Two questions:

  1. I'm inferring that this is what has happened, but I'd prefer to believe I wasn't actually targeted; so if I'm being paranoid, please move on to 2.

    I believe one of the high-level users got together with a mob of his friends or dummy accounts and effectively had my StackOverflow account banned.

    I've come to have the impression that Stack Overflow is an open-minded place that nurtures both sense and creativity among a diverse group of users with a broad spectrum of personalities. I feel that one of the users didn't like the fact that I had altered one of his answers. The code produced an incorrect result. I changed the code slightly, such that it produced the desired effect. It was a change to the code that we had discussed, and to which he had responded: 'That sounds like something I would do.' Can't be sure, because the post was deleted and hidden. Anyway, it was a very minor alteration. He changed it back and gave me an importunate response in comment. It still said:

    This produces the correct, desired result

    That line was misleading, because the result was not correct. I altered that to say:

    This produces the following result

    Or something of that nature. I can't be sure, for the reason listed above. He had cited the code, specifically, as the reason for the rollback, so I didn't think this change was going too far. He sure did.... He deleted the entire thread of comments, and his answer, in such a way that none of it can any longer be seen and then went on a rampage, casting close votes and down votes on my other questions.

    I noted in the comments at one question, specifically, an extremely objective point of observation that the reason listed for closing my question did not line up. And now, questions are no longer being taken from my account.

    This kind of abuse goes well beyond corruption. It's one thing to have a strong, or even cynical personality. I don't think that people need to constantly present with a happy or loving disposition: it's not only unrealistic, but it seems to be a common justification for misbehavior--'the attitude card'.

    Going around and banning anyone who has the insight to correct an individual's mistakes is incompetent and grossly corrupt. Even if the reason my asking privileges have been lifted isn't due to this, the spam is annoying. People shouldn't be allowed to resort to such a filthy crime. In the end, it's not good for her nor I. It can't be good for his self esteem, to stoop. Isn't there a way to prevent this? I'm not the only one with this kind of issue:

    Serial downvote record-holder.

    What is the typical response to serial voting and similar abuse? When can I expect action to be taken in my case?

  2. Assuming my questioning privileges were revoked for another reason, how can I get specific information regarding my case? The general message is 'maybe you can get your asking privileges back and maybe not.' If I'm asking questions in a way that admins disagree with, and the complaint is reasonable, I feel they should be more than willing to share the reason with me (for example, 'you edit your questions too often', or, 'your questions are too frequent', or, 'you need to answer at least one question per question you ask, and you're not answering a lot of questions')?

    Those are things I would suspect, second. You know what my first assumption is.... So, if this isn't an abuse case (which it more than likely is), then how can I get the confrontation I need to discover whether or not I can turn myself around?

  • 1
    Flag one of your affected contributions for moderator attention with a short description of what you think is going on. Let them figure it out.
    – Bart
    Oct 5, 2012 at 10:44
  • 2
    The deleted answer in question (10k-SO only)
    – AakashM
    Oct 5, 2012 at 10:48
  • 6
    Stuff like "Coward deleted the answer and got me banned." isn't going to help any situation, is it?
    – AakashM
    Oct 5, 2012 at 10:50
  • 7
    On another note: " I had altered one of his answers"... if he then subsequently undoes that edit, don't redo it. His answer is his. No matter how flawed it might be (assuming that it is).
    – Bart
    Oct 5, 2012 at 10:51
  • 3
    As far as I can tell, he rightfully voted to close two of your questions. These questions appeared in the review tools then and attracted additional close votes and downvotes - simply because they were indeed bad. From the look of it, no big conspiracy here. As to why you got banned, that's a different question (my understanding is that two questions out of a hundred shouldn't normally have that effect, and your ratio of questions with downvotes is bad but not that bad). As noted by Bart above, moderators should be able to figure this out. Oct 5, 2012 at 11:06
  • Normal users cannot delete a comment thread, only moderators can. It could be the OP flagged the thread as not-constructive or similar, but it'll still be a moderator decision to remove comments. Oct 5, 2012 at 11:26
  • 2
    @WladimirPalant unless there's obvious signs like loads of deleted questions, mods can't see if you're question/answer banned or not either
    – Ben Brocka
    Oct 5, 2012 at 11:28
  • 1
    @MartijnPieters: Deleting your own answer is possible (unless it has upvotes I think) and that's exactly what the user has done here. Not exactly unexpected either - a well thought-out answer that got downvoted because of an unclear question. Oct 5, 2012 at 11:35
  • 6
    Looking at your overall contributions a far more likely reason for the ban is that your questions don't seem to attract all that much upvotes. In fact, most of them are either 0 score or negative score questions. The close votes here might have simply pushed you over the edge you were balancing on. Now, this is only guesswork on my behalf. But if that is the case, you can't be in very deep and might want to focus on improving your questions instead. Perhaps you can get some upvotes out of that and have the ban automatically be removed.
    – Bart
    Oct 5, 2012 at 11:36
  • @WladimirPalant: ah, that wasn't directly clear from just the question here. Oct 5, 2012 at 11:38
  • @Bart Taking a step back, I tend to agree (referring to your latest post). Like I said, I'd rather believe that there's a general trend of some kind. Still, I'd like to get a concrete answer. I'm willing to invest in improving my question and answer quality--but I'm not willing to turn into an upvote panderer, you know? I mean, when I look at comments, I typically look at the ones that have been up-voted, first. ...if it's a lost cause because so-and-so doesn't like me, that's fine. Prejudice has a stronger effect from higher levels of societies; that's just part of life, unfortunately. Oct 5, 2012 at 13:59
  • @AakashM I don't find anything wrong with the dissolution that it's an act of cowardice. Clearly, it is. It's honorable to call things what they are. He's just as likely to be offended if I treat him like a child and lie about his behavior as he is to be offended if I tell the truth and call it like I see it, and the latter is better for all parties because it can be dealt with effectively. I don't believe in strong punishments. I do believe in 'sticks-and-stones', though. Receiving and understanding lecture means avoiding concrete injury. In summary, yes. It's the best path to open up. Oct 5, 2012 at 14:05
  • @Bart In response to your second comment: this is what I mean by 'what can be done', you know? Kind of a basic security protocol: if the feature exists, it's going to be used. I'll edit my question, here, appropriately.... The first edit was a more than reasonable edit of the code, I thought. He irate that I had altered his code, taking a 'what-gives-you-the-right' type attitude, but specifically citing the code edit as his reason for being so offensible. When he rolled back his answer, he rolled it back to say, "This is the correct answer." That's very misleading. It needed an edit? Oct 5, 2012 at 14:24
  • 2
    I think you're taking this all way too serious. Step away from this whole "hatred" and "malicious" viewpoint. Focus on improving your content. If the content we see is all there is, it should not take too much effort to get out of the automatic ban. And let that be it. Focusing your energy on the negative is not going to do you any good and will ultimately only result in more trouble. Good luck!
    – Bart
    Oct 5, 2012 at 16:08
  • 2
    For what it's worth, Bart's reasoning is basically spot on. This question ban is automatic. It's powered by a few things and we don't reveal the exact mechanics to prevent gaming, but in your specific case, my advice is to improve your existing questions to attract some upvotes and prove to the system that other community members find your questions valuable. You can find some tips on what makes a good question here and at the How to Ask page. Hope this helps.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Oct 6, 2012 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


Maybe there's something I'm not seeing here, but I don't see any evidence of serial down voting. First, I caution you against drawing conclusions at all about voting. That said, based on the times involved, it does seem like the person you refer to may have reversed their up-vote of your question to a down vote, and down voted your own answer.

Beyond that, I don't see anything that you would have any ability to say was from anyone at all. Your content has gotten sporadic down votes before and after that day.

And that leads to the 'banning'. I'm assuming you mean a question ban. As was noted in the comments here, you have a good number of slightly-down-voted questions, numerous 0-vote questions, and very few up-voted ones.

I don't see any reason to attach your question ban to that particular user, even if the question ban happened at 11:45UTC on Sept 26. If that's when it happened, that was likely just the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but I suspect it happened later than that.

As for reversing the ban itself; the ban message contains a link to information about that. Improving your content is the best thing you can do. Perhaps you have deleted posts which could be undeleted and improved (a mod could tell you if so, if you wish). Posting some good answers is the best way to get that removed, otherwise.

But please note that no one can give you "specifics" on what got you banned. There are some general things we can note, but the specifics are kept under wraps to prevent dancing on the border purposefully.

  • stackoverflow.com/election <- a list of moderators, capable of the kind of abuse feared? Or are these only elected moderators? Oct 5, 2012 at 22:50
  • stackoverflow.com/privileges <- a list of all privileges? Or a list of privileges that are coming soon? On my list, "view deleted questions" is nowhere close to complete, so it's safe to assume that 10k+ users may have permanent ban privileges. Oct 5, 2012 at 22:53
  • Thanks, Andrew. The last paragraph is especially useful, and it revokes my paranoia to hear that I shouldn't attach my ban to that user. I don't feel any sense of entitlement after having read your answer. I feel like I can just work to improve my questions and answers, .... Sorry, I have to say this: Mr. Andrewson. Oct 5, 2012 at 23:27
  • 1
    @Wolfpack'08 There are a few folks who were appointed before Stack Overflow had an election mechanism. You can see the full list of diamond moderators on the About page: stackoverflow.com/about.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Oct 6, 2012 at 1:19

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