As it is written here by Jon Ericson (CM), the secrecy of the details of the individual suspensions is reasoned to protect the suspended users:

Since suspended users are unable to tell their side of the story on meta or chat, the less said the better. Hard to think of a better way to turn a user bitter than to humiliate them when they are helpless.

However, as the most upvoted answer by Mad Scientist states, there are at least two cases, where revealing the full details of a suspension should be reasonable:

  • the suspended user explicitly gives permission, e.g. to let the community challenge the suspension publicly
  • the user lies about the facts of the suspension

I've also seen multiple times that users came to the MSE or to other sites to talk about the events, out of the limit of power of the mods. These posts were typically quickly downvoted and deleted, but I think no one wants this. In my opinion, the place where suspensions should be publicly talked upon, is the meta site where the suspension happened, and only if these criteria above hold.

My suggestion is: give to the suspended users a way to post a single question on the meta, while they are suspended. Once.

If they are sure that the suspension was unfair, they would have an option to challenge it - but, the price is that if they wouldn't say true facts, they could be easily proven by the mod tools. Furthermore, this post would remain a part of their profile forever (if it got a positively scored answer, which is likely).


1 Answer 1


I'm not a fan of this idea because it:

  1. Invites needless drama.
  2. Probably won't change many suspensions.

Every now and then, a moderator makes a mistake when suspending a user. Maybe they misunderstood a situation, or maybe they acted too hastily.

Users always have a chance to explain themselves in a private reply to the moderator. They can also escalate by sending a message to the community team via the contact form. Other moderators, CMs, and even the moderator who imposed the suspension do go back and correct mistakes.

Unfortunately, a suspended user almost never has anything useful to contribute in those messages. (The replies often involve words your grandmother would disapprove of.)

You can see the same thing happening here on Meta Stack Exchange. Users suspended on other sites in the network raise objections, but rarely persuasively. Allowing that sort of thing on individual sites' metas just seems like a mistake.

  • 12
    The few that do challenge their suspension after the fact or here on M.SE almost invariably present a skewed picture of the situation, which then had to be rebutted by one of the site mods. It's more work placed on them, because now they have to justify the suspensions to the community, which goes against the whole rehabilitation aspect. Serve your time, move on. Making it public, even at the asker's request, won't actually help anyone move past the fact they were suspended.
    – fbueckert
    Apr 5, 2019 at 19:09
  • 4
    @fbueckert: Very true. I kinda think those challenges are useful for other users to get a sense of how the moderators approach their jobs. I get the feeling that some people assume moderator act capriciously when the truth is they are invariably conscientious. Apr 5, 2019 at 20:14
  • 8
    I wanted to add the observation that shifting this sort of suspension protest to Meta is more likely to lead to a circus than a desirable outcome, but I stopped short of putting words in your mouth. Regular community members who have no idea of the context would respond, moderators would be unable to share private details that provide key context, and the experience would be negative all around. There's a very good reason that suspensions and other messages are kept private. Avoiding the spectacle is a good thing. Apr 6, 2019 at 6:47
  • About (2): If the mods know, that their decision can be publicly challenged, probably many of the suspensions would not happen. Thus, I believe, yes it would change many suspensions, but not by revoking them, instead they wouldn't be created.
    – peterh
    May 24, 2019 at 14:08

You must log in to answer this question.

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