So SO's recent super secret method for preventing problem askers from asking more questions has been getting some recent attention. As I understand it, they can use the site in all ways they otherwise would with the exception of asking questions. A distinct and older action for problem users is to place them under temporary suspension. As I understand the penalty box, the user has all privileges revoked.
Is question-blocking designed to be more or less serious than a temporary suspension? I'm guessing that, since they are still allowed to use non-asking functions, perhaps it was meant to be less severe than an outright suspension. However, I suspect that, as implemented, it is more severe than then penalty box. It's likely that those who get question-blocked use the site almost exclusively for asking questions, so taking away this ability effectively bans them forever from SO (even though technically they could still answer questions, etc). Is this by design, or am I perhaps mistaken in the relative severity?