143

The message informing users about the post ban carries a shortened URL:

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account. See http://goo.gl/C1Kwu to learn more.

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account. See ... to learn more.

Can it please be replaced with a real link?

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account. See the FAQ page to learn more.

16
  • 70
    Yeah, this is bizarre. I'm constantly admonishing users for posting obfuscated URLs like this. I like to know what exactly I'm being linked to before I click.
    – Cody Gray
    May 16, 2011 at 11:50
  • @Cody Gray: Same thing here...I'm very surprised by this. May 16, 2011 at 11:51
  • is it possible to get an actual picture of this? I'm also amazed and thought this was a joke when first reading the linked question.
    – tombull89
    May 16, 2011 at 12:02
  • @tombull89: That's a tough one, I wouldn't know how. But Grace Note said that it was there, though. May 16, 2011 at 12:12
  • 4
    There's a link to the image in this question. I added a cropped version to your question, since some people remain unconvinced.
    – Cody Gray
    May 16, 2011 at 12:40
  • 3
    @tombull It's been consistently the same link on every report that I've seen turn up on the mod chat for this (there are 3 including the latest one, excluding the one Cody Gray just linked). As such, I figured it was reasonable to assume that it was indeed a shortened URL without waiting for visual proof. Also, I'm in favour of changing it, or at the very least making it clearer what it's linking to.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 16, 2011 at 12:52
  • @Grace @Cody, I wasn't doubting you at all, I just thought it would be interesting to have a picture.
    – tombull89
    May 16, 2011 at 12:59
  • 3
    [url] describes questions that are about URLs themselves - from stale URLs in questions to big URLs generated by the system just to take the first couple off the top of the list. This question is about a shortened URL employed by the system, so the tag seems appropriate. I'm not sure where you get that to be a Meta tag.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    May 16, 2011 at 14:24
  • What the FAQ Page
    – zod
    Jun 6, 2011 at 23:44
  • @zod: What? What FAQ page? Jun 7, 2011 at 7:34
  • @zod, FAQ = "Frequently Asked Questions". The link in the question specifically addresses what's at issue here -- being banned from asking questions.
    – M. Tibbits
    Jul 27, 2011 at 18:51
  • 5
    @Jeff Do we get an explanation for "declined"? Is it simply "we don't like these people who get this message, so we don't care if they get an ugly message"? Sep 20, 2011 at 2:45
  • 9
    @JeffAtwood perhaps now that we have s.tk it could be changed to be something like s.tk/qban?
    – nhinkle
    Nov 17, 2011 at 3:07
  • 1
    Does this work better? http://goo.gl/C1Kwu
    – waffles
    Nov 22, 2011 at 4:20
  • 1
    Ah, the link has changed to use the help center. Not sure if it's still some goo.gl link or not. It surely is not the old link anymore.
    – Arjan
    Jul 24, 2013 at 8:23

4 Answers 4

-23
+50

The official reason is that we do not really care.

The users who get this message have HEAVILY abused the system, they failed repeatedly to provide any useful content on the site. They were given multiple chances to correct their ways and did not.

Should we invest any time in giving suspended users a smoother user experience?

I agree that url shortners are poor form, you do not teach bad with bad. However, we are hoping that by obfuscating the link some of the absolute worst offenders get confused, skip clicking on the link, and leave the site alone.

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  • 9
    Or else they'll just ask on Meta until they get banned here too.
    – mmyers
    Nov 22, 2011 at 19:55
  • 50
    What actually happens is they get confused, skip clicking on the link, and post yet another "y i cant post?" question on meta Feb 1, 2012 at 8:01
  • There's a simple way to make sure that doesn't happen
    – Flexo
    Apr 10, 2012 at 18:36
  • 12
    @waffles Random crazy idea: what do you think about replacing the goo.gl shortener with s.tk? Something catchy like s.tk/nomorequestions.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 9, 2012 at 6:35
  • 6
    This is a ridiculous answer. Your sieve for filtering the absolute worst users from not so bad users is obscurity and poor UX?
    – user200500
    Feb 20, 2013 at 2:48
  • 2
    @Asad: the page it links to is full of instructions on how to lift the ban. Instructions that, for most of the folks hitting it, are probably not very intuitive. If they can't follow the first instruction - clicking the weird short URL - there's probably not too much hope. I hate the short URL too, but to be perfectly honest I doubt it matters much.
    – Shog9
    Feb 20, 2013 at 3:49
23

In June 2013 the link has changed to use the Help Center. Not sure if it's still some goo.gl link or not. It surely is not the old link anymore.

So the following is old:

One nice side-effect: we all got to see how often the thing was used. Just add the plus-character after the URL, just like with bit.ly: http://goo.gl/C1Kwu+ (But it seems one needs to be logged in to some Google account to see that.)

Until March 19 2012: 11,020 clicks since May 11 2011, oddly enough only 9,318 without any referrer. Hence: at least 1/5th of the clicks came from sites that actually had a clickable link, even a few from Facebook. (Many browsers also do not set a referrer when opening a clickable link in a new window.)

More non-scientific fun, all-time, all-sites goo.gl data, very roughly combined with the current SO visitor percentages from Quantcast:

══════Countries══════╤══Visits═
 India          3957 │  11.45% 
 United States  1908 │  32.19%
 United Kingdom  576 │   5.56%
 Canada          262 │   3.45%
 Germany         232 │   3.85%
 Pakistan        198 │   0.63%
 Australia       115 │   1.88%
 Singapore       108 │   0.66%
 China           103 │   2.05%
 Israel           81 │   0.70%

══════Browsers═══════
 Chrome         4494
 Firefox        4435
 IE             1094
 Safari          741
 Opera           204
 chromeframe      15
 Mobile Safari    14
 Ubuntu            5
 RockMelt          5
 Mobile            4

══════Platforms══════
 Windows        7829
 Macintosh      1886
 Other Unix     1141
 Ubuntu           88
 iPad             24
 Linux            18
 iPhone           13
 iPod             11

(Smart enough to install Chrome Frame, and still getting blocked...! Sorry for the tall overview; the previous wide layout failed on small screens.)

9
  • Having the transparent stats available is interesting, I am sure they gave a real link they could get the same stats from their weblogs or Google Analytics.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 21, 2012 at 22:27
  • 1
    Sure, @Zoredache, but then we could not see them. :-) (But of course, that's hardly a reason to use the non-clickable goo.gl URL.)
    – Arjan
    Feb 22, 2012 at 17:12
  • 2
    Out of curiosity, I updated with the latest stats from both Google and Quantcast. France dropped off the list, being replaced with Australia, but everything else pretty much continued the same trends from a year ago. Mar 19, 2012 at 17:05
  • Singapore 108? :/ Mar 19, 2012 at 17:16
  • Doesn't seem to work anymore.
    – a cat
    May 5, 2012 at 9:21
  • Er, what doesn't work anymore, @lunboks? Both the Google stats and the Quantcast stats look fine to me.
    – Arjan
    May 5, 2012 at 9:30
  • @Arjan I meant the goo.gl stats, but never mind. I was just not logged in, so I got redirected to goo.gl.
    – a cat
    May 5, 2012 at 9:32
  • Oh, wow, you're right @lunboks, on needs to be logged in to Google to see those stats. (Even though when logged in, one still sees a "signin" link on the overview.) Not too nice.
    – Arjan
    May 5, 2012 at 9:36
  • Hmmm, @Brad and all, it seems the URL must have changed? Ah, indeed it did.
    – Arjan
    Jul 24, 2013 at 8:18
21
+500

Yes! I understand that no one wants to read the full link http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86997/what-can-i-do-when-getting-sorry-we-are-no-longer-accepting-questions-from-this/86998#86998, but actually http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/86998 works fine as well (abusing the short-link feature for questions which also works for answers, though it's not officially supported) and indicates that it's a meta.SO question instead of some obfuscated short-URL

3
  • 16
    My question is still: Why not add a real link? Jul 7, 2011 at 7:45
  • 2
    @Bobby: maybe this is some subtle "we assume you behaved bad so now we punish you by braking our own rules for you" psychology stuff? a direct link would of course be best, but for consistency with e.g. meta.stackoverflow.com/error I suggested the URL Jul 7, 2011 at 7:49
  • 4
    @Straitjacket, Tim has a good point here: I'm in favor of just putting the text that is linked into the page that is displayed when someone hits the ban. Bringing them to MSO really doesn't accomplish anything, because the ban can't be lifted.
    – Arjan
    Aug 20, 2011 at 13:52
11

The link on the page has changed to an actual link to a full URL.


From the Super User ask page

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

Screenshot of new post-ban page

4
  • 1
    Did you get question-banned on Super User just so you could demonstrate this?
    – Cody Gray
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:11
  • That would be dedication, but no. I just came across this post during my own...issues, and saw it needed updating, both on needing different tags for the question and a more up-to-date answer
    – j.i.h.
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:20
  • I saw the edit to the question, but like you said, you can't actually change the status. If you want to get that changed, you should flag for moderator attention. Use the "other" option to explain.
    – Cody Gray
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:22
  • Thanks for the tip, done.
    – j.i.h.
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:26

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