This sort of thing has happened a few times now...

"Hey, did you see? User X was boxed!"
"User X? Why?"
"I donno... Maybe he... " (wild speculation ensues. waffles are blamed.)

It's generally quite easy to notice when a user gets thrown in The Penalty Box. You see the tell-tale 1 when viewing questions they've asked or answers they've provided. You visit their profile page. You see that big red message. And you're curious...

The Streisand effect is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be widely publicized.

This isn't good. It turns what should be a subtle "cool-down" period into a big public spectacle. And for what?

Worse yet, speculation leads to unease. Was the suspension really justified? Where's the evidence? What's the definition of "jerk"?

It's been two years since this tool was introduced, and nearly a year and a half since I first wrote this proposal. In that time, a number of things have changed:

  • The popularity of the core "SOFU Trilogy" sites has grown immensely, bringing many more "problem users" with it.

  • Many new Stack Exchange 2.0 sites have been created, with community-elected and "Pro Tempore"-appointed moderators.

  • Moderators can now engage users in private conversations on-site, without having to resort to email. These conversations remain attached to the account, allowing other moderators to review them as-needed. Templates are provided to guide moderators in communicating common problems.

  • The "No effort to learn and improve over time" rationale for suspending turned out to be as or more important than "Disruptive behavior" on Stack Overflow.

In addition to this, moderators have found other uses for this tool: suspending (rather than deleting) spammer accounts to allow for tracking history and... scalp-hunting. This just goes to show, no matter how obvious the purpose of a tool might be, folks will always find other uses...

There are currently 90+ suspended users on Stack Overflow, over 40 on Super User and nearly 150 on Server Fault. In the face of this, the occasional drama resulting from the suspension of a popular/notorious user seems relatively unimportant...

But I don't think it is.

Jeff often refers to the modern-day Stack Overflow as having "big city problems", meaning it's reached a scale where the sort of intimate, hand-holding relationship between staff, moderators, and new users is no longer practical. But it also has "big city advantages" - paradoxically, you can retain some amount of privacy in a large population, while in the small town everyone knows you... In the big city, you can spend the night in jail and go back to work the next morning without any questions; in the small town, everyone remembers how you got into an argument with Barney in front of the post office last May.

SE is busily adding more small towns. Hopefully, they won't stay small very long... But that initial, small-town period is crucial to their later development. Personalities clash, users unfamiliar with the SE platform stuble through newbie mistakes with varying degrees of grace, and the newly-minted moderators try their best to gain the trust of the budding community. During this period, it is vital to avoid the appearance of censorship or abuse of power.

Transparency, when it matters

After discussing this with several moderators and watching how suspension is used in practice, I've come to the conclusion that there are two three primary categories:

  1. Users who should be / will be deleted. Suspected spammers, trolls, sockpuppets, astroturfers, etc. There's no need to wear the kid gloves here; no positive contributions to the site, past or present.

  2. Users who've made a disturbing mix of valuable, and harmful contributions to the site. These may need some care; poor-quality questions, rants or inflamatory comments have probably been deleted, sockpuppets have been merged, votes expunged, leaving a public record that looks pretty good to the casual observer. And others may agree with these users' arguments, even if they disagree with the tone or manner in which they've been presented. The hope is that the suspended user will come back to the site and participate positively; any appearance of public humiliation, whether by moderators or other users, works against this goal.

  3. Users who just need a chance to cool down. This is a pretty close match to the original metaphor of a "penalty box" - a user got caught up in an argument, or came home drunk and started having some "fun" at the expense of other users, or quit smoking... Maybe their account was hacked and they can't be contacted for some reason. There's no reason they can't come back and contribute positively once they've regained their composure, but in the meanwhile they need to be kept from making a mess of the site and their own reputation.

I originally suggested a simple change: add a way for moderators to add a brief, public comment to the account, noting the reason without going into detail. "Sockpuppet voting", "Persistent low-quality", "Cool down", etc.

But that's unnecessary in the vast majority of suspensions. Indeed, even a moderator-only annotation isn't really necessary when the user is a flagrant spammer, or has already been sent a message regarding persistent abuse. The situations I wanted to address here, and still believe are worth addressing here, are the tiny handful of high-profile suspensions involving a user well-known within their site or circle, where a suspension might otherwise lead to harmful speculation.

So here's my second idea. This is what the suspension UI looks like right now:

Screenshot of current suspension UI

Moderators must enter at least a short description of the problem, even if that's just "See user-message ###". The idea is that this gives other moderators a place to start when reviewing suspensions; in practice, the user's history (containing annotations, private user-messages, etc.) is probably going to contain more important information. Here's what I propose in its place:

Mock-up of selectable suspension reasons.

Note that I'm not attempting to enumerate badness here, although I suppose I am stratifying it. The results would look like this:

Mock-up of account page containing reason

Terse. No gory details. And without that free-form text-entry to trip up a new, frustrated moderator whose goal should be to minimize rubbernecking. And most importantly, specific enough to hopefully quell speculation until such a time as the user is able to defend himself.

  • 33
    I think this problem could be also mitigated by not making their rep 1. If the suspension was a little more secret, fewer people would notice and would make less fuss.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Jun 21, 2010 at 10:31
  • 1
    the "big red message" contains a permalink to some pretty clear guidance as to why users get suspended. Can this be edited? Could it even be [status-completed] ? Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 8:23
  • 8
    @Jeff: I think my primary misgiving about the current display is simply that it implies they did something but says nothing as to the severity. Since that severity ranges all the way from "tried to take their ball and go home" to "vast international network of sockpuppet-voters", that's a bit dangerous. I've tried to revise my question to provide some additional perspective on this.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 20:02
  • I don't see how it's "fun" to trash up this site. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 14:13
  • 1
    "SOFU" == Stack Overflow ...?
    – user474678
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 18:30
  • 7
    S[OFU] -> Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User... @jl2210
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 4:28

12 Answers 12


Your updated argument was very persuasive. Enough such that this is now in place for new suspensions. We'll be monitoring to see how this works in practice, of course.

Public reasons will be shown as one of the following:

  • for voting irregularities
  • to cool down
  • because of low-quality contributions
  • for promotional content
  • for plagiarism
  • for rule violations
  • 9
    Nice. However, is there a "maximum" term length for suspension "to cool down"? A recent suspension (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/89048/…) shows a 4 month ban which seems a bit long for a "tempoary" ban and a bit long for a chance "to cool down". Is it work setting/defining a temporary/long-term ban duration?
    – tombull89
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 10:20
  • 5
    Odd case, but what if an OpenID is compromised? E.g. you nuke cookies, yet irregular behavior continues. I suggest adding "For security review" to the list :) Since we have flair and all, my only choice in that case would be 'to cool off', which isn't fair to the owner of a compromised account. Given the quirks that happened with MyOpenID when Amazon s**t itself ... it is a possibility.
    – user50049
    Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 13:59
  • 2
    @Tim good point - we should come up with some standard text for that too Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 14:26
  • 6
    @tombull: You're right, that really doesn't make sense. "Cooling down" more than a week already sounds strange. And the user was a valuable contributor, as far as I know, so I'm astonished at that period of time. But OK, after all it's none of my business. @Marc: That said, I'm still curious ... Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 16:46
  • @Hendrik in this particular case, he's been "prolific" which has resulted in some value being generated, but also a very non-trivial amount of grief. Repeatedly. I honestly don't think even that long of a cooldown will make a difference. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 17:48
  • 6
    @Daniel: I've read about the repeated grief, but thought that the value was greater. What I meant: Being forced to cool down more than a week won't help cooling down more than having it for a week. So what I really wonder is why it's not a week or something like that. But I surely don't know enough about the history here. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:28
  • 1
    @tim I've never seen that happen in 2.5 years; let's wait for it to actually happen before making stuff up for it. Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 19:43
  • 3
    I may be mistaken, but I think I've also seen someone suspended "for rule violations". Edit: I just found one. I'm not sure it's appropriate to link to the profile page here, but here is a screenshot of the suspension message: i.sstatic.net/Clb4g.png Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:02
  • @DonaldDuck Apparently the reason "to cool down" has been changed to "for rule violations": meta.stackexchange.com/a/101409/243091 Commented May 10, 2020 at 10:17
  • "for voting irregularities" But how is that defined?
    – convert
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 15:20
  • @FedericoPoloni: Only if the "something else..." mod message template is chosen for the mod message accompanying the suspension (as indicated in the question post for the answer you linked to). "To cool down" is still shown for a few other mod message templates.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 6:40
  • 1
    Could this list please be updated for 2024? I have seen a handful of new reasons not listed here, including 'for rollback wars' 'for posting inaccurate AI content or plagiarism' 'for ban evasion'
    – CPlus
    Commented Apr 20 at 21:40

In general, it is a private matter between the moderators and that particular user. Note that other moderators have access to annotations on the account that will provide more context for the suspension.

I believe it is the responsibility and right of the user who was placed in timed suspension to have the freedom to discuss (or not discuss) what happened to them.

It is a basic matter of respecting other users' privacy.

Note that every user suspension page links directly to our official guidance on the matter:


Please read that closely -- it is quite detailed, and explains the most common general reasons that cover 95% (or more) of all timed user suspensions.

enter image description here

  • 13
    Jeff, how suspended users "have the freedom to discuss (or not discuss) what happened to them"? As far as I understand they can't post comments.. Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 11:39
  • 5
    @shadow you'd contact them via whatever direct contact information they provided in their user page, just like any other user. The whole point of the timed suspension is to be blocked from our site based on their behavior on it... but they are not blocked from, say, using the internet or email. Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 11:42
  • 13
    As was already explained in a comment here, this is rarely ever practical, since it requires those getting suspended to make their contact information available. Which many don't.
    – sbi
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 11:43
  • @sbi see updated accepted answer Commented Apr 28, 2011 at 7:52

The thing that ticks me off most is that we are all sitting here completely speculating about "WHY" someone is in the penalty box. The speculation seems to always have a flavor or hint that people think the moderators have abused their power or messed up. I see the same thing happening with our police officers. We don't simply assume that they've done their job and a good one, we pick one thing and want to blow it way out of proportion and before long, we have a beast upon us.

The one and only way to solve this is complete transparency. I know that some want it, some don't. But if we all had visibility to see what marks a user has against them, we wouldn't have to speculate. To some degree, we use the "we are the community" or the "we are the world" approach here on the SO sites, but we really don't fulfill that because this process is fuzzy to most.

10K+ users can see posts that have been flagged, maybe they can also see some kind of user rating as well that shows them who is close to the box, who is in the box, etc.

  • 8
    I agree that transparency is required. Our moderators here seem to do a good job (as far as I can tell), but I've been on other forums that have moderators that are downright abusive to people that aren't their best little buddies and agree with every belief they have. We want to avoid even the appearance of that behaviour here! Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 11:31
  • 1
    (-1) Complete transparency is a terrible idea. Because it just makes everyone else believe that the moderators did wrong. It's very easy for us to make 'after the fact' decisions about what they should have done. With thousands of users, comes thousands of second-guessers. I agree there should be more visibility, but we shouldn't be creating a situation where the moderator is expected to run their action before a jury of 1000 users, and garner consent before they act.
    – devinb
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 18:35
  • 8
    Transparency isn't the same thing as control, devinb. We want to see the decisions and the reasons behind them, not only let them happen if we agree with them. Let the moderators do their job, and let the community look at that job to make sure it's being done satisfactorily. And if it's not, it gives individual users to bring up objections with it or simply leave if the spirit of the leaders is fundamentally against their values.
    – Welbog
    Commented Sep 26, 2009 at 16:19
  • 7
    @devinb Transparency helps people see that the moderators aren't doing wrong (or, it does show if they were to do something wrong). The natural human assumption is that the moderators are doing things wrong. We want to have the proof readily available that they aren't! Commented Sep 28, 2009 at 11:29
  • 1
    There is complete transparency between mods (and employees are mods too). The only kind of opaque mod actions are spam flagging and answer-to-comments conversions.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 7:59

Seeing what happened yesterday, I think there should be a short explanation about the sin binning. Otherwise, the community is going to take out its virtual pitchforks and try to find an answer.

Lack of information leads to a lot of searching into why the user was binned, countless accusations, almost no control of the situation, a general mess of things. This is not what we should strive for. It might not be obvious right now, but it will tear the community apart. There are a lot of egos here that will not take binning that easily.

  • 4
    I just read a comment on another question where someone said something along the lines of "don't shout the reason for binning from the rooftop". The question he was commenting on was about why another user had been suspended; the answers and comments had some serious accusations in it. Isn't that shouting from the rooftops? You hang a person in public with no real reason and then you let people go wild with accusing that person. If they would have wanted to avoid the shouting from the rooftops they should have closed the question right from the start.
    – alex
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 6:21
  • What happened yesterday? Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 11:29
  • @Brian: This thread happened: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/23347/… And the subsequent discussion was removed by a meek moderator. At least I got a pundit badge out of it, even though there's no more evidence of the amazing comments that gave it to me.
    – Welbog
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 11:32
  • 1
    It should have been closed even faster. No one was giving us any details so the discussions were pointless; we were all just fighting.
    – alex
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 12:46
  • 14
    @alex: Closing something because people are arguing about it is a good way to make them think that you don't want them arguing about it, which makes them want to argue about it more. The best course of action is to let it happen. Either it will burn out or an agreement will be reached. If it turns abusive, then a moderator should step it to get it back to tolerable levels, but an argument, in and of itself, is the stupidest reason to close a thread of all time.
    – Welbog
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 12:54
  • 1
    I'm glad it got closed because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any sleep last night, I would have just kept hitting F5 :)
    – alex
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 13:26

fwiw, the forum model is generally a terse statement along the lines of "suspended for spam", "warning for violation of TOS", etc.. in red letters by the username or offending post.

It eliminates the streisand, is clear and inarguable if the mods are decent human beings, provides some openness to the system (arbitrary and unknown penalties basically = police state) and serves as a powerful warning and steering mechanism for the community at large - the latter two of which are much more important than curtailing rumour-mongering.

I'm against naming and shaming generally, but I see value in the OP's proposition even if for different reasons.


I am very much against this. When a user gets suspended that is their punishment. There is no public shaming of them, they are just binned.

It is only noticable in high profile cases. If a user with < 1000 reputation gets binned, no one is going to notice, so there is no reason to tag their profile. Some of the users may have made small but serious mistakes, or became carried away in the course of one discussion and been suspended. In any and all of those scenarios, the suspension is the punishment.

There will always be people who distrust authority, and they will never believe any suspension is reasonable. If you publish a reason then not only are you giving people something specific to grasp at and disagree with, you are publicly shaming someone who is already being punished.

Further, as noted by womp the terse explanation will still fuel speculation. For instance 'Banned because of abusive comments' would generate speculation about which discussion caused it. And then whether or not the person was binned for mentioning waffles. You can't open up terse explanations without generating huge amounts of discussion and curiosity.

Obviously, keeping people in the dark also does this, but it generates less because you are less likely to notice someone being binned.


My suggestion is that there be a list of actions in the FAQ which will generally get you banned. It would shed some light on the process ("users have been banned for the following reasons:") but it would not single out users for particular shaming. It should also be stated that moderators can still suspend people for other reasons. So, you can't claim "but posting pornography isn't on 'the list'! so it must be allowed!".


I can think of lots of reasons why the smart thing to do is not to publish why a person has been suspended, not the least of which is the potential liability for slander. Even if notice were to be given, where would you give it? The blog? Blogging about someone's transgressions absent some compelling interest -- like resulting changes to the fundamental rules of the site -- seems like overkill. Posting it to the front page of the site? That's hardly any better. I know, why don't we put a message on their profile that they've been suspended. That makes sense. It's not hidden, anyone can see it -- if they care enough to look. Oh, yeah, that's already been implemented.

Now we only need to quibble about whether everyone needs to know exactly why it happened. For the liability issue alone, I would caution against making a public statement unless it results in fundamental change to the system. Even then, I would focus on the resulting change not the behavior. Note that anyone who feels compelled to disagree with their ban has the whole of the internet to work with in making their position known. As far as I know none of the admins has the capacity to turn off someone's internet access or restrict them from posting an alternate forum. There are plenty of people who will commiserate with them over on Reddit. As far as I know you aren't restricted from updating your profile to add a link to your version of events if you wish.

  • 1
    There is, as i mentioned, already a Big Red Box. Adding a short explanation to it - and i do mean short, not pages of lurid prose spilling all the dirty details - would be fine. Just enough to quiet the gossip. And finally, note that i'm not asking for a public discussion between the user and the moderator, a private forum for venting and commiserating, or anything else along those lines. Just a short, honest, explanation for the suspension.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 2:07
  • 10
    If you leave it up to the guy who got boxed, you're only going to get half the story. Since this half of the story is almost necessarily going to antagonize the moderator team, it's in the team's best interest to supply their side, too, so that people have the full set of information with which to make up their minds about the issue. If the boxing was actually unfair, the community should know about it to pester the moderator team into correcting it. If it wasn't, then having the extra information doesn't do any damage. It's just information. It can't bite your shins off or something.
    – Welbog
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 2:09
  • 2
    Last time I checked you can still get sued for short, honest explanations. Even if they don't win, it still costs you money. I'm just saying the less you say, the less likely a lawyer will think he has something to get you on.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 2:13
  • @tvanfosson: just make the short explanation be provided by a non-US lawyer :)
    – perbert
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 2:18
  • 2
    @voyager -- it's actually harder to prove slander in the US than in most other jurisdictions, probably because the US has stronger protections of speech. Not that it really matters. See the Wikipedia article on defamation for more info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 2:23

I'm just an Average Joe on SO/MSO/SU. I ask dumb questions, I get smart answers. I appreciate the tension between privacy of the individual and the transparency of the community, and I think we're all aware that there's no Great Big Answer Way.

However, what is a problem is having long crabby gossip threads about what's going on?! why did $joe disappear! why are there waffles instead of flair on $joe's page!

It's important to have good enough transparency that the community is reasonably satisfied there aren't Creepy Moderators Silently Killing Users.


A bit late the party here, but I think that Shog9 is right, and that these debates happen anyway, so it would be far better to provide the information up-front.

Moderators end up 'justifying' themselves anyway:

Why user vgv8 is being suspended again


Very frustrating user experience (see first answer)



For your information, this is pretty much .

If you're worried about transparency, please be aware you already must explain why the user is being suspended before action is applied:

The explanation must be 10 chars long.

...and the suspension reason is permanently placed against the user for all moderators (and employees) to see:

The explanation ends up in the permanent user logs.

There are other ways in which this information is visible, also, some of which quite prominent.

So, no, you can't go rogue without all other mods noticing.

  • 5
    I don't think that the problem is that other mods can't see why the user was suspended but that other users can't see the reason. Now I can see cases where it might be best to keep the reason private to mods only, but perhaps that should be the exception.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:07
  • 1
    @Chris I just wanted to comment for the benefit of people who might believe there's any "burying" or "destroying" of evidence anywhere in the process. There is not. ...unless you have DB access, that is.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:11
  • Fair enough. Perhaps move the last line to the top of the answer?
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:18
  • @Chris I applied bold, is that enough?
    – badp
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:19
  • I think that works.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:20
  • 1
    @badp: I disagree that this is actually relevant to my argument, but I'm still glad you posted it - this information had been hinted at before, but I wasn't aware that the reason was maintained post-restoration.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 15:34
  • @Shog It's relevant, I think, because your proposal has already been implemented as pictured above. It's a deliberate choice, for the reasons Jeff explained, that the suspension information is kept secret.
    – badp
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 15:51
  • 2
    @badp: as I noted in [one of] my [many] response[s] to devinb, I assumed moderators were able to review each other's decisions, at least to some degree. This isn't about rogue moderators, it's about public perception.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 16:07

I don't think that any information given would quiet the gossip. In a way, it will make things worse.

If they posted a terse summary saying "X got banned for Y", everyone is going to go through their recent activity to see if Y really happened. Now, instead of asking if there is any evidence, people are directly analyzing it. I think it would just exacerbate the kind of speculation you talk about, i.e.

Was the suspension really justified? What's the definition of "jerk"?

  • 3
    Even without a terse summary right now, the curiosity is as high and leaves you to still go through their recent activity trying to work out what they did that might have been cause for the demotion.
    – random
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 4:11
  • Right. My point is that adding "terse information" would just shortcut the analysis, but leave the speculation.
    – womp
    Commented Sep 25, 2009 at 4:45
  • See my answer, this happens anyway.
    – Benjol
    Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 9:23
  • @benjol see my answer, enough guidance is provided. Commented Apr 13, 2011 at 7:59

No. The main problem about the suspensions that the suspended user can't explain his version, because he is suspended. People simply disappear, and nobody will be ever notified about this.

Even the list of the currently suspended users isn't advertised. Although it can be asked with a simple SEDE query:

SELECT Id as [User Link], *
FROM Users
WHERE UpVotes>0 AND DownVotes>0 AND Reputation=1;

This gives the moderation a little bit of NKVD flavor. People simply disappears and nobody talks about them. They will be unpersons. Even mentioning them on the chat is at least impolite, maybe dangerous (1, 2). This enables the moderation cagings on trumped up reasons.

As I know, every cage is revisited by the SE. In practice, this is only a theoretical thing. Never ever I've heard, for example, that a cage decision had been revised by the SE.

In the IRL world, if there is a criminal case, the offended has the possibility to say his/her version of the story and he can defend himself and the decisions are public. Here it is unheard. Cagings happen by single-person decisions of a mod, they are executed on the spot, the "offender" doesn't have any chance to defend his stance and the public will know the fact if they see next time the name in some list with "1" reputation.

No. Not the "Streisand effect" is the problem, the "Jezhov effect" is the problem: if your opinion differs from the "community"(*), and won't shut up, you have to dance continuously on the border of the caging. And you will sometimes lose.

*: "community" means here the mods and the possible narrowest list of power users being capable to "rule" a site.

  • 1
    @HDE226868 Why not? The essence of the post is this unfortunate analogy. Of course, you never had to fear because your opinion differs from the "community". Your opinion was always exactly the same, independently from the actual context or situation.
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:06
  • 16
    I was corresponding with someone just this morning whose suspension - "caging" if you must - was ended early due to information they provided in response to the message. Search meta and you'll find other instances of this, although I suspect most folks have better things to do than talk about it publicly. Hundreds of users have been unsuspended early on just Stack Overflow - again, usually because they reply to the message they're sent and provide a reasonable explanation for what they were doing... or simply commit to not doing it anymore.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:15
  • 2
    @peterh If moderators misuse their privileges, they'll be strictly talked to, and if they really misuse them they may be revoked (akaik, anyway). If you want to complain about specific instances, you can use the contact form to tell a CM directly.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:17
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 Yes, it is the theory.
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:19
  • 1
    @Shog9 Not having access to the list of the users ever suspended on the SO, I can't really contest your statement. I have only my own experience and some rumors, and they don't confirm your comment. As you know, most probably I'll be caged on one of the SE sites in the near future for something (the warning I've got already), and I will do what you say. And we will see, what happens.
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:33
  • 10
    "criminal case", "executed", "NKVD"... I think your analogy is a going a bit far. I'd compare it more to getting banned from your local bar for being a bit too rowdy than being executed in some murderous soviet conspiracy.
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:34
  • 13
    If you think you're gonna get suspended - if you've already been warned about problematic behavior - then the quick way to avoid that is to stop doing whatever it was you were warned not to do, @peterh. Ultimately, that's what separates the folks who get unsuspended early from the folks who work themselves through the full course of progressively longer suspensions: a willingness to learn and improve over time.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Cai It is true, although bannings happen mostly not because being "too rowdy".
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:39
  • 13
    Also, it might depress you to learn just how many mod messages concern plain old rudeness toward other members of the site, and receive by way of a response nothing more than a long string of profane insults directed at the moderator who asked them to stop. A good many folks are not at all receptive to guidance.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:41
  • 1
    @Shog9 If I think the suspension will happen against the basic ethics, then the only reason to cooperate is the fear. But I won't cooperate from fear, it is not enjoyable.
    – peterh
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 19:46
  • 6
    I don't know what "basic ethics" means in this context, @peterh. The goal of the warning is to identify behaviors that are disruptive so that the person engaging in them can continue to participate without making life hard for their peers. Ideally, this is a goal that both the sender and recipient of the warning will share.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 20:08
  • 7
    Protip: if you really want to appeal your case, this sort of meta post isn't the way to do it.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 20:26
  • 5
    I see a lot more "eye for an eye" prompting warnings than "do unto others", @peterh. And lemme tell ya, no one is more resistant to guidance than someone who justifies setting out to tear into others because they were put down. If I had a nickel for every person who, privately chided for spewing insults, has refused to back down until the person who insulted them is publicly drummed off the site... I'd be eating a pretty nice sandwich right now.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 20:34
  • 5
    @peterh In my experience, people who jump to soapboxing about how the mods are "caging" people and call them the equivalent of the KGB are generally people who will prefer instead to argue and fight rather than trying to learn anything. YMMV, though, but those who take effort to learn and understand why moderators suspended them tend to have a more open mindset.
    – enderland
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 20:51
  • 6
    Keep in mind, @peterh, folks are rarely suspended on this site (unless they post programming questions). The vast majority of people suspended elsewhere can certainly share their side of the story here. Of course, this site is moderated by employees who have access to the entire record of each person's participation network-wide, so any inaccuracies or omissions in that story will assuredly be pointed out and corrected.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 22:53

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