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We've just recently had a flood an questions asked by Martin Erickson, which have been causing some upset. Martin is a professor at Truman University at Missouri, and all of his questions come from an open problems list at his webpage.
Some of his questions have been receiving downvotes, I presume on the basis of not having any motivation or background, and one has been closed. Should we do anything about this? I've contacted him privately by email to see if it's possible to discuss the situation. In part I'll try to ensure that he's not upset by the downvotes or closure, but ideally I'd also like to be able to encourage him to "fix" the questions. I'm not sure what exactly that would entail, so suggestions are welcome here.
I think the two main problems that cause the downvotes, votes to close and flags for moderator attention were:
There actually used to be a throttle in the earlier beta's, but the Stack Exchange people took it out at some point.
I think this was just an unfortunate misunderstanding. There's no need for all the downvotes and closure; at least the questions have actual mathematical content.
I voted to close all of them before the comment about him being a professor was posted. I thought it was spam and flagged it as such. Sorry, Martin!
Nor do I see how a set of questions which are individually okay and not closely related to each other could be collectively problematic.
What if I posted 50 questions at the same time and pushed everybody else off the front page? Sorry, but you were just begging for the reductio ad absurdum. I agree that posting 9 questions is not a huge deal, but the very fact that people have a negative visceral reaction to it is an argument that it is unwise to do so, though probably not worth intervening with.
Forcing users to wait increasing periods before posting additional questions can't keep a determined person from starting new accounts.
But it might let the inexperienced user know that posting several questions at a time is discouraged.
Getting 300 plus points and multiple answers and comments within a day or so seems plenty of evidence of warm welcome to me!
I've seen the term "fishing expedition" indiscriminately bandied about lately, but this comes closest to where it actually applies: posting a whole bunch of questions because... well, because you can! I've been following one them where there were requests for clarification and answers, but no response from the OP. It's probably a culture shock issue, which means that it needs to be addressed on the level of policy, because similar multiple postings with no feedback have occurred before and are bound to occur again. Is this sort of thing considered OK? If it is not, as judged by the reaction, this needs to be codified somehow and dealt with in a polite but non-obsequious way.