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Sometimes, when a user is suspended from a site, they take their issues into chat. This can be good, if the user is honestly open-minded and committed to changing whatever behavior earned them the suspension. But, it can also just be an extension of that inappropriate behavior. In either case, it is at the very least not something that really needs to be seen or dealt with by the general populace of the site from which the user was suspended, and at worst can be rather irritating and disruptive. In some extreme cases of the latter, it could also turn off newcomers to chat from ever participating in chat or the main site - or perhaps even from any StackExchange site.

For these reasons, I'm suggesting here that site suspensions should also apply to chat. However, the scope should be limited so that it's not unnecessarily broad and still allows the user to communicate with essential individuals.

This breaks down into a few components.

  • Users should not be able to chat in general-access rooms which are associated with the site on which they are suspended.
  • Users should be able to chat in rooms associated with sites where their account is currently in good standing.
  • Users should be able to have chat discussions with moderators of the site on which they are suspended, in dedicated rooms.

For example, let's say a user is suspended on ServerFault but has an account currently in good standing on IT Security.

  • They should not be able to chat in The Comms Room.
  • They should be able to chat in The DMZ.
  • They should be able to chat with ServerFault moderators, in a room specifically created (optionally by the user, or by site moderators) for this purpose.

For the last part I suggest the user be provided (either as part of the on-site notification of suspension or upon entry into a chat room where their suspension is in effect) with an option to create a chat room to which site moderators will automatically be invited. This room should be the only room, associated to the site from which they are suspended, to which the suspended user has access. This way, they still have a simple means of communicating with the moderators (hopefully, to work things out for the better) while not being able to interfere with or further aggravate the other site members.

I understand that, given the shared nature of our current SE chat system, this may be a difficult feature to implement in the very near future. However, I would still like to see it considered.


EDIT: Struck out suggestion for the option of allowing suspended users to create chat rooms with moderators, as there is apparently already a mechanism for the suspended users to contact moderators and that particular aspect of this feature request seems unpopular in the comment thread.

  • Suspended users can reply to the moderator message they get, there is no need for a chat room for that purpose. – Mad Scientist Sep 10 '12 at 20:48
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    Why though? I see a lot of "should" and suggestions, but no justification as to why this should be implemented. – Bart Sep 10 '12 at 20:50
  • @MadScientist Neither being a moderator, nor ever a suspended user, I'm not much familiar with the related interfaces. Thanks for the information. However, I think there are some certain benefits to the real-time and friendly interface of chat, over any other available communication mode. – Iszi Sep 10 '12 at 20:50
  • @Bart Today, there happens to be a specific case that's brought this idea to mind. I don't want to call too much attention to it. However, the last sentence of my second-to-last paragraph pretty much sums up justification. – Iszi Sep 10 '12 at 20:51
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    Besides mod messages, it's already possible for moderators to talk to users in chat, even if they're suspended; they can make a private room where the user can talk – Michael Mrozek Sep 10 '12 at 20:54
  • I'm not asking you to call out specific situations, but at the very least you can provide a better motivation to your feature request. At the moment I read nothing in terms of a scenario that makes me want to support this request. But then again, perhaps others will. – Bart Sep 10 '12 at 20:54
  • @MichaelMrozek I figured as much. But is the reverse possible? Can a user currently suspended from chat, trigger creation of a private room with moderators? – Iszi Sep 10 '12 at 20:55
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    @Bart Added a bit more at the top. Better? – Iszi Sep 10 '12 at 21:00
  • We may not want suspended users to contact moderators through chat. Oftentimes, it's best to just send one mod message and maybe a follow up to a reply, but anything beyond that just isn't constructive. Moderators have better things to do, such as handling flags and community building, than debate with users who have demonstrated that they don't want to cooperate. – jmort253 Sep 10 '12 at 22:36
  • @jmort253 The moderators always have the option of just not responding to the request. – Iszi Sep 10 '12 at 22:52
  • I don't really agree with the chatroom for mods + suspended users; they already get a private channel through which to talk back and forth about the issue. Chatrooms would make that a lot more cluttered. I do like the idea of booting them out of $SuspendedSite's chat; I was recently concerned I'd have to do that manually... – Ben Brocka Sep 11 '12 at 0:25
  • i think this is already in place. a suspended users rep is set back to 1, and you need 20 rep to chat. – tehdoommarine Sep 11 '12 at 18:06
  • @tehdoommarine Due to the shared nature of SE's chat system, the 20 rep can be on any site. So, if I'm suspended on Server Fault but I still have a good account with >=20 rep on Information Security, I could still chat in The Comms Room. This proposal would require changing that, to a degree. – Iszi Sep 11 '12 at 18:14
  • @Iszi - so something like setting the reputation on ALL SE sites for a suspended user to 1? – tehdoommarine Sep 11 '12 at 18:19
  • @tehdoommarine Not at all. What I propose would require handling chat permissions in an almost entirely different way (separate from, or with more contributing factors than, just being reputation-based) than is currently done. A chat site ban on one site shouldn't automatically equate to a chat and/or site ban on all sites - but it should effect a chat ban on rooms attached to the banning site. – Iszi Sep 11 '12 at 19:04
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I think it's pretty obvious that if you're suspended on a site you should also lose your privileges to participate in that site's chatrooms. The fact that this isn't always the case should be considered an accident of how Stack Exchange Chat is configured.

Not sure if it's worth building this into the system though. If someone is sufficiently tone-deaf to get themselves suspended on the main site and, due to how their chat account is configured, continue stirring up trouble in that site's chatrooms... Then moderators should just suspend them manually. Problem solved.

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The question was asked way back in 2012, today the situation is as follows.

In my experience, users suspended from the main site are automatically banned from using chat, and from using chat in any sister site that may exist. I would imagine this to also include sister sites that are in Beta.

Although nothing is mentioned about being automatically banned from chat in this post

My account has been temporarily suspended; what does that mean?

  • The account will be locked at 1 reputation.

  • The user page will have a visual indication that the account is in timed suspension. It will also include a brief explanation of why the account was suspended, and for how long.

  • The account holder will be unable to ask, answer, comment, vote, accept an answer, or award a bounty.

  • Migrations from other sites are prohibited and will be blocked.

After a little digging, and asking around, it appears that a suspended user is automatically banned from using any chat that belongs to a sister site, even if the user's account is not suspended in those sites.

  • If I understand it correctly, you are only banned from chat if the site you are suspended on is your parent site. So it isn't a given... If your main site is Cooking and you get suspended on Physics, you can still chat. – Catija Oct 2 '16 at 10:21
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    @Catija HI! See comments beneath my answer meta.stackexchange.com/questions/125268/… But if my main site is Physics, and I get banned there, I can't chat in Cooking, right? And if that's true, it's absurd. – Mari-Lou A Oct 2 '16 at 10:23
  • That is correct. Your chat account is tied to your main. I believe that if you are suspended on your main you can evade the chat ban by switching your main site... Though that's very discouraged. – Catija Oct 2 '16 at 10:32
  • @Catija and how do I switch my main site? And why is this discouraged? I might have twenty sites I am a member of, not been suspended in a single one, and still be banned from using chat. – Mari-Lou A Oct 2 '16 at 10:33
  • Has no one ever considered the unfairness of this? BTW I hate chat, never visit it, or never used to (you probably know of my suspension) but I hate injustices even more. – Mari-Lou A Oct 2 '16 at 10:36
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    You go to your chat user account and you edit the profile... Though caching will make it take a while to catch up. It's discouraged because you are evading part of your suspension. It isn't generally discouraged, only in the case of suspensions. I suppose that if your suspension had nothing to do with chat, that might be less bad... But any mod can specifically chat ban you if they feel that you deserve it. – Catija Oct 2 '16 at 10:38
  • I don't think it's an "injustice" so much as it's a failure in the system... I don't know that the chat system has a way to check all sites to determine whether you can chat or not. You seem to be attributing more intent to it than it deserves... Particularly since chat isn't a major part of SE and they don't spend a huge amount of resources developing for it. – Catija Oct 2 '16 at 10:43

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