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Ask HN: How does HN handle trolls?
6 points by adenadel 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
I've come across a recently made account that seems like an obvious troll (frequent commenting about politically charged topics, ranting about what is allowed to be posted, etc.). Does HN manually moderate and ban these people or have some form of automated trolling detection?

Here's what the guidelines say:

"Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it. Don't feed egregious comments by replying; flag them instead. If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did.

Please don't use Hacker News primarily for political or ideological battle. This destroys intellectual curiosity, so we ban accounts that do it."

HN moderators are fairly active, and will generally ban accounts which regularly break HN rules. If you click on the timestamp for a comment, you may be able to flag it to their attention (there's a karma requirement for this, I think), otherwise you can click the contact link and shoot them an email if it's particularly egregious.

Ah, I didn't realize that you could flag comments as well as stories. I typically resorted to downvoting because of this.

I didn't either. I'm sort of surprised that the flag link isn't more visible.

I don't think they want it used nearly as frequently as people downvote, as it obviously adds manual moderation burden. The extra click requirement avoids people rolling down their comment feed flagging everything. Downvotes are more than adequate for most low quality comments.

Please use with care. Keep your HN mods happy. :)

I think it's a trick to discourage flagging of normal comments. You must waste a few additional seconds to flag a comment, so you do it only when the comment is too bad.

Collecting some info that is floating around, the answer is "all of them". There is some automatic moderation, there is soma moderation by the mods, and there is some moderation by users using the flag/vouch links.

In case you see something very bad you can contact the mods hn@ycombinator.com . You can also ask them about this question, but I doubt they will provide too much details because the detail of the moderation system change from time to time without warning and because it's part of the secret sauce.

I don't know about automation, but I do know some are manually shadowbanned

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