Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Users who are question-banned often think it's a good idea to ask their questions on Meta instead because hey, it still has Stack Overflow in the name, right? Pretty frequently there are questions on Meta that don't belong here, and more often than not they're by a misguided SO user who's been Q-banned.

We can't block these users from posting on Meta altogether, since that would make it hard to get help if somebody were legitimately blocked by accident, but I would suggest that any post from a Q-banned user be blocked if it contains a code block. This would allow for still posting on Meta under more legitimate circumstances, but would help prevent the default "I'll just ask on Meta" behavior that we see so often.

share|improve this question
I like the idea, but not the ensuing questions that say "sorry my code isn't indented it told me to unintent it" – David Robinson Mar 19 '13 at 22:29
Meh, I'd say we're not so flooded over here that we can't handle this any more. Let Meta SO be a bit of a catch-all. – Bart Mar 19 '13 at 22:55
Lets do this, but only on days that have an R in their name if your MSO userid is odd, or days without an R if its even. Seriously, I'm all for sensible rules and automatic measures that lighten the load on mods and reviewers, but I think even the mods here sometimes have a hard time knowing what all the rules are. Expecting people to behave well is better than forcing them to with a pile of rules, even when some people don't. – Caleb Mar 19 '13 at 23:32

Those questions get nuked so fast that I suspect anyone trying to evade a question ban on SO by asking on Meta will soon find themselves with a question ban on Meta.

share|improve this answer
There is actually a suspension for this situation, as well. – Andrew Barber Mar 19 '13 at 22:23
Right, but why waste time nuking them when we could prevent them from occurring in the first place? – nhinkle Mar 19 '13 at 22:33
@nhinkle because then we will have to 'waste time' helping those with legitimate desire to get help. – Andrew Barber Mar 19 '13 at 22:34
@nhinkle Well, mostly because you can't actually do that. Contrary to the perception mentioned in your question, the majority of people posting off-topic content to Meta appear to simply be clueless*, not actively trying to evade a question ban. Given that, it's not really evident that implementing this would do much to stop that kind of stuff from being posted. – Tim Stone Mar 19 '13 at 22:39
(*The partial exception to this was that time that the Facebook subsite login was broken and pointed people to Meta, and instead of posting about problems logging in, people just posted there questions here. This could be considered a special brand of clueless, though) – Tim Stone Mar 19 '13 at 22:41

I don't think that would work, for a simple reason; it's possible, in seeking help for their postings, they may want to include code in a question in order to show an example of part of a post they made.

While it is likely very rare to have a legitimate need for this, I think that as quickly as these posts get closed and deleted here, it's not worth inconveniencing those looking for useful information.

share|improve this answer
How often is that likely to be the case though? In situations where a question ban was legitimately an accident, they can always email team@ for support. – nhinkle Mar 19 '13 at 22:20
Or they could link to the question. Honestly, I've never seen a question-banned user post code in an MSO question that wasn't off topic – David Robinson Mar 19 '13 at 22:21
@nhinkle I don't know how often it would be; it's easy enough for us to take care of question-banned users who post here (their stuff tends to be wiped out quickly), and I think it would be too much of a hassle for those (however few) legitimate users to have to link, especially since they will be asked, "Can you post some examples?" – Andrew Barber Mar 19 '13 at 22:23
Here's an example of a legitimate (although not well received) question from an answer-banned user that contains code:… . There are others that I've seen. While infrequent, it does happen. – Brad Larson Mar 19 '13 at 22:34
@BradLarson: legitimate is sort of a stretch- he even says something like "I still want to post my answer somewhere so here it is." it would have hardly been a loss to the user or to the community if he hadn't been allowed to post the code – David Robinson Mar 19 '13 at 22:38
@DavidRobinson He's not saying "I want to post my answer somewhere so I'll post it here on MSO" but rather something like "What's wrong with this answer? I'd like to post it, but it was deleted..." I certainly think users (even banned ones) should be able to ask questions like that. – Caleb Mar 19 '13 at 23:51

An alternative suggestion is to set up an auto-flag for moderator attention on MSO questions from question-banned users that have code blocks. Most such questions are flagged within the first few minutes, but this would help them be caught even more quickly while still letting the extremely rare legitimate questions through.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .