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It's striking to me that people can be banned from asking questions so seemingly trivially by an apparently dumb algorithm with no review, yet other, less important moderation functions need several actual humans to agree to the action.
I know that the Stack Exchanges are originally a programmers' site, and programmers think programming solutions are great, but I'd like to put forward that certain permanent moderation actions (such as banning users from participating) should be done by actual humans, especially since the post-ban algorithm is broken (as explained below).
A much more sensible solution is use some sort of pre-question ban queue.
- A user passes a threshold which bans them from posting for a week or what have you. They are put into a moderation queue.
- Other users have a week to vote / agree to make the ban permanent.
- After a week is past, the user is banned or not.
As for why I think the question ban algorithm sucks, it has blocked me from asking questions on SuperUser after only two questions--one with no votes, another question with a single downvote, and my answer to my own question with a single downvote on it (after noone answered it). By any reasonable tally, I think that a user being banned after 3 posts with two single downvotes on them is outrageous.