I'm new here and find the prevailing attitude and tone of the site extremely authoritarian and offensive. It is certainly not encouraging one to participate and share opinions etc.

I have just been banned for "low quality answers" which is hardly a good way to encourage participation by people new to a particular field.

If it were not for the fact that this site comes up so often in Google searches for information, I'd just shake the dust off my sandals and leave you all to your own devices.

So - end result - you have ensured that I will never again attempt to contribute to this site. You are all so clever obviously you don't need my help or opinions. A pity, as my philosophy is usually to try to give (where I can) and not just take help from websites.

I have been looking for help in a couple of areas that I'm very new to (which is what led to my recent discovery of SO). Has it occurred to you that just because I may be new in one or two areas I may actually know something about other areas?

This is one strange place.

PS: Just to rub salt into the wound, you wait until I have spent 20 minutes composing my comment and hit enter to tell me I'm banned. Nice one!

  • 14
    Is this a question that can be answered or is it just a rant?
    – ProgramFOX
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:16
  • 8
    Stack Overflow tries to be the place to go to for quality questions and answers. That means we have standards that have to be met, yes, because otherwise you'll never find the many gems we have collected among the muck. That is why the site keeps being found in Google searches. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:17
  • 7
    We do try to give you as much help and guidance as possible before you post; when you asked here on Meta about a recommendation question you posted you got a lot of feedback as well as to why we do things the way we do them. That is not elitist, that is being clear and focused. Stack Overflow was never the place for every question you can think of. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:19
  • 13
    I'm really sorry you're having a bad start here, but looking through your questions it's not clear that you've read anything about this site before posting. You, like many others, seem (I might be wrong) to have assumed that you can post whatever you want. Have you considered that rather than the site being authoritarian and offensive that you have been lazy and rude by not reading anything about the community you have joined? It is not that difficult to get on well with the SO community and hundreds of thousands of people have managed it.... Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:20
  • 3
    ... If you read the help pages you should be able to get a clear idea of what the community's about. Anyone can be a great member, it takes no special talents, and I'm sure you have the ability. It'd be great if you could. I particularly believe that having multiple differing methods and people is the way to get the best out of everyone concerned... it stretches everyone to think, as long as everyone respects everyone else. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:21
  • 31
    So far you've posted three times in the "Your Answer" box, all three of which were new questions. In doing so, you ignored a dialog that pops up telling you to make sure you're answering the question. So yes, you're banned from posting again until you read the instructions on how to use the site. That's how Stack Overflow got to be so high in the Google rankings, by having some quality standards. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:25
  • 4
    @RFlack For context; stack overflow was created to solve the problem of forums; that the answer was buried in amoungs assorted other posts, requests for clarification, wrong answers, other questions in no real order. That is why we are so strict that an "answer" must answer the question Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:39
  • 5
    @RFlack this is Q&A = no thing like "threads" here. Just questions, answers, and for people with some reputation, comments. Ideally all comments can be purged once question is clarified, fixed et cetera. Even better if they are not needed at all.
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:40
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    @RFlack Then that should be edited into the question. Comments are like temporary little post it notes.
    – Doorknob
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:48
  • 3
    You were forced to read a "how to answer" page and check a checkbox specifically saying that you understanded.
    – Doorknob
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:51
  • 4
    Oh yeah, and this huge popup box thingy... not sure how you can miss that (I created a dummy account to see what answering is like for new users
    – Doorknob
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:55
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    If it were not for the fact that this site comes up so often in google searches for information This is like saying "That city is too strict and authoritarian about littering. If it weren't for the fact that its streets were so clean I would never go back." Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:04
  • 2
    "the huge pop up box doenst really tell you how to comment" of course it does not, because you should avoid it, if feasible. It tells you how to answer when you post an answer, why should it cover totally unrelated action?
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:29
  • 4
    And you came here with misunderstandings on what this site is all about. This is not a site that encourages people "to participate and share opinions etc." as you put it. Answers should consist of solutions to the stated problems only, not opinions or discussions or new questions. If that philosophy chases away new users, then, well, sorry but it may not be the right site for those new users.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:45
  • 6
    Seems like things are working as designed here.
    – user1228
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 15:23

3 Answers 3


Regarding the downvotes to your this meta question, you should understand that voting on meta is a bit different than on the actual site.

Now, getting to the main question, if you really would like to contribute & be a part of StackOverflow (one of many sites in the Stack Exchange network) you should take a tour of the site first! We at Stack Overflow are a very good professional community, hence, to keep up our standards and quality of the content on our site, have to follow some set guidelines and norms.

You are one of the many people who come to get involved, but for some reason, don't follow the beginner guidelines. As a result, you do face difficulties. I recommend you at least take the tour which will guide to the working of the site. If you have time at your hands, you should also go through all of the Help Section if you are looking forward to be a part of the community.

I can understand your frustration, but that is how the community works! Without a set of rules & active moderation, Stack Overflow would not have been what it is today.

We do like opinions, but they must be professional opinions. For more on that, check out What is On-Topic. You got banned for low-quality answers, so you must take a look at Why you were banned & what it means & also How to write good answers. And, like I said, we are a community of professionals from various fields, we have Our own model for expected Behavior so that no one is offended in the process of participation.

If you are an expert in some areas, your answers (neatly written and useful in the future as a reference) would definitely help others and I highly recommend you to answer them. Since you are new to certain fields, you can always ask your difficulties faced, with proper code and background of the problem being faced (all relevant info) & many in here would gladly help you out.

Finally, I recommend a fresh start at this, mending up your mistakes. Good luck! Hoping to see you in the community!

  • 1
    Well, it seems about the only thing left I can do is ask questions. I cant comment I cant post as that needs reputation. Seems to be a catch 22. I guess eventually if I ask enough approved questions Ill have enough points to contibute. (An interesting concept: qualifictaion to answer questions is needing to ask a lot of questions LOL). Anyway ... Im off to more useful actuvity. Thanks again eveyrone especially Ashish for a symathetic response. Yes I did look at the help stuff, but obvioiusly not enough.
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:22
  • 6
    You can actually edit your deleted answers, make them look good & then undelete. This might also help in removing your answer ban. If you need really need help on your answer, you can flag your own answers for moderator attention. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:27
  • @AshishNitinPatil Do you remember the link to recently deleted answers? Maybe it would help OP to go and do it. Sadly, I can't remember how it looks like (hardly ever needed to use it, and when I needed it it wasn't yet implemented).
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:31
  • Thanks for the tip Molot. @RFlack - Please use this link to your deleted answers stackoverflow.com/users/recently-deleted-answers/241718. You can find the link at the bottom of the answers tab in your StackOverflow profile. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:34
  • @ Ashish Your link gives page not found!! Just not my day here it seems LOL.
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:38
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    @RFlack An interesting concept: qualifictaion to answer questions is needing to ask a lot of questions LOL - not quite. You only need 1 rep to post questions or answers, and it is impossible to have less than 1 rep. The only exception is when you have been banned from doing so, which only happens when you show a repeated pattern of disregarding the rules and treating this site like umpteen other forums and lower-quality communities out there.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:47
  • 1
    @RFlack You should check this link then - stackoverflow.com/users/2979783/rflack?tab=answers I found my deleted answers link at the bottom of the page. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:53
  • It just says 0 answers. I think realistically I just have to be patient, keep asking questions as they arise (and Mutagen / Python issues not to mention Python on iOS which is a separate project, looks like that wont take too long lol), and then see if I venture out again or not.
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:58
  • 2
    Well, you could drop by in the chat if you want & ask some moderator to give you the links to your deleted answers. Good luck. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 15:02
  • @rf Also, be aware that there are rules for questions as well. See How to Ask. Better still, check out some well-written questions for an example of how to write a good question. Can't find any examples right now, tho.
    – dandan78
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 15:22
  • yes i have seen the rules about questions. Dont ask for help, right? :) etc. Somehow those came across my radar more clearly than the comment / answer issues.
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 15:44
  • 10 years on, and nothing has changed. XD Quote: "...you should understand that voting on meta is a bit different..." And herein lies the ultimate irony, as well as the exact problem stated in the main post. From the link: "...voting indicates agreement or disagreement with the proposed change...." --- So we have the community explicitly stating (through the votes on this very page) that we do not wish to change to be more open, less authoritarian, nor more humble. Not a surprise at all to me, but apparently this irony has been completely lost to the in-group. Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 18:10

You appear to have been using answers to ask other questions. DON'T DO THAT!


... well, I have to say however that message was being expressed, I totally did not understand what was being said.

Umm... not sure how you don't understand this huge animated sliding popup thing:


(I just created a dummy account and tried to answer a question)

You also should have probably noticed when your "answers" kept getting deleted.... If you didn't understand, you could have posted here on meta before being banned too.

Anyway, in order to get out of the answer ban, there are some options:

  • Improve your existing answers! (not sure if this is possible from what I've seen) You'll have to get them undeleted first.
  • Or, the more likely option - you were asking questions in the answer section. Well, ask them as... an actual question! Make sure they are high-quality questions (you don't want to be q-banned too!) If you contribute in the form of questions, the answer ban can be lifted.

Ah, one more thing: you keep referring to "comments" and "threads." The only "comments" are the ones right under the questions and answers, and there's no such thing as a "thread." Stack Overflow is not a forum.

  • 4
    Ban him! Sock puppet account! Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:09
  • 4
    @Duncan Ahhhhh! throws hands up in air :P
    – Doorknob
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:12
  • @Duncan - Im not sure what you are suggesting but it doesnt sound nice. From what Google tells me it seems you think I am somehow deceptive or that this is not a real account. Im sorry you think that way. At least some other people here have tried to give me helpful advice. I leave it to others to judge if your comment is appropriate.
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:53
  • 2
    @RFlack He was refering to Doorknob creating a second account to test new user functions, and he was joking Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 14:57
  • Ahhh sorry, my bad. Duncan pls ignore my comment. My sense of humour is working too well right now :)
    – RFlack
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 15:02

Information technologists are stereotypically not the most personable folk you'll ever meet. Don't take feedback too personally, but on the other hand, do bear it in mind as it will help you gauge the culture of the site.

However, you'll always do well on SO by (i) asking sensible well-posed questions, (ii) providing good answers and (iii) editing questions and answers to improve them. You'll advance your knowledge in your field: I have.

  • 5
    What do you mean! we're lovely! ;) Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:40
  • We are friendly. We just don't bother with social rules of friendliness ;p
    – Mołot
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:41
  • 8
    It's not necessarily that we're unfriendly, or unpersonable. When people asking questions don't even do the most simple of research, or do not want to learn (just give me the code!) it is unsurprising that a low of new users get a harsh response from the community. WHY AM I GETTING OBJECT REFERENCE NOT SET TO AN INSTANCE OF AN OBJECT PLS HLP <-- like that.
    – Moo-Juice
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:59

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