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When a user is banned from asking questions, they are still allowed to ask one question every six months, in order to try and get their ban lifted in case they're unable to improve their existing questions.

However, when this 6-month limit opens up and the user proceeds to type a question, there's no indication anywhere that they are banned or that their ban will continue after they post that question. The form literally looks the same as it does to non-banned users.

Often, I've seen cases where users post a bunch of bad questions and get banned, and forget about the ban. Then, after a long period of time (in most cases, several years), they have another question they want to ask, so they go and post it. When they type up and post their question, at no point are they told about their prior history and that they were banned in the past due to bad questions. Then, when they try to ask another question, they all of a sudden find that they are banned without any advance warning.

In many of the "why am I banned" questions that come up here and on Meta Stack Overflow, this is the cause: they were banned due to bad participation years ago, and the previous ban was immediately re-imposed after they asked one question. As they'd forgotten about the previous ban, such users are left wondering why they were suddenly banned for just one question which may not have been negatively received.

An important point: this is not a request to change the ban criteria. I'm in favor of giving more weight to the new question as opposed to the current model of simply considering all prior contributions equally with the one new question, but that's outside the scope of this request.

Following a suggestion from a comment on Meta.SO, I'm requesting here that a warning be implemented much like the following:

You are currently banned from asking questions. However, as it's been more than six months since you asked your last question, you are currently allowed to ask one question. Please note that unless this question is received positively, your ban will still remain as is.

Can we please have this warning before a banned user whose 6-month limit has opened up asks a question? This also has another advantage: it will remind such users of the quality rules and make it more likely that the question will be high-quality.

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    Don’t make it look like the suggested edit ban warning. I think this should be its own page, or something that you have to dismiss before you’re able to ask a question, otherwise it’s too easy to ignore.
    – Laurel
    Mar 9, 2021 at 2:43
  • /me thinks about adding a [status-banned] tag to this question, but decides against it. Mar 10, 2021 at 11:47
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    More emphasis on one question.
    – Mast
    Mar 10, 2021 at 18:47
  • @Laurel - My suggestion would make it a notification that cannot be dismissed at all. Have it displayed on the “ask a question” page indefinitely once the threshold is reached, perhaps once reached, it’s never dismissed until well past the threshold
    – Ramhound
    Mar 12, 2021 at 13:41
  • The warning should also help them understand why they're banned. Otherwise, it might add cause confusion. Linking to the FAQ post-ban question would be sufficient, IMO: "You are currently [banned](link) from asking questions...". May 17 at 23:48

1 Answer 1

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We are in early discovery on a project for new user onboarding, helping inexperienced users better learn the rules of the site and how to be successful. (You'll see more on Meta as we get further along.)

We will give this request more thought as part of that project. It's definitely in line with what we're planning to work on, but I've tagged it as for now because we aren't far enough along to scope and schedule it yet.

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