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Better explanation when account is blocked

A few months ago SO started blocking questions from users with a history of poor questions; users get the error message:

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account.

It's not clear to users who see this what they did wrong, or how to fix it, so they end up posting the error message on meta (1, 2, 3, 4). Is it possible to include an explanation in the error message, or make it link to a meta post or FAQ section that does? It's particularly important to tell them what they can do to fix the problem -- I'm not even sure what the answer to that is (post answers that get upvoted? e-mail team@?)

  • I agreed with Arjan's vote to close, though I will point out that this is the unusual case where the "dupe" has more votes than the original (and an Official Jeff Answer, though no red tag).
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 14:56
  • @Popular Jeff has an answer there too, and it's somewhat better, so closing is probably good Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 15:01
  • 1
    Yeah, that's part of what led to me choosing parentheses instead of bold and <blink>.
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 15:05
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    The very first thing they see is "users who can't be bothered to form sentences." I respectfully submit that such wording is not best from a public relations standpoint. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 16:58
  • 4
    Also you need to give them an exact reason: Was it their IP address? Was it their score ratio of this vs. that? Etc, Just dumping it in their laps and telling them to figure out the problem won't help things. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 17:02
  • 3
    On one hand Stackoverflow requires users to make perfectly crafted questions, but at the same time cannot even manage to make a polite explanation if the user, or perhaps someone from the same ISP, does not. Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 4:30
  • @DanJidanniJacobson I'm not sure what you imagine commenting here is going to do; this was two years ago, nobody in charge is going to be looking at it Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 5:19
  • Thanks, @MichaelMrozek. I am probably lucky, for if they did see it I would probably get doubly banned. But that's the breaks. Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 7:54
  • @MichaelMrozek: I'm not sure what you imagine commenting here is going to do. Questions and Answers (and to a lessor extent, Comments) persist ... and can be useful at any time ;-)
    – Martin F
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


It's particularly important to tell them what they can do to fix the problem

We don't view this as a fixable problem in these cases.

  • 5
    So is the account permanently unable to post questions? Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 8:33
  • 23
    @michael they can technically still post answers but in my experience the types of users who tend to hit this filter are .. unlikely .. to produce an upvotable answer. They are free to try but it's not a situation where I think it would be helpful to encourage them to start "answering" things. Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 8:54
  • 2
    Is this something that goes away with time? Or does it flag the account permanently and there's no way to undo it? Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 14:37
  • 19
    @erick it is permanent by IP, it is lower level than account Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 17:34
  • 64
    @JeffAtwood Like it's a hard thing to get a new IP... And people who are behind NATs be damned. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 13:44
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    @JeffAtwood I get a new IP each time I reboot the router... how soon before I get a banned IP?
    – Bryce
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 5:41
  • 4
    @JeffAtwood so getting a New IP will end the Ban? Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 11:39
  • 50
    Yikes! I share the same IP with thousands of others on my ISP.
    – row1
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 10:21
  • 37
    Hypothetically, if I were to be on a shared IP and got banned due to some other user's faults, how can I file a request to become unbanned?
    – nanofarad
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 14:30
  • 16
    @anupam "the account doesn't not permanently get unable to post questions." triple negative, nice!
    – DGGenuine
    Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 7:29
  • 4
    It's time to use IPv6 Commented May 3, 2014 at 9:18
  • 5
    @JeffAtwood Ahem Tor? Commented May 22, 2014 at 4:15
  • 4
    @JeffAtwood Ahem, Dynamic IPs?
    – AStopher
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 19:48
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    Haha, if a banned user account is committed enough to go so far as to user tor to create a new account, they're pretty damned committed to staying around, aren't they?
    – Kzqai
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 17:10
  • 3
    I don't think this answer is compatible with the Code of Conduct any more.
    – user
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 17:00

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