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I know "why has my account been blocked?" must have been asked a thousand time but my question is this:

I am learning iOS development. I'm going through Apple's documentation. I get stuck, desperate and then I go over to Stack Overflow and post a question.

The question might be "stupid". It might be unhelpful to others. Badly formed. The answer might even be obvious. The question might even be "lazy".

Yet, what is there to gain by such a harsh punishment as blocking a user's IP address permanently?

Is there something to gain in this? Are lazy and unhelpful questions floating around somewhere in Stack Overflow oblivion somehow clogging the system? And even if they are why not simply have them deleted automatically based on downvotes? Why this harsh permanent "punishment"? If a bad question is bad for the site's reputation or clogs the searching process with unhelpful results then have it deleted but why ban the user forever? We are not trolls. We are trying to learn and even if we are lazy or "bad" when it comes to stating a problem, what's wrong with that? Delete everything that we post if it's pointless but why delete us?

Excuse me for the long text, but I'm in the process of making my MSc project and Stack Overflow has helped me much more than the over-verbose and confusing Apple documentation, and I'm very disappointed by having my account banned forever rather than just simply deleting all of my "stupid" questions.

I've made around 15 posts. They've all been answered successfully, and I was helped and I must have gotten 5-6 votes in total.. So what? Why do I have to go back to each and every post that has already been answered successfully and try and change them over and over again in the hopes that someday the gods of Stack Overflow will decide I'm worthy enough of posting again?

Excuse me Stack Overflow gods but this elitism is completely irrational. And a website dealing with programming is the last place I thought I'd come across irrational decisions.

Like I said before, be rational, have everything deleted automatically, and it all goes away, don't ban permanently. No one learns by being banned.. I'm not a troll and this isn't IMDb. I believe new developers should be treated with more respect than this.

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closed as not constructive by Yannis, Brad Mace, dmckee, Andrew's a Unitato, jonsca Aug 14 '12 at 5:40

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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If there is no effort then a question will be downvoted. Lazy questions waste everyone's time. –  simchona Aug 14 '12 at 0:35
    
Downvoting is a great concept. I was wondering what is the point in banning a user that is being mostly downvoted. Lazy questions don't waste anyone's time. Not simply ignoring them and moving on to the next one does. –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 0:39
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@tenfour And downvotes can lead to bans. –  simchona Aug 14 '12 at 0:39
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What is there to gain by not letting garbage questions drown out good questions? How can you even ask this? What if 9 out of 10 pages of every book you read were meaningless scribbling? –  meagar Aug 14 '12 at 0:45
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No, my question was what is there to gain by banning a user permanently instead of simply having their garbage questions deleted automatically, when down voted, so that they don't drown out the good ones –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 0:48
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@user1101080 Because if you are not banned, you'll just keep posting crap, wasting everyone's time (we still have to read your crap to determine it's crap) and more importantly pushing other questions out of the way. Getting banned is tough, I get it, but you can't blame anyone else but yourself for it. –  Yannis Aug 14 '12 at 0:50
    
I'll manage. I'm definitely not going to blame myself for not having any answers, learning and being new. I'll just have to learn to cope with the geeky elitism that comes with the territory and makes nice volunteers give wonderful replies such as posting crap & You have a course of remediation (which isn't posting here) and permanent bans as if this was the spanish Inquisition. It's not. It's just that some people don't go out that much and get overly obsessed with "bad coding questions" –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 1:27
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People have invested time in answering your questions. And you want their effort deleted just to post another bunch of trivial inquiries? That sounds a bit unappreciative. –  mario Aug 14 '12 at 1:37
    
That's exactly my point. They have invested time. And they have helped my immensely. So why have them and me punished just because the questions didn't play by "the rules" but the replies answered the question successfully nevertheless and solved the problem that was proposed? That's what I meant by elitism. Ignoring even the things that are useful to some just because they don't play by "the rules" of others –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 1:50
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@user1101080 You're still blindly thrashing around assuming "geeky elitism" instead of "my questions were repeatedly considered bad by multiple people". If you don't like it, that's perfectly acceptable and okay. Life goes on. –  Dave Newton Aug 14 '12 at 2:16
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Recommended reading: "Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand" –  Brad Larson Aug 14 '12 at 2:22
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"I believe new developers should be treated with more respect than this." You seem to demand that people treat you with respect a lot, but you don't seem to be listening when they tell you what you are doing wrong; which is to say that you are not respecting them. Here's my big, important advice for new programers: accept that you are not going to write that interface from the The Minority Report movie the first time and concentrate on getting something small and easy done right. –  dmckee Aug 14 '12 at 2:23
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What's wrong with replying stating that you have a course of remediation, which is, indeed, not lashing out here? You want your account unblocked, follow the process for getting it unblocked. You asked why your account was blocked, I answered. I deliberately told you there are official ways to try to get it un-blocked because in general, nobody here wants someone to go away mad--we want SO improved. Instead you take everything as an attack, even when it answers your question, and tells you there's a way to address your grievance that actually matters, unlike all this. –  Dave Newton Aug 14 '12 at 2:51
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"I'm going through Apple's documentation. I get stuck, desperate and then I go over to Stack Overflow and post a question." There's your problem: you're missing several layers of research between looking at Apple's documentation and asking a question on Stack Overflow. –  Jack Maney Dec 4 '12 at 7:31
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3 Answers

up vote 22 down vote accepted

I've made around 15 posts.

Actually, it looks like you've made considerably more than that, because, based on the identical code in http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11943872/can-anyone-spot-why-i-get-0-degrees-with-this-code-ios-corelocation and http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11915795/ you seem to be the same user as Sprout Coder, who's got 42 (undeleted) questions. That means you've had plenty of opportunity to learn what is and is not considered a good SO question. (The account under which this question was originally posted, #1101080, has now been merged with the Sprout Coder account.)

Are lazy and unhelpful questions floating around somewhere in Stack Overflow oblivion somehow clogging the system?

Yes, they absolutely are. That's the main reason I'm so active on SO. Googling for solutions to my problems started leading me here, and I wanted to contribute. Then I realized that there were plenty of bad results from my searches (although more so when searching via the site itself than through Google). I am now much more interested in keeping the site clean so that search results stay helpful than I am in contributing my own answers.

And even if they are why not simply have them deleted automatically based on downvotes?

Questions with low scores and no good answers are indeed culled automatically. Questions that have upvoted answers require the intervention of a human. Sometimes an answer contains enough value that the question should be kept just as a way to get to that answer.

If a bad question is bad for the site's reputation or clogs the searching process with unhelpful results then have it deleted but why ban the user forever?

I'm not 100% behind the automated question ban, personally. Frankly, I don't necessarily want you to go away. I'd rather you learn how to use the site and make valuable contributions. I do want you to not post lazy questions that attract two-sentence answers* or questions that just ask others to debug your entire codebase (More: 1, 2, 3). If you're going to make the site worse, then I'd rather you go away. Given that you've continuously posted questions like this (apparently some of them are deleted), maybe the ban is in fact the only way to get you to stop.

And a website dealing with programming is the last place I thought I'd come across irrational decisions.

It's not irrational. It was the product of lots of discussion. It may be wrong, but it certainly was well-thought-out.

No one learns by being banned..

How are you going to learn, then? You've been given the opportunity, and you seem to have squandered it.

I believe new developers should be treated with more respect than this.

The people of whom you're expecting answers, and the other users of the site (searchers) should be treated with respect, too. You've had more than fifty interactions with the site, opportunities to show respect for its purpose and the people on it, and you've been treated with courtesy, but you haven't bothered to try to return that.

Here's some advice. When you post questions here, you should imagine that you're pestering the crustiest, most curmudgeonly old-timer you've ever worked with. Do your homework, and talk to the duck first.

As a final note, this very Meta question seems to be in the same mold as your SO questions: you've thrown a lot of words out here, and dumped your thoughts expecting a response (which you've gotten), without looking around on Meta to see why things are the way they are, what you could be doing differently, and without apparently thinking about the issues that concern you. You're still just making others work on your behalf.


*This is a lazy question because you've done nothing but state your requirements without trying to find ways to fulfill them yourself.

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Frankly, I don't want you to go away. This kind of feel-good nonsense is exactly what trolls and help vampires feed upon. Some people just need to go away. –  Brad Mace Aug 14 '12 at 2:59
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@Brad: I'm definitely not trying to be nice for the sake of nice. Let me be more clear: I don't want anyone with valuable contributions to go away. That was the point of my next two sentences. I would rather a person stay and make the site better than go away. I would rather that person go away than make the site worse. –  Josh Caswell Aug 14 '12 at 3:01
    
Brad Larson's suggestion was actually the most helpful one and just so that I can put an end to my part in this and go back to coding and asking "rubbish" questions until I am banned by the elite, I will say this last thing : Without a community of people willing to answer questions, it really doesn’t matter if there are questions at all, does it? Well you need to have questions so that there are answers to begin with. Question are mostly asked by people who are new to this.Scaring those people away with such arrogance and elitism and harsh "new policies" as free down voting will –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 3:09
    
eventually (even if it takes quite some time) work to SO's disadvantage in the long run. Whenever I've asked something I've always tried to take it to the limits of my knowledge and capabilities before asking for "ready-made" answers as you suggested. My very first posts were completely generic just because they really were my very first posts. Turns out my posts were 49, I never bothered counting. –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 3:10
    
Even if they were 60 that wouldn't change the fact that they were all of them questions because I looked for the answer and didn't find one first and I will continue to do so if I need to, so be it, as long as there are people who find my questions interesting enough to bother answering them and trying to help me. I know you all mean well but you just can't relate to the "darknesss" of someone who's only been coding in Obj-C for 1 month and I already have a semi-working app in my hands. –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 3:10
    
Cheers for showing me the real SO and scaring a newcomer away. –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 3:11
    
@Josh - That reasonable then. I may be touchy on the subject from all this Summer of Love business. –  Brad Mace Aug 14 '12 at 3:11
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@user: I guarantee you that we will never, ever run out of people with questions. (Just as an example, here's a solid question from a new user.) « I looked for the answer and didn't find one first» You obviously, clearly, transparently did not for the majority of the posts I've seen from you. If you did, you would have put that into the questions. If all you're taking from this is "go away", then, yes, I guess there's no help for you. Farewell. –  Josh Caswell Aug 14 '12 at 3:16
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@user The ability to articulate a question has minimal relation to your coding skill. If you put half as much effort into writing your questions as you have into writing angry rants you wouldn't be in this situation to begin with. –  Brad Mace Aug 14 '12 at 3:16
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Oh, believe me, @Brad, no-one is touchier than me about that "Summer of Love" b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ hooey. :D HTH, thanks! –  Josh Caswell Aug 14 '12 at 3:18
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I stopped viewing the examples, I don't want my votes to be reverted. –  ajax333221 Aug 14 '12 at 4:27
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@SproutCoder You've asked almost 50 questions--you're not a "newcomer" at this point. You've been given multiple explanations, but you're too angry to bother listening to them, and still think it's some sort of "elitist" vendetta. There are actual newcomers here that have been much better at both asking questions, and accepting genuine, well-intentioned criticism. There are newcomers here who manage to figure out how things work after only a question or two. Why can't you? We tried helping--but you don't care. –  Dave Newton Aug 14 '12 at 12:48
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Your sub par questions are pushing other questions out of the way, questions by people who bothered putting the time to research and the effort to try and solve their problems on their own before asking. Isn't it quite unfair for good questions to be less discoverable just because you're lazy?

I've made around 15 posts. They've all been answered successfully and I was helped and I must have gotten 5-6 votes in total.. So what ? Why do I have to go back to each and every post that has already been answered successfully and try and change my them over and over again in the hopes that someday the gods of SO will decide I'm worthy enough to post again?

Because we prefer every post to be at the best shape possible. You said it yourself, you benefited from the site in the past, why not spend a few minutes improving your past posts so they are a bit more comprehensible and useful to the next person that happens to have the same question and discovers yours via Google? I don't think that's too much to ask, we are all volunteering our time here, how about you give something back to the community as well?

Like I said before, be rational, have everything deleted automatically and it all goes away, don't ban permanently. No one learns by being banned.. I'm not a troll and this isn't IMDB. I believe new developers should be treated with more respect than this.

You weren't banned for posting one, or two, or even three sub par questions, you had time to learn and improve. I completely agree that new developers should be treated with respect, but that's not the problem here, the problem is you disrespecting a community of volunteers. Fix your earlier questions, contribute some good answers, and your ban will be lifted.

As a new developer, this is one of the most important lessons you'll ever get: Don't be lazy.

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And yet I cannot see how I'm disrespecting you unless I'm shoving my garbage questions down your throat. As I noted in my original post, it makes absolute sense to me that bad questions be removed for clogging the search engines and stealing space from all the good ones. No one has yet to answer my question as to why the permanent ban. If my laziness/stupidity is clogging the system that's what downvoting or simply ignoring is for. Permanent deletion of a question as an immediate result makes absolute sense and solves the problem. Why the permanent ban? –  Sprout Coder Aug 14 '12 at 0:56
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It's not permanent. Ask better questions. –  simchona Aug 14 '12 at 0:58
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@user1101080 it makes absolute sense to me that bad questions be removed for clogging the search engines and stealing space from all the good ones. That means someone has to review your questions and delete them, that takes time. Why waste someone's time if there's no sign you're willing to improve? –  Yannis Aug 14 '12 at 0:59
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@user1101080 You don't seem to get that downvoting and "ignoring" take time. Deciding if a question is salvageable, and doing so, takes time. You have a recourse available to you (which isn't this), instead of continuing here, why not use it? –  Dave Newton Aug 14 '12 at 2:14
    
Hmm - looks like he has only about 7 downvoted questions, and about 16 upvoted questions (and a bunch of zeroes). Is that really enough to get the question ban, or can I assume he has a lot more deleted questions? –  Adam Rackis Aug 14 '12 at 3:06
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@AdamRackis: Before the accounts were merged, user1101080's account had 7 questions, while this Meta post says "I've made around 15 posts", so I'd guess there's at least a few deleted. Can't be sure, of course. –  Josh Caswell Aug 14 '12 at 3:55
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What's gained is less noise.

Consistently-bad users are just that: consistently bad. What's gained by keeping them, other than more busy-work for moderators and users that attempt to be good SO citizens?

Lazy questions do waste time; we have to read them, decide if they're good/bad, decide if it's worth editing to un-badinate, etc. Lazy questions also waste the time of SO or other engine searches.

I don't know the specifics of your particular case, which you didn't seem to ask about.

You have a course of remediation (which isn't posting here).

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