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I know there are a lot of questions about very long suspension periods, but I came across a case that is quite perplexing. This user had many offenses to earn his long ban, despite being a very prolific and high-rep user with many valuable posts, but the suspension period assigned strains the definition of "suspension."

This account is temporarily suspended network-wide. The suspension period ends on Mar 18 '(22)92 at 16:28.

I can see why you might want to suspend an account for several years, maybe even a decade, if you don't believe behavior will change. However, what is the point of "suspending" an account for 275 years? Is there a reason why you can't just make it a permanent ban instead of pretending it is a suspension?


On a tangential note, isn't the "temporary" in "temporary suspension" redundant?

Suspend: temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect.

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  • 7
    How did he get it up to 75 years? Last time I checked it was less than 10 years. That sounds like it takes a certain kind of skill to achieve.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:36
  • 1
    @Mysticial I honestly have no idea, I was more intrigued by the duration of the suspension than the actual cause since the cause really isn't my business anyway.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:37
  • 5
    Even if you tried to run up the score like that, you'd get a network ban long before you even hit 10 years. And once you're network banned, it's hard to commit more offenses since you're, well, banned. Maybe if there was some alt account stuff going on. Either way, this is quite amazing.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:40
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    As an aside, that year is not 2092. The suspension actually ends on Mar 18, 2292. We just don't show a tooltip on suspensions like normal because, well, we never expected to issue a suspension that long where it mattered.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:54
  • 3
    @animuson Wow. Is the date hard-coded to begin with 20XX? Looks too clean to be some sort of integer overflow.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:55
  • 7
    Tangentially related: we really want these "temporary suspensions" to be rare. Additional trivia: I tend to use decade-long bans in this situation, but other CMs have different preferences. The goal here is to suspend long enough that we can stop thinking about the user altogether. So we really don't want to do this until it's very clear we can't correct the disruptive behavior. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 19:48
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    The year is 2292. Stack Exchange is now an intergalactic neural network. Community User AI is the de facto moderator for all the network. For a brief moment it wonders if it's necessary to contact its human masters about this weird notification.
    – brasofilo
    Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 19:56
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    Don't ask how I know this but time travel is invented prior to 2292, so the ban is not permanent.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 2:53
  • 7
    Also semi-related: 3000+ year chat suspension on Stack Overflow Chat Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 3:28
  • 2
    @JonEricson I hope the user gets some warning from you before that. Learning only lately that you were in the near of the suspension, while you've believed everything is okay, is not funny.
    – peterh
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 12:40
  • 4
    I liked the blog post where they said that they don't hold grudges. I had a good belly laugh over that one.
    – user316129
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 16:13

3 Answers 3

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Simply put, because we don't have a perma-ban feature that just says "this account is banned forever" with no timeline for when it ends. We never thought we'd actually need something like that, and cases like this are still incredibly rare. At least rare enough that investing time in another type of ban isn't really a good use of developer time. The number of legitimate users this would apply to can probably be counted on one hand.

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  • 11
    Yeah, please don't spend developer effort on this if you can suspend for "functionally forever" already. If people are still around, somebody will notice the impending end in year 75 and do something appropriate. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 18:58
  • 24
    It would be a little amusing if... 75 years later, whoever it is starts up the same thing again ;p Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 3:36
  • 4
    imagine 75 years later someone comments on this topic...
    – Ooker
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 6:14
  • 17
    that year is not 2092. It's 2292. So it's 275 years.
    – user447378
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 16:30
  • If the suspension message did say 2092, it was dishonest to not write 2292 instead Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 12:33
  • The '92 is misleading / incorrect, not dishonest. Dishonesty requires an >intention< to deceive on the part of the software author. That is implausible in this case. What would be the point of pretending someone was suspended for 75 years rather that 275? The most likely explanation is this is (or was) due to a bug in the code that rendered the date for that message. (See also - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor)
    – Stephen C
    Commented Apr 11 at 1:39
  • This comment is from last year. There was an intent to use a shortened time which was dishonest of the actual length of time. It may be a difference in interpretation Commented Apr 11 at 1:49
  • "There was an intent to use a shortened time ..." Where is the evidence of that intent?
    – Stephen C
    Commented Apr 11 at 15:23
  • It was not thought that such a long suspension time would be needed, so a shortened version was used intentionally. The first comment also said that is “if the suspension message did say 2092” Commented Apr 11 at 15:25
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animuson has already answered the main question. You also asked a tangential question:

On a tangential note, isn't the "temporary" in "temporary suspension" redundant?

Strictly speaking, yes, it's redundant. However, since most suspensions are shorter and we hope the users will learn from them and return as productive contributors, I think it's worth spending an extra word on additional clarity. Even after we changed "closed" to "on hold" for the first five days I've seen a lot of users who didn't understand that it's not meant to be permanent; similarly, I think we'd have people who think that "suspended" means forever even though there's a timestamp right there in the message. Not everybody reads English as precisely and fluently as you and I do, and there are other sites where "suspended" does mean forever (barring extraordinary action).

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By design, Stack Exchange doesn't have a moderation concept of a permanent ban. In reality, lengthy suspensions accomplish this by locking an account for a prohibitively long time. That generally works well, and we've even had many cases where people came back from one-year suspensions (the maximum a moderator can hand down) and behaved well after that time off.

Longer suspensions than one year are handed down by employees only, and usually under special cases (threats of harm against other members, multi-site trolling or spam, and so on). Why suspend for so long instead of deleting? Keeping the account around can provide a useful reference point so that notes about their behavior are preserved to identify new accounts created to work around their suspension, as a central point to mark puppet or spam rings, or otherwise aid moderators in the future.

Changing this to add a concept of a permanent ban would require a bit of a cultural change, as well as developer effort, for cases that are pretty rare.

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