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I believe this is a bug. There are at least two users in the "penalty box" who are able to continue posting comments. See this thread: How do you get your account suspended with comments from Rich B and Welbog.

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Why was this locked? – jjnguy Aug 27 '09 at 20:12
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Considering the two users in question were put in the box for comments in the first place, this should definitely be corrected.

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Suspended accounts are dropped to a rep-value of 1, which is the required reputation to post comments according to the MetaSO-FAQ.

As suggested by others, if you are suspended for abusing comments, perhaps you should be suspended from posting additional comments as well. "By-design bug" maybe?

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Good catch. IIRC, SO requires 50 or so rep to post comments. They probably didn't bother blocking the comment feature since the rep drop would take care of that. – user27414 Aug 27 '09 at 19:52
@Jon Yeah, I was thinking of reputation in context of SO, which confused me initially. Had to check here. – Sampson Aug 27 '09 at 19:53
The penalty box rep ought to be 0 on meta in that case. – tvanfosson Aug 27 '09 at 19:55
@tvanfosson True. Probably an oversight when implementing Meta. – Sampson Aug 27 '09 at 20:17

The Penalty Box blog post mentions only restricting the posting of questions and answers, so perhaps is by design.

If a moderator has warned you several times via email about behavior, and that behavior continues, for a period of 2 to 7 days, your account will be in timed suspension.

Your account will be locked at 1 reputation.
Your user page will have a visual indication that you are in timed suspension, and for how long.
You will be unable to ask or answer questions.

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Ahh. Perhaps this is more of a feature request, then. It seems like account-suspension should extend to comments as well (especially when it's comments that lead to the suspension!) – user27414 Aug 27 '09 at 19:48
@Jon B: That could be interpreted as having different suspension modes, depending on the behaviour that gets someone put in the box. I would disagree with that, only one suspension mode is needed. But you're right, that should include comments. – Treb Aug 27 '09 at 19:54

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