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I was recently banned from asking questions, and appealed my case here. As I think about my problems, I have begun to realize that I was never notified of the question-ban policy - neither were others like me. To remedy the situation, I propose a question ban meter in a user's profile, which shows how close they are to being banned. The meter would look somewhat like this:
New users would begin in the middle (where green and yellow meet.) Using the secretive algorithm, the users would then be able to see if they needed to improve questions (in the red) or if they should continue on their current path (in the blue).
This meter would also be used to help people who have been banned. Their pointer would show up to the right of the red, and as they gradually improved it would slide towards the meter until they were able to ask questions again.
Users in the blue could give up their "question expertise" to help question banned users. This would add a small amount of user input on the ban algorithm, effectively adding much needed community moderation.
Alternative Idea: These "trusted users" (different from [this]) would be able to turn down the severity of the ban from permanent to temporary. The notches would be as follows:
- Vote to have this ban reviewed (10 "Question Points")
- One Month Ban (50 "Question Points")
- One Week Ban (100 "Question Points")
- One Day Ban (250 "Question Points")
- Unbanned (500 "Question Points")
Also, users who were able to do this could pool their points together - this would make it even more of a community moderation process.
People who have a good question reputation would show up further on the list of unanswered questions - this would mean that Stack Overflow visitors could find their answers quicker. It would also act as another incentive for people to ask thoughtful questions.
This would help new users realize that there is a question ban in effect, potentially lowering the number of ban appeals on the Meta Stackoverflow Website.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Please let me know if you think that this is a good idea (or not) in comments and answer sections.
Many users have said that Stackoverflow could be "gamed" if this were to go into effect. Before you say that, please try to answer these questions:
What do you mean by "gamed"? If "gamed" means using the system to make sure that questions are not downvoted, or to realize when to focus more on the question... then that is not "gaming" the system - it is using it in the appropriate manner.
This is somewhat unrelated to the origninal question, but they are definitely intwined: What is the reason for the secrecy of the algorithm? If people knew what it was, most people would try to avoid doing things that would hurt themselves instead of using it to somehow "ruin" the experience for others.