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If you are reading this, you may have been affected by one of our post quality bans. If so, it is important that you read the following information to understand what has happened and how to regain the permission that you lost.

While trying to ask a question, one could get:

We are no longer accepting questions from this account. See the Help Center to learn more.

Likewise, for answers:

We are no longer accepting answers from this account. See the Help Center to learn more.

  • Why am I getting this message?
  • Are deleted posts taken into account too?
  • Is a question/answer ban the same as a suspension?
  • How do I avoid getting a question ban?
  • How long do I have to wait before I can post again? What can I do to release the ban? How can I reactivate my account?
  • Can I simply create a new account?
  • I'll just ask on Super User or Server Fault, and they'll migrate my question to the correct site!
  • Does this apply to Meta, too?

Return to FAQ index

  • 2
    Now that this question has reached 100 deleted comments, I would like to take the time to inform users to please stop using comments - either here or anywhere else on meta - to complain or protest your ban. The staff does not monitor this area for feedback. We get it, you were banned; this question exists specifically to address that. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 29 '13 at 9:29
112

Note: The Help Center contains articles addressing question bans and answer bans.

Why am I getting this message?

As stated in the tour links on every site, Stack Exchange is a network of question and answer sites, not help forums. This implies that all questions should be objective, answerable, and on-topic, that all answers should be genuine attempts to answer the questions asked, and that all posts are expected to have some value for later visitors too. To enforce that, and to prevent help vampires from turning the answerers away from communities, low-quality questions and answers are blocked. This includes posts from:

  • users who do not attempt to form coherent sentences
  • users who don't do at least some research themselves before asking their question
  • users who repeatedly post answers that don't attempt to answer the question
  • users who barely even explain what it is they are trying to do

An automatic filter is in place to ban questions or answers from IP addresses or accounts with a history of extremely poor posts.

To avoid bypassing the filter, its internal rules are a secret, but it is partly based on downvotes cast by other members of the communities. If other members of the site consistently give your posts a low ranking, you should try to identify the reason(s) for this.

To help prevent you from encountering a ban, the system will give you a warning if you are on the road to a ban, and may temporarily prevent you from posting questions or answers for a few days. If, despite these warnings and rate limits, you continue to post too many poorly-received questions or answers, you will be altogether banned from posting more, and you will see the error message.

Are deleted posts taken into account too?

If a post was poorly received (downvoted or closed), those negative marks will continue to count against your account even if the post is deleted! Whenever possible, try to fix posts instead of deleting them.

Additionally, for question bans, the fact that a question is deleted counts against you, if others have invested time into answering or moderating the question. (This does not apply to questions that are 30 days or older when deleted, though any negative marks on those questions can still count against you.)

Finally, deleted answers always count towards an automatic answer ban on new accounts - so make sure that you've posted a few well-received answers to counter those you've removed to prevent an answer ban.

It's not a problem to have deleted posts. But if a large percentage of your posts are deleted by yourself or the community, then apparently they are not suitable for the site. Deleting them effectively wastes the time that other users users who read them, edited them, or responded to them have spent. Therefore, deleted posts have an effect on the filter, among many other factors.

Beware that an account might very well have many deleted posts, including auto-deleted old low-score questions, all of which are only visible to moderators.

Is a question/answer ban the same as a suspension?

No, a suspension is a manual, temporary penalty during which a user cannot ask questions or post answers. All other privileges, including commenting and voting, are also revoked by temporarily setting the reputation to 1. Such suspension is publicly visible to other users.

A post ban is enforced automatically, and only prevents posting questions or answers. It is invisible to others. Moderators cannot manually impose a post ban.

How do I avoid getting a question ban?

Read the pages in the Help Center, particularly those about asking and the Stack Exchange model. Investigate and search before you ask. Put some effort in your posts.

All questions are expected to be on-topic, show research effort, and have some value for later visitors too. So if many of your questions do not get answered, are downvoted, closed, or deleted by yourself or the community, then apparently they did not meet the required quality. Be sure to understand why that happens, and learn from that. Don't simply repost the same question again.

If you're not sure what qualifies as a "good question", there are some hints and tips available:

To learn about formatting:

How long do I have to wait before I can post again? What can I do to release the ban? How can I reactivate my account?

Automatic bans never expire or "time out." This means that you cannot simply wait for a certain amount of time. If you do not take action, you will never be allowed to freely post again. The only way for the ban to be lifted is by contributing positively to the site in other ways.

Moderators cannot lift the ban.

Before you do anything else, fix your existing posts! As noted above, downvotes cast by the rest of the community factor into the ban - so the single best thing you can do to get it lifted is to address any objections raised by others. Were your past questions unclear? Did they fail to show any effort on your part? Poorly worded, titled, formatted, and overly long or short? Then fix them!

Note the emphasis on fixing. Do not delete your posts. As explained above, negative marks on deleted posts do still count towards the question ban, and the fact that they are deleted can also count against you (with the exception of questions that are 30 days or older when deleted). Deleting your posts does not help to lift the ban. Only fixing does! You can see a list of your own deleted questions and answers that were deleted in the last 60 days; to find posts deleted prior to that time, ask a moderator on the per-site meta or in the site's chat.

Do note that rewriting an existing question into a substantially different question is frowned upon. Your edits should not negate or invalidate existing answers. The fixed post should fundamentally be about the same issue and topic, and the existing answers should still apply to it.

If you're unable to improve your existing posts, you'll get the chance to post one new question or answer 6 months after your last question/answer. If that post is positively received, you may be able to continue posting questions/answers; if not, the ban will be reinstated.

If you are banned from asking questions, then writing a few quality answers that get upvoted might enable you to ask questions again. But as the internals of the filter are secret, there is no way to know for sure.

If you really, really think the ban is an error, then email the team directly using the "contact us" link provided at the bottom of every page. But note that reactivation of banned accounts is not a high priority.

Can I simply create a new account?

No. The automatic ban is at a lower level than account. If you do end up creating a new account, it will also receive the same ban.

I'll just ask somewhere else on the SE network, and they'll migrate my question to the correct site!

Migrations are blocked if your account is banned from asking questions on the destination site. The question will simply be closed as off-topic, but not migrated.

Does this apply to meta sites too?

Yes, but the threshold of votes in the auto ban calculation is reduced because on meta sites, downvotes are often used to indicate disagreement rather than bad quality. Do note that if you do continue to make bad-quality posts, your account may be manually suspended by a moderator.

My account is in good standing. Why am I still blocked?

The ban also takes in account the IP address. If you browse from a shared computer, or from a location that gives the same IP address to many end users, it's enough that another user who was banned or triggers the ban may affect other users accessing from the same location.

To help rectify this, browse from a different location.

  • 5
    This post keeps getting comments from users trying to figure out how to get unbanned, so I'm going to lock it. If something needs to be edited, flag for moderator attention. If you're trying to figure out how to get unbanned, everything you need to know is already present in the post above; there's nothing else we can tell you. – user102937 Jul 30 '12 at 16:12

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