I am trying to ask a valid question on Stack Overflow, but I got blocked by the auto-question-asking-ban message. I haven't been asking many questions, have only received 1 more downvote than upvotes as downvotes since the last time this happened, and it blocked me again.

I feel that the filter used should have its sensitivity slightly decreased, as it goes haywire after 1 additional downvote for me and others, and getting an upvote to balance it out does not seem to fix it, even after an hour.

  • Valid by which rules? Can you embed the question you plan to ask in here using a block-quote? (Prepend each paragraph with a >, bold the question title or so.) – Tamara Wijsman Oct 8 '12 at 16:00
  • @TomWijsman I think it's about the question-ban algorithm, not the quality filter, so whether the question is or is not valid wouldn't matter here. – Daniel Fischer Oct 8 '12 at 16:04
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    3 out of 10 questions were closed. Many have no upvotes at all. Though I have to ask, did you delete any downvoted questions? Were any of your questions deleted by a mod? – Bart Oct 8 '12 at 16:04
  • @DanielFischer: None-the-less, better quality also results in less questions getting banned. As most of his questions seem on-topic to me, I think it is the case that helping him to write better quality questions will help him from not getting the question block. – Tamara Wijsman Oct 8 '12 at 16:06
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    @bart, most of those were ignored by the community. there's a guy on a forum that constantly downvotes my questions (he PM'd me there) for no reason other than I banned him for spam there, but I digress. I had 1 question deleted by a mod because I recognized it as a duplicate, but I asked him to delete it because someone answered it with "me too, tell me when you solve it", which stopped me from deleting it. – Azulflame Oct 8 '12 at 16:09
  • @TomWijsman Sure. But when the ban is in place, it doesn't matter if the next question you're trying to ask is stellar or piss-poor, it won't get accepted. So the helping to write better questions would only be effective after the ban has been lifted [of course, no harm starting to teach before that]. – Daniel Fischer Oct 8 '12 at 16:10
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    @DanielFischer: Exactly, he has to correct his earlier questions first to get rid of the ban, I believe. – Tamara Wijsman Oct 8 '12 at 16:20

From a first look at your questions, a lot of titles seem on the short end.

Let's take for instance

Trouble with filewriter in java

which makes me wonder what trouble you are having with a FileWriter in Java.

Continuing in the question, I read the first line

OK, I'm having some trouble writing multiple lines to a text file.

which could have almost been the title:

When I write multiple lines to a file, why does the file only contain the last line?

This invites me much more to answer your question than "trouble with ..." does. Then I don't need to go through 6 lines and 2 code blocks that try to explain what the question title should.

After that, I'm left with a huge amount of code. The file comment, imports, input, console output and most of the logic are irrelevant there. So, to help people to answer your question it would help to only paste the relevant parts such that they don't have to go through a lot of code. This shows that the code is yours and that you understand which part is relevant, which turns it from a "code reading" problem into a "what am I doing wrong?" problem.

Hence, this is why you received a comment:

Just a warning, but this is dangerously close to a "what's the code" question.

Bottom line of the story here is that you should try to avoid downvotes in the future by putting a bit more effort in the question such that it is more readable to your users:

  1. Make sure there is a good introduction that makes the actual problem clear

    • The title will interest users into answering your question, it should summarize the problem.

    • The first (and often also last) paragraph should attempt to make the problem clear.

  2. Avoid the following sentences, as they don't make your problem more clear for people that not yet understand the problem but rather just fill the post:

    • Who knows how to fix this problem? Rhetorical question, answers will tell.

    • Any help is greatly appreciated. We know you need help.

    • Things I need some help with: We know you need help.

    • This may be asked here before, ... This indicates you didn't search.

  3. Try to add more details explaining what you have already tried and what you already know.

  4. Make sure the detail don't contain too much totally irrelevant information.

  • Thanks for posting this, sorry it's late, but +1 – Azulflame Oct 26 '12 at 15:55

The problem appears to be that you were barely above the quality threshold when you started posting questions again after the first ban was lifted. You need to continue to actively work on the quality of your posts (both new and old) in order to put some distance between you and the ban threshold.

I do not think any kind of hysteresis band should be added to the ban mechanics, nor do I think the sensitivity should be decreased. The auto-ban feature isn't there for your convenience, it's there to try and improve the overall quality of posts on Stack Overflow.

  • I would do that, but the majority of my questions aren't looked at, and the only that seems to is constantly downvoting me (see my comment on my question) – Azulflame Oct 8 '12 at 16:15
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    Having had a look through your questions, I saw several that I find should really be closed. You are continuously balancing dangerously on the boundary between appropriate and inappropriate questions for SO. Many of them show no effort on your behalf, nor any research. You might have done it, but don't show us. Really have a good look through your questions to see how you can improve them. That should also make community participation more likely. – Bart Oct 8 '12 at 16:17
  • Have a read through "Writing the perfect question" perhaps, if you haven't already. This will take you some time, but will pay off in the long run. – Bart Oct 8 '12 at 16:18

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