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I'm curious generally what is the worst case scenario. Let's say a user posts a bad question, it gets a few down-votes and is closed via VtC (say as NC or NaRQ). Then a couple of votes to delete come along, and it is hanging on the cusp of being deleted. Which is worse in terms of contributing to a question ban?

  • the user self-deleting the question
  • me sealing the fate of the question by casting the final vote to delete
  • the question staying in limbo

Does the worst case scenario change if, before anything happens, the user accepts an answer (either their own or someone else's)?

I'm not trying to ferret out specifics of the implementation of a question ban, or how exactly this specific case contributes. Just wondering which is most likely to harm the user and send them away.

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closed as not constructive by kiamlaluno, Toon Krijthe, Bo Persson, John Saunders, Pops Sep 10 '12 at 22:06

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.

Just wondering which is most likely to harm the user and send them away.

I'm not gonna answer that, because

  1. It's pretty obvious, if you read the answer here

  2. Trying to figure out how to do the most "harm" to another user is... kind of an ugly motivation.

  3. You omitted the most "harmful" scenario anyway.

If the question is no good, either fix it, down-vote it, or delete it. Focus on the question, not the user posting it.

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I actually meant it the other way, e.g. I don't want to do the thing that causes the most harm. And while you can say ignore the user, what I'm curious about is how to best affect the question without negatively affecting the user. I think you got my motivations completely turned around. – Aaron Bertrand Sep 7 '12 at 13:10
@Aaron: I apologize then - the way your question was worded seemed to focus more on finding damaging interactions than the reverse. The single best thing you can do for either a question or a user is to make a good edit. This is true even if the question has already been deleted - by that point there can be quite a bit of resistance toward reviving it, but if you can step in and correct all of the problems that got it that far, asking a moderator to reverse the deletion and closure can still dig it out fairly quickly. Of course, if you're able to intervene sooner, that's better. – Shog9 Jan 8 '13 at 20:46

Harm? That's a tricky word. Nothing that happens here can do any real harm. The questions are:

  1. What happens to their rep?
  2. Do they get a question ban?
  3. Do they feel stung, criticized, or otherwise ill-treated?

Deletion gives them back the rep from the downvotes.

There are some things we were not meant to know, but it has been hinted that self-deleted questions are an input into question bans. Of course, any number of other things might also be inputs, such as questions with lots of downvotes, questions with no capital letters, or the number of albino tiger cubs in Jeff's helicopter this week.

We can't possibly predict the answer to the third question.

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