I have recently asked a question by accident when I was drafting it. I decided not to post, but it was left open in another tab and somehow (I don't even know) it got posted. When I noticed it, a few minutes after, when I opened the tab (mind the question wasn't even downvoted yet) I apologized and deleted it. For some weirder reason it was NOT deleted. I came back later that day just to see it at -6 votes and my account suspended for it!

Some times I do ask a question that is downvoted, but I always react positively, apologizing, removing the question and learning with the mistake. It is not always obvious when a question is considered bad or good. For example, I just had a question that got -2 votes on SO, but was very well received on Programmers.SO, with +6 votes. Anyway, most of the my questions are well received and I collect some already with dozens of positive votes - here and on Programmers Stack. A few with +100 votes. How can one say that most of my questions are "harmful" to the community? I have been around for almost 3 years and got a 4k+ rep in total. I've read ALL guidelines and all faqs around. I have made long friends and learned a lot from the site. Yet I've received this a very harsh message saying I am a bad user and that I am damaging the community. I honestly took that by surprise and was very sad to know that. Is this actually correct? Should I leave the community now?

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    It's very unlikely that you got banned for one or two downvoted questions alone. Do you remember whether you have a track record of heavily downvoted deleted questions? It should be possible to work on those to get unbanned with the help of a mod. And just to confirm, by question banned you mean the "We don't accept questions from this account" message? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Sep 8 '13 at 22:51
  • @Pekka, yes, it stated that I am banned for making harmful questions and linked me to four of them, one with -2 votes, one with -1 vote, one with 0 (???), and one with -6 (that I posted by mistake). It stated I should return after a few weeks and that I should use the time reading the guides (which I have already taken the time to read long ago). – user189341 Sep 8 '13 at 22:54
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    @notPekka Dokkat is not question-blocked. He got temporarily suspended by a moderator. – Adam Lear Sep 8 '13 at 22:55
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    @Dokkat You got a message from a moderator and you responded to it all of 13 minutes ago. Perhaps waiting for a response there and trying to work something out is better than starting a public discussion right away. – Adam Lear Sep 8 '13 at 22:56
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    There it is, pastebin.com/Mmtc6wm7 . Should I quit, then? – user189341 Sep 8 '13 at 22:57
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    @AnnaLear I don't know, that was a message to a moderator, this is actually asking for advice to the community. If you consider this question harmful in some way I'll have no problems in deleting it! – user189341 Sep 8 '13 at 22:58
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    @Dokkat This is probably not a decision other people can make for you. Personally, I don't think you should quit over a suspension. I'd try working things out with the moderators first. If you can't reach an understanding there, you can ask us (the community team at SE) for a review via the "contact us" link at the bottom of any page. – Adam Lear Sep 8 '13 at 23:00
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    @Dokkat I've never asked a question "by accident" (and I've deleted more questions before I've posted them than I've actually asked. Since it has happen to you twice, you might want to think about your workflow when typing out a question and not use the "ask question" link until you've figured out your post and if you actually want to post it.... – psubsee2003 Sep 8 '13 at 23:22
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    @Dokkat I'll admit I read the mod message you posted out of curiosity. Some of the titles of the posts you've asked that were quoted in the mod message are very off-the-wall and I can't figure out why you thought they would even be good posts when you conceived of them. I'd take the time off to consider how you decide what to ask and try to stop yourself before you type the posts, not before you click "submit". – psubsee2003 Sep 8 '13 at 23:23
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    @Dokkat "Of my last 20 questions, I have a score of 247 positive votes and only 4 negative votes." You are not counting your deleted questions. The actual net score of your last 20 questions is 19, with only 6 questions being open. The rest are either closed or closed and deleted. – yannis Sep 9 '13 at 1:20
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    Including deleted questions is far from nonsensical. In fact, deleted questions--even questions deleted by the author--are counted by the question ban algorithm. – user164207 Sep 9 '13 at 2:36
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    "I delete lots of questions just after asking, in order to get an initial feedback when I don't know if a question is valid or not" Don't do that, that's not what the "ask question" button is there for. "James said in the accepted answer here that this is not a big problem if I do it fast enough" Sure. But you don't do it fast enough. In your latest self deleted question, at least 8 people wasted a bit of their time, either commenting or voting to close. In the previous one, at least 7 people wasted a bit of their time. Same with every other of your self deleted questions. – yannis Sep 9 '13 at 2:41
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    @Yannis OK I get it. – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 2:43
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    @Dokkat - Text editors exist. Use them. – user164207 Sep 9 '13 at 2:45
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    I identify a bit with Dokkat and I got no clue why this question was downvoted. Sure, voting in meta is different... People vote wether they agree or not with the opinion or statement... But there is no statement here. He just asked a very valid question with a slightlt bad title, from my point of view. Hang in there Dokkat! And stop asking questions to test the community! :P – cregox Sep 9 '13 at 16:36

You asked this: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/195153/should-so-recommend-alternatives-for-questions-it-doesnt-cover
And stated:

SO does not accept "tool recommendation" questions. [snip] I shamefully admit there are occasions I go ahead and ask them, even knowing they will be closed, simply because sometimes I still get the answers I need".

Relating to some other questions, you said

I have deleted those questions instantly after I posted them, so what's the harm?

The harm in posting and deleting questions (more than a few times) is Stack server resources, mod time and resources dealing with it and sending you a message, users time who might see them answering commenting reporting and voting, your time writing them and then deleting them.. then this question as a result, mine and others time reading this, wasted internet resources from everyone involved, and so on.

For the questions you deleted "instantly after posting them", then a lot of the above harm is not true, but it takes 2-3 seconds for the question to be posted from pushing go. If it only takes you 2-3 seconds to realise and "delete instantly", why not spend 2-3 seconds considering the question before writing, or at least before pushing the submit button?

You said in a comment above:

Asking a good question on SO is NOT easy

Your rep on SO is 3,017, and viewing your questions you get upvotes on nearly all questions (on first 5 pages I quickly viewed you have upvotes on nearly all of them, and the first few pages high upvotes)
So you know how to ask a good question. The issue here is, as you admitted, you ask ones you know you shouldn't.

Admitting you break the rules and post questions knowing they'll be deleted and generating a bad mark against you, and then asking if you're a bad user and should you leave is nonsense.
You're not a bad user, you just need to not post answers you know are not allowed here, and think about the ones you (must surely) know are likely dubious.

And to answer the question you seem to feel is important, no, I certainly don't think you should leave.
Looking at your questions on SO alone you're a really good contributor. People with great knowledge and providing answers are not more important than those asking questions.
Q&A sites needs both, or without the Q it would be a blog or tutorial.

So continue to write good questions and thus contributing to SO greatly, and perhaps find a good forum for the questions you can't ask here?

  • I should rephrase what I said. I sometimes go ahead and ask them, even knowing they could be closed, simply because sometimes they are well accepted. And by that, I mean: it is hard to predict when a question will be accepted. It is not like math where you can prove your results. Questions and guidelines have lots of subjectivities that are difficult to analyze. The pattern of posting and deleting shortly after is a way I found to get a quick feedback of the community before actually comiting the question. (...) – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 1:20
  • So you say, you could "spend 2-3 seconds considering the question again", but that just wouldn't be effective and I would still not know if the question is good. – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 1:22
  • Fair point, but there's quite a difference between a "few downvotes" for a not-so-great question, and "closed" for a really bad or off topic one – James Sep 9 '13 at 1:25
  • From my experience with the site I have a strong feeling there is much more than the quality of a question in play. I'd go as far as saying it is impossible to determine wether a question will be accepted. The first votes have a strong impact. I even asked some questions that were initially downvoted and closed, just to be reopened and upvoted to heaven. I do believe SO has a serious problem there. I'd like to gather some statistics before elaborating on that, though. Specifically, I'm trying to find out how many accounts are there that ask a lot of questions but barely get closes. – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 1:31
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    Why was that dvoted question reopened and upvoted? Did you improve it? If so then that is the system working as it should. -- "If the universe is a simulation, in what language it is likely that it is programmed?" surely you know that is not going to be allowed on a Q&A site? That's gonna bring chatter fodder, appropriate for a forum. If you feel there is a strong presence of unfairly closed questions, gather (lots) of examples and data and report it, I'm sure if it's a genuine problem it wont be ignored, but likely you'll find you just need to hone your understanding of what is allowed :) – James Sep 9 '13 at 1:42
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    What? That question particularly is VERY good. One of the best I ever asked. There are some very interesting ways to infer in what programming language the universe runs. It is a hard question? That is why it was on Theorical Computer Science. There ARE papers on the subject. Some people there certainly studied it and if the question was let open one could have provided a very good answer. There is absolutely no reason to discredit the question, other than: "it is weird and I am not used to that kind of question so it is bad." – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 1:50
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    @Dokkat I'll quote Programmer.SE's help article on questions not to ask: "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page." It's not a practical question based on an actual problem you face and it's not answerable. It's very open-ended, and our Q&A format doesn't support discussion very well. It is emphatically not a suitable question for the SE Q&A sites. – doppelgreener Sep 9 '13 at 2:13
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    It is an active topic of research with thousands of papers published. For which criteria you consider the question unanswerable? – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 2:19
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    @Dokkat The fact it is discussed in research does not make it good for our site, which is a Q&A site. I consider it unanswerable for the fact that it is pure speculation and discussion and there is no knowable correct answer. This site is meant to solve actual problems people face, for which there is a correct answer to which someone can say "This is it, thanks" - it is not for answering highly theoretical topics for which the answer cannot even be known. You appear to severely misunderstand what makes for a good question here. – doppelgreener Sep 9 '13 at 2:27
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    for the fact that it is pure speculation and discussion and there is no knowable correct answer - but this is the definition of Theorical Computer Science. – user189341 Sep 9 '13 at 2:28
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    @Dokkat - And who said that all theoretical CS questions are necessarily on topic at Programmers SE? – user164207 Sep 9 '13 at 2:33

You seem to approach asking questions in a volley of fire sort of way, where I think you may be better off taking a sharpshooter's approach.

With the volley of fire approach you fire off a lot of questions and if you're lucky or if you just put enough questions out there you're bound to hit something.

With the sharpshooter's approach its more of a "one shot one kill". You take your time, you aim carefully, you calculate and compensate for things like distance and wind direction, and even after all that you take a deep breath and think it through before you pull the trigger.


Most people that are temporarily suspended because of ONE unacceptable behavior. That doesn't necessarily make them a "bad user" overall.

There are two issues to deal with. The first is to avoid a repeat of the particular unacceptable behavior that got you suspended. The other is to steer clear of other unacceptable behaviors, which will now be punished more severely than if you were a "first time" offender.

"Should I leave the site?" No, if you can stay out of trouble by doing (avoiding, actually) the two things mentioned in the previous paragraph.

It's possible that a person is a "misfit" on one or two SE sites and a productive contributor on others. But if you are going to get into one scrape after another on those one or two sites, maybe it would be best if you parted ways with those one or two, and concentrated on others where you are more productive.

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