I am posting this here at the suggestion of a History SE Moderator, following an exchange between us on the History Meta.

There is a particular user on the site who has asked a large number of questions on what I would characterize as a particularly sensitive (World War II-based) topic (the Holocaust). These questions are badly worded and are potentially hurtful, meaning that he has paid too little attention to either the frequency or the tone of such questions.

Apparently he was recently placed in a timed suspension for at least a second time. Given his actions, some disciplinary measure is in order, but I wonder if "timed suspension" is the right one.

I like (and have upvoted) some of his answers. I do not like his questions. So I wonder if the suspension can't be limited to one side of the equation, that is, the question side? It would be for a period of time, because the points he earned for his answers probably override a "normal" question ban.

That would have the merit of pointing out to this individual that it is his questions that are unwelcome, but not his answers.

  • 7
    Similarly, a comments ban would be extremely helpful with some users. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 3:54
  • 12
    Hmm, but while a nice feature in general, your example sounds more like at this points it's not his questions that are unwelcome rather than his behaviour, for which timed suspensions are the method of choice if talking it out repeatedly failed. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 8:01
  • Duplicate, on Meta.History: meta.history.stackexchange.com/questions/3357/…
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 9:10
  • 2
    @Yannis: Yes, I first asked this on History Meta, and as you can see, the Moderator (in a comment) suggested that I post it here, per my opening sentence.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 10:57
  • 1
    @TomAu Well, yes, but that doesn't explain why you did not delete the Meta History post when you decided to post it here. I had no idea you cross posted this when I answered it on Meta History, and my comment is just a pointer to my answer there. For future reference, please do not cross post. If you decide your post will be served better elsewhere, either delete it and re-post it, or flag it for migration.
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 12:15
  • @Yannis: I probably should have done this earlier, but no longer can (I believe) since you have answered it. Unless you wish to delete your answer, in which case I'll delete my post.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Second-guessing moderator judgements is a hazardous game for non-mod posters, as they won't have access to as much information as mods do.

Moderators have to take a view on whether a poster is trolling, because that requires a different response to posters who merely repeatedly ask poor-quality questions.

Repeatedly asking poor-quality questions is dealt with automatically by the system's auto-question-bans, as long as users are prepared to downvote, close and delete poor-quality questions. Moderators can supplement this with warnings sent by private message. Persisting in posting poor-quality material after such a warning, can be grounds for suspension. So there's already a moderator intervention available, that can take place between downvoting+closing, and suspension.

And trolling - like other seriously problematic behaviour - is dealt with manually, by suspensions.

In this instance, there's plenty of good reason to suspend this user, so there's no case here to be made for moderators to gain the power to manually implement a question ban.

  • Fair enough. But this question was posted on MSE at the suggestion of a moderator of History SE. Meaning that I believe the moderator wanted this "question ban" option as well as the "time suspension" option. Note also the comment of Monica Cellio, who is a moderator on several sites.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 11:20
  • 1
    @TomAu in this instance, a suspension was fully justified. And that means that the case for a new feature isn't supported by this instance. If you can find a substantial number (enough to merit the development work) of other instances that would support your case, then please do add them to your question.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 11:49
  • 5
    Discussing a moderators decisions on meta is entirely appropriate, so long as it is done constructively (which this question is). Yes, there may be times where we don't have as much information on a given situation as they do, but that doesn't mean the community cannot, or should not, discuss the issue. Additionally, this question is proposing a new feature to help mods deal with a class of problems, so there is no need to know the specifics of the one example that prompted the idea in order to discuss that proposal.
    – Servy
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 13:47
  • 1
    @Servy indeed; and I'm not saying it's not appropriate: I am saying that second-guessing the judgement is hazardous. The OP's case for this new feature rested on an instance which doesn't justify the new feature. So what we're left with is a feature request without any evidence that it's needed.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:36
  • 2
    The automatic question-block doesn't kick in if the poster has a good question or two. On one site where I moderate a user had one popular question and then about 10 downvloted, closed questions, and that first question prevented the block. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 16:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .