20

Once I found a question that I knew the answer to, so I decided to try to post an answer. After I finished typing, I clicked answer, and there was a message saying "We are no longer accepting answers from this account." Granted, that was because I have made unhelpful answers in the past, but please don't wait until I type a post to tell me that I am banned. Imagine that happening to you. If you spent fifteen minutes typing something to later find out that it was for nothing, you would probably be not very happy either, right? You would probably also think what I thought:

Now you tell me! It could have saved me fifteen whole minutes if it just told me earlier!

Some specific examples of this are when I can only post once every some number of minutes. Why does the site have wait to tell me that I can only post once every 20 or so minutes, so I have to type everything all over again or keep the tab open for a while? Another problem is sometimes I use public wifi that other spammers/trollers used, and as soon as I type everything and click post, it says:

Your post cannot be submitted because of the volume of spam and abuse originating from this network. For more information, visit the help center.

Also, to make matters worse, if I just click post after typing nothing it just says that the title is missing and so on. I have to finish typing to then find out if I can post or if there was apparently too much spam. This inclines us to try to post nonsense to test if I can or not, which has it's issues for obvious reasons. If there was too much spam in the past, don't even offer me the ask question page. It would save me a lot of time just telling me before. Why would it be bad to wait to tell me that I cannot post?

Specific ways it could tell me: Instead of showing me the answering text box, showing me a message saying that I cannot post the answer to the question. Also, when I click on the "Your answer" box, it could say I cannot answer it.

In summarized terms: If I cannot post something, don't let me finish typing it to tell me that I can't.

  • 1
    Related meta.stackexchange.com/q/184809/226653 – Mgetz May 15 '18 at 14:34
  • @Cai see the reasoning in the explanation over there, it applies to both questions and answers: "...ban is applied when a user who qualifies for it tries to ask a question. Until that point, they're like that cat in a box, both banned and unbanned... There are multiple, cooperating algorithms at work. Some of them result in permanent bans, others just apply stricter rate-limits..." IOW there is no way to know until you try. – gnat May 15 '18 at 14:41
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    Perhaps they do that on purpose to force people to type more so people will learn how to type faster – Asadefa May 15 '18 at 15:06
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    they say they try to do opposite, ie slow-down folks who are about to get answer banned by showing them warning and guidance on how to improve. Wonder if you have seen it (system keeps a record of showing this warning to the user, so this question is probably best answered by a moderator) – gnat May 15 '18 at 15:16
  • 1
    This is not about why you get banned. Read it more carefully. – Asadefa May 15 '18 at 20:36
  • Why did this user get 365-day suspended all of a sudden for no clear reason? Is there an error I don't see? – Maika_Sakuran0miya Sep 12 at 13:47
11

Tell me when I cannot post BEFORE I start typing and then click post

I believe your main request has (understandably) frustrated words. Because there is a great deal of scope "before you start typing" to know what you mean:

  • As soon as you load the post
  • After X seconds
  • When you hover over the post (even then you might just be moving the mouse with no intention of typing)

Being told all the time would cause people to moan and raise a different feature-request "Stop constantly telling me I can't write answers because of a ban, I'm just trying to read questions/answers".

 

It's perfectly fine (and more accurate) to inform someone of something based on the context, like when they click the link rather than when you show them the link.

So I suggest being informed you cannot post as soon as you:

  1. Click "Ask Question"
  2. Click in the answer box/start typing

Then you are told you cannot do the thing as you are trying to do it.

  • 1
    Is it that hard to do the pop-ups until the user checks "Please don't show me this again"? – nick carraway Jun 6 '18 at 3:18
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    I am sorry if it came out as frustrating. It was just after I tried posting something and wasted all my typing. I was a bit... well... cranky. Anyone would be cranky if they put effort to type something for nothing. – Asadefa Dec 5 '18 at 17:32
20

The thing is, it's calculated on the fly, for performance reasons. We don't know in advance if we should disable the form.

What might be a good compromise is waiting until you start typing, where the editor heartbeat / draft saving start kicking in, and quickly notifying you that we can't accept the answer. But that's better perhaps .. only marginally?

While reports of hitting this tend to be pretty prevalent here, most people don't encounter the block, so looking at anything where a change could potentially be performance impacting without a pretty clear win is a hard case to make. Perhaps marginally better isn't really in the pretty clear category, as far as wins go.

Flagging has similar behavior, and I fully agree that it's annoying. We thought of ways we could just pipe these through review instead of outright blocking, but it turns out that fewer than around 1 in 100 are actually worth salvaging, so again, a lot of work (mostly volunteer) for a very narrow case.

I don't want to be insensitive to the issue, but I'm running out of ideas on how we could make the experience better, given those constraints. I'm totally open to other suggestions, I hate 'rude' aspects of software (especially when it tasks us to constantly explain it, and apologize for it), but this really is one of those things that you tug on that starts unraveling the whole sweater.

  • 2
    Is the content lost when they post or can they still recover it after they have been shown that not very welcoming error message? I never tried to actually work an account into a post ban ... – rene May 15 '18 at 16:57
  • Could the content be saved as a draft? – Mgetz May 15 '18 at 17:44
  • It can, we could probably let people download it as text if they wanted, hadn't thought of that. Hmmm. – Tim Post May 15 '18 at 18:05
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    It's trivial though to just create a txt on your desktop and do a C&P to save it. I do that anyways if there's even the slightest hint that Edge might crash. – Carcigenicate May 15 '18 at 18:34
  • I do not understand. – Asadefa May 15 '18 at 22:40
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    Notifying someone that they're banned as they start typing seems like it will be a significantly better experience for some - otherwise they can waste hours writing an answer. Although whether it's worth the effort to implement given the amount of people affected, and the reason they're affected, is not for me to say. – Dukeling May 16 '18 at 7:01
  • Why am I getting downvotes – Asadefa Feb 15 at 16:54
  • @Asadefa I'm not sure, maybe a duplicate of this was recently posted and linked to it? – Tim Post Feb 15 at 18:13
  • @TimPost Why would I get downvotes if someone posted a duplicate? Shouldn't they get closed as a duplicate? – Asadefa Feb 15 at 18:19
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    @Asadefa maybe because you keep bumping this with rather not-so-helpful edits. Each such edit bumps the question to the front page, where everyone see it again, and there is good chance some got irritated by the repeated bumps with no good reason. Not me and it's not really "fair", just giving a possible reason. So, in the future, please try to think twice before going into edit spree. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Feb 18 at 7:23
  • @ShadowWizard I think people should vote on a post based off of only the content, not who posted it or if there are duplicates etc. – Asadefa Mar 20 at 2:56
  • @Asadefa should, yes. But we're all humans... so far. So emotions play part as well. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Mar 20 at 7:20

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