A fellow member keeps informing me (in comments in this question https://workplace.stackexchange.com/q/13935/7978) that I am leading towards a question ban. Can someone explain why?

  • @jmac is 100% correct. I think you are well intentioned and if I can help it I want to help you avoid the automated question ban (if it even exists on Workplace.SE).
    – Jim G.
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 5:26

3 Answers 3


Stack Overflow (and I believe Meta Stack Overlow, and possible ServerFault/SuperUser) has an automated question ban that kicks in after a certain threshold is crossed (details aren't public, but it's based on question scores, question closures, and question deletions).

This automated ban does not exist on other Stack Exchange sites (such as this one), so you won't get automatically banned.

However, if this user is suggesting such a thing (probably unaware there isn't one here), it's probably because of a (perceived, at least, but not necessarily real) pattern of issues with your posts. Do you have a lot of closed/deleted questions? Questions with negative votes? If so, I'd encourage you to edit/improve them, but you seem to have several positively received questions, so I'd say it's largely a non-issue.

Bottom line: I don't think you have anything serious to worry about at this point.

  • per my observations, besides Trilogy and MSO, automated Q-ban might also be there at Programmers. There seem to be lots of users getting Q-banned there, but I never seen any mention that this is done manually
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 22:05
  • it's probably because of a (perceived, at least, but not necessarily real)... If @happybuddha had a similar question history on one of those other sites, would he have anything to worry about?
    – Jim G.
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 5:17
  • @JimG. only on that particular site
    – yoozer8
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 11:57

The Help Center on SO sites has information on Question Bans. In addition, there is a meta thread on SO that also covers it.

Here are the highlights:

Why am I getting this message?

As stated in the about links on every page, the Stack Exchange web sites are question and answer sites, not help forums. This implies that all posts are expected to have some value for later visitors too. To enforce that, and to prevent help vampires making the answerers turn away from the communities, low-quality questions and answers are blocked. This includes posts from:

  • users who can't be bothered to form sentences
  • users who don't do the most basic kinds of research themselves
  • users who barely even explain what it is they are trying to do

An automatic filter is in place to ban questions and/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 the other members of the site consistently give your posts a low ranking, you should try to identify the reason(s) for this.

Once you have posted too many poorly-received questions or answers, you will be banned from posting more, and you will see the error message.

I cannot speak for the person who made the comment, but my guess is it was because you have a very poor history of success with the questions you ask. Only 2 out of your 11 questions have been acceptable to the community as posted.

  • I seriously have doubts that you consider this to be a Q&A site at all. Look at your own responses and see how you form an opinion about the poster. Based on whatever. In my opinion if one has trouble keeping this site a pure Q&A one should stop answering. Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 14:07
  • The poor history, unfortunately has been because of poor quality of judgement of members who can vote to close. If one is mathematically inclined one can look at the number of questions reopened - does this show an insight ? Also, if a fellow member without prejudice goes through the questions that were closed, will see that most of them had a sincere question. Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 14:10
  • 9
    @happybuddha If the community has such poor quality of judgment, why do you keep asking it for answers? This is a rhetorical question, of course; it's food for thought. The process of putting on hold, editing, and reopening questions is common across SE and is fundamental to maintaining high content quality for both questions and answers. If there's a sincere question that is on topic or otherwise answerable per the FAQ, then the community will work very hard to collaborate w/ the OP and get the question to a good place. That's what SE is all about. But it's a collaborative effort.
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 18:07

The types of questions that benefit our community as a whole are those that are about real problems, problems that can have a real, measurable impact on your career or the career of another. These are the types of questions that people on Google are searching for because they need an expert answer to a tough problem. This doesn't mean social etiquette questions, such as the elevator question, are off-topic, but the questions should ideally involve something that has an impact on your work, not just be something you're merely curious about.

As Jim mentions, there are no automated bans on this site, but I encourage you to think of the Workplace SE for more serious issues and not just a sounding board for things that are trivial. To bring this site to graduation, we need everyone's help in populating it with content that will help build a larger community of experts, as well as provide the type of answers to tough problems that people are looking for.

With that said, you might be able to edit the elevator etiquette post to highlight a greater importance. For instance, how one behaves in social situations at work can possibly affect promotions, team assignments, and who is considered a valuable asset. Perhaps it's possible that the way one behaves on an elevator may have an effect on these outcomes. You just might have to find a way to highlight that importance in the question so that the community doesn't see it as trivial. Using logic, reason, and good edits will get you much farther than name calling and personal attacks.

Maintaining good quality content on a Stack Exchange site is tough, and it requires patience and understanding from both question askers as well as members of the community.

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    An important clarification (at least how I vote, personally) - questions need to have some value for future users. This is why the "why" is so important to me when asking questions. Asking "yes or no" does not naturally lead to this outcome.
    – enderland
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 3:26

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