's a significant difference. – Beofett May 18 '14 at 18:38
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    @Beofett - Agreed on your point for the most part, but, at the end of the day, I still err on the side of respect very much being earned. I don't know if this matters or not, but I was once a mod at a large site where I put in five years. I do understand it's not easy to mod and that it's a ton of work. That aspect of modding I do inherently respect. :) – Slytherincess May 20 '14 at 22:15
  • @JimmyShelter -- My attempt at humor was not meant to offend, not at all. It was meant as lighthearted, but these things don't always translate. Yes, get back to me when you have the info you want, if you'd still like to. – Slytherincess May 20 '14 at 22:18
  • @Slytherincess - oh, that's OK. I'm mostly ignoring this question for now because opinions on either side aren't going to change and I don't see value in confrontation. I'll just add that all the items seem innocent enough if you view each in isolation but when you put them together I at least see enough to support Keen's decision. – user8719 May 20 '14 at 22:34
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Let's take a look at some of these questions and try to figure out why this is the case, and then if something needs to be done about it:

Why are Slayers always women and not men?

Why was the 21st chapter in the early American publications of A Clockwork Orange omitted?

The first one of these had a bounty on it, and was locked shortly after. I personally don't see anything else suspicious about that question.

The second was locked, because it appeared that edits were being used to bump the question to get it more attention. This isn't appropriate behavior, and thus locking the post seems justified.

As far as I can tell, it seems like the first question should not have been locked, although I would question the need to post a bounty to the question. The second seems justified.

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    Agreed. The lock on this particular question seems to lack justification. – Valorum May 15 '14 at 18:09
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    The comments have been removed, as they were getting a bit out of hand. If you'd like to have the discussion in chat, feel free. I'd be willing to participate, if available. – PearsonArtPhoto May 17 '14 at 21:54
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Just for reference - I posted this on Meta (MSO, not here) as a conceptual question.

https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/255060/is-it-ok-to-start-a-bounty-on-the-question-you-asked-to-gain-extra-views

Currently, the only (and upvoted) answer, provided by SO moderator, is that using bounties to "Draw Attention" is fully within the rules.

In other words, the Buffy question should NOT have been locked at all.


As an addendum, I tried to reconstruct what happened to the best of my knowledge:

http://notes.io/3SV

Short version:

  • user edit-bumped several of his posts. As far as I was able to dig out, of ALL his posts edited in May, only 5 were edited by him:

    • 1 post had 1 valid edit; 3 posts had 1 low-quality edit each; 1 post 2 low quality edits.

    • Update: I just ran Data.SE query for edits and Another for bounties.

      The user had a total (for all his questions): 4 edits (<= May-10) in May, 2 edits in April, 8 edits in March, 4 in February.

      He also posted a grand total of 4 bounties Feb1-May9 (5 including the one that caused this kerfuffle).

  • Keen locked one of those posts and told him not to edit-bump

  • He posted a Meta question asking if it's OK, was told "no" BUT was also answered by @Richard that it's OK to use bounties (with no contradictory opinions).

  • He bountied another question

  • Keen locked the bountied question.

  • User melted down, including this meta post and reported ~30 comments on Keen's post since Keen wasn't online and thus obviously unreponsive.

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    Hey everyone, I was passing through and this piqued my interest. I'll be digging in and taking a close look at how everything has progressed. – Ana May 15 '14 at 21:26
  • @AnaHevesi - my best effort of forensic reconstruction: notes.io/3SV – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 22:18
  • You should have posted your question to meta.SE. Meta.SO is just another per-site meta now. – user1027 May 16 '14 at 0:35
  • @Keen - Yep, I realized that too late. Got sidetracked by seeing this one on MSO and deciding to post mine as a counterpart question on the spur of the moment. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 16 '14 at 0:37
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    @AnaHevesi - I also ran a query to measure just how much the user was "abusing" the system. IMHO, not much. See the edit for the link and #s – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 16 '14 at 1:03
  • @DVK - By this measure, many users (including all of the top 5 users) score higher for edits and bumps of their questions. – Valorum May 16 '14 at 12:54
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    @Richard - exactly my point – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 16 '14 at 12:55
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    Seriously? Our moderator worship is now on the level that a factual answer referencing research and SE policy gets downvotes merely because it proves the moderator was wrong? – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 18 '14 at 0:24
  • I agree that the Buffy question should not have been locked. However, the user has admitted that they were deliberately bumping questions to get views, and this question is explicitly not with reference to a single specific question, so IMO meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4397/… seems to outline the appropriate guidelines for dealing with it, and locking of other questions seems appropriate. – user8719 May 18 '14 at 2:59
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    @JimmyShelter - if you're referring to BilltheLizard's answer, it clarifies "Very frequent bumping". If you look at the Data Exchange stats in my answer, that bumping wasn't even remotely "very frequent". If not for the crap quality of the edits, they would be commendable. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 18 '14 at 3:07
  • @DVK... I didnt meltdown though it is an understandable misconception, i merely wanted to see what would happen if i began advertising my post as a joke – giacomo casanova Jul 20 '14 at 18:26
  • @giacomocasanova - I was referring to the (reported - I didn't personally observe) 30 comments being posted. As well as rude wording of the original edit of this question we are posting on. Neither of which even remotely made it easy defending you even though the mod was clearly in the wrong. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 20 '14 at 21:00
  • @DVK..I do thank you for defending, the rude wording was anger i admit but the 30 ads was a prank not out of anger just to see the results – giacomo casanova Jul 20 '14 at 23:59
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How do I deal with this?

Start by reading that user's feedback. I posted a comment informing you to not bump the question to get a badge, which was the reason you stated for numerous bumps. It's abusing the site's mechanisms. After I shut down bumping on that question, you made several minor edits to other questions that are pretty close to the 2500 views needed to get that badge you were gaming the site to get. So I quickly shut it down by locking the post.

Jimmy's answer provides a partial timeline of bumps.

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    -1 for unsubstantiated claim that using bounties to gain views is "abusing the site's mechanisms". Unless that is stated somewhere in site rules, that's not abuse. It doesn't have detrimental effect on the site unlike multiple edit bumps. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 14 '14 at 23:08
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    @DVK - you seem to be completely missing the point here, and Keen said nothing about bounties in his answer, so your -1 seems (1) unsubstantiated, and (2) not in good faith. It's not the bounties, it's the bumping. – user8719 May 14 '14 at 23:49
  • @jim I will double check but I didn't notice any bumps on that question other than a bounty – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 0:02
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    @DVK - I'd also suggest that you not view a single question in isolation but take it in the context of the other questions the user has bumped this past week. – user8719 May 15 '14 at 0:08
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    @jim so those questions should have been locked instead. And 3 edits a week I pretty low . People routinely do much much more. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 0:20
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    @Keen -Almost everything I do here is to get badges and rep., I may even answer a question or two while I'm waiting for my next badge :-). – Morgan May 15 '14 at 2:32
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    @JimmyShelter - I was right and you were wrong. That question had no edits for bumping (one valid content edit and one bounty): scifi.stackexchange.com/posts/56093/revisions . So, either Keen made a mistake and locked the wrong question, or - given the date of the edits vs. the date of the locking - more likely as usual went on a unilateral "I'm a mod and will do whatever I feel necessary" and made up a new rule nobody ever heard about and used that as an excuse to close, as enunciated in this answer – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 8:10
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    @dvk - I'm in agreement on this one. There appears to be no valid reason to close that particular question. Posting a bounty is a perfectly valid way to increase views, indeed it's one of the stated choices. – Valorum May 15 '14 at 8:32
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    @dvk - and there was only a single (and perfectly valid, to my mind) edit in that question. – Valorum May 15 '14 at 8:34
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    @DVK - I suggest that you re-read my answer and note where I observe that this question was only asked 2 days ago, and that I also felt it was too early to lock it. Then read on and see the bit where I say "Despite that, from looking over your previous questions you do seem to have recently acquired something of a habit of bumping". As I've said multiple times now, the user has what looks like a bad habit of bumping questions and there is a pattern here. – user8719 May 15 '14 at 9:46
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    @JimmyShelter - your answer shows 3 edits, none later than 4 days ago. Many well respected users on this site have significantly more edits in their history (4 Copy Editor badges, 42 Strunk&White). At least one of those 3 edits was a genuinely good one. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 12:27
  • @DVK - I'm totally unsure what point you're arguing here. Yes, you're right, that question was OK, no problem there, and I've said that from the start. Can you tell me what the difficulty is, please? – user8719 May 15 '14 at 12:44
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    @JimmyShelter - I'm arguing that the mod was 100% wrong in locking that question. Other questions have nothing to do with that. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 13:31
  • @DVK - and I'm not arguing against that; I agree that this question shouldn't have been locked. However, the user is making an accusation of harrassment against the mod (which is quite a serious accusation) and evidence of a pattern of bumping questions refutes that accusation. – user8719 May 15 '14 at 15:02
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    @JimmyShelter - as far as I'm concerned, even ONE lock without a good reason is harrassment. "With great power...". And this specific mod is quite prone to going off on stuff like that (couple of my questions unilaterally closed by him were later reopened by community). If you want to look into patterns, look into ALL patterns :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 15 '14 at 17:20

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