Suppose someone only asked 30 bad (closed or downvoted) questions in 30 days. This person probably would be "shut down," either by a timed suspension, or by the algorithm that says, "this site is no longer accepting questions from this account" before the 30th question.

But suppose those 30 bad questions are spread over three years, that is at a rate of one question every 36.5 days on average. (This interval is longer than say, a 30-day timed suspension.) The asker is curious, not too bright, (probably) not harmful and visits the site "from time to time."

Is this a different situation from the first (30 questions in 30 days)? Assume that no flags are involved. Although the algorithm is secret, would it focus more on "one bad post within the past 30 days" or "30 bad posts cumulative from 2010," or something in between?

  • 7
    Is it just me, or does 30 bad questions over a long period of time sound even worse? You mean, without any actual good questions in between?
    – Bart
    Sep 27, 2013 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Bart they both sound equally as bad to me Sep 27, 2013 at 17:52
  • 1
    No one knows, as you say, the algorithm is secret. Chances are 30 bad questions in 30 days wont happen - you'll be cutoff long before that (assuming the only activity is those 30 questions). As for your main issue, my hunch is, given the same criteria spread over 3 years, the time will only make a small different if any. Sep 27, 2013 at 17:52
  • 1
    But also no one that I am aware of was suspended specifically for bad questions. That's what the ban is for (which is untimed). Suspensions are for rules violations. Sep 27, 2013 at 17:54
  • @Bart: Maybe a better way of putting the question is that we both know that "30 bad questions in 30 days" would not be allowed to happen. But could "30 bad questions in three years slip through the crcaks?"
    – Tom Au
    Sep 27, 2013 at 17:55
  • The two become identical when multiplied by thousands of individual users Sep 27, 2013 at 18:05
  • Perhaps a better way of looking at it would be comparing a user that posts 10 bad questions in 1 day vs. one that posts 10 bad questions over 36.5 days (same ratio).
    – p.s.w.g
    Sep 27, 2013 at 18:29
  • Why do you ask?
    – John
    Sep 27, 2013 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


If the good questions outweigh the bad questions, then 30 bad questions over a lengthy period of time would be balanced by the number of good answers/questions that user has provided over the same span of time. The ban is usually temporary, unless the user has proven to offer little positive value to SO.

Speaking as someone who has overcome the ban, it is possible to get re-instated. It took a considerable amount of positively received answers to get back to being able to post questions again, but as you can see from my current rep it took less than 2K positive rep to do. Therefore, it can be deduced that, if, for every bad question there are 100 well-received answers, that user can probably get away with 30 bad questions over 3 years.


No, not really. If someone's content has become predominantly detrimental to the site, the intention of a posting block is to ask that they work on their existing content before trying to post further.

I don't have to betray any state secrets — nor am I even particularly familiar with the exact algorithm — to say that a history of bad contributions does not automatically mitigate over time. In other words, don't expected to become suddenly unblocked if you simply wait long enough.

In relatively rare circumstances, if a user has exhibited a history of poorly-received content, a posting block may be trigged by the system automatically. It's not a matter of how much time passes between posts, but looking at their total contribution — has their contribution to the site been a positive experience, or have they consistently been a drain on the site overall?

If they can improve their posts enough to get them up-voted, their ability to post again will be reinstated by the system automatically.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .