This is a follow-up to my prior question Are migrations allowed if the user is banned on the destination site, but their 6-month limit has opened up?.

For context, users who are banned from asking questions on a given site are allowed to post one question every six months to try and get out of the ban. Also, if such a user posts a question on a site different from the one they're banned on and users there migrate it to that site, the migration is supposed to be blocked.

As I found out, users who are banned on a given site but whose 6-month limit has expired will not have a migration to the site blocked (i.e., the answer to my above question appears to be yes). This appears to be because the latter provision was implemented long before the former, and it wasn't updated when the former provision was implemented. Also, judging from the fact that the system doesn't tell banned users whose 6-month limits have expired that they're banned, the exception appears to be implemented simply by adding a check to see if the last question was posted more than six months ago, and so as far as the system is concerned the user isn't banned.

However, from a design perspective, a banned user is still a banned user, even if their 6-month exemption has opened up: in my view, such migrations should still be blocked in this case. It would also prevent cases like this one where an author who's banned on a given site is deprived of one of their 6-month chances to get out of the ban because their question on another ended up getting migrated there, and if the migration is invalid then the downvotes they receive on the migrated question would push them further into the ban.

There are some arguments I can think of to keep the current system, though. For instance, it would retain consistency with the way migration blocking is handled for users who are subject to the short (up to one week) pre-ban rate limits: migrations are only blocked if they'd cause the user to exceed the rate limit. Also, if a migrated question is a high-quality fit for its destination site, it would help to push the user away from the question ban.

What do you think? Should migrations be blocked if a user is banned on the destination site but their 6-month limit has opened up, or should the current implementation of not blocking them continue?

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    How often does this happen in practice? You've found a swallow so far and not a summer. I.e. is it worth worrying about at all? Jan 23 at 6:56
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    @RobertLongson Prevalence is a important statistic. But that's not the only thing that is of value. Post ban itself is rare. But, from a post-banned user pov, that one question in 6 months is of high value to that user, who wants to contribute and improve. We shouldn't reduce the value of such contributions due to technicality and put unnecessary hurdles.
    – TheMaster
    Jan 23 at 6:59
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    @TheMaster Prevalence helps us determine what, if any, priority to assign to this, keeping in mind the opportunity cost of not being able to spend that time doing something of more universal use. Jan 23 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


The system determines at the time of opening the question form or attempted migration if a user is quality banned or not based on their past contributions. It is a simple yes/no outcome for the system.

So your claim: a banned user is still a banned user is false. There is no state kept on the user whether they are q-banned or not. That is also the reason that lifting a q-ban is not possible. There is no leaver to pull, no bit to flip.

Let's make it clear first that you and others always seem to start their reasoning when the system imposes the q-ban. But that is not where the timeline starts, right? It starts when a user clicks "Review Your Question" and then "Post Your Question". Before that moment they had all the time of the universe to contemplate on whether the question was any good, on-topic, well formed, researched, complete, clear, answerable and whatnot.

More often then not these users blame the system and that the system should be changed to accommodate them. I beg to differ. If you have a track-record of badly received question I honestly don't think a Stack Exchange site will lose any knowledge that is deemed of great value by some visitors.

Whether or not this q-ban is deepened by frivolous migration doesn't change much in my reasoning. Because a user could have started by not asking a question that had to be migrated after asking. The moderator isn't the problem here.

It is a bit hard to find many examples of rejected migrations because migration stubs are locked and deleted on the destination site and remain closed on the original site if nothing gets done, in the end leading to deletion as well.

There is a corner-case here that might warrant mentioning and that are the answers that are migrated with the question. Answer quality bans don't have the 6-month opportunity so an unlucky answerer might end-up answer-banned indefinitely.

These are all corner cases and don't warrant a change in the system. An OP that finds themselves in this situation can use the Contact Us link on the footer of any page and request the failed migration post on the destination site to be dissociated from their user profile when the post gets reopened on the source site. That seems a reasonable request. I would love to hear a real life example where such a single dissociation would indeed lift the q-ban for them, not for that one-post-per-6-months but for them to not be q-banned again, ever.

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    Speaking of your first paragraphs, as I stated in the question, I'm aware that from a technical perspective the 6-month exemption is just a change to the ban algorithm calculated on the fly, and as far as the system is aware, the user isn't banned. Also, the part of the question you quoted was prefaced with "from a design perspective", i.e., philosophical perspective, meaning that it's meant to be thought of as an indefinite ban even though it technically wears off after six months. This is exemplified by the parts of the ban FAQ stating the only ways to get out not being edited. Jan 23 at 10:07
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    Because a user could have started by not asking a question that had to be migrated after asking - sometimes, questions get migrated because of a false understanding of the question, or the belief that the question would be a better fit on another site even if it's a good fit on the origin site. Some questions don't have to be migrated, but still are anyway. Jan 23 at 10:09
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog you're chasing cases that you can count on one-hand. If you really want to solve this, put this on the list of arguments to get rid of migrations all together. That would make so many people happy.
    – rene
    Jan 23 at 10:13

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