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Under "A Day in the Penalty Box", there is a condition for "No effort to learn and improve over time" which specifies "The user never gives anything back to the community, but only takes". If for example, the user is a member of Cross-Validated and Stackoverflow, and the user posts the questions on both SO and CV, but answers the others questions only on SO, is this condition still applicable? OR, Is it applicable when the user doesn't answer any question on both the forms but simply posts the questions. Also, when we are referring over time, are we saying time greater than one year or is there any rule of thumb to indicate that?

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    I don't think we actually suspend anyone for exclusively asking questions without ever providing answers. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Aug 11 '13 at 15:49
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn there's the question ban that people often get into. – John Dvorak Aug 11 '13 at 15:53
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    Note that asking good questions is giving back to the community just as giving good answers are. – David Chen Aug 11 '13 at 15:53
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    just as a personal opinion, I would see asking good questions as "giving back" – bummi Aug 11 '13 at 15:54
  • Thank you for all for your opinion. – user227710 Aug 11 '13 at 17:24
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Although you're reading it in the right order, your interpretation of this suspension reason is backwards.
Notice that the primary reasons are either:

  • No effort to learn and improve over time, or
  • Disruptive behavior

All of the other items listed are simply examples of characteristic behaviors by users that fall into one of these two general patterns of problematic behavior.

One of the ways we know that you're making no effort to learn and improve over time is because you never try to give anything back to the community. It's also worth pointing out that we mean "learn and improve over time" in the context of the particular Stack Exchange community. It isn't the moderators' problem if you never learn anything about programming or improve as a programmer.

We are willing to cut you some slack on rule violations if you show that you are willing to comply with our guidelines and making attempts to improve over time. One of the ways to do that is to give back to the community, effectively "making up" for your early mistakes.

A day in the penalty box is designed to deal with serious problems. So no, we're not going to ban people who just ask questions without posting answers. Good questions are as vital to the health and function of a Q&A site as are good answers. You wouldn't have any good answers if you didn't have questions.

Beyond that, it's worth noting that really big, active sites like Stack Overflow have quality filters enabled that step in and automatically block users who repeatedly post low quality questions or answers from continuing to do so. So it's rare that moderators have to intervene manually for content issues.

  • @ Cody: Thank you for the nice explanation. – user227710 Aug 11 '13 at 17:25
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I wouldn't look at a user's activity on other sites before placing them in the penalty box for "No effort to learn and improve over time." Just because someone is a contributor on one site doesn't mean we can let them be a help vampire on another.

Also, when we are referring over time, are we saying time greater than one year or is there any rule of thumb to indicate that?

On Stack Overflow there are automatic bans for low-quality questions or answers. If we'd let people violate the first three bullet points under "No effort to learn and improve over time" for a year, odds are they were already banned.

  • This user does not put reasonable effort into the questions they ask of the community.

  • There is little or no evidence of this user learning over time, either in the topic itself or in the community norms on the site.

  • This user intentionally spams the site with the same question or very similar questions, over and over.

If we can see a pattern of this kind of behavior emerging, it's better to just send a warning to the user and/or temporarily place them in the penalty box before it gets them into an auto-ban.

  • @ Bill: Thank you for the opinion. – user227710 Aug 11 '13 at 17:26
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This is just my take on it...

There is little or no evidence of this user learning over time, either in the topic itself or in the community norms on the site.

Refers to users who, even after many corrections, continue to post in an inappropriate manner. I'm thinking that moderators will tend to be more lenient with new users who simply "don't get it yet" and less so with repeat offenders.

The user never gives anything back to the community, but only takes. 

Is a little more subjective but, I think it refers to users who only post to meet their own needs. Their questions are overly simple, often duplicates, and are unlikely to be of any value to future visitors to the site.

  • @ apaul34208: : Yes, that is too subjective and hence my question here. – user227710 Aug 11 '13 at 17:27

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