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How does “Reputation” work?

I'm banned from asking, and my programming skills are weak compared to the average stackoverflow user. What would be the best way to gain reputation in my current state?

  • Just to note: the ban kicked in here because most of your questions have been judged off-topic or not constructive, down-voted and closed. Do you understand why?
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:05
  • If your questions got closed, you're out of luck. There is not really much you can do to get your questions reopened, because no matter how much you improve your questions, the people who voted to close won't return to undo their votes. Also, simply gaining rep by itself may not help; if you're banned from asking, rep is not the only property that decides if you can ever post again or not. For me, the only thing that worked was to ask if my account could be deleted and then to start over from scratch. Of course, your mileage may vary... Sep 9, 2012 at 15:16
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    @mrl - Posts can be reopened quite easily. Once you have made edits, you can flag it to get someone to review your edits and possible cast a reopen vote. If its a mod that casts the vote, the question will be reopened immediately. As for your second point - deleting an account just so that you can start from scratch is slightly overkill don't you think? It's definitely not the correct way to go about lifting a ban. Essentially you cheated the system by doing that... shame on you ;)
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:20
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    @Lix Yes, they "can" be reopened easily, but that hardly ever happens! As to my other point, I did ask, and they did say there was no chance of me ever being able to post again, no matter how much rep I'd regain. Then what's a guy to do? Sep 9, 2012 at 15:23
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    @mrl - wow... If that really was the case (and I find it v.hard to believe) then...yea... ok... What on earth did you do to make the SE team so mad at you that you were banned for life???
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:25
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    @sho - banned for life? is that possible?
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:27
  • You mean suspensions, probably? Suspensions are done by the SE team, yes. Bans on the other hand are automatic, based on your question score. My mistake was to not post enough useful questions and too many bad ones. Sep 9, 2012 at 15:27
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    Uh, no, @Lix. There is no "lifetime ban". The quality-ban is based on the community's evaluation - conveyed through votes, closures, deletions, flags, etc - of your past work, with reputation gained elsewhere thrown in as a sanity check. It is always possible to overcome it, the only variable is how deep a hole you're in to start with.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:45
  • @MrLister: I'm not sure what you're referring to, but so far as I can tell you're not banned anywhere - so whoever gave you this "no chance of redemption" line was full of crap. If you're referring to an account here on MSO, we did tweak the algorithm a bit a while back to make it a bit less harsh given the propensity for large numbers of down-votes on unpopular requests.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:46
  • @Shog9 No, this isn't the account that was banned and subsequently deleted, sorry. That was another one. But here is the comment that told me I got so heavily downvoted there was no coming back from that. Sep 9, 2012 at 15:55
  • @MrLister: hmm, that's an unfortunate response. I'm guessing that since this conversation happened after the fact he couldn't actually look up your account and give you anything specific. Also... I can't find any emails from you, ever.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 16:03
  • @Shog9 That's OK, I only sent a grand total of 3 emails to the team. Easy to miss. Oh, I found my deleted account number. Here. Sep 9, 2012 at 16:13
  • @MrLister: it is very odd - I found an email requesting your account deletion, but no others; I don't know where they went, but we didn't get them.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 17:35
  • @MrLister - Also, I want to point out that you don't need the original 5 close voters to reopen a question. There are thousands of 3K+ users who have the privilege to vote to reopen, and it's just a matter of getting their attention, positively, to get an edited post reopened.
    – jmort253
    Sep 9, 2012 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


I think you should focus on lifting the ban and not on "what else" can get you reputation...

The ban will be lifted as soon as the system detects you are actively contributing to the site. That is the thing you should be focused on. That'll let you get back to asking questions. Looking at the posts you currently have, I think there is an underlying problem of knowing how to ask and exactly what to ask on Stack Overflow itself.

There are many ways to get "on the good side" of the automated ban system. Here is a list of actions that can award you reputation during a question ban. The full list can be found here.

You gain reputation when:

  • one of your answers is voted up/useful: +10
  • one of your answers becomes accepted: +15
  • you accept an answer written by someone else to one of your own questions: +2
  • a downvote on one of your questions or answers is removed: +2
  • you suggest an edit and it is accepted: +2 (up to a total of +1000 per user)
  • you remove a downvote from an answer: +1
  • one of your answers is awarded a bounty by the user offering the bounty: +full bounty amount
  • one of your answers is awarded a bounty automatically: +1/2 of the bounty amount (see bounty FAQ for details)
  • you associate accounts of two or more Stack Exchange network sites, and at least one of those accounts already has 200 or more reputation: +100 on each site (awarded a maximum of one time per site)

The last item might be a good option for you as well. There are other Stack Exchange sites dealing with different questions and topics like -

Perhaps there is another site that catches your eye and once you reach 200 rep on at least one site, you can associate your Stack Exchange accounts with each other. You'll receive a 100 point association bonus on all other sites!. This bonus is to get you past the initial reputation barriers and allows you to contribute more actively than a brand new user with only 1 rep point.

As @ThiefMaster pointed out, there are some very active tags that contain many simple questions. Why not try answering some of those? I see that your current posts are related to the tag; I'm sure there are some simple questions there that you could answer...A couple of upvotes will get you back on track! The high traffic tags get loads of attention so all you have to give is a correct answer, throw in some formatting, and you are bound to get some rep plus the ability to ask questions again...

Another thing that would get you some reputation points as well as assist the community, is to suggest some edits to existing posts (that are not yours). Each approved edit will give you 2 rep points. You can carry on like that until you gain the edit privilege (2K), once you have that, you will no longer receive reputation for accepted edits - because you can now make edits without having to get them approved! This suggestion, however, comes with a warning. Do not make small trivial edits just to gain reputation. If you see a post in need of some editing, make sure you take care of the whole post. Check the title, capitalization, grammar, tags and anything else that doesn't contribute to the post. If you are not 100% sure then it's best to leave it and let someone else handle it. If the only thing you are editing is removing signatures or greetings/thanks and other than that the post is great, leave it. No need to clog up the edit history with minor edits... To many edits from too many users have consequences.

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    Please do not suggest that people who have earned a ban go start proposing edits.
    – Rosinante
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:52
  • @ros - why not? Just because a user was banned from posting questions doesn't mean that they can't still contribute to the site in other ways.
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:57
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    I never understood why folks are focussing that much on trying to improve existing questions, or are even trying to help by undeleting deleted, excusez le mot, crap. Also, often banned users seem to be saying "I've done everything described in the linked post" while they have totally skipped the part about answering, and only focussed on editing questions. I'd say: leave the garbage alone, start giving back indeed. Answer. Answer. Answer. (But: that;s just my opinion.)
    – Arjan
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:59
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    In theory, there's no harm to it, @Lix. In practice, most of the folks who hit the q-ban are struggling to use English in the first place, and their edits don't accomplish much. Worse yet, if your end-goal is to overcome the ban, it takes... A lot of edits. In this particular case, Truth may be able to pull it off - but there are still more productive approaches.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:02
  • @sho - I agree with you (in general). However in this case, from looking at the OP's current posts, English is not a problem. The fact that it will take a lot of edits is pretty clear. Editing is most likely not the best way, but it is another way.
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:06
  • @arjan the opinion is not only yours :) Sep 9, 2012 at 15:06
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    @arj - "...leave the garbage alone..." - Maintaining the sites and cleaning up garbage is a very important part of contributing to the community. It's also not the only thing I suggested...
    – Lix
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:10
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    As long as deleted stuff stays deleted, it's just fine with me. Editing non-deleted "garbage" to become pearls (or even "sand") would be nice, but more often than not that is just not the result. Instead, I feel it often just creates a bigger mess by bumping the question or even invalidating existing answers. (And I know you suggested more, but I did not comment on that?)
    – Arjan
    Sep 9, 2012 at 15:58
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    @Arjan - My thought is that if the edits invalidated the answers, then we should ask if the question should have been answered in the first place, or flagged or voted to close. One of the first things new users learn about the community is to answer NARQ and NC questions at their own risk, or be prepared to come back and fix them if the question is fixed. Because of the power of editing, I don't see this as something that should hold anyone back from improving their question.
    – jmort253
    Sep 9, 2012 at 18:14
  • @jmort253, just yesterday: I have edited the post, and added a few more questions. (Though I could not find the --deleted?-- post this refers to.)
    – Arjan
    Sep 9, 2012 at 18:23
  • @Arjan - Sure, if the question is being edited and changed just for the sake of changing it, that's bad. But if it's being edited to be more constructive or more of a "real" question, and that just happens to invalidate answers, well at that point, that's on the people who chose to answer.
    – jmort253
    Sep 9, 2012 at 19:21
  • But, @jmort253, that banned user thought they were just following the advice to "Before you do anything else, fix your existing posts!" Of course, that advice does not say "add more questions to your post". But the dozen examples I've looked at when banned users mentioned they fixed their existing posts, have never been true improvements. Waste of time due to bumping, I'd say.
    – Arjan
    Sep 9, 2012 at 19:57
  • @Arjan - Then we just need to do a better job of clarifying what "fix your post" means. I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but I do agree that editing should not be done to add more questions to a post and that such behavior will unnecessarily bump a question.
    – jmort253
    Sep 9, 2012 at 20:02

There are several tags such as and where chances of easy-to-answer questions are pretty high. So if you have some knowledge in these areas add those tags to your favorites and look for questions you can answer.

  • Don't know those. Any other ideas?
    – Truth
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:35
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    @Truth Yes, go through a tutorial on them and then find the really easy questions. Or just go through all the questions in the tags you do know.
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:39

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