Just now I got suspended in chat, ending in 28 minutes. I have no idea why. What did I do wrong?


You must have posted something that was flagged enough times to be removed, which results in an automatic 30-minute suspension period. This can happen for legitimate reasons, but also occasionally comes about when people forget that flags are not toys.

There's a related question that asks about the details of chat suspensions, but currently it doens't have an authoritive (or any) answer.

  • 1
    Ok. I'll wait it out, and next time I'll try to not validate flags on my own messages :) By the way, how long has this been in effect? In the past we have used flags to remove posts that were not spammy, but we didn't want in the transcript (like someone's email address), and this didn't happen. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 29 '11 at 20:44
  • It's definitely been in place for a while, if not longer. I'll see if I can dig up some specific details. With respect to the post deletion, I think that the auto-suspension is only applied in certain cases. For example, if something is flagged and then deleted by a moderator, I don't believe that that forces a suspension (but I'll check on that as well). – Tim Stone Jul 29 '11 at 20:49
  • 9
    Why aren't the users who get suspended notified of the reason for this? I mean, if the purpose of the suspension is to get someone to improve their behavior, isn't this like every other comment asking why people downvoted their post? If the purpose is to get people to improve, you need to tell them what they did that was wrong. – Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 29 '11 at 20:50
  • @Lasse: I posted a follow-up question. – R. Martinho Fernandes Jul 29 '11 at 21:10
  • @LasseV.Karlsen Are people notified of deleted comments and deleted answers? The actual problem, which I suspect is also true in this case, is that people are flagging things that they simply should not be flagging. balpha is open to suggestions on how to improve that. – Tim Stone Jul 29 '11 at 21:16
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    I'm all for reducing the usage of flags on things that shouldn't be flagged, however, I'm more strongly in favor of telling users about what the system does, when it does it, and why it was done. If the system actively suspends people in response to flags, invalid flags or not, they should be told. Research has shown that random shock treatment doesn't improve behavior, I don't see how random suspensions would either, and that's how users will feel about these suspensions, unless they are told the reason. – Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 29 '11 at 21:20
  • @LasseV.Karlsen I don't think that this auto-suspension is intended to target users who will learn from their mistakes, but I could be wrong. The fact that it's impacting users who will (or had nothing to learn because they shouldn't have been flagged) is an issue, of course. – Tim Stone Jul 29 '11 at 21:25
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    If you're punishing people you have no hope for improvement in, why are we even keeping those users ... or ... why do we have a feature that is punishing the wrong people? – Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 29 '11 at 21:38
  • @LasseV.Karlsen Since I don't know that I'm right about the purpose of the system, I don't have an answer to the first question. My answer to the section question is that we don't have a feature that is punishing the wrong people, we have people who are abusing the feature and causing the wrong people to be punished. – Tim Stone Jul 29 '11 at 21:49
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    That is a good point, but are they doing it on purpose, or because they don't know better? – Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 29 '11 at 21:50
  • @LasseV.Karlsen In most cases I'd guarantee that it's the latter. I don't think anyone came up with a formal proposal to try and mitigate that though, and unfortunately it hasn't yet been dealt with. – Tim Stone Jul 29 '11 at 21:51
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    @Martinho This has always been in effect. When you flag a message as spam/offensive that is neither spam nor offensive, but you just "don't want it in the transcript", you're just abusing the system. – balpha Jul 30 '11 at 9:29

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