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On Mathematica one of our top users requested a self-suspension to take some time off.

Now his profile boldly reads:

This account is temporarily suspended for rule violations.

This is not right. Anyone viewing this profile without knowing the back-story may reasonably assume that he has in fact committed rule violations severe enough to warrant a suspension.

I don't know how frequent self-requested suspensions are, but even for one case it is a shame to possibly degrade the community's opinion of this fine individual.

Could we please have a "needed time off" reason for suspension, or some other non-derogatory wording?

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I don't think self suspension makes much sense, anyone who doesn't want to participate for a while can do just that. Although I can think of one weird edge case, I don't think it deserves a change in the system. btw "I can think of one weird edge case" != "Why did this user ask to be suspended", I'm sure it's no one's business. If I'm not horribly mistaken there is a "suspended to cool off" message, however I'm not sure it's less derogatory than rule violations. –  Yannis Mar 4 '12 at 2:49
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@YannisRizos it is a self-disciplinary device to help the user avoid temptation while under a heavy deadline. We all know SE can be a bit addictive to some, and we don't always have the self-control needed to stop ourselves checking "just this once". –  Verbeia Mar 4 '12 at 2:58
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@Verbeia Exactly the weird edge case I though of... I have a deadline coming up and I'm considering suspending myself. I'm sure P.SE users will rejoice to see me suspended for rule violations ;) –  Yannis Mar 4 '12 at 3:00
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Why is this not on the MMA site? It's localized to that. –  casperOne Mar 4 '12 at 3:02
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@casperOne I assumed that this was a global SE template, and that making a change for all sites would be no more difficult than for all. –  Mr.Wizard Mar 4 '12 at 3:04
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They should learn how to block from their router if the temptation is too great –  random Mar 4 '12 at 3:14
    
@YannisRizos Suspension doesn't do anything to moderators, you can still do everything on the site. So after rejoicing, your users will still have their questions closed and deleted by you. –  Mad Scientist Mar 4 '12 at 8:36
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@random - That assumes sufficient willpower not to simply unblock the router. –  Martin Smith Mar 4 '12 at 11:36
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@random that also assumes you have control over the router. Personally, I work on up to 3 different networks, only one of which I have any control over with my computer. The difficulty becomes more severe when you have multiple computers on multiple networks. –  rcollyer Mar 4 '12 at 18:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

A simpler solution would be to just put a notice in their "about me" section that they're taking time off, then the moderator can manually remove all of their OpenIDs. When the user decides it's time to come back, they can follow the account recovery process (assuming they leave their email on the account, in which case they can use their email to regain access to the account).

This has the benefit of not making them appear as if they committed a violation, and will not leave a record of suspension on their account.

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Seems like a reasonable alternative. Accepted unless someone tells me it won't work. –  Mr.Wizard Mar 21 '12 at 22:49

There's a moderator template that will return the message

This account is temporarily suspended to cool down.

I forget which template it is, but you can use that template instead, replacing the boilerplate message with more appropriate prose.

Note: I think the correct template to use is "Abusive to Others." :)

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So are self-requested suspensions allowed on the other SE sites as well, namely Stack Overflow? As if you mods didn't already have enough to deal with.. sheesh –  Marvin Pinto Mar 4 '12 at 3:35
    
@Marvin Pinto: These are practically a non-issue for us, given that they're likely few and far between (as mentioned, just going away works for most people). No trouble at all. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Mar 4 '12 at 3:50

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