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This FAQ (and connected links) give good advice on the sorts of things to do.

But they do not say what the criteria for lifting of an answer ban is.

I'm assuming there is some algorithm involving rep, time maybe, maybe certain activities? It also doesn't say whether one is notified or one just has to use trial and error.

I have no idea of the effort involved in getting ban lifted and whether it is worth while or not.

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    From the FAQ: "To avoid bypassing the filter its internal rules are a secret". Improve old content, contribute good question, and it should eventually lift. – Billy Mailman Dec 20 '13 at 13:22
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    RFlack, the point of not revealing exact criteria is to make you improve your content to the best of your ability, and not only to the level strictly required ;) – Mołot Dec 20 '13 at 13:24
  • @gnat not really, the one you linked is about very, very specific situation - situation of an user who already did his best and put a lot of effort to get out of ban. – Mołot Dec 20 '13 at 13:27
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    Should we really be closing this as a duplicate of the very FAQ the OP is struggling to understand? – Duncan Jones Dec 20 '13 at 13:34
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    @Duncan Agreed, my reopen vote is loaded and ready – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 13:35
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    @Duncan: if OP is indeed answer-banned and has no undeleted answers on SO, then yes, I'd say they need to read that post again. Restating the bits in bold letters about deleted posts in a new answer isn't going to help. – Wooble Dec 20 '13 at 13:37
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    exactly. im not sure my problem posts can be fixed. (basaically i was using answrs to make comments or raise related questions - which to me seemed reasonable but I guess betrayed poor understanding of the site). Im not sure the state of some of those posts now I think they may have been deleted. So If Im going to contribute here I have to fix this proactively as it were going forward with positive activities. One simple approach would be to get to 50 rep pints and just use comments and not bother with answers. – RFlack Dec 20 '13 at 13:44
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    @RFlack Your case is a difficult one. Do you not know any of the answers to which you previously answered with comments? – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 13:47
  • @richard They are too recent for me to recall (see profile re: age haha). I guess I can search somehow. This is why im trying to get a feel for whats easier ... plough back through history or just do good stuff going forward for a while. Its exacerbated by the 50 rep threshold to comment. dont worry about it ... i guess i just have to see how things go. thanks for the interest. – RFlack Dec 20 '13 at 13:55
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    @RFlack I can in no way promise anything, but you could use the contact us link and explain exactly why you were banned and what you have learned from discussions on meta, what you are going to do going forward and how there are no answers you can improve because they were rightfully deleted as off topic comments. It's not the usual way forward, but in your case it might be a way out – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 14:02
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    Make sure you include a link to this meta question in your contact messsage. – Duncan Jones Dec 20 '13 at 14:13
  • If it helps any, you're not currently answer-banned on SO any more. The answer ban is indeed problematic sometimes, because unlike the question ban there aren't really easy ways to work yourself out of it. It's intended to slow down spammers and really abusive users, but it occasionally catches people who don't understand that the SE sites are not traditional forums. – Brad Larson Dec 20 '13 at 16:21
  • @BradLarson That is good news. Do you know if a dev disassociated the bad answers or if RFlacks other positive contributions helped? – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 16:37
  • @RichardTingle - I don't believe any of the answers have been dissociated, although I'm not sure if I'd see them. The ones I recall are still there. I'm guessing other activity helped. – Brad Larson Dec 20 '13 at 17:24
  • @BradLarson Good to know, I always advise making other positive contributions but until now I hadn't seen it work – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 17:25
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I'm assuming there is some algorithm involving rep, time maybe, maybe certain activities?

The algorithm is deliberately secret to avoid gaming (e.g. living just on the edge of the ban) but what you need to do to lift the ban should be clear however; as described within What can I do when getting “We are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account”?. However the algorithm does not take time into account, it will only be lifted once posts improve or other positive contributions are made.

It also doesn't say whether one is notified or one just has to use trial and error.

You need to attempt to ask a new question/answer. The state of the ban is checked when attempting to ask/answer

I have no idea of the effort involved in getting ban lifted and whether it is worth while or not.

Likely considerable effort will be required but it depends how "deep" into the ban you are

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    No idea how "deep" :) Im fairly new here so maybe not so deep, but Ive been getting lots of negative comments for daring to question some of the rationales around here so it may be quite deep. Of course no info on that as far as Im aware. At the risk of digging the hole deeper i have to say that the overall impression of this web site is less than welcoming. Although I am most grateful to those who run around correcting my typos :) – RFlack Dec 20 '13 at 13:46
  • @RFlack Anything that happens here won't affect your main stack overflow account so don't worry too much about that (worry a little, but not too much) – Richard Tingle Dec 20 '13 at 13:48
  • @RT - yes I had figured that out. To be clear, its that main SOE rep Im concerned about that, ad how to solve the boot strap problem as it were. Im thinking of following your suggestion about writing to contact.us but I guess I have to make some effort to trace back the offending posts. ("You didn't do the research" seems to be a hanging offence around here lol). Also, not really sure I want any favours (beyond perhaps resolving an anomaly if that's what it is) - it would probably bite me on the ankle later! – RFlack Dec 20 '13 at 22:28

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