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I've been seeing a lot of these lately:

This account is temporarily suspended for asking programming questions on MSO. The suspension period ends on [date-time].

I don't see any way this could be manual, since mods would have to remember the user from earlier posts. If this is in fact automated, how is "programming question" off-topic distinguished from plain old off-topic? As far as I can tell there is no way to specify in the close vote how a question is off topic.

Do all off topic close votes count towards "asking programming questions" bans?

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Why would they have to remember? They could just look at the user's profile and see all of the questions they had asked, including deleted ones. – murgatroid99 Dec 20 '12 at 0:36
AFAIK the suspensions are manual, but a SO/MSO mod would be better equipped to answer this. – Yannis Dec 20 '12 at 0:37
@murgatroid99 Oh right, mods can do that. Still, some general info on how this works (auto/manual, how many strikes) would be cool, since I couldn't really find a question or answer about it. – Asad Saeeduddin Dec 20 '12 at 0:39
up vote 13 down vote accepted

These are all hand made and crafted for each user who may be trying to evade their taxes.

This also is only applied to users who are asking programming questions on a site where another is explicitly set up for that and they're not posting over there because they want to back door their way in from over here.

Moderators can see all questions per user and quickly see if that's the case.

For those that are just on the wrong site first go, they may get a free pass.

None of these are automatic and they are not always suspended, for the above reasons.

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Well, some of us hand craft them. The rest of us just use the boilerplate language. – Robert Harvey Dec 20 '12 at 1:12

Here's a rough flow chart:

  • User asks programming question on Meta

    • Is the user obviously question banned on Stack Overflow?

      • Yes: Suspend for attempting to circumvent the question ban, but for how long?

        • Have they done this before?

          • Yes: 30+ days, if the noise seems to be a pattern

          • No: A week is sufficient, people do improve and come here for help to get back in good standing.

      • No: Leave a helpful comment letting the user know they hit the wrong site

It's becoming increasingly common for new users to just get 'lost' somehow all over the network, it happened on Politics just recently. I've been politely asking those who just appear to be lost why they picked Meta to ask their question (wondering, perhaps, does 'meta' mean something in some places that would make a person think it was the right place?) - the majority1 indicated that they didn't realize they were on a different site.

Additionally, it's extremely rare for users that receive these suspensions and the accompanying message to ever reply, or much less contest the suspension. When we do it, we've got them dead to rights.

1Out of the dozen-ish comments I left, I received three replies. Two indicated that they didn't realize they were on an entirely different site.

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There should be a marquee at the top of the page that reads "THIS IS NOT THE SITE YOU THINK IT IS". This would be appropriate for more reasons than one. – Asad Saeeduddin Dec 20 '12 at 0:58
When it happens on per site Metas, it's most probably by accident, the 5 rep requirement to post on per site Metas keeps away most people that would intentionally try to circumvent a q-ban on the main site (for the few sites other than SO that have q-bans). – Yannis Dec 20 '12 at 0:58
@Asad "This is no web site, this is a space station" .. I'm totally down with that. – Tim Post Dec 20 '12 at 1:00
+1 for making me discover how to make indented lists with more than 2 levels. :) – kiamlaluno Dec 20 '12 at 14:24

Mods get Community♦ flags if a user has too many consecutive closed posts. They can then act, manually.

Most of the times, the people post on meta to circumvent q-bans on main. We get quite a few of these on meta each day. This suspension reason makes more sense--some other mod message templates are OK when applied, but they don't fit as well.

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