I just wanted to report a problem with Data Explorer and realized I was banned from asking questions on meta. Probably because I asked 3 questions with a score <= -10.

Reading through the reasons for this:

  • to prevent help vampires
  • users who can't be bothered to form sentences
  • users who don't do the most basic kinds of research themselves
  • users who barely even explain what it is they are trying to do
  • etc., etc. …

Nothing of this applies to my case. Here on meta, downvotes work differently, so I think this should be reflected in the policy for question banning.

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    Yes, that sounds reasonably. +1 – genesis Oct 14 '11 at 11:44
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    How did you ask this question? :) – jrturton Oct 14 '11 at 12:20
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    @jrturton: I also fell for that one...it's his evil twin. ;) – Time Traveling Bobby Oct 14 '11 at 12:21
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    I tend to agree, which is why I asked this earlier: Should the automated ban on questions used on SO apply to Meta as well? – Brad Larson Oct 14 '11 at 19:34
  • Thank you all for support and understanding. It seems that I can already send new questions with my original account, thanks. Also, this acount can be merged with it. – Tomas Oct 14 '11 at 22:08
  • Damn, after the UTC midnight it's back! I cannot post questions again! But I was able to post a new one before the midnight. How comes? Adding the Support tag again. – Tomas Oct 15 '11 at 0:12
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    I bumped 2 of them up to -9 in case that helps. – bkaid Oct 15 '11 at 5:58
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    Help! I got screwed over by the same thing..... now I can't post anything! No idea how to contact anyone who can help either! – user159773 Dec 12 '11 at 5:11
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    @AscensionSystems, you can flag something (e.g. my question) to get moderator attention. In the popup form explain what you want. – Tomas Dec 16 '11 at 18:43

Looking at the question score is a bad indicator of question quality on meta, so the question score shouldn't be used that way.

Probably the whole question banning functionality should simply be disabled on meta. Traffic is not so high and there aren't so many "bad" posts that they couldn't be handled by hand on a case-by-case basis.

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    I agree with this, I'm banned. Also, I do have a high-score question, and nothing says I won't make another one if I'm enabled to. I asked disagreeable questions here because I'm not here to be popular, but I have a respectable reputation on SO and I didn't ask any disagreeable question there. On top of this, I have a positive rep, help vampires wouldn't have positive rep. Also, this site works differently and it's meant to, and discussions are more welcome (even when disagreed upon). And yet more: the message is very crude and unfriendly, and there was not any warning (I didn't expect this). – Camilo Martin Feb 19 '12 at 12:24
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    Oh, and just to clarify, I'm only banned on meta. It's ridiculous, help vampires wouldn't come to meta. – Camilo Martin Feb 19 '12 at 12:25
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    @CamiloMartin Help vampires do have positive rep. Not saying you're one, my point is just that rep isn't an infallible indicator of contribution to the site. – user200500 Jul 31 '13 at 2:47

Looking through the bans, most of them are correct.

However, we'll be reducing the threshold of votes in this calculation (on any meta) to better reflect the idea that downvotes can be much more common on meta, for reasons that aren't necessarily related to quality of the post.

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    I think that's the best solution. This also gives moderators a chance to intercede (when we feel the user could be a good contributor) before the ban fires. I also like knowing that the angst of showing someone the final exit door still falls on an automated process. So really, this is like a Meta happy meal. – Tim Post Feb 22 '12 at 7:26
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    @tim I know from SO experience that putting the "you must decide when to ban this user" decision off on mods causes angst and also means virtually nobody gets banned in practice. I totally support relaxing the threshold for meta, and I did in fact relax the threshold for meta a long time ago but there is a second "simple" check that has no variables to adjust. That's what needs to change. – Jeff Atwood Feb 22 '12 at 7:34
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    Wouldn't that be "increasing the threshold..."? – user200500 Dec 4 '12 at 10:06
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    completely wrong. there is no place for bans on meta for anything other than consistent spamming or total rudeness. everything else is part of the discussion, on a discussion site. Your angst is nothing compared to mine, which our autobann caused me, for asking one uneasy question (that got deleted) and making two unpopular suggestions - in good faith. – Will Ness Sep 15 '13 at 11:43

I want Meta to have an immune system that is sufficient to keep out trolls. With that being said, I wouldn't mind seeing the threshold increased quite a bit for meta.

If someone keeps blowing the down vote bell curve due to trolling, they'll likely find themselves interacting with a moderator way before the ban kicks in. If the ban finally kicks in, they can't say we didn't warn them.

Some people are extremely passionate about really bad ideas. For the most part, I don't think they intend malice. If it's obvious that they are only here to play games, moderators have buttons to deal with that :)

  • Well, so what you say would suggest that the automatic ban is not needed for Meta (because trolls will get caught by moderators sooner anyway and moderators have their buttons) - quite the opposite, the automatic ban can make false alarms, so it should definitely be changed (or removed?). That's the message I can only agree with. – Tomas Feb 19 '12 at 13:30
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    @Tomas The only benefit I see in having it here is that it would be the system that ultimately kicked a long term troll off the site with it being well known that 'there's nothing anyone can do about it, don't come crying to us, we warned you.' So I think just greatly increasing the threshold required for it to 'fire' would be sufficient. I can't see someone that isn't trolling hitting a ban if the threshold was doubled. – Tim Post Feb 19 '12 at 13:53
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    +1 for "extremely passionate about really bad ideas " because I LOL'ed. But I find that those who are consistently and extremely passionate about really bad ideas.. over and over.. kind of need to, uh, find another place on the Internet to hang their hat. – Jeff Atwood Feb 21 '12 at 9:13
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    @Jeff "Heavily-downvoted" doesn't necessarily mean "bad idea". The "problem" title filter is a great example of a feature that the community largely hates if you measure hate solely on meta votes; but that SE holds as a good idea. It'll be a black day when you start turning away the minority dissenting opinion just because the mob doesn't agree with them. – razlebe Feb 22 '12 at 8:11
  • @razlebe If someone continually lobs intentionally disruptive moon pies at the front page without learning a single thing in the process, they quite frankly need to go away. I completely agree with Jeff in that regard. I really think raising the bar a bit (as they are doing) will keep the ban from hitting extremely dense people that really mean well, which is all I was after :) – Tim Post Feb 22 '12 at 8:17
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    @Tim I agree with that too & that user isn't the one I was referring to. I'm referring to the guy who thinks outside the box and isn't afraid to go against the tide of community opinion using a reasoned argument, not the guy who is so far off-kilter that his contribution isn't welcome. For example, Kevin Montrose is the prime (vocal, anyway) advocate of the problem title filter, with (from what I've seen) community opinion squarely the other way. Kevin's backed up his reasoning with the math behind it, and so made a valuable, minority, dissenting contribution. That attitude needs protecting. – razlebe Feb 22 '12 at 8:27
  • @razlebe I'm pretty sure the adjustments in progress will guarantee that. There are also people that get quite upset when content is deleted, and lots of other issues that awesome users feel very strongly about. If I understand Jeff correctly (see comments under his answer), the adjustments should make sure those kinds of users never get in the proverbial 'cross hairs', provided their dissent doesn't turn into an outright spectacle. – Tim Post Feb 22 '12 at 8:30
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    "Some people are extremely passionate about really bad ideas." Sounds like that Jeff guy :P – CodesInChaos Feb 22 '12 at 10:18
  • bad answer. People have right to propose all kinds of ideas on meta, and votes on meta should not be used as indication of anything other than agree/disagree. – Will Ness Sep 15 '13 at 11:46

The only fair and useful measure on meta would be closed questions or close votes received. But banning based on down votes shouldn't be on the meta sites.

  • nope, this is not a good measure I believe. Very often you cannot avoid to ask duplicates even if you try, because the question is formulated using completely different words. I like what @sth has said, i.e. solve the problem when it really comes up. – Tomas Oct 15 '11 at 8:34
  • no banning has any place on a discussion site other than for consistent spamming or extreme rudeness. – Will Ness Sep 15 '13 at 11:48

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