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My Stack Overflow account was question banned, and I read the accompanying advice on how to fix it.

I collected reputation (by answering questions), fixed my bad questions, and answered many questions.

I am asking a feature request to show a checklist for what the user needs to do to have the ban lifted, with a checkmark for the actions that have been completed.

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So I am asking a Feature-Request to show an checklist and have all the requirement to lift the ban with an checkmark - I doubt this will be implemented because it will most likely expose how the ban mechanism works. And that would be a bad thing. – Luksprog Dec 22 '12 at 6:18
I guess... but how does the user know what they have to do to lift the ban... – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:19
Thanks @Tiny Tim Post♦ for the edit :) – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:25
Also Thanks @kiamlaluno for the Second Edit – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:27
@Programmer... No problem, I could see what you were getting at. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:28
Thanks, at-least you get the question :) – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:29
@Luksprog It could just show how far is the user for getting the ban lifted. In that way, it would not reveal details about how the ban mechanism works. I don't think there is any mystery about that though: Closed, and deleted questions are considered for the ban, together the post scores. – kiamlaluno Dec 22 '12 at 6:29
It could conceivably show some rudimentary suggestions as to what progress should be made and how far along the user is. If the user has 100 negatively scored questions, suggesting that making less than trivial edits to at least 60% of them while keeping count is not off base. Additionally, suggesting that a user write n positively scored answers and tracking that progress is not impossible. My concern is, users that receive this ban are in the extreme minority, and I don't know if our dev resources would be well spent here. Still, it's a perfectly good feature request. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:34
@kiamlaluno How far is the user from getting the ban lifted(like very near, far from lifting the ban etc(also with some pointers, like edit a couple more questions)) yes. A checklist like: get 2 upvotes on questions, reopen 2 of your questions etc, no. At this I was referring in my comment(which I actually quoted from the original question). – Luksprog Dec 22 '12 at 6:34
@Programmer... You are welcome. Your request doesn't seem that unreasonable. I don't think that knowing how close a user is to have her/his ban lifted would cause the user to do something different from what s/he would already do. At least the user would know if he is in the right direction to have the ban un-lifted. – kiamlaluno Dec 22 '12 at 6:35
To be clear, this would not give a user a map to get out of the ban. Even if all tasks are 100% accomplished, it may not be enough. This would just provide some structure while working toward the goal, it wouldn't be the goal post. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:35
Like in my case.... I have collected reputation (by answering questions), fixed my bad questions, and answered many questions and the ban isn't going away... – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:37
@Programmer... In any event, I'm certain that you'll manage to get the ban lifted. Arriving with a constructive feature request instead of more questions or complaints indicates that brain activity definitely wasn't the issue :) – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 7:03
@Programmer... Moderators don't have the ability to impose or lift a post ban, the entire process is automated. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 7:29
@Programmer... Deleted questions are also considered. If I find some time later, I'll dig through your history a bit and leave some comments with suggestions. That's about all I can do. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 7:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted

There have been some users that received a post ban and successfully endeavored to have it lifted, then went on to becoming consistently good contributors. The type of structure you propose would definitely have been helpful to them, as all that I recall ended up here on Meta basically asking the same thing you did (just, not as an actual feature request):

I fully read, and followed all of the advice I was given. I'm still banned, what else can I do?

Your feature could have the system set some goals based on your posts to serve as rough suggestions on what to do, and track your progress as you do it. If you have 10 poor quality questions, go fix at least six of them. Progress toward at least (n) quality answers, etc.

This would not fall in any danger of revealing the mechanics of the algorithm. In fact, a reasonably intelligent person could make the exact same suggestions just by looking at your history. All this would provide is structure and encouragement.


People that receive this ban are in the extreme minority. People that successfully work their way out of it are in an even more extreme subset of that minority. This would be helpful, but how many people would it actually help?

If a dev indicates that this would be easily implemented, I'm all for it. However, I don't think it's a justifiable use of resources if an implementation would require any non-trivial amount of work. It's not a bad idea, in fact I think it's rather sharp. But, the devil is in the details, as they say.

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I think a good, more simple approach to this would be to just list all the posts which could possibly affect the ban (and which they still have access to) on the page with the ban message and say "start fixing them" (not in so blunt and rude sounding terms). It's good to see a big list of everything you've done that's led up to the ban, and then users wouldn't be able to claim they don't know what they did wrong - it's all right there in front of them. – animuson Dec 22 '12 at 6:47
I think after the third ban the checklist feature doesn't come (that means the user didn't improve over that time period)... – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 6:47
@Programmer... Yes, repeated bans are indicative that Stack Overflow is just not the best resource for someone. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:49
@animuson I'm not sure if being so specific would be helpful. Someone getting out of a ban should be able to identify this for themselves, perhaps showing the first few to get them going would be better. Also, a huge list of past mistakes is not exactly easy for most people to consume, at least in my experience. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:53
@TinyTimPost ten answer thing is not working to me .... provided >10 answers with 56 up vote but yet question ban on meta... – NullPoiиteя Dec 22 '12 at 6:56
@NullPointer That was more or less a place holder value, not meant to illustrate the number of positively voted answers you need to write. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 6:58
@TinyTimPost could you tell me (if possible ) how many answer it still require to un-ban .. – NullPoiиteя Dec 22 '12 at 7:02
@NullPointer Nobody but the dev team knows how the algorithm works, that is very much by design. Through my own observations, I'd suggest revisiting questions again to see what can be improved further. I think you're flat out going to need more positive votes on them before anything happens. – Tim Post Dec 22 '12 at 7:05
@TinyTimPost thankyou... i have asked many stupid question ..which i am not supposed to(shouldnt have) asked ... ill try to post helpful answer to un-ban ..:) – NullPoiиteя Dec 22 '12 at 7:07
@NullPointer or any developer out their interested to my idea I think the Progress Bar or Checklist should have the following to left the ban: Answer 2 Questions that the user accepts. At least, 30 reputation boost. And at least change or improve two or more of the banned or bad questions. :) – Programmer... Dec 22 '12 at 22:45

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