When a user is barred from asking questions, they are simply told to edit their previous questions to bring them up to an acceptable standard. Sometimes the questions require a lot of attention as they have a very low negative score, and sometimes it's more nuanced.

The nature of whatever scoring algorithm is used is quite rightly a closely guarded secret, and no details should be leaked.

But is there any way of finding out which of a banned user's questions are NOT contributing towards a question ban. Such a feature would:

  1. Allow a banned user to focus their efforts on the most egregious issues and not waste time editing questions that are currently considered acceptable.
  2. Save moderators' time and effort answering questions from banned users trying to work out what to do next and which questions are an issue/problem.
  3. If the design of the scoring algorithm is changed people will find out about the new quality standards when they are trying to resolve issues instead of having to ask questions about 'What's changed'.
  • 4
    "But is there anyway of finding out which of a banner users questions are NOT contributing towards a question ban" AFAIK, that would be all positively scored questions. Any zero or less scored questions matter. Deleted ones included. So, maybe the system could show those.
    – VLAZ
    Mar 9, 2021 at 13:29
  • 1
    What do you mean by "poor quantity questions"? Mar 9, 2021 at 13:30
  • 5
    positively scored, not closed and not deleted, those don't need immediate attention.
    – rene
    Mar 9, 2021 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


The help center is already quite clear:

The ban will be lifted automatically by the system when it determines that your positive contributions outweigh the cost of those questions which were poorly received.

Which means that all of your questions combined are taken into account for the question ban. It even mentions deleted ones:

Deleting your questions will not help.

So there isn't any single one question that could be listed as one that 'doesn't count'. The help center goes on to advise:

Edit all of your questions, paying special attention to those that score 0 or less.

So it's again mentioning all questions count, and it's already telling you which questions have the poorest quality and where to focus your efforts: on those scoring 0 or less. It's up to you to take a look at those posts and decide whether you can improve any of them, or if they're all beyond salvaging. But there's no way to list which posts do/don't count, as there's no such thing as posts that don't count.

  • I am very well aware of comments about deleted questions. It seems to be the instance response of most people around here. I have some questionswith a zero count, they refer to out of date software packages and programming methods and have been advised by another moderator when asking about what I could them I was advised 'Nothing. Let them go'. Now it seems they matter As such your scoring algorithm must be a leaky one, i.e. it allows some poorly scored questions through. I am just trying to get the details of the ones that matter, I am not looking for a got out ban free card
    – Dave
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:27
  • @Dave Yes, those questions count towards your ban too, the logic being that it doesn't really matter that they're out of date now: they were not out of date when you asked the question and if you had asked a good question, it wouldn't still be sitting at 0 score. If the moderator saw nothing you could improve there, best follow their advice and focus on other questions. That's always going to be people work, as there's no system in place that can determine what you can improve in what post. You ask on meta or read the comments.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:31
  • If they do count towards a ban, they most be low quantity ban meat. Because they have been kicking around for at least 4/5 years, long before I receive a ban. Its those type of questions that should be identified as I suggested, i.e. not the highest target for a rewrite. Solve them if you can.
    – Dave
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:41
  • @Dave The quality ban is there for users who, after asking a reasonable number of questions, haven't demonstrated that their contributions are making the site better. That's why the age of those posts doesn't matter. There are plenty of requests out there to improve this, but like I said, having something automatically indicate which questions don't count at this point is impossible because they all count. And it's not like your more recent questions are all very positively scoring :|
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:54
  • Its the current design of the system puts some people in a very difficult and awkward position. I have got some baggage questions, if undelete them so that I can stick a label on them saying something like I regard this questions as unsalvageable, please ignore this question. I run the risk of having it down voted as a rubbish question, if I totally replace the question text it seems some people regard that a vulgar offence. If I do nothing people will assume I don't care about having rubbish question.
    – Dave
    Mar 9, 2021 at 16:16
  • @Dave That's by design. If the user proves only that their contributions are of poor quality, we don't want more contributions from that user. There most certainly will be cases where a given question is a lost cause. If all of the questions are a lost cause... that's all the more reason for that user to be unable to ask future questions. However, everyone who gets into this hole has a chance, once every 6 months, to begin improving their situation with an entirely new question. Or they can squander that chance by asking another poor quality question.
    – Kevin B
    Mar 9, 2021 at 16:34
  • @Dave " If I do nothing people will assume I don't care about having rubbish question." Honestly, that's an assumption often made when posting the questions, not when you don't do anything with them 4/5 years after. There's a pretty popular feature request for having questions age away, and sometimes hacky things can be done, but like I said: Your recent questions weren't received all that positively either, so be careful what you wish for: Aging away could push you into the ban further.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 17:05
  • @Tinkeringbell, with all due respect, your misreading me. I have'nt asked for nor do I want questions to age away. I can admit that I made an error. I am just trying to deal with the easy stuff first, I will get around to dealing with more toxic stuff later. The whole point of the request way to easily identify the stuff which could be ignore or counts little towards a reputation.
    – Dave
    Mar 9, 2021 at 17:45
  • @user400654 I am aware of the chance to squander a chance to redeem yourself. I wait six months to find out what would happen. Its true you are allowed to ask a question. But you don't receive any type of warning about trying to make it a good question, your given just enough rope to hang yourself. I also strongly suspect that if I edit my existing questions to suitable standard and manage to get my self unblocked on that basis, I won't be told about it, its not documented in your help cente. Currently there is no way for me to find out if I have committed a yellow or a red card offence
    – Dave
    Mar 9, 2021 at 17:54
  • 1
    I’ve never been in that situation, but what I’ve been told in the past is users receive warnings throughout the entire process as they get closer to a ban, with links to relevant resources
    – Kevin B
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:05
  • @user400654 There have been some rumors that those may not be working entirely right... e.g. this comment and I think there was a post as well that I can't find.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:13
  • 1
    @Dave I'm not really misreading you, I know you want to find the 'easy' stuff first. But that's really a question for SO meta, I can't tell you that. Neither can an automated system, that's the point. Perhaps you have a question that is scoring 0 now, and with a load of editing will still keep scoring 0, and one that's at -2 now but with a good edit it can become one scoring >5. That's always going to be human work, not something that can be automated. Since all questions count for calculating whether you're banned or not, there's no 'easy stuff' there for anything automatic to identify.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:19
  • 1
    I gave you links to some other stuff to illustrate that people have been thinking about improving the system, just not in the direction you were thinking. You kept mentioning those 4/5 year old questions as a problem, so I offered another thing that might be interesting to you with regards to those. Sure, it's a bit off-topic here, but I'm not the one that kept bringing up those old questions!
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:20
  • 1
    “But you don't receive any type of warning about trying to make it a good question, your given just enough rope to hang yourself.” - This is undeniably false. When you reach the threshold for a question ban, as you are asking a new question, you are warned that your question are not being well received. So you are warned, I have little doubt, that same warning is still displayed for that question in 6 months. I am not entirely convinced the warning isn’t displayed. If the notice isn’t displayed they really should fix that bug, perhaps it needs to be displayed at in every possible location.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 10, 2021 at 13:32
  • @Ramhound, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I was referring to the situation when you're allowed to ask another question after being embargoed for six months. As a banned user that been given a chance to redeem themselves, I just tried asking a question, no warning is given. Although there is a feature request to try and change this. Please see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/361877/….
    – Dave
    Mar 12, 2021 at 13:36

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