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Let's say I'm a newbie on Site X. I begin by writing two answers to that get two upvotes and three upvotes, respectively (total of five, for 50 reputation points).

Then I write some bad questions, enough to get me banned if I had zero answer upvotes, but below a threshold raised by the answer upvotes. (My understanding is that some fraction of answer upvotes mitigate against a question ban.)

A mod then deletes one or both of my upvoted answers so I no longer have the "threshold" protection. Does the question ban now kick in automatically, or do I have to ask another "bad" question before it does?

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Deleted posts affect the post ban just the same as undeleted posts do. Your answer being deleted doesn't make it stop counting towards your question ban, although all feedback on answers is, in general, weighted less than feedback on questions with respect to the question ban (and vice versa for answer bans).

As for whether any given action can put you on the other side of the threshold and stop you from asking another question, it absolutely can. At the time you go to ask a question an algorithm is run that looks at all of the feedback on your questions (and to a lesser extent, answers and other forms of interaction with the site) and determines if your total contributions are above or below a set threshold. If you're below it, you can't submit the question, if you're above it you can. You don't need to submit a new question for the calculation to be run; it's run every time you attempt to ask a new question.

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    "an algorithm is run that looks at all of the feedback on your questions (and to a lesser extent, answers and other forms of interaction with the site)." So if you are a newbie with 50 (approved) edits, that would count for something? And maybe comments that were "upvoted" by others?
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 15:37
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    @TomAu The specifics are not specified. I strongly suspect that comments, and comment upvotes, are ignored, although that's not technically stated by SE. Edits may count for something, but it wouldn't be nearly as impactful as votes on questions would be.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 15:39
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Details of the algorithm that determines bans are known only to SE staff but this answer to What can I do when getting "We are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account"? says:

deleted answers always count towards an automatic ban on new accounts.

Assuming that counting towards question bans is not totally independent of counting towards answer bans, my expectation is that a moderator deletion of an upvoted answer on someone very narrowly avoiding a question ban would put them into it at its next calculation.

but ... as commented by @rene:

Keep in mind that you're not going from everything is fine to Q-banned at an instant. If you're in the danger zone you'll get the warning banner. I have not seen any users that were banned without [being] shown that warning. Plenty of users happily ignore it though or don't follow up its guidance. Strangely enough once banned they have no trouble finding Meta to complain.

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    Keep in mind that you're not going from everything is fine to Q-banned at an instant. If you're in the danger zone you'll get the warning banner. I have not seen any users that were banned without that they were shown that warning. Plenty of users happily ignore it though or don't follow up its guidance. Strangely enough once banned they have no trouble finding Meta to complain.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 6:26
  • Interesting point. The question was, suppose I get the warnings, stop, and then a year later, my answers are deleted so that I lose the "shelter." Am I then suddenly banned a year later after it was "no longer" an issue.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 15:14
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    @TomAu a year later you should be able to ask the question, as even q-banned users should be allowed one question each 6 months. But if that new question is badly received as well you're deeper in the ban then you were before.
    – rene
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 20:05

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