I've asked four questions on the User Experience site. One was deleted, one was "migrated" and two were otherwise "neutral." Of the two neutral questions, one had one up- and one down- vote, and one had zero votes, up or down.

On trying to ask another question, I was "time-restricted," that is prevented from asking another question for a total of three days. This was after my latest question had a "0" vote result.

I'm aware that people who ask a lot of "bad" (e.g. deleted or heavily downvoted) questions have restrictions on them. But I've only had one bad (deleted) question. Two others were "neutral" and one was migrated, which I consider a form of "neutral."

Do "neutral" questions count against you in computing question bans? If so, why?

  • 2
    This was migrated. How ironic.
    – HDE 226868
    Feb 17, 2015 at 1:12
  • @Actually, it was migrated from a meta site, not a main site. I think I've seen you on some other sites.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 17, 2015 at 1:24
  • Yes, I'm on HSM, Worldbuilding and Engineering. So migrations from site metas don't count against you like normal migrations (or is that part of the question)?
    – HDE 226868
    Feb 17, 2015 at 1:26
  • @HDE226868: Unfortunately they count against you on the "original" site (not this one). But getting it moved from Meta doesn't really hurt. I think the policy is "inconsistent," to say the least. (It's not like I've never gotten into "trouble" on these SE sites, but rather "in and out.")
    – Tom Au
    Feb 17, 2015 at 1:59
  • Those aren't bans, bans are a thing, and much, much ... harsher. What you encountered were rolling limits, designed to keep you from actually seeing a ban :)
    – user50049
    Feb 17, 2015 at 10:08

3 Answers 3


The system goes by a moving average of your posts, through several time lenses. I can't give more specific information about how the algorithm(s) at play there work, except to say that zeros count like they would in any other average.

If you have 5 posts to your credit, 2 of them negatively scored, one positively scored and two zero-scored, the zero scored posts only hurt in that they extend the breadth of the average, thus lowering your average score just a bit.

The goal of the question limiting system is to slow folks that dive in without really understanding what's on topic a bit and give them more opportunity to look around and get to know what the community reacts well to seeing. While your migrated question wasn't bad, it was migrated because it wasn't on topic - hence, we still need to count them. As others noted, migrated and deleted questions do stay in your history, and the system does look at them.

If you have only positively or zero-scored questions, then the zero-scores won't immediately cause you to see the limits kick in, but a single down-vote with so many zeros in the average probably would - and that's how it should be. If you have more than a hand full of questions, at least a few out of every 10 should have an up-vote or more.

But, you were only limited for a very short time, it got your attention and made you wonder how you wandered into such a thing. That's precisely what it was designed to do - please don't be discouraged. You had just enough in your history for it to find you in scope.

One or two more up-voted questions should ensure that you never see it again. It's there to help new users not have the horrible experience of trying 15 questions in 3 days and ending up with a much longer (and harsher) block, something we were seeing quite a bit of on larger sites.

Just to note - edits made to your own posts and up-votes you receive from answers you write on other questions help boost the overall indicator the system examines. All it wants is some sense that you're being careful and trying to contribute quality, and it'll (in most cases) simply get out of your way.


Migrations actually work by simply closing, locking, and (after a few days) deleting a question. For example:


Hence, they count against you exactly as if they were closed and deleted normally. This may be part of the reason why the automatic rate-limit is kicking in.

That's actually essentially what the 3-day "ban" is, in effect: a rate-limit. We don't want a flood of "neutral" or "mediocre" questions. We want consistently high-quality posts. Just like you'll be rate-limited if you try to post 10 questions in an hour, you'll be rate-limited if you try to post many "meh" questions in a row.

Admittedly, though, two zero-score questions and two deleted questions is hardly a "flood." The ban algorithm isn't perfect. But 3 days isn't too long anyway, and perhaps you could use the time to improve your two existing questions (and maybe get out of the ban quicker).

  • Given that I'm question limited for now, what I've been told is that the fastest way to get the question ban lifted is write upvoted answers. It's like "any" upvote will help.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 17, 2015 at 0:52

I'm not sure exactly how the count works, but there are limits on all StackExchange sites.

Asking questions can be difficult, and we want all of our users to have the best possible experience on the site. You've asked a number of questions, some of which were not very well-received by the community; it's time to take a short break and have a closer look around the site.

The best way to spend the time is to look at some of the most highly up-voted questions in the tags that interest you, by sorting them according to votes:

enter image description here

You'll notice that these questions have a few things in common:

  • They use correct grammar, capitalization and punctuation, to the best of the author's ability
  • They state a clear problem that needs solving and include any relevant code needed to illustrate the problem in a way that others can reproduce
  • They have clear and descriptive titles, usually in the form of a question
  • They get straight to the point, are easy to read and are easy to understand

Once you've spent some time looking at other questions, go back to your previous questions and edit them to make improvements. We also recommend finding questions that you can answer and providing great answers to them. Take a few moments to become familiar with how search works, many questions have been asked and answered before.

If you haven't yet done so, please read our advice on how to ask good questions, and the types of questions one should avoid asking.

This block is only temporary, but much longer blocks exist in the system. We're trying to slow you down and provide you with more guidance now, in hopes that you avoid a much longer period where the system won't accept questions from your account. Please take some time to revisit and improve your previous questions wherever possible.

You'll be welcome to ask questions again soon, but please make sure you research your problems prior to asking, and ask only when you're really stuck. When you do need to ask, be sure to follow the guidance we've provided and everyone will have a much better experience.

Reference: Why is the system asking me to wait a day or more before asking another question?

  • 1
    The question was not, "How do I improve my questions so they get upvoted?" The question was why a question with "0" vote result would affect the algorithm and change the status quo against me? Normally a "0" is just that, 0.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 16, 2015 at 20:52
  • 1
    @TomAu That question would have to go to meta.StackExchange as it's not something that any of the mods on UX.SE decide on.
    – JohnGB
    Feb 17, 2015 at 0:02
  • 2
    @JohnGB:Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 17, 2015 at 0:11

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