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Better explanation when account is blocked

A few months ago SO started blocking questions from users with a history of poor questions; users get the error message:

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account.

It's not clear to users who see this what they did wrong, or how to fix it, so they end up posting the error message on meta (1, 2, 3, 4). Is it possible to include an explanation in the error message, or make it link to a meta post or FAQ section that does? It's particularly important to tell them what they can do to fix the problem -- I'm not even sure what the answer to that is (post answers that get upvoted? e-mail team@?)

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marked as duplicate by Arjan, Pops, Michael Mrozek, fretje, YOU Apr 13 '11 at 0:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I agreed with Arjan's vote to close, though I will point out that this is the unusual case where the "dupe" has more votes than the original (and an Official Jeff Answer, though no red tag). –  Pops Apr 11 '11 at 14:56
@Popular Jeff has an answer there too, and it's somewhat better, so closing is probably good –  Michael Mrozek Apr 11 '11 at 15:01
Yeah, that's part of what led to me choosing parentheses instead of bold and <blink>. –  Pops Apr 11 '11 at 15:05
The very first thing they see is "users who can't be bothered to form sentences." I respectfully submit that such wording is not best from a public relations standpoint. –  Dan Jacobson Dec 22 '12 at 16:58
Also you need to give them an exact reason: Was it their IP address? Was it their score ratio of this vs. that? Etc, Just dumping it in their laps and telling them to figure out the problem won't help things. –  Dan Jacobson Dec 22 '12 at 17:02
On one hand Stackoverflow requires users to make perfectly crafted questions, but at the same time cannot even manage to make a polite explanation if the user, or perhaps someone from the same ISP, does not. –  Dan Jacobson Dec 23 '12 at 4:30
@DanJidanniJacobson I'm not sure what you imagine commenting here is going to do; this was two years ago, nobody in charge is going to be looking at it –  Michael Mrozek Dec 23 '12 at 5:19
Thanks, @MichaelMrozek. I am probably lucky, for if they did see it I would probably get doubly banned. But that's the breaks. –  Dan Jacobson Dec 24 '12 at 7:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

It's particularly important to tell them what they can do to fix the problem

We don't view this as a fixable problem in these cases.

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So is the account permanently unable to post questions? –  Michael Mrozek Dec 14 '10 at 8:33
@michael they can technically still post answers but in my experience the types of users who tend to hit this filter are .. unlikely .. to produce an upvotable answer. They are free to try but it's not a situation where I think it would be helpful to encourage them to start "answering" things. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 14 '10 at 8:54
Is this something that goes away with time? Or does it flag the account permanently and there's no way to undo it? –  Erick Robertson Dec 14 '10 at 14:37
@erick it is permanent by IP, it is lower level than account –  Jeff Atwood Dec 14 '10 at 17:34
@JeffAtwood Like it's a hard thing to get a new IP... And people who are behind NATs be damned. –  NullUserException อ_อ Sep 30 '11 at 13:44
@JeffAtwood I get a new IP each time I reboot the router... how soon before I get a banned IP? –  Bryce Feb 2 '12 at 5:41
@JeffAtwood so getting a New IP will end the Ban? –  VamsiKrishna Feb 20 '12 at 11:39
Yikes! I share the same IP with thousands of others on my ISP. –  row1 Jun 1 '12 at 10:21
Hypothetically, if I were to be on a shared IP and got banned due to some other user's faults, how can I file a request to become unbanned? –  hexafraction Aug 20 '12 at 14:30
@MichaelMrozek No! the account doesn't not permanently get unable to post questions. I have touched this ban on physics.SE and get rid of it by posting some answers and raising flags. –  user31782 Dec 23 '13 at 19:14
@anupam "the account doesn't not permanently get unable to post questions." triple negative, nice! –  DGGenuine Feb 22 at 7:29
It's time to use IPv6 –  Sebastian Godelet May 3 at 9:18
@JeffAtwood Ahem Tor? –  Simon Kuang May 22 at 4:15
@JeffAtwood Ahem, Dynamic IPs? –  cybermonkey Aug 5 at 19:48
Haha, if a banned user account is committed enough to go so far as to user tor to create a new account, they're pretty damned committed to staying around, aren't they? –  Kzqai Nov 12 at 17:10

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