Should forum Guidelines specifically prohibit flooding?



The forum guidelines do not specifically prohibit flooding.

Should they be changed to add this prohibition ?

…perhaps in the “Keep it tidy” section:

And we have people doing it (thinking it is okay because they are angry.)

And we have some people arguing that is is okay:

It has been asked that I define what “flooding” is, so I’ll find some web examples of “flooding” definitions.

The DeviantArt Community FAQ #54 defines “flooding” as:

What is “flooding”?

Flooding is the act of repeatedly making comments in a single area with the obvious intent of overwhelming a single webpage with your commentary. Flooding can also take the form of filling a single comment or small group of comments with a huge amount of text, again with the obvious intent of overwhelming the page in question and possibly with the intent of causing substantial page load difficulties or browser crashes.

These acts are considered an abuse of the system and may lead to your account being suspended or banned without warning.

Posts and Flags and Moderation, Oh My!

FTR, I do think flooding should be added to the no-no list.



Having followed the thread that spawned this new topic, I understand what you mean. And I agree that flooding should be discouraged in the Forum Guidelines. It’s a nasty (IMHO) relation to posting the same thing in multiple topics. It’s worse because, instead of getting that nagging feeling of seeing this before (when posted in multiple topics), it’s a “in your face” waste of the readers’ time!

However, I won’t go so far as saying it should be outlawed. After all, they are “Guidelines”, not “Rules”. While I can’t right now imagine an appropriate use, I’m not willing to rule one out - yet!


I agree that flooding or spamming is a no-no and am saddened or frustrated that it really needs to be spelled out. I’ll go take a stab at adding it to the list… thanks for calling it out.

The thing about flooding in Discourse is that it will stick several posts in a row in the main view… there isn’t a reason to go to the SketchUp category and post, then the Technical Problems category, then the 3D Warehouse category… they’ll all get the same level of visibility. I’ll try to make that clear.


And here is why @DanRathbun added a definition of “flooding” to his original post… The problem he’s trying to address (I think) isn’t posting the same thing in multiple threads, it’s people posting the same things multiple times in a single thead!


@sjdorst both things happen. It’s not unusual for people to flood the forum with multiple posts on the exact same topic (sometimes even going as far as copying the same text and using it in each new thread they start) and, as I suspect was the proverbial straw for Dan, some post multiple replies in the same thread.


this is more often misguided etiquette where the OP replies to each participant individually…



Of course both things happen. But from the ones I’ve seen, they happen for significantly different reasons.

Most of the duplicate posts across different threads I’ve seen have been posted by new(ish) forum users trying to get exposure to their question in multiple, likely related, categories. @Jody has indicated that he intends to address this aspect in the guidelines.

Duplicate posts in the same thread are different (an I’m not including when the OP of the thread issues multiple, short “thank you” responses). In the rare times I’ve seen them, they are (mostly) people making the same point - usually critical - multiple times. This, IMHO, is an egregious waste of time for the people who are forced to read it. Yes, one can mute the thread or the multiple poster, but we shouldn’t have to!

As as for the multiple “thank you” posts, as @john_drivenupthewall says, this is misguided etiquette. Most often, when it happens, one of the older hands on the forum gently suggests that they could have been done in a single post, using “at” handles to list exactly who is being thanked. I can’t recall a case where a “thank you” multi-poster has repeated this behaviour once gently corrected.


I found another forum community that has an online definition, and added it to the first post.

True, this is called cross-posting and I think it is mentioned as a prohibition in the “guidelines”.

I’ve done some reading on spamming, trolling and flooding, on the internet, and the experts (PhDs writing thesis, whitepapers and books, etc.,) acknowledge that the are “accidental actors” for various reasons, but they point out that the effects are the same as those from acts done purposefully. And it is because of the effects on the discussion, that these acts are prohibited.

So the mitigation after the fact needs to be done regardless of the actors intent. Ie, posts removed or hidden to lessen the effect(s).

It is the administrative response toward the “culprit” that can be varied subjectively (case by case.) When it is obvious that it’s a Discourse newbie replying separately to multiple people, I usually send them an educational PM explaining how to use @ to ping multiple members in a single post. They’ll usually go back and clean things up.

When it doesn’t look like a mistake, I flag 'em. And sometimes I do even when it looks a bit innocent. I mean offtopic, is offtopic. (That’s what the flags are for. They are just a software switch that will eventually let the user know there is an issue with their post.)


Thanks! I’ve edited my two references to be understandable in light of your original post.


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