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It's happened to me again, and I'm severely pissed now.

A user (with a rather high reputation, about seven thousand or so) just posted a question about a probability problem (something with people and shoes). I miss-understood the question, and posted a rather short answer. It was quickly pointed out to me via a comment that I had miss-understood the question, and I set out to solve the actual problem that was being asked, not what I had initially assumed the question to be.

I spent about 20 minutes fixing my answer - might even have been more - only to find out when I was finished that the user had deleted his own question in the mean time. So in effect, I just completely wasted nearly half an hour of my time, just because somebody was unable to make up his mind beforehand whether to post a question or not.

I believe that there should be some way to punish a user for that sort of rude behaviour. Ideally, I'd like to be able to put a user on a private blacklist, so that further questions of that user won't show up when I click "new questions". Or maybe there could be a cost in reputation for posting and then deleting a question - say, 100 reputation points or something like that.

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  • $\begingroup$ I am somewhat doubtful that your blacklist idea would be officially supported: it seems somewhat contrary to the spirit of things. But maybe you can find something you want at StackApps. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Mar 17 '14 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @WillieWong OTOH, wasting people's time can't be in the spirit of things either... If this were a one-time occurence, I'd put it down to bad luck and move on, but this has happened repeatedly... $\endgroup$ – fgp Mar 17 '14 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ If you think the question is of general interest (and it probably is, since you found it interesting enough to put in half an hour yourself) you could repost the question yourself, and also post your answer to it. $\endgroup$ – MJD Mar 17 '14 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MJD Well... it's wasn't that great a question, it was a run-of-the-mill "What the probability..."-type question over a finite probability space. I probably wouldn't have answered at all, if I hadn't miss-read at first, and thus believed the answer to be trivial. Then, having already answered (but wrongly), I decided to fix the answer instead of deleting it. So I'll probably not repost, but thanks for the suggestion anyway, it's probably a good way to deal with this in quite a few cases. $\endgroup$ – fgp Mar 17 '14 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ A related older post (or perhaps I should say complaint): meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/3338/… $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 18 '14 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ "So in effect, I just completely wasted nearly half an hour of my time...." I think the solution to this problem is, never put that much time into answering a question, unless you are getting enough out of the effort to justify it, even if the question disappears. What if it took someone else only 29 minutes to fix your answer, and when you posted you found she beat you to it by a minute? Same "waste of time" on your part, but no one to blame it on this time. It comes with the territory. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Mar 18 '14 at 6:48
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    $\begingroup$ Argh, this is so annoying! It feels stupid to re-post the question and then answer it myself, given that the question is not too hard. Yet the user's question was very valuable to future visitors, and it was extremely inconsiderate of them to have deleted it after it was answered in the comments. This is probably the third or fourth time I have been writing an answer when a question got deleted. Very frustrating! $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 8 '14 at 17:47
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You may be interested in the feature request Preventing misuse of question self-deletion

Posting a question and then deleting it invisibly counts against the user; if they do it enough, they will be question-banned.

If you really want to ignore someone, try Ignore Users Script. I haven't tested it myself.

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