Personally I am growing somewhat weary of seeing the same questions being repeated over and over by certain users (sorry for picking on this one user, there are others I'm sure).

As is typical of Help Vampires, they do not appear to place much value in following up on comments and answers to their questions (instead asking conspicuously similar questions) and as such it makes my contributions also not seem valued.

Rather than spend any more time trying to help these Help Vampires I will probably just ignore them, but is that not in the spirit of this site? Encouraging them to use the site's features correctly, read the FAQ, etc. seems to only go so far. What else can we do to help Help Vampires graduate into productive members of this site?

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    Some advice to begin considering appears on this meta thread.
    – whuber
    Mar 12, 2013 at 22:31
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    Thanks there is indeed some good discussion there (especially like the point about how a bad question can lead to good answers that help other people than the help vampire) -- also I realize the irony in not having searched for that myself :)
    – blah238
    Mar 12, 2013 at 22:38
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    For more perspective, there's a similar debate going on at the Mathematica site concerning a particular kind of vampire: the ones who, by dint of asking similar questions repeatedly, induce a gullible but enthusiastic community into creating a lot of code for them.
    – whuber
    Mar 14, 2013 at 16:48
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    Another problem is people ask questions instead of viewing help at ESRI or for their particular application, which is a large part of what you would need to do to be professional. Excusable in the case of enthusiast or students, perhaps?
    – lewis
    Mar 22, 2013 at 18:48
  • Defining the spirit of the site and what makes a member productive is difficult. Your post would be more relevant if you had referenced more than one user's questions.
    – Patty Jula
    Mar 26, 2013 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


There has been a very long debate here https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/252506/question-quality-is-dropping-on-stack-overflow/252744#252744 about exactly this. One person in particular points out that there is a symbiotic relationship between help vampires and rep whores, who total outnumber the people trying to maintain quality -- many of whom are honest enough to admit to once having been rep whores.

There will always be lazy people, there appears to me to be an increasing shortage of good tech people, as the demand continues to grow, and the fact that most problems I search for, one of the top two answers will be SO doesn't help stem the tide -- and is really a compliment to the quality of the SE sites.

When I was a student working behind the bar/waiting tables, I was often staggered at how rude people could be, and thought that everyone should be forced to do a service job for a few weeks. Perhaps, forcing everyone to work in help desk call centers for a few weeks would deal with some of the more eggregious help vampires out there. Seriously, though, having a 5 minute test before being allowed to post first questions would help a lot.


Lately, I have been perceiving an uptick in the types of Question that fall into the category you describe. I could cite specific examples but will not.

I think an appropriate response is to become a little quicker on the trigger with voting for "Closed as a Duplicate".

I think asking this type of asker to spend more time honing their Questions will inevitably lead to them asking fewer Questions and/or learning how to ask more Answer-able Questions.

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    The tooltip when you hover your mouse over the downvote icon on a question reads "This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful." Usually this applies to the type of question, so I've been doing that pretty often lately on the questions you're discussing. Feb 23, 2014 at 20:25

I think that part of the solution is "expectation management". If someone asks for step-by-step instructions for a large task, then perhaps we just tell them that they're asking too much: How a PHP script can perform point, line and polygon operation on Geoserver and PostGIS (+wkt) is my attempt. If they persist, try to make it more explicit that they're not welcome here.

Multiple responses (from different people) along the same lines may help.


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