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I understand that if you post something which gets flagged with an offensive flag and if that offensive flag gets validated that the user whose post is in question gets deleted, the user who posted the offensive post gets -100 rep, and also if the user gets a certain amount of offensive flags which get validated, then the user gets an IP block.

However what I am not sure about is how far the IP block reaches, when a user gets it, is it permanent? Does it only mean that nobody on that IP can post (which seems a little harsh if there are other users on that IP which don't post offensive things)? Or does it actually block them from seeing the site? And does it only stop them from doing stuff on that certain SE site, or is it all of them?

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    The actual counter measures are secret but I do recall that in case of IP blocks indeed multiple users can be affected. – rene Jan 20 '16 at 18:51
  • @rene: So it's not like on Wikipedia where they check to see if it would affect multiple good users, and if it does, may be less likely to do it? – user280862 Jan 20 '16 at 18:57
  • I don't know, but there are bits and pieces out there that you use to create a picture, like this from Shog9 or this from Animuson – rene Jan 20 '16 at 19:04
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    @rene - It's worth noting that the blocks described in those posts are for question bans, which differ from the kind of blocks triggered by identifying and destroying spammers or trolls. The mechanisms are different (although one may inform the other). – Brad Larson Jan 20 '16 at 19:17
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The exact specifics aren't even known to moderators, and are in flux because this is a system that is constantly being tweaked as trolls and spammers try to work around it.

However, I can say that the post restrictions generally only apply to new accounts or those below a certain low reputation threshold. The folks at SE are well aware that legitimate users can share public-facing IP addresses with trolls or spammers and they care about collateral damage from any blocking mechanism.

Existing, established users don't have anything to worry about from a spam- or trolling-induced IP block on posting. Reputation and account age are reliable filters to indicate that someone is legitimate, so even having a network of spammers coming from your IP address probably won't impact your site experience. There can be cases where things like Tor nodes flood the site with traffic, at which point SE may hobble access for all users coming from there, but that's different than validated spam flags.

These IP bans are generally not permanent in any case, and age away over time. You might imagine that the length of this aging-away duration would scale with the amount of spam posts or spam accounts that had been identified at a particular location.

I believe these IP posting bans are imposed network-wide, because spammers hitting one site often try to hop over to others. Intelligence from multiple sites is aggregated.

Users are not blocked from viewing the site, except in the most extreme of circumstances (abusive scrapers, site attacks, etc.).

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