On the question bans page at the Help Center (question-bans), it gives the following advice to users who have been banned from asking questions:

'Begin by fixing your existing posts; do not just post the same question again.'

I wonder if it might be a good idea to change it to something like one of the following:

'Begin by fixing your existing posts; do not just post the same question again from another account'


'One way you can do this is, if possible, to improve any of your existing posts which have received negative feedback; do not just post the same question again from another account.'

  • 1
    It seems like a small detail, but I guess one could change it to "try to post the same question again"
    – Pekka
    Mar 12 '14 at 14:09
  • 7
    It's possibly intended to discourage people from posting the same question from another account, but even then it should be clarified. Mar 12 '14 at 14:16
  • 3
    It's also good advice on how to avoid the ban in the first place (or avoid getting a new one once the current one is lifted), but I suppose that doesn't make it fit in that particular section of the Help Center.
    – Wooble
    Mar 12 '14 at 15:24
  • Perhaps I'm just splitting hairs, but are you looking for a discussion as to whether or not changing it is a good idea (which will probably be followed by a separate request to change it), or are you requesting to change it? If it's the latter, you should probably make this a feature-request (it is one AFAIK) and change the phrasing appropriately. Mar 13 '14 at 15:45
  • I wasn't sure if this would qualify as a feature request, but I've taken your advice @Dukeling Mar 13 '14 at 18:40
  • I suppose it is a small detail, but I wouldn't advise changing it to "try to post the same question again" as I think it's already clear that this is impossible to do from an account which has a question ban @Pëkka Mar 13 '14 at 18:42
  • Actually, after thinking about this some more, I don't think it's a feature request, as you're not making a specific suggestion (or a few) as to what you think it should be changed to (which you should perhaps do). Mar 13 '14 at 19:04
  • Well I've done some thinking about this too and I've come to the conclusion that it should either be left as it is or that it may be an improvement to change it to 'Begin by fixing your existing posts; do not just post the same question again from another account' thanks to what Bill the Lizard said in his comment. Clearly my statement that it's impossible to post the same question again was an error @Dukeling Mar 14 '14 at 20:01

I think the current wording is not only acceptable, but frankly a Good Thing. Because some people who hit the ban, do post new questions shortly thereafter. And not even just because of bugs.

The fact is, most people who hit the Q Ban don't go very far past the threshold. No matter how secret the algorithm is, it's a rather simple fact that if you post your last question, and it gets a couple of downvotes and a delete, and that puts you into the ban, you're no more than a couple of downvotes and a delete past the magic number. Probably less. And that means they're often only one or two upvotes away from coming back up above that quality threshold and being able to post again; I've seen people posting here on Meta about a Q ban who edited things, got free of it, then got re-banned again shortly after because of a downvote or deletion on something from before the ban, then got re-un-banned again shortly after that.

When someone skims the top of an automated quality ban, I don't want them to come out of it briefly and re-post the same questions as before, even if they're higher quality. I want to see them edit their old stuff, since that can lead to undeletions, removed downvotes, etc., which all help keep them from setting the ban off. And so, I want one of the things we tell them with emphasis to be that re-posting the same thing is discouraged, and that editing their stuff is the better idea, so that people who honestly want to participate can improve, and can move farther away from any chance of setting off the ban again.

And anyway, the wording "Begin by fixing your existing posts; do not just post the same question again from another account" doesn't change things much anyway; the quality bans have several times been described as being explicitly at a lower level than per-account, so that people who hit it can't simply create another account and keep on posting crap. If you want to change the wording because you think it currently describes something that the banned users can't do, you haven't really gained anything.

  • It seems to me you're saying that it can be the case that a user is in the position where they cannot post questions from any account, but that this isn't the case for all banned users: some are able to post questions from a different account. If this is true, then I agree that the current wording is ok. Have I read your answer correctly? Mar 14 '14 at 20:57
  • @GeorgeTomlinson Not exactly. I'm saying that anyone who is currently banned, is banned from basically any account; they could sign out, sign back in as Jon Skeet, and they're still not getting in. Probably. Details are a bit vague. They're definitely not getting in with a new account. But just because they're banned right now, doesn't mean they aren't a single random upvote away from asking another question in five minutes' time. Mar 14 '14 at 21:00
  • +1 for the info regarding the speed at which people can shift from banned to not banned. Mar 14 '14 at 21:26

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