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A while back I was banned from asking questions at Stack Overflow because of a string of 3-4 badly worded and horribly misplaced questions. I don't contest the ban (it was completely needed to get me to actually pay attention and read the FAQ) but I'm having trouble really knowing how far away I am from posting questions. I deleted two of my closed topics that I could not save and spent a good amount of time editing and revamping my other two topics along with all of my other question(only asked about 10-12 before I was banned).

To get to the point, I was oblivious to the rules of the site when I posted all those horribly worded questions and regret it, but that was when I had 100 reputation and only 2 weeks spend on the site. Since then I've jumped up to 800 reputation by editing and answering questions and now know how to write an actual question for the site.

If anyone could post from experience, when should I be expecting an unban if I keep my reputation gains up? Eager to actually ask a question for once in over a month on Stack Overflow.

P.S. to put things in perspective, I've been on the site 43 days consecutively, 35 of those days I have spent being banned from asking questions.

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Deleting the 2 questions might be part of your problem, especially when dealing with a ban. –  psubsee2003 Nov 16 '12 at 1:08
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Thanks for coming here and being willing to work with the community. Most of the questions we see on MSO about bans are just rants from people who are selfish and unwilling to change, or -- at best -- just very, very dense. I'm just a regular user like you, so I can't help, but I wish you good luck! –  Pops Nov 16 '12 at 1:17
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I completely agree, the message we send here is a bad one; we'll tell you when you can't do something, but only after you've put the effort into it (assuming you're showing greater effort to write high-quality content). We can still do that, but there should be some indicator that you are hindered (even if it's visible only to you and moderators) so you know how not to waste your time. If you're spending time writing high-quality content that will benefit the site, there's no reason to reject you after you've written it. We can do better and let you know when you're good to go. –  casperOne Nov 16 '12 at 13:44
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Even moderators have no way to know for certain if a user is under a question ban, or when that ban might be lifted. However, from experience we get reasonably good at guessing, so here's my guess (brought to you by my community issued Moderator Fortune FrobOMatic):

You are right on the edge, if not already over it.

What I suggest you do is go through your history and revisit some of your open questions that received no votes (positive or otherwise) and edit them for a bit of clarity, grammar, formatting .. include some practical code samples where lacking and then wait for a few more up votes.

I also suggest not deleting any more questions until you're more than clear of the ban.

You asked some questions clearly in the 'please don't ask here' category, some of the worst seem like they were written by someone who was in quite a hurry. You seem to have a solid grasp of how things work now, so I'm sure a few edits keeping that in mind will do the trick.

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that answer had some sort of power to it, after reading this i checked stackoverflow to see if you were right and lo and behold, unbanned. Appreciate the answer –  Need4Sleep Nov 16 '12 at 1:25
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Good, please try to stay out of it in the future :) Note - It's still a good idea to revisit your zero score open questions to see if you can improve them, given your recent metacognition. –  Tim Post Nov 16 '12 at 1:49
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You can't know, and that's intentional. If you knew where the line was it would be subject to abuse; people would try to walk the line and do just enough bad stuff to not quite be question banned, or try to find behaviors that they knew were destructive that didn't contribute, or contributed less, to the threshold for being question banned.

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But that's only the bad apples. What about the (hopefully) larger number of people who genuinely want to contribute, and just don't want to make mistakes? In the real world, if you want to abide by the law, it helps to know what the law is. –  Mr Lister Nov 16 '12 at 15:49
    
@MrLister Everyone knows exactly what is and isn't appropriate. It's clearly defined in the FAQ. While you do know exactly what you should/shouldn't do, what you don't know is the consequences for violating those rules (just like most judicial systems; there is a range of possible consequences). Also note that there's no way to only tell the good players what the criteria are. Either the information is out there or it's not. It appears that the devs felt that the negative consequences of bad apples knowing the information was worse than the positive consequences of the good ones knowing. –  Servy Nov 16 '12 at 15:52
    
Ah yes. Here on Meta, the rule is: don't post messages with new ideas that will be disapproved of by too many people. And then, when you do, it will be your own fault of course. </cynicism> –  Mr Lister Nov 16 '12 at 18:02
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