# How to handle this Li Zhi guy?

Most who have spent a considerable amount of time on Chem.SE this past year knows Li Zhi.

They never use any formatting, not even separation into paragraphs. This is not from a lack of experience; Li Zhi has been called out on this many times, provided comments to helpful links, and usually posts have been edited courtesy of passers-by.

• Can anything be done to improve this situation? If so, what?

Editing each and every one of Li Zhi's answers is surely not a big issue now, more than that of annoyance, but I am having nightmares thinking about potential mitosis gone wrong... (unlikely as it is)

Right now I have resorted to simply downvoting Li Zhi's answers without reading, and that makes me feel good, but perhaps there is a better option. If not, you may always use this thread for venting purposes ;-)

• Now don't you think about channelling your inner Li Zhi's in answering this question – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 12:55
• I'm afraid this comment already gave some people some ideas... – orthocresol Feb 22 '17 at 19:48
• "Li Zhi: Origins, The Movie™" – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 19:58
• "Li Zhi: A Spaced-out Oddity," appearing quasi-frequently on a SE site near you. FWIW, I stopped reviewing/voting on/flagging/reading any of his (her? its?) posts some time ago, and that's been a good thing for me. – Todd Minehardt Feb 23 '17 at 0:48
• Is 'alphonse' the new Li Zhi? – hBy2Py Mar 17 '17 at 17:51

## 4 Answers

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Fun aside, we have discussed this internally and taken steps to counteract this, but these attempts are not very fruitful so far. There is actually not much that we can do, as for now we can only react.

We have already tried contacting the user, which was without result. Seen all of the posts combined, the user would probably have been suspended by now due to a high volume of flags. Since most of the posts belong to unregistered users, this is a route we cannot really follow, or at least it would not matter.

However, to get this a little more under control, please do the following:

1. Custom flag the post. We will destroy the user account. The content will then be attributed to an empty account.
2. Decide:
• Flag it as low quality, if it is low quality so that others can review it and can decide if it is salvageable or not. In the latter case it will be deleted.
• If it contains some good content, salvage the post to the best of your abilities.
• Of course you can (down) vote on it as an interim measure if you decide to sent it to the VLQ queue.
3. Wait. With a bit of luck and combined effort we might get the message across.
• ^ The Li Zhi is strong with this one. – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 14:19
• Thanks for your input! What exactly does an empty account mean? Is it one step further from being an unregistered user? Is referring Li Zhi to this thread a bit too on the nose? – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 14:19
• @LinearChristmas Considering that he has not replied to any of the comments that we've dropped him so far (he has not even replied to direct messages from the moderators), I guess he either wouldn't see or wouldn't care about this... :/ An empty account is something like the asker of this question: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/14582 The username defaults to "user<user-id>", the profile is greyed out and unclickable. – orthocresol Feb 22 '17 at 15:48
• @orthocresol Do these accounts still preserve information for moderators to identify the <user-id> as Li Zhi? In that, will all his/her answers be tied to the same id empty account if I flag them? – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 15:51
• @LinearChristmas I'll write a bit in another answer. – orthocresol Feb 22 '17 at 15:53
• Can we get a custom flag along the lines of "I'm flagging this post because it's from Li Zhi"? – Todd Minehardt Feb 23 '17 at 0:50
• You definitely like sausages and meat. – Jan Feb 23 '17 at 1:47
• You know I HAD to make at least one edit. :P :P :P – Melanie Mar 4 '17 at 22:28

This was actually something we (the moderators) looked at a few months ago. Suffice it to say that we've tried everything that is reasonable to contact this guy, short of sending him a Howler by owl post.

My personal opinion is that ~80% of his posts are salvageable. If you are not willing to put in the effort (and I don't mean that in a negative way - it is irritating) then feel free to drop a downvote. Still, regardless of what you do, it would be very helpful to raise a moderator-intervention flag for us. TL;DR Follow what Martin said except for the porcine section ;)

Do these accounts still preserve information for moderators to identify the as Li Zhi?

Yes, if need be, this is possible.

In that, will all his/her answers be tied to the same id empty account if I flag them?

Since the person has been creating new unregistered accounts for every single answer he/she writes, each of these accounts will have a new user ID associated with them. As such upon deletion they will not be tied into one account.

It is possible to merge accounts. Diamond moderators like Martin and myself cannot merge accounts; it has to be done by the Stack Exchange team. We have consulted them already about this issue, and the bottom line was that it would be a huge hassle for little benefit. After all, this person doesn't seem to care about what happens to his accounts, or answers, after he submits them. We could merge 50 of his accounts now (that's not a real figure, but I'd guess it's somewhere near there), but he would just create another 50 more, and we would have to ask the SE team to merge 50 more every other month...

• A Howler actually sounds like a reasonable idea in this case (only ~5% kidding). To throw some conspiracy theories out there, has the possibility of trolling by a high reputation user been considered? We shouldn't rule anyone out (@ortho... :-)). On a serious somewhat related note, is it concievable that from time to time SE seeds poor quality posts to evaluate quality of moderation? – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 16:29
• Hmm, I don't actually know... – orthocresol Feb 22 '17 at 16:46
• @LinearChristmas I don't think SE would do that, it would cost them a lot more if they needed to regularly replace us because of burnout. Also the team would not have responded in the way they did. I also don't think a high rep user is doing it. The way lz writes is quite unique. – Martin - マーチン Feb 22 '17 at 17:57
• @Martin-マーチン Oh, don't take me too seriously. Though I was wondering whether this poor post seeding has been done (not in this particular case, but in general). That's cleared up now ;-) Li Zhi is indeed pretty original, and at some point keeping it up would get pretty tedious for a regular troll (and that point was somewhere around account nr 34) – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 18:08

Hey it's no fair that two mods wrote an answer to this question but no mortal user did so I decided to answer and what I was about to say is that it's hard to deal with such users, if not impossible I won't cheat like Mart and type all the wall of text myself so you format I feel so evil. The worst. part of Li Zhi is sometimes they add punctuation marks to posts random.ly so it looks weird like that you just saw. I remember a while before I saw a nice image from one of the CM's which means Community Managers and it was this https://i.stack.imgur.com/JWy3W.jpg oh wait it's actually from Tim who's like an uber-boss or super-boss or some.thing It's from this post BTW https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/277386/280934 The funny thing about it is it's applicable to this very situation Such users hide behind the lack of rules for what they do and still manage to annoy you greatly so I'd say you can't do anything other than downvoting them But actually to be honest, I don't mind them. much True, their posts usually require lots of basic editing and a user of this site for that long would've already grasped them but I give them some credit because to me, they're way less annoying than similar users on other sites, and sometimes their answer turns out to be a. decent one One such user similar to Li Zhi is this guy How to find an appropriate StackExchange site for my question who's been posting that one question for one year and half in 4 to 5 SE's We flag that guy's posts as abusive in Charcoal HQ http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/11540/charcoal-hq which is a chatroom you'll find a link to and be introduced to in the now-featured meta post about dealing with spam but I won't recommend that course of action here And heck, we don't need to go far because we have a questioner in this very site that does the same thing called. Nadine This Nadine guy would've been banned thrice already because they post very poorly researched questions and sometimes delete the questions right after they get an answer Funny you don't mention them because to me, they're much more of a pet peeve and. nuisance and make me want to punch something/someone And although you asked us not to turn to Li Zhi mode, we thought it would be fun for a change to see what post formatting looks like when you just. don't care And it looks like this I could't believe one could write so much relevant stuff about this topic BTW if you like wall of texts there's this https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/210452/280934 which is generated using Flack OverStow https://stackapps.com/questions/306/flack-overstow-generate-spam-from-stack-exchange-posts And the. most satisfying part of this post was not having to format links Ooooooooooooh The possible reason of Li Zhi doing this, I believe, was not evading quality bans, since they have not been activated only until recently Comprehensive question quality blocks now enabled everywhere it might actually have security reasons, like they suspected their identity would be revealed if they keep posting a lot But this is just a guess because I'm definitely not. Li Zhi Definitely And/Or they're giving away information from a textbook they shouldn't be giving info away from which is a common scenario in meta-sites around here like Stack. Overflow

If that was a bit hard to read $\ldots$

Hey, it's no fair that two mods wrote an answer to this question but no mortal user did. So I decided to answer and what I was about to say is that it's hard to deal with such users, if not impossible.

I won't cheat like Mart and type all the wall of text myself so you format. I feel so evil. The worst part of Li Zhi is sometimes they add punctuation marks to posts randomly so it looks weird like that you just saw.

I remember a while before I saw a nice image from one of the CM's which means Community Managers and it was this Oh, wait! It's actually from Tim, who's like an uber-boss or super-boss or something. It's from this post BTW. The funny thing about it is it's applicable to this very situation: Such users hide behind the lack of rules for what they do and still manage to annoy you greatly so I'd say you can't do anything other than downvoting them.

But actually, to be honest, I don't mind them much. True, their posts usually require lots of basic editing and a user of this site for that long would've already grasped them but I give them some credit because to me, they're way less annoying than similar users on other sites, and sometimes their answer turns out to be a decent one.

One such user similar to Li Zhi is this guy who's been posting that one question for one year and half in four to five SE's. We flag that guy's posts as abusive in Charcoal HQ which is a chatroom you'll find a link to and be introduced to in the now-featured meta post about dealing with spam but I won't recommend that course of action here.

And heck, we don't need to go far because we have a questioner in this very site that does the same thing called Nadine. This Nadine guy would've been banned thrice already because they post very poorly researched questions and sometimes delete the questions right after they get an answer. Funny you don't mention them; because to me, they're much more of a pet peeve and nuisance and make me want to punch something/someone.

And although you asked us not to turn to Li Zhi mode, we thought it would be fun for a change to see what post formatting looks like when you just. Don't. Care. And it looks like this. I could't believe one could write so much relevant stuff about this topic.

BTW if you like wall of texts there's this which is generated using Flack OverStow And the most satisfying part of this post was not having to format links. Ooooooooooooh!

The possible reason of Li Zhi doing this, I believe, was not evading quality bans, since they have not been activated only until recently. It might actually have security reasons, like they suspected their identity would be revealed if they keep posting a lot But this is just a guess because I'm definitely not Li Zhi. Definitely. And/Or they're giving away information from a textbook they shouldn't be giving info away from which is a common scenario in meta-sites around here like Stack Overflow.

• Flack OverStow. Right. – hBy2Py Feb 22 '17 at 19:19
• Perhaps if I show this thread to Li Zhi, they'll feel welcome, safe, cosy and all that, and just start posting here instead of the main site? :o – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 19:47
• FWIW I don't think that Li Zhi has any ill intentions. His answers may not always be worded very politely (sometimes they are very condescending) or eloquently (sometimes they just sound like someone rambling), but generally he is trying to answer the questions at hand. The guy obviously doesn't care about karma. I have no clue what his motivations are, but I don't think they're bad, which means that we don't really want to be overly heavy-handed. – orthocresol Feb 22 '17 at 19:47
• @Ortho I concur. I was expecting a meta post about Nadine much sooner. – M.A.R. Feb 22 '17 at 19:49
• @orthocresol Depends on your meaning of ill intentions. Li Zhi has to enjoy messing with us on some level >} @ TIPS Glad we all have the opportunity to review your edits so as to enjoy your original nadineish take. – Linear Christmas Feb 22 '17 at 19:54
• The thing about Nadine is that their posts follow the simple workflow I posted in chat — or maybe a modified one. It’s a low barrier: See, downvote, close vote, leave; veni vidi vici. Li Zhi is on a different level because there are sometimes if not most of the time answers buried in their walls of text which means that people like me want to dig up the gold (and get rid of the dirt). So yeah. – Jan Feb 23 '17 at 1:56
• If that was a bit hard to read…,no it was not at all hard :-) – Fawad Mar 2 '17 at 2:07

Instead of making this about Li Zhi, how about we adapt a meta-policy. If anyone posts an answer that is a wall of text then we down vote [once] and add a comment

Didn't read. This wall of text is impossible to comprehend. Please use better formatting.

Then other users can upvote the comment rather than bang the answer. Then just let this go...

• You can always use that comment, that is understandable. Controlling voting with a policy will simply not work, because the essential part of the system is subjective. A preferable solution would be to salvage what ever is salvageable and remove the crap on the bottom of the barrel. Eventually someone will read the wall of text and will decide to either format it, or burn it down - there really is nothing you can do to influence that. – Martin - マーチン Feb 24 '17 at 14:43
• @Martin-マーチン - Re:"Controlling voting with a policy" Understand, I not suggesting a policy police or a code enforced policy. I'm just suggesting a "good manners" policy (what I meant by "meta-policy"). So that the answer wouldn't be down voted into oblivion just because of the bad formatting. // Frankly I tried editing a couple of answers and got grief. So I'm not ever going to massively edit an answer. – MaxW Feb 25 '17 at 18:13
• I do understand what you're getting at and I agree. I don't like answers being voted down into oblivion just because of bad formatting - they should be if they are wrong. Editing answers is not an easy task and sometimes it's just easier (and healthier) to let them be as they are. We always have to decide how to assist new users, and in doubt I'll go the more difficult way, even if it doesn't pay off. Obviously that's a choice everybody has to make on h{er..is} own.... – Martin - マーチン Feb 25 '17 at 18:33