How should a new user posting a lot of low-quality answers be handled?

I think that the quality of most of the answers is not low enough to call for a flag on its own. In most cases they are an attempt to help the asker. However, the typesetting and language is horrible.

How should I try to convince the poster to learn how to use the typesetting features of the site and also take answering "more seriously"? By commenting? By downvoting? By flagging?

Since the user has posted quite a lot of answers during the last two days, and doesn't seem to react to comments, what would be the most effective way to get the point across?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ No, specific-user would not be appropriate here. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Oct 5 '13 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber Ok, I removed the tag. Feel free to add any tag that's fits better (if any). $\endgroup$
    – Daniel R
    Oct 5 '13 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ "convince the poster to learn how to use the typesetting features of the site" why should they have to, and what does that have to do with their attitude towards answering? They're not able to understand it. I find it rude that you assume everyone is capable. $\endgroup$
    – user64742
    Mar 8 '16 at 19:57

A custom flag explaining the situation seems like a good idea when other initiatives are continually not taken up by the poster. Perhaps a note from a moderator is more effective than comments by regular users.

Commenting on the answers is important as well; highly upvoted comments can indicate community opinion and may provide some "peer pressure" to improve typesetting.

Downvoting is a bit more itchy, but it could be justified if the typesetting obscures what the post is saying to the extent of depriving it from (almost) all usefulness.

A more time intensive option would be to simply edit the answers yourself (lead by example, so to say), if the poster didn't respond to calls for improvement in the comments. This is actually encouraged on SE as a whole, but on MSE we seem to be more reluctant; if someone is willing to invest the time to salvage the answer (after deciding, on a case-by-case basis, if the underlying argument is worth it, compared to other answers, etc.) this could be an option.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. Since other people have tried to reach the user to no avail, I just raised a custom flag with a link to this thread. Time will tell if it works! $\endgroup$
    – Daniel R
    Oct 4 '13 at 11:19

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