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A user on Stack Overflow was recently temporarily suspended. Out of curiosity I read through their posts (both questions and answers) and found them to be of decent quality. They answer far more than they ask (about a 10 to 1 ratio) and always provides lots of sample code in their replies. They're polite too. I can't see a reason for suspension.

So, now I'm curious, and maybe I can even learn something from their experience. Can I find out why they were suspended or is that strictly between the moderator and the user?

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  • 5
    There was no reason given on the large banner at the top of the user page? E.g. rule violations, to cool down, voting irregularities, etc?
    – user50049
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 14:16
  • 1
    Yes, it said "to cool down". I didn't realize that was a unique reason. I figured everyone sent to a penalty box probably needs some cooling down. Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 14:23
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    We give a 'generic' reason to avoid the Streisand effect, but the actual details are not published. However, it's not uncommon for those suspended to bring it here to Meta, in full metal detail (which I hereby coin FMD). That's when things get interesting.
    – user50049
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 14:47

4 Answers 4

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There's an intentionally vague suspension reason at the top of the user's profile while the account is suspended.

The moderator is bound by the moderator agreement not to give out info like that; the suspension reason is private, though the user is free to admit why they were suspended (though I generally wouldn't recommend it).

While the user would be within their rights to tell you why they were suspended, I wouldn't pressure them about it. If they want to bring it up they will, otherwise let it go. Just keep following the rules, don't be a jerk etc.

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    I would go farther, and say that repeatedly leaving "tell me why you were suspended" comments is itself a flaggable offense.
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 15:03
  • @PopularDemand well even one of those comments is a flaggable offense (it's not a useful/relevant comment) but yeah, it borders on harassment as well.
    – Zelda
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 15:53
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    True. First comment noise/off-topic, further comments offensive.
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 15:58
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Please rethink this.

Imagine, you have a bad day, and a random stackexchange site was at your fingers when the effects of the bad day materialized. With the unfortunate effect that you had a suspension for a few days.

Do you really want all other users to be able to gasp at your profile to see what you have done wrong, or do you want this personal information by a selected (chosen) few?

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  • I imagine some folks would enjoy that scarlet letter of sorts.
    – user7116
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 18:53
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    @sixlettervariables: Another good reason for privacy.
    – user102937
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 18:57
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There is a short explanation displayed on the user profile during the suspension. That is all the information you get, unless the suspended user chooses to divulge more.

Suspensions are a private matter between SE, the moderators and the suspended user. Moderators don't give out any detail to other user about suspensions.

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Other answers have addressed the information part of your question already (you get the short reason in the banner, only). I'm going to address the other part of your question:

Out of curiosity I read through their posts (both questions and answers) and found them to be of decent quality. They answer far more than they ask (about a 10 to 1 ratio) and always provides lots of sample code in their replies. They're polite too. I can't see a reason for suspension.

If the suspension was content-related (low-quality posts, plagiarism, rudeness, vandalism, etc), then the moderator would have deleted the offending material (or rolled back offending edits) as part of, or very soon after, handing out the suspension. You don't see everything. When you look at a profile you're seeing only the surviving material.

Am I saying "trust us even though there's no evidence"? No. Moderators and community managers can see the deleted material, and the moderator messages that accompany suspensions are automatically copied to the community managers for review. If there is a problem with a moderator or moderator team, SE will act.

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