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There's been some proposals about how to (automatically) "stop" bad question askers. And already there is a "Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account" IP address/account ban, which is permanent right now.

Is there any thought about forgiving them after a while?

Allow marginal question askers to regain their question-asking privileges by performing community service is similar, but that's akin to an alternative form of punishment, rather than forgiving them.

Proposal: If a user is blocked because they are asking too many bad questions, only block them for (say) 3 months, rather than forever. Once the 3 months are up, see if they can behave better.

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No, they should be hanged, drawn and quartered. At the very least they should be beaten up. –  biziclop Apr 7 '11 at 0:00
I'm not sure I understand what it is you're proposing –  jmfsg Apr 7 '11 at 0:00
@Juan: Does my edit help? –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 0:02
I'm in favor of a short period in the penalty box, instead of a permanent ban. Banning people permanently just makes them find a way to get a new account. –  Robert Harvey Apr 7 '11 at 0:05
I don't really think punishment or forgiveness are appropriate or necessary. These users didn't kill your dog - they just tracked mud on the carpet. It's something that can be fixed. I kinda like the idea of blocking them from asking questions until they've spent some time cleaning up their previously-asked questions. –  Shog9 Apr 7 '11 at 0:27
I'm fairly sure it already works that way. By answering questions and gaining rep. Community service, if you will. –  Uphill Luge Apr 7 '11 at 0:39
I assume this only refers to the automatic IP/account bans, which yield "Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account"? (As far as I know, manual bans are most often increasingly long, like only a few days for the first ban.) –  Arjan Apr 7 '11 at 10:24
Ah, I guess you're actually referring to new proposals, hence to future blocking mechanisms. So, does your question also include the existing automatic ban? –  Arjan Apr 7 '11 at 10:27
It might be helpful to collect all punishment/banning proposals in your question for clear discussion. –  Phrogz Apr 7 '11 at 20:29
@Phrogz: I linked to some of the proposals in the question. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 23:03
@AndrewGrimm So you're referring specifically to only those two proposals? –  Phrogz Apr 7 '11 at 23:30
@Arjan: Yes, the existing automatic ban as well. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 23:54
@Phrogz: No, I'm just too lazy to list all of them. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 23:55
@biziclop: I've flagged your comment, sir. It sounds very rude and offensive. The StackExchange community and user groups are very big, and, without asking any questions, this community might not be grown as much as this, see. Actually, we all should thank to some users for their own different asking and thinking styles. Without any asking and eager to learn, there might no any answer or teacher... –  Kerim Atasoy Apr 6 '12 at 10:42
@AndrewGrimm: I think, biziclop and some of other dear users should learn to behave some more proper, this portal is not their own toilet room... This is just very improper. And, there're also some other experienced users who behaves such or similar... They should stop that as soon as possible. Thank you very much for reading and sharing by the way... –  Kerim Atasoy Apr 6 '12 at 11:04

4 Answers 4

The bigger problem than people asking questions are the people producing garbage answers just to get some attention. Typical example of those are people who don't even read or understand the question, but put question title in Google and then post the first link. Possibly accompanied with: "Have a look at...". I think moderators should put more effort in tracking those users. The site would gain enormously by eliminating those.

Yes there are some obvious question may they be from a novice or from someone who after hours or days of frustration was blind for the obvious.

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Basically, it would be up to the asker to regain the right to ask: by answering a few questions and getting a couple of upvotes, the right is back again (at least, based on the current options out there). I don't understand what would change after 6 to 8 weeks of ban. A bad asker would be back asking bad questions. I'm not even saying that I know what defines a bad question nor that banning itself is the right choice, but if the action is taken, in my opinion the best strategy would be to try to force a change in the attitude

Update: AS I said above, I don't have a position taken on whether ANY action should be taken with respect to bad questions. What I do believe is that IF somebody is declared persona non grata due to the low quality of the questions, that person will still be unwelcomed three months later, unless something else changes. Of course, if any action is taken whatsoever, SE should send a few warnings to the user in advance to try to improve the behavior before the ban. If the user persists even after the warnings, what makes you think that behavior won't be the same after three months? Giving the user the option to gain some rep might promote a better behavior in a very positive way. In fact, inducing the user to answer should teach her/him how to read the documentation, how to do web searches and even how to find duplicate questions in SE itself. I never proposed a minimum answer/question ratio nor any other kind of limit, I am only replying to the very specific question: "Can bad question askers be forgiven?".

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Answers should never be mandatory. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 7:05
@Andrew I started a reply here but I was running out of space, so I am adding it to the answer –  Aleadam Apr 7 '11 at 17:55
Many people grow up and mature over time (even after adulthood), so the person who was banned three months ago is not the same person who is around today. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 7 '11 at 23:43
SE should send a few warnings to the user in advance to try to improve the behavior before the ban — that could be an alternative indeed. (Though, based on questions here I guess that's not the current behavior of automated bans, unless of course downvotes and deleted posts would be considered to be those warnings.) –  Arjan Apr 8 '11 at 10:36
@Andrew I wish I had your optimism and faith in people. Don't ever loose it! Cheers. –  Aleadam Apr 8 '11 at 15:32
@Arjan yes, and it's odd that it's not out there more often. I was reading more all the proposals and I could not find it there, so I guess I'll post one for that. –  Aleadam Apr 8 '11 at 16:00
+1 for your latin –  Damien Pirsy Jul 12 '11 at 12:53

It's a decent proposal.

One thing I'd consider is the user's privilege on the site. SO grants privilege based on points. A user with low points asking bad questions could get a penalty box for 3 months, as you suggest, and all would be good for a second chance -- because primarily, they're only a danger to themselves. But a user with higher points (some level of editing capability or higher) might need to be held back longer; maybe it would be ok to start asking questions again, but we might want to actually see improvement before restoring certain editing privileges.

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In a way I would feel that such questions should be diverted to the tutorial section instead of insulting them on head.

This would prevent from frustating the ones who ask the questions, and they would not feel insulted.

Rather, they get their right treatment because I personally feel that we all are here to share knowledge.

Things would be better if the user is directly diverted to the tutorial section for the next question the user makes using the same tags!

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