As I am sure many have seen, there is an ongoing barrage of posts about how awful N64 emulators are.

These are constantly being posted under various user names, and being deleted shortly after being posted. They usually are accompanied by disparaging comments about anyone who's answered a previous one.

Can we have a short cut to getting these nuked or something? Or how shall we flag them?

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    See also retrocomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/q/940/1932 .
    – JdeBP
    Oct 13, 2020 at 8:03
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    As noted in my answer to that question, there are plenty of good emulation questions on RC:SE and many of them have useful answers. Even the general question of why emulators for system X are of poor quality could lead to some interesting answers. There are good reasons why some systems can be emulated to a high degree of accuracy and other systems have approximations. As you point out, the problem is the way the questions are being asked. Oct 15, 2020 at 7:56
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    Maybe we should encourage them to post more questions, so that we can pass the 10 questions per day threshold and finally leave beta. (Stack Exchange: where distorting metrics until they become meaningless is the name of the game!) Oct 18, 2020 at 12:50

2 Answers 2


Keep flagging these as Rude or Abusive (when they are), and closing them (when they're off-topic). The system isn't used to this kind of troll, but it should kick in soon and automatically get rid of the questions as they appear.

If you think there's an on-topic question hidden in there somewhere, please edit the question. Even if the posting user's acting in bad faith, it's better to salvage perfectly good, on-topic, answerable questions from their terrible framing if at all possible.

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    Yes, and may I suggest using the appropriate mechanism - there is a danger that we are closing questions as 'off topic' when they are inappropriate for other reasons. Abusing that mechanism would lead to valid questions about whether the site is working as intended. Oct 15, 2020 at 7:57
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    I also want to add that emulation questions will generally be considered off topic, according to the discussion at retrocomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/14/… Oct 23, 2020 at 20:16
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    For people who go that route, please ACTUALLY FLAG THE QUESTIONS AS ABUSIVE, not just cast a normal close/delete vote. They should disappear sooner this way. Jun 29, 2021 at 10:30

(The rationale I added later.)

The way to deal with trolls is to have everyone just ignore them. But as the folk wisdom goes, ‘everyone will not just’. I could write here a very strongly worded piece of advice that nobody ever respond to the troll under any circumstances whatsoever, not even to ‘talk some sense into them’, but I doubt it will be very effective. In the couple of hours it takes to close and delete the rant through normal means, someone will inevitably post a comment, break the silence and engage with the troll. And the troll will just latch onto that little nugget of narcissistic supply as motivation to post further abuse. To prevent that, the abusive questions should be closed, locked and deleted as quickly as possible. As they say, what deters in a punishment is swift inevitability, not harshness.

So I think this is exactly the kind of coordination problem that demands moderator action. And if you need an objective process/criterion as a backstop, here’s my proposal: implement a moratorium on gaming and emulation questions.

Meaning: any question submitted from an account with less than 200 reputation that mentions emulators, video games, consoles, arcade machines, controllers, cartridges or other gaming peripherals can be flagged to ask a diamond-moderator to unilaterally close it and disable comments. (Maybe with a link to this answer as explanation.) If re-opened, the question would no longer be subject to the moratorium and may be answered normally.

The moratorium would be indefinite, because I don’t want those trolls just ‘wait it out’ until some arbitrary deadline is over; I want them to actually go away. When they do, we may think about lifting it.

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    I can see why this might be attractive, but you are focusing on the symptoms here. Just because one(?) individual is interested in these topics it doesn't follow that these topics should be made harder to access. Making a 'walled garden', where 'we' can talk about emulators but new users can't would be a negative step IMO. Jun 29, 2021 at 9:01
  • @MarkWilliams Symptoms are all we can actually address anyway. It’s not like we are capable of getting that individual psychological counselling. (It’s not like it’s our duty either.) The criteria may be just a proxy for the real thing, but I think there are good enough to capture most instances of the problem, and I left in some safety valves to prevent throwing the gamer girl out with the bathwater (reputation criterion, community can vote to re-open, moderator can still use their own judgement when answering the flag). It’s more of a speed bump than a walled garden. Jun 29, 2021 at 10:57
  • @MarkWilliams And to be honest, I’m rather surprised how coldly my proposal was received. My assumption when writing this was that the community here was already pretty squeamish about accepting gaming questions, since that might attract an audience who don’t necessarily have the kind of knowledge we want to cultivate here (especially if that audience consists of the exact kind of entitled people we’re dealing with here). So it wouldn’t hurt if they were discouraged a little more, since it’s not our ‘usual fare’ anyway. But alas, it seems I was wrong. Jun 29, 2021 at 10:58
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    I thought your answer was reasonable and well-explained. However, down-votes on meta are not indicative of a poor quality answer. Jun 29, 2021 at 12:25
  • Yes, I get that meta is where downvotes are (for a change) supposed to just mean ‘I disagree’ and not ‘this is complete nonsense’. Still, I am disappointed that nobody engaged further. Jun 29, 2021 at 12:33
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    @user3840170 Well, downvotes on Meta are not useful, but an issue we have to live with. I for one respect the good work yo put up here. I also see that your suggestion, while adding workload to moderators, might be a good way to tackle this. Thus I upvoted. Not sure what further engagement you'll like to see. A 'me too' comment didn't seem of value, or is it?
    – Raffzahn
    Aug 18, 2021 at 12:13

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