I just came across a user who has been suspended for over 10 years (to 'cool down'). This seems unrealistic, as we can see that 10 years ago SE didn't even exist (meaning, a lot can change in that time period). It seems unlikely that a moderator will impose a suspension of that duration, as a year or 5 years should achieve around the same result.

That leads me to wonder, are suspensions automated?


3 Answers 3


The maximum suspension that site moderators can hand out is one year. If you see a suspension longer than that, it was done by an employee. Such suspensions are usually network-wide.

Suspensions are done manually. There are some automated processes that can temporarily block accounts from certain actions (for example, asking questions, reviewing, or flagging), but for an actual suspension, the kind that drops effective rep to 1 and leaves a notice on the profile page, a human being pushed the button.


No. Suspensions are always handed by a moderator.

In this case it would probably even be an employee (if the suspension was handed out years ago it could even have been Jeff himself). If you are banned for 10 years you have done very bad things repeatedly without showing any improvement on that matter.

  • Ten years at least - it's due to end in '26!
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:03
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    In the past, site moderators used to suspend a spammer account for long time, then merge other spam account with that one, thus blocking them better. Since moderators can't merge account anymore they stopped though. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:03
  • Nice to know @sha Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:05
  • 4
    This particular user has too much rep to be 'just' a spammer.
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:05
  • Some users gain reputation in order to try to be a bit less obvious spammer. Or there is a history of abuse. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:06
  • @cst1992 I'm pretty sure you found the same user I found a while ago (see dupe), or something similar, i.e. spam account used to merge other spam accounts into. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:08
  • @ShadowWizard I don't think so, and I don't think this question is a duplicate of that: security.stackexchange.com/users/10787/…
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:13
  • @cst1992 wow. you're right. Reopened, anyway Patrick is correct - nothing here is automated, moderator or more likely SE employee put than suspension manually Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:15
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    The guy has a lot of rep - 1210. I don't think a spammer will be able to manage that much - I have that much combined from my major SE sites.
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:16
  • @cst1992 this was a long time user with serious and deep paranoya, who became a troll and kept coming back with different accounts. See this, go over the transcript and you'll see. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 9:26
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    @404 I highly doubt it. More likely Jon triggered a process that spawned network wide suspension, and handled by Community account. As far as I know, even after 1000 posts deleted as spam, account won't be auto deleted or suspended. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 11:38

Timed suspensions are initiated by humans. Most are initiated by moderators (either elected by the community or appointed by community managers) and are limited to 1 year. But employees have the option of suspending users for longer periods of time. These are exceptionally exceptional.

If we suspend an account for more than a year, there's a good chance we'll want to suspend on every site on the network. Instead of actually logging into each site separately, there's an automated process that suspends in the name of the Community user. In addition, accounts are unsuspended by an automated process once the time has elapsed.

People have come back from year-long suspensions to be productive members of the community. We don't expect people to return from 10-year-long suspensions. In fact, many accounts with long suspensions were actually duplicate accounts set up to cause problems or people who are no longer interested in participating in the community. It's the very definition of human exception handling.

  • What stops the user who has n banned accounts from creating an n+1'th account with a different name? I can only think of the resetting reputation being the deterrent. But since they're still allowed to post...
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:33
  • @cst1992: That's a good question. Most often, it's easier to suspend junk accounts than it is to create them. In addition, spam and other nonsense is quickly flagged by the community. That leads to the content being deleted and other (automated) system limiting participation. So unless the user can make the n+1 account a positive member of the community, there's a good chance they will be blocked with or without the suspension. Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:41
  • Yes, that's true. There's always the community being able to flag your posts for spam. Speaking of which, could you help me with this? stackoverflow.com/questions/13773769/reverse-file-java-program/… This particular post is deemed very offensive by anyone who can speak Hindi(almost all Indians). I raised a flag, but still pending: stackoverflow.com/users/flag-summary/4037019
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:45
  • @cst1992: Done. As a rule, describing situations like that with an "other" flag will be productive. I'm afraid none of the existing moderators speak Hindi. :-( Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:52
  • Yup, that's why it was declined.
    – cst1992
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:57

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