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To avoid misunderstanding, I am not really opposed to making life harder for banned users in general. Here I am only trying to figure reasons of making so in one particular case and in certain particular way (frankly, if there are such reasons this would probably make me feel better).

Banned users are allowed to post once in 6 months:

If you're unable to improve your existing questions, you'll get the chance to ask one new one 6 months after your last question.

This can become complicated if they have deleted posts affecting the ban.

If these deleted posts are older than 60 days it becomes quite difficult for user to find and check these and decide whether to wait for next attempt or maybe try to improve these deleted posts or maybe ask for help at meta (especially if they could see that time remaining for next attempt is long enough to justify investing effort in improving prior posts).

I think above can be made easier for them if the system changes the limit of showing deleted posts from 60 days to 6 months.


My understanding is, above change would be very low effort technically, kind of changing particular config parameter and editing few docs referring it in a non-parameterized way. Also it seems to be low risk because it's easy to revert if it turns out that it causes too much trouble.

So, the only reason I could imagine for keeping the current way is that it should be somehow important to make it hard for banned users to check their deleted posts for 6 months instead of current 60 days. I would like to understand the reasons why this is (is it?) important.

(Or maybe changing the parameter of showing deleted posts is indeed technically harder than I assume? To address particular question in comments, change is supposed to be done in a most technically straightforward way, that is for all users, and not only for banned ones.)

  • I drafted this question several days ago but didn't post it because I tried to figure the answer myself - specifically how it could be possible to abuse opportunity to see deleted posts for 6 months instead of 60 days. I thought through few possible scenarios (eg involving multiple sock accounts) but all of them seemed to have much easier alternatives so my search ended in nothing. (in the meanwhile I made few edits to the draft though so it wasn't a totally lost time) – gnat Jul 14 at 10:56
  • Why did these users got banned in 1st place? Because they ignored all the warnings they got before. Why should we make it easier for them to come back again and get their ban lifted? – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 14 at 10:59
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    On the other hand, there's almost no downside to letting someone see their own posts for any amount of time. If there's foul play, its not like they'll have an account to check – Journeyman Geek Jul 14 at 11:03
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    @πάνταῥεῖ primarily because since it is so technically easy and safe, why not. And because I see no reason to have it differently difficult for folks who happen to get their posts deleted than who didn't (by getting and accepting an answer from next rep-hunter). And because I am mildly annoyed regularly seeing meta posts where these folks ask "when I can get out" and legitimately receive help from diamond moderators who waste their time doing searches that could be done by users themselves if system was configured a bit differently. Fair enough? – gnat Jul 14 at 11:04
  • @gnat "Fair enough?" Well. May be I am just grumpy about the abount of awkwardness these sites are used by newcomers all over. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 14 at 11:12
  • I'm still not a fan to spend dev time on features that make life for q-banned users easier so if that remains your main argument expect that my down vote stays. – rene Jul 14 at 11:13
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    @rene neither am I but weighting dev effort needed to change a single config parameter against multiple meta requests from banned users (legitimate, go figure!) and mods doing searches for them (also legitimate waste of effort with current system settings!) I strongly feel that overall balance is in favor of this change (I edited in the explanation that it's supposed to be for all users) – gnat Jul 14 at 11:17
  • @πάνταῥεῖ maybe you just didn't think it through well enough, see above ^^^. What could possibly be more awkward than legitimacy of banned users asking at meta when it ends and legitimacy of having diamond mods wasting their time helping them do searches (as if they have nothing better to do) - but that's just the way it is now, and the only reason for that is 6 years ago someone arbitrarily picked value of some config parameter for experimenting and didn't bother to think or explain whether it's worth keeping it – gnat Jul 14 at 11:28
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    @RobertColumbia not even close given the difference in efforts (changing just one config parameter leaving everything else as is vs modifying the core of how feature of showing deleted posts works). Not to mention that this is mere support request for explanation and does not really ask to change anything - wonder if you read the opening statement ("I am only trying to figure reasons of making so... frankly, if there are such reasons this would probably make me feel better") – gnat Jul 14 at 12:57
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    ...and the difference in efforts is really critical here. If it was technically even a little bit harder than change of config parameter, I wouldn't consider asking for explanation - because even small technical difficulty would look to me like good enough justification to keep things hard for banned users (note the closing statement which offers this possibility as a good reason to keep things as is: "Or maybe changing the parameter of showing deleted posts is indeed technically harder than I assume?") @RobertColumbia – gnat Jul 14 at 13:13
  • Last i recall, the limit had nothing to do with banned users, it was more a case of it was less negative if you went to your questions list in the profile and didn't see all that deleted shtuff, so it gets hidden behind a link that just pulls "recent" shtuff. – user400654 Jul 16 at 15:22
  • @KevinB correct it has nothing to do with banned users, the motivation for the limit was Atwood's concern expressed here: "it would lead to unbelievable amounts of whining". This matter is irrelevant here though because the question isn't supposed to change the presence of limit (in fact it isn't supposed even to change the current value of this limit in case if there is a sensible explanation for it) – gnat Jul 16 at 15:36
  • possible explanation is here: "If the OP has dozens of deleted questions that are heavily downvoted from > 6 months ago, knowing that there aren't any in the last six months is not going to do anything." Plan to chew it for a while and possibly post as self-answer (note to self: in the latter case, consider also whether this reasoning makes it a duplicate) – gnat Jul 26 at 21:14
  • also related: Allow banned users to see their own deleted posts – gnat Sep 18 at 12:25
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Honestly, as a moderator, I don't really see the problem with letting users see their own deleted posts on their profile, with two exceptions.

I'd love to have spam/abusive posts hidden on profiles, but otherwise adding friction to folks finding their own posts seems counterintuitive.

Considering folks can always see their deleted posts if they can find links to them, and searching for it is not an option for a new user, rather than showing posts recent to the last N days, it feels like letting people always find any post they have posted on their profile seems sensible.

At least for me, the response I have to potentially salvageable posts is to suggest how to fix them, and recommend they flag for undeletion. This would probably help folks review it, and is probably less annoying on the short term than having to dig up multiple deleted posts (and review them on the fly for suggestions). Even if unsalvageable, a user who is genuinely trying might be able to learn from their old mistakes.

Alternatively, opening up searching for own deleted questions on any rep levels would be nice, but less obvious to a new user.

2

As explained in another discussion, the expectation that changing the limit to 6 months will solve the issue is incorrect:

If the OP has dozens of deleted questions that are heavily downvoted from > 6 months ago, knowing that there aren't any in the last six months is not going to do anything.

Above wouldn't matter for users who didn't ask that single allowed question (yet) - but for those who did and it turned positively received but still insufficient to fully compensate older low quality contributions, ability to see for 6 months would be just as useless as 60 days.

This means, even if specific limit value is not much important and easy to modify, the change to 6 months doesn't look worth it.

Yeah it will simplify handling of simplest cases (that are currently rare enough so that even diamond moderators don't complain about involved extra load). But even slightly more complicated cases would still require involvement of diamond moderators.

Summing up, the stated reason to change it to 6 months doesn't look sufficiently compelling.


One can even argue that such change is undesirable because it would make the system harder to understand. What we have now is easy to explain, the limit value was arbitrarily picked in old times and there were no compelling reasons to change it so far. If it was changed to 6 months then explanation would involve reasoning about helping some (not all!) banned users which in turn would inevitably trigger further questions, like why it was not made to help all of them, and so on, this would be too complicated for such a simple feature.

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    in the light of what I learned, those interested in simplifying life for banned users would better go to more general proposal instead of changing the limit to 6 months. This essentially makes it a duplicate – gnat Jul 27 at 9:15

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