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Over and over again people come to meta and say they were banned for "one bad answer" or "one bad question." They don't understand that deleted posts count, no matter who deleted them.

Often, a moderator nicely provides them links to all their questions or answers, including deleted ones, with a summary of their votes. This both gets them to understand that the ban is not capricious, and gives them a set of links they can use to fix their questions and possibly get out of the ban.

Many times we have asked to let people see their deleted posts on their profile. Apparently this would be too disheartening or something. Fine. Let them see it every time they are told they can't post and only then.

This would lower the workload on Meta while not incurring any harshing for folks who aren't banned and who look at their own profiles.


Perhaps the link should be to a custom page for the user. This would include the following vital things:

  • the ban is automatic, no-one can lift it for you, and it will not expire after a period of time
  • you can lift it, here is a link to the help center page on that
  • here is a summary of your questions or answers

The summary can be as I proposed in Make users pass a review assessment as final stage before question ban

you have asked 10 questions. You have deleted 4, the community has deleted 4, the aggregate score for these questions is -22.

But then go on to provide handy links to each of these questions. Advice like undeleting if they deleted it themselves, editing if it's not deleted, etc can also go here.

When someone comes to meta anyway we can figure out what point they didn't get and edit this page a little.

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But then who would ask questions on Meta? –  bluefeet Jun 7 '13 at 14:02
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@bluefeet The 95% of such users who will ignore that message. –  Servy Jun 7 '13 at 14:05
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@Servy oh c'mon your being pessimistic I bet only 93.7% of users will ignore it. –  ryan Jun 7 '13 at 14:06
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Combine this with Use the new helpcenter for the question/answer ban message and I think the meta traffic with drop by 50%. –  psubsee2003 Jun 7 '13 at 14:11
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@psubsee2003 It'll be so boring, we'll start answering the coding questions that show up here... –  Yannis Jun 7 '13 at 14:38
    
Actually, I believe Diamond mods can lift the ban. –  Undo Jun 7 '13 at 15:17
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@Undo I've been told that's not possible. "moderators cannot lift the ban by request" - meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/86997/… –  Kate Gregory Jun 7 '13 at 15:29
    
@Kate Interesting. I guess it was Devs that can. Devs can do anything. –  Undo Jun 7 '13 at 15:30
    
See: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/182812/… @Undo –  Shog9 Jun 7 '13 at 15:50
    
Seems like they don't "lift the ban" but they take things out of your history that they think are causing the ban. I wouldn't consider that a true exception to "no one can lift the ban for you" though. –  Kate Gregory Jun 7 '13 at 16:07
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1 Answer

There's a huge sampling bias inherent in trying to evaluate the nature of q-banned folks based on complaints posted here. I've commented on this before.

So, for starters: only about 8% of the 5K+ users blocked in the past month have a single visible post on the site.

But that's still over 400 users. We could help them by giving them access to this information, right?

...Well... Probably not. What are they supposed to do with links to their deleted posts? For the most part, they can't undelete them - they've been closed and deleted by others, so they can't just edit and undelete. They may be able to learn enough from them to ask better questions in the future, but... They're blocked from asking questions in the future.

Outside of a few unlucky edge-cases (who we're always happy to help if they contact us directly), folks who're down to a single visible post on the site by the time the q-ban kicks in tend to have dug themselves in pretty deep.

Your idea isn't without merit, though: it's just too little, too late. As tvanfosson wrote two years ago:

A customer friendly site should warn you before you go off the cliff, not after. It should also provide some detailed instructions on how to avoid going off the cliff, and in fact get further away from the cliff, when you start to approach it.

The time to warn someone, to give them this information, is when they can still easily correct their path: when they've posted their first or second poorly-received question and are about to write a third.

By the time they have a long legacy of close, down-voted, deleted questions, the damage has already been done...

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I know it would be good before. I even proposed wording for the warning: meta.stackoverflow.com/a/179124/147247 (in fact, I think I'll just edit my question now...) –  Kate Gregory Jun 7 '13 at 14:53
    
Needs to kick in earlier and be less fixated on deleted stuff. For all the hand-wringing about how deletion contributes to these bans, it's almost always the final nail in a well-fastened coffin lid: you can test this easily enough if you want, or just look at the antics of some of our favorite spammers / trolls. –  Shog9 Jun 7 '13 at 15:03
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