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What can I do when getting “Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account”?

I've been banned, because I got a handful of downvotes in a row. I've become quite a fan of Stack Overflow, but this is annoying.

I think there is something wrong with this filter.

An automatic filter is in place to ban questions and/or answers from IP addresses or accounts with a history of extremely poor posts.

Three bad questions in a row and I'm out? I would argue they are as valid as any other questions out there.

One question was about tracking UITouches in a dictionary in iOS.

It was closed with the notice

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened."

ambiguous, vague and incomplete? Difficult to tell what is being asked here? Seriously.... the admins have to be more careful.

By that standard most questions would have to be closed.

Stack Overflow describes itself as following:

As stated clearly in the about links on every page, the Stack Exchange web sites are question and answer sites, not help forums. This implies that all posts are expected to have some value for later visitors too."

80-90% of all questions have no value for later visitors. So on the one hand, Stack Overflow doesn't want debates and general questions, on the other hand questions should not be too specific?

In detail:

I received some downvotes for my question on Scripting a GUI with Javascript and it was closed. However a simple answer would have been to say that there are libraries such as which solves this. Why should be this not a good question? The other one was on django and printing the request. I can see why people downvoted it. And that's it. I have 48 answers, 19 questions, a handfull of downvotes and .. I'm banned. Why?

The question hasn't been answered and the thread has been closed. The question was: how is it possible that I get banned because of two questions? I can't address the issue of deleted questions, after learning about them after the fact, can I? Also, there is no indication how can I fix the issues with the closed questions. The whole thing doesn't make any sense. From my 19 questions only 2 were downvoted. -16 downvotes, but no one cares to explain the details. Overwhelming negativity. This is supposed to be the help section of the site? Very helpful. Yuck.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by BinaryMisfit, Toon Krijthe, hims056, Rory, casperOne Nov 27 '12 at 12:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

considering the admins have got nothing to do with closure.. not sure what they have to be careful about – Sathya Nov 27 '12 at 11:10
banning people because of a couple of downvotes is a bug. Just go ahead and edit anything you like. Do whatever you want, close threads, edit posts and be happy about yourself. But this is not helpful at all. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 11:13
Are you sure you don't have deleted questions? THat's usually what triggers the ban. – Pëkka Nov 27 '12 at 11:18
Out of your 19 questions, 4 have ended up being closed. 2 somewhat significantly downvoted. And not many upvoted. Though, if that's all there is (no deleted questions for example) then you can't be in all that deep. Improve your content, get some upvotes in the process and you should be good to go. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:18
That would be good to know. Banning people so easily it not a good idea. How about an info message first? – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 11:19
Well, each time your question gets closed there's a message indicating what's wrong. And downvotes should send a message as well. True, this does not necessarily hint at a ban (and early warnings have been discussed here before) but it certainly hints at something needing improvement. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:20
My questions are perfectly fine, except 1 or 2 out of 19. I have been able to answer them, after putting in more research, but they could have been easily answered. So, please, don't just assume you're right. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 11:23
I don't assume anything. The system looks (afaik) at the hard facts of the status of your questions and its votes. If you feel something is unfairly closed, address that constructively. If it was justifiably closed, but you feel you can address the issue, do so and perhaps flag for a mod to take a look and perhaps reopen. Rightfully downvoted, but you think you can improve it? Go ahead. There are many things you can do to get out of this. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:25
Well, how about changing this absurd filter and giving me more information? Interesting to see how a community addresses issues. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 11:27
@RParadox if you got banned unfairly, I sympathize, but you have to understand that this ban is the most important thing protecting users' sanity on Stack Overflow. We are very, very fond of the mechanism. And usually, it turns out that there are way more than just 2 or 3 out of 20. Your tone doesn't help matters either. – Pëkka Nov 27 '12 at 11:28
@RParadox All I'm saying is that (even with the filter unchanged) there are many things you as a user can do to get yourself out of this. Some of which are also clearly stated in the answer to this question. If that is not decent community support then I don't know what is. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:30
Why do you believe it is me who did something wrong? I asked perfectly valid questions, and if SO believes there are not good enough, well I say goodbye. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 11:33
Let's give this one last try: the system afaik looks for signs of problems. Downvotes, question closures or a significant number of deletions might signal that a user is not great at asking questions. This might trigger a ban. If any of the factors mentioned are unfair in your opinion, address them. Perhaps all it takes is for an unfairly closed question to get reopened. Or for a question you deleted to be undeleted. Perhaps you do need to put in some effort and improve what you've contributed. Or you can assume all you've contributed is excellent and wait until you're blue in the face. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:38
for info about what you should do now for your ban to be lifted. – Sahil Mahajan Mj Nov 27 '12 at 11:43
The Javascript GUI question was closed as "not constructive" because it essentially asks for recommendations or (a list of) libraries that fit a certain scenario. Such questions are not on-topic for Stack Overflow. Btw: may I suggest you stake a step back for now, let things cool down a bit and then come back. You're not being very constructive even though we're practically trying to help you out here. Anyway, I've said what I could say. Good luck with the rest. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 11:46

Questions don't get closed automatically. They are closed by the community. It takes 5 votes from the community to close a question. Questions can also be closed by a single vote from a moderator, but that can be triggered by a question being flagged for moderator attention.

I've looked through all of your closed questions with an eye on quality, and found that I agree with the closure in every case. With one exception, they were closed either for being off-topic or for being non-constructive. The one exception was an exact duplicate.

Here's an example of one of your closed questions:

I've been using Emacs for a couple of weeks now. "As of right now (23 June 2008), a checkout of GNU Emacs has 1,112,341 lines of Lisp as well as 346,822 lines of C." I know Emacs does a lot of things and is a vast project. How much of the emacs code is just text editing? What is in mainly in those 1.5 million LOC?? By comparison jEdit jumped up to 150k LOC after a stable release, growing to almost 500k. I'm sort of playing around with the idea of programming my own text editor from scratch, more as a fun project.

I would have voted to close this as well for being off-topic or non-constructive. As stated in the FAQ, SO is for practical, answerable questions about programming. In other words, one thing that SO is not is a place to carry on a general conversation. SO is not like a blog or many other web sites in that regard.

This question isn't practical or answerable because it is conversational, it doesn't ask a single specific question, and it doesn't seek a single, definitive answer. It is a solicitation for general opinion or consensus, and reads like a question posted to an internet forum.

Stack Overflow isn't an internet forum, it is a question & answer site. The scope of what is on-topic here is fairly narrow in that regard. This is something that many newer members don't understand at first.

Don't take the closures personally, and don't consider the ban to be arbitrary. Do be open-minded however, and consider the possibility that although you think your questions are "good questions", that's not the only parameter used to decide if a question has a place on Stack Overflow.

Edit Your edit asks,

I received some downvotes for my question on Scripting a GUI with Javascript and it was closed. Javascript GUI functionality However a simple answer would have been to say that there are libraries such as which solves this. Why should be this not a good question?

This type of question should be closed, because it is asking a question in the form of, "I need a library that does XYZ, can you recommend one?" Questions like this are basically shopping recommendations, and are off-topic at SO.

Now, if you had found one such library on your own and had trouble integrating that library in to your project, questions about how to solve those problems might be on-topic.

share|improve this answer
Well, fair enough. However, you haven't considered my point really, which is that this mechanism is way too strict and that the explanation of the ban is poor. From the 4 questions which were closed, this one I agree with is not good. You picked the easy one, because the javascript GUI question is a much more difficult case. If a question such as "is there a library which does XYZ" can be clearly be answered why should it be invalid? The third was a duplicate and the fourth was clearly unwarranted. I don't think you really considered my arguments about this process. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 12:21
I've already commented on the Javascript GUI case. It is not-constructive. Library recommendations or any such recommendations are not on-topic for Stack Overfow. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 12:26
Shopping questions are off topic because there are often many "right" answers. If you read the FAQ youll find that this type of queston is explicitly mentioned as a question not to ask. – John Dibling Nov 27 '12 at 12:28
Well then you will have to close 1000s of those shopping questions, such as… . If somebody asks, who do I do XYZ in language ABC, somebody might mention that there is a library for doing XYZ. Libraries and languages are sometimes indistinguishable. In Lisp a library is an extension of the language. Most of what of programmers do and most of the questions on SO is about libraries. Consider the standard libraries of languages. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 12:33
I do vote to close shopping questions wherever i find them. They are all off topic. – John Dibling Nov 27 '12 at 12:35
You explicitly ask for libraries with certain properties. This is off-topic. However, if you have a good on-topic question to which the answer is a specific library, that is just fine. That said, we have a significant number of questions coming in each day. Some that should be closed might slip through the cracks. And the site evolves over time. What was once on-topic might no longer be. Don't take that as an excuse to ask questions which are not on-topic. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 12:36
Also bear in mind that because SO is largely moderated by the community it is also not a perfect model of its own policies. Many bad questions slip through. Were only human, and volunteers at that. – John Dibling Nov 27 '12 at 12:38
This is all doesn't explain why SO is excluding users judging on very few datapoints. Being treated like a troll, because I asked about a library? What a joke.... – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 16:57
I think you're referring to the automatic mechanism which banned you. I can't really speak to that because I'm not a mod, and I didn't code that mechanism. However, I would speculate that the mechanism wasn't triggered because of a single question being closed, but because of the sum total of your activity. – John Dibling Nov 27 '12 at 17:09
Look at the stats. 2/19 questions downvotes, 2/49 answers. Do you (SO) really want throw me off the site, in all seriousness? And then you want to argue that this makes sense? This is insane... – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 17:23
@RParadox Did you by now attempt anything to improve your situation and have the ban lifted? Any of the various options we've told you about or explained to you in the linked questions? And btw, the stats are: 2 questions with a significant number of downvotes. 4 questions closed. And perhaps (but confirmation is pending on that I guess) deleted questions. But still, you can't be in deep. With a bit of effort you should be able to get yourself out of it. – Bart Nov 27 '12 at 17:29
Yes I have read the info. The questions can't be improved. They can be ignored and deleted, but if they violate the policy what more is there to be said?? Also I can't even see my deleted questions. I should undelete my questions? Why? I asked 19 questions and some of them very not so great. You want to ban everyone who asks two stupid questions in a row? – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 17:37
If we really wanted to "throw you off the site," we wouldn't be having this conversation. Bart and I at least have spent hours of our time trying to discuss this with you. Does that suggest to you that we want you gone? You seem to be looking at the actions of an automatic, pattern-seeking, impersonal banning mechanism and taking it personally. – John Dibling Nov 27 '12 at 17:42
Okay, appreciated. However, SO should change the filtering algorithm, because it sucks pretty badly. If 30-50% of questions are downvoted I could understand but 2/19 downvoted and 4/19 closed. I would thought the anwer would be: sure there must be something wrong with the system, because we usually don't throw out our users just like that. Make the ban temporary, or install a warning, before banning. Don't just ban people for no good reason. – RParadox Nov 27 '12 at 20:21

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