These questions are coming from a single user, who's made a dozen or so different accounts to post them. It seems to have happened first on Russian.SE, then on Linguistics.SE, and now on Latin.SE: this person gets enough downvotes that they're automatically blocked from asking questions, then they switch to a new account and repeat.

I answered the first few in case they were being asked in good faith, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Should something be done about this? If nothing else a flood of closed and downvoted questions is effectively spam.


Thanks for bringing this up!

Questions concerning the etymology of Russian compared to Latin are welcome and on topic, but they must meet some quality standards. I agree that in many of those questions the standards are not met. There are some nice online resources out there, and a poster should check some of those and ask questions that arise from studying those resources — especially if there is a longer series of similar questions.

If a user consistently asks questions deemed unwelcome by the community (closed or downvoted), they will be automatically banned from asking more questions by the system. Moderators can see in any users profile whether a ban is active and whether, if active, the ban has been encountered. I will not share to-moderator-eyes-only information here, but we are aware of the situation. As the questions are not abusive or hostile, I find it best to let the automatic ban system take its course.

If a user switches accounts to circumvent a ban, that can be detected. That would be considered actively fighting the system (which is far worse than producing content others deem low quality), and there are tools in place to prevent that. Collaboration between SE sites is also possible and done regularly.

Moderators do miss things. If you notice a suspicious pattern or find something out of place, please raise a flag.

I think we should have a custom reason to close questions like that. They are on-topic, and sometimes it is clear what is asked, so the usual "off-topic" and "unclear" reasons are not applicable. We can add a new reason for closures that says "insufficient research" or some such thing. The previous meta question about getting such a tool had so little activity that we felt it was insufficient grounds to take it to action. But we could start anew!


In addition to Joonas's good and complete answer, I'd like to point to what I think is the main reason why these questions are/were a problem: their sheer number (as compared to our normal number of questions). Had there been only one or two, it would have been fine; the site can have incidental questions of low quality without any problems. They just get voted down, and most people will thus ignore them.

Lastly, I think new closing reasons should only be created for sufficient causes: that is, "off topic" is a good closing reason, because being off topic is enough reason for a question to be closed. However, "not enough research" is not a sufficient cause; for we have plenty of acceptable, and even fine, questions without substantial research. Such a closing reason would mean that all questions must show substantial research having been done, which is currently not at all this site's policy. A few examples of acceptable questions without substantial research:

The full body of the question:

I was taught that one can use the '-que' suffix to string together multiple words, in a similar way to putting 'et' between them.

Are these two equivalent? Did one have a connotation in classical (Caesar-era) Latin that the other didn't?

Nearly every human language is named after the people who spoke it, from ancient Egyptian, Hebrew and Greek, to modern tongues such as English, German and Chinese. And then we have the language of the ancient Romans: Latin. Why do we call it that, rather than "Roman"?

I learned early on that Latin has no articles. So why is it, then, that Winnie the Pooh and The Hobbit are translated Winnie ille Pu and Hobbitus Ille?

Wouldn't it be more correct to not translate the article? What is the justification for including ille in these book titles?

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    Yes, I agree. The tendency of this user to "spam" (not in the sense of actual spam as defined by Stack Exchange, but in the sense of making many similar posts in a short period of time) etymology questions is one of the most disruptive parts of the situation. Unfortunately, that is something that is apparent only from the overall pattern of questions, and not from any particular single question. – Asteroides May 5 '19 at 4:30

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