One of my moderator colleagues recently imposed a review ban on a user. I knew about it because I discussed it with him before he imposed the ban. However, I was somewhat surprised when I didn't receive a notice of the review ban in the moderator inbox. Why aren't such notifications added to the moderator inbox?

As far as I can tell, the moderator inbox is only used for (a) new questions on the site meta and (b) suspensions/moderator messages. While a review ban is less serious than a suspension, a notification to other moderators seems like it would be useful. At the very least, it would help the other moderators develop a mental list of users to keep an eye on in the review queues (since the system doesn't provide a list of previously banned users).

I'd guess that the main reason not to notify moderators of review bans is to avoid cluttering up the moderator inbox. However, I'm a moderator on a medium-sized site and there are so few review bans that I don't think that would be a concern (except, perhaps, for the biggest sites). Then again, how would I know how many review bans are imposed if I'm not notified of them? Are there statistics on how many review bans are imposed (either manually or automatically), especially on the bigger sites? Are there so many review bans that notifications for them in the moderator inbox would be too much noise? Or are there other reason(s) why the moderator inbox does not include notifications for review bans?

  • 3
    You are able to see all users currently serving a review suspension in the mod tools, and you can now see previous bans on a specific user. I'd think this could get incredibly noisy on some sites.
    – Taryn
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:11
  • 1
    @bluefeet for noisy: are the moderators review banning so many people, or is it an automatic review ban which will make it noisy. Maybe make a notification when it is a manual ban (because it's probably important then, and worth looking at) and leave it silent if the system does it?
    – rumtscho
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:14
  • @bluefeet I'm aware of both of those pieces of information, but even with those tools I can't tell who has been previously banned unless I already know to investigate that user. I'm entirely willing to believe that such notifications would be too noisy on the bigger sites, but I don't have access to any statistics that would tell me how noisy that might be.
    – Null
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:17
  • @Null I'm going to try to pull some stats for you. Give me a bit.
    – Taryn
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:18
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    This seems like it'd be fairly useful to the smaller sites that don't see a lot of manual review bans. Could always just have a site setting to turn this off on the larger sites where it does become just noise, similar to the site setting to turn off new meta posts in the mod inbox.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


Why aren't review bans imposed by a moderator added to the moderator inbox?

Got me, I'm not sure why. Maybe no one ever thought it was important to notify the mods since a list of who is currently serving a suspension is available in the moderator tools. We also recently added a count of previous suspensions to the user account info, but as you say that's not helpful unless you know what user to look for.

I pulled some stats on review bans over the past year. Of course, Stack Overflow has the most number of review bans both handled out by moderators and by the community (from failed audits). Here's the data:

TotalBans TotalUsersBanned TotalBansByMod TotalBansByCommunity Site Name 
--------- ---------------- -------------- -------------------- --------- 
7604      2956             777            6827                 Stack Overflow
85        25               1              84                   Ubuntu  
58        24               2              56                   Super User
21        10               0              21                   Server Fault
12        8                12             0                    Gardening and Landscaping
8         5                8              0                    Puzzling Stack Exchange
5         5                5              0                    Mathematics
4         1                4              0                    Webmasters
3         3                3              0                    Science Fiction and Fantasy
2         2                2              0                    Web Apps  
2         2                2              0                    English Language and Usage
2         1                2              0                    Programmers
2         2                2              0                    Magento   
2         2                2              0                    English Language Learners
2         1                2              0                    Stack Overflow em Português
2         1                2              0                    Software Recommendations Stack Exchange
2         1                2              0                    Stack Overflow на русском
1         1                1              0                    Cooking   
1         1                1              0                    Code Golf 
1         1                1              0                    Movies    
1         1                1              0                    User Experience
1         1                1              0                    Hardware Recommendations Stack Exchange

This definitely would be too noisy on Stack Overflow, but possibly not so much on other sites. I'll this for now. I'll do some more digging to see if it makes more sense for this to go to the inbox or if creating a list previously banned users would be better in the long run. To me, the list seems like a better option because the inbox notice could get lost with everything else you get.

  • Interesting statistics, thank you! I think either the notification or list would be useful (possibly both), at least for the sites smaller than SO.
    – Null
    Sep 30, 2016 at 5:29

I do not know the exact reasoning behind the decision not to make these into mod messages, but I am pretty sure that it has to do with the expected volume and signal/noise ratio of these, especially on SO.

While mod messages for this may make sense on smaller sites, we need to implement things in a way that will work on all sites. Hence mod messages for all suspensions is something that is not as good of a solution as is adding to UserHistory for users on review suspensions.

I do appreciate the issues brought up. Hopefully the new mod ux for review suspensions will also help with your process in this area.

  • 1
    The reasoning is super boring: review bans were a late addition (originally just relied on suspensions, which already have a nuanced set of rules for who gets notified) and messages for review bans were an even later addition. IOW, it was never really "designed" so much as just bolted on in as expedient a way as possible in the moment; copying the logic for mod messages would probably be a good start to a design, but given the current volume of *both" systems I expect both could benefit from some fresh thinking at least WRT SO.
    – Shog9
    Nov 12, 2020 at 15:40

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