When a user is banned from meta or SO, why are they not banned across all Stack Exchange sites? I've seen a recently banned user contributing on Area 51. (Is Area 51 the only exception?)

I appreciate that, being banned from Area 51, at least one user wants to ask: Why am I suspended from Area 51? But that's not reason enough not to suspend all their accounts, is it?

Update: In light of Nicholas Knight's useful comment below, I'm still amazed at the number of downvotes here. Does anyone support this idea?

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Can anyone explain why they down vote this question? If you disagree, why not just explain why? By just downvoting you are not giving us a chance to dialogue. Downvote if it is inappropriate, sure, but why down vote questioning the status quo? –  Wikis Aug 14 '10 at 19:37
@Mark on Meta, dowvnotes are used to indicate disagreement. Since you have created a "feature request", users will downvote to indicate that they do not want this feature to be implemented. –  devinb Aug 14 '10 at 20:55
@devinb - thank you for that clarification. Is that "official" policy or common practice? –  Wikis Aug 14 '10 at 21:02
@Mark Robinson: A rough guess. ;) –  Time Traveling Bobby Aug 30 '10 at 19:12
@Mark, there's an FAQ page about that. –  Pops Aug 30 '10 at 19:16
@Popular, useful link, thanks. –  Wikis Aug 30 '10 at 19:18
Regarding your edit mentioning Nicholas's comment: people are boxed for reasons other than robbery. If you want a real-world analogy, boxing is getting bounced from a club, while you're advocating something more akin to organized blacklisting. –  Shog9 Aug 30 '10 at 19:19
@Shog9 - thanks for the comment but (maybe it's getting late) I can't work out what you mean. But I appreciate you trying to write it in "real-world" terms, thanks. –  Wikis Aug 30 '10 at 19:22
@Mark: I mean to say, you can act up and get kicked out of a bar without necessarily being locked away from society or locked out of other establishments. As SE grows, there'll likely be more and more cases where individuals simply aren't a good "fit" for one site, but can participate effectively on others. Robbery is a bad analogy for this, since the sort of behavior on SE sites comparable to it would likely also get you IP-banned. –  Shog9 Aug 30 '10 at 19:44
@Shog9 - got it, thanks! –  Wikis Aug 30 '10 at 19:46
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If a moderator felt so strongly about a user that he wanted to ban him across all sites, he could certainly do so. However, behavior on one site that is bad enough to warrant a ban may not necessarily exist on other sites (i.e., the user may behave himself on the other sites).

If you feel any user is behaving in a disruptive fashion, please use the standard tools to take whatever action you feel is appropriate:

  1. Down vote
  2. Leave a non-argumentative comment for the user
  3. Flag as spam/offensive
  4. Flag for moderator review
  5. Email the site using the "contact us" link at the bottom of each page
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Thank you Jon - this is a helpful answer. –  Wikis Aug 13 '10 at 21:52
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But that's not reason enough not to suspend all their accounts, is it?

You need justification for not doing something like that?

Eh, whatever makes you happy. No, it's not not reason enough to not suspend all their accounts. It's also not not reason enough to not sign them up for magazine trials. And it's never not reason enough to not send them slices of American Cheese through the USPS, postage due.

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Can you still send things COD? –  Peter Ajtai Aug 14 '10 at 2:56
@Peter: actually, you can... I've never done this (or received anything sent this way) –  Shog9 Aug 14 '10 at 4:24
I've thought about your response a lot. I understand some of your argument but I really don't understand comments like "whatever makes you happy" and "send them slices of American Cheese". It comes across as a putdown to me (by no means an experienced meta user, so I could be mistaken, apologies if I am). By the same token, this answer has (at time of writing) seven upvotes. I'm sure they can't all be people wanting to "put me in my place" so please explain (anyone) how this answer helps this discussion. Seriously - I don't mean it sarcastically, I want to learn. –  Wikis Aug 14 '10 at 19:42
@mark: don't take it too seriously. I'm essentially saying that, yes, the system understandably could work that way, but it would amount to kicking them out and then hounding them. –  Shog9 Aug 15 '10 at 3:28
that's clear, appreciate the explanation, thanks. –  Wikis Aug 15 '10 at 8:40
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Some users actually contribute meaningfully on some site even as the manifest troubling behavior on others. Think of a partial suspension as an pointed message about which type of behavior is desired.

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thanks for taking the trouble to reply. –  Wikis Aug 14 '10 at 6:13
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If someone robbed a store, he shouldn't be punished like he robbed all stores in the world.

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On the other hand, while someone is being punished for robbing one store, they're not allowed to walk around freely to rob more stores. –  Nicholas Knight Aug 13 '10 at 21:39
Both Pavel's point and Nicholas' are good, I think. Thank you to both of you for engaging with the question rather than just down voting and running. –  Wikis Aug 13 '10 at 21:53
Not commenting on the proposal, but this analogy makes no sense at all. Are you seriously implying that the punishment for robbing a store should be that you are banned from the store, not thrown in jail? –  tvanfosson Aug 13 '10 at 22:03
@tvanfosson - Neither solution is helpful, since neither directly addresses the desire to rob the store. –  Peter Ajtai Aug 14 '10 at 2:55
Again, I appreciate this thoughtful level of debate from all concerned. It really seems like you are all focusing on the issues and not making this personal. My deep thanks. –  Wikis Aug 14 '10 at 19:43
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