Sometimes little failures can happen, e.g. in my recent (myself deleted) thread about virus-scanner and something related to 3.5er Kernel - have simply overseen, that 3.5er Kernels are not on the list any more at kernel.org

But when questions are rated then as "many low-quality questions" only by fact, that questions had been downvoted somehow ... ?

... then I have to wonder about this 'penalty-system' being then 'banned' before intention to put some question with bounty (like Napoleon Bonaparte or who ? ) ?

Is penalty-system not old-fashioned like an English borstal before World War 2 ?

To clarify my question - this following ( please take my opinion more with humour not with deadly seriousity ) :

Being "down-voted" is somehow ancient and leads into direction "penalty" like being "pilloried".

Down-voting reminds me always of educators or child-care-workers like in times before high-school (schools in time of colonialism ? --- ;o) --- ).

Is this really necessary ?

What I mean is, Linux or Ubuntu is a really modern system and stands for an open-minded society, so something with "penalty" or "down-voting" is not suiting into good shape of Linux.

  • 1
    Could you clarify what kind of penalty you think is being employed?
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 1:13
  • @Braiam - have clarified my question below as you see. - so this thread is settled with answer of Eliah. (was upset yesterday a little by this "ban"). thx for your fair answers. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 8:06
  • 3
    @dschinn1001 There's another issue here. You've expressed concerns about the existence of downvoting at all, and concerns that it may lead to or represent an authoritarian or closed-minded culture for Ubuntu. I'm not sure if that point stands alone or is related only to your concerns about the question-block system. But feel free post a new meta question about that if you like! Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 13:01
  • @EliahKagan hm, I think this thread is settled now. Don't want to mess up more than necessary. Now, "down-voting" could be a new topic - you are right. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 13:52
  • @jokerdino ... - sorry, we were at same time editing this both. So have myself closed the duplicate. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 14:06

3 Answers 3


The purpose of question bans is not to punish people; it's to defend the site from large quantities of low-quality content.

This is not an argument one way or the other about whether or not this recently implemented system here on Ask Ubuntu is correct. But I think there may be some confusion surrounding it.

  • It's not about what the people who are banned deserve. If someone is blocked from posting questions, it does not reflect a belief that they don't deserve to post questions. It does reflect a belief that we are not obligated to accept questions from them, but it's not about punishing them. It's about keeping the site working for everyone else. Whether or not the system is justified depends principally on whether it's necessary and effective at achieving that.

  • You have to post many downvoted, closed, and/or deleted posts to be question-banned. Stack Exchange employees don't tell us how many, but it's easy to see that plenty of users have many downvoted posts and are still able to post. It's not even bad to have downvoted, closed, or deleted posts. An unusually extreme amount of them is what leads to a ban.

  • I'm not aware of any evidence of users who just had a few "bad" posts being question- or answer-banned on any Stack Exchange site. And there are many people with many low-quality posts that are not banned. If the question and answer bans are something people commonly experience, that would be a serious bug, which should be reported. But fortunately I don't think that is happening.

I think we were doing fine before question bans were instituted, and I'm not sure they're necessary here. Even if they're not, I don't think they're a big problem either. But either way, question bans are a minor part of the way the site works.

I believe no single post can, by itself, ever under any circumstances cause a ban (even if it were downvoted hundreds of times, closed, and self-deleted).

Finally, I understand your concerns may not be personal, but in case they are: From looking at your posts, I would be very surprised if you were question-banned, or anywhere near being question-banned. You have a number of quality posts; a user with quality posts is far less likely to be question-banned even if they also have really bad posts.

Of course, not being a moderator, I cannot view a list of another user's deleted posts. But unless you have many deleted posts, I wouldn't worry, personally. Of course that doesn't mean you have to agree with the policy in general.

  • thank you Eliah ! Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 8:03

I don't think the penalty system is "old fashioned" or harsh at all. In fact, I believe that with it currently implemented, the quality blocks help to weed out "bad questions" or "bad quality posts" which can't be answered or improved in their state as was.

Typically, if you are writing good questions and answers, they'll be upvoted if they're good. If you are not, you can get downvoted.

In the case here, it's possible the "downvotes" you got were related to the quality of the quesiton or that the question was not clear, or that more information was requested but not provided, or a billion other reasons.

Generally speaking, I believe the "penalty" system is in place for good reason. Abusers of the system tend to be caught by the system or mods, and those who are downvoted tend to be downvoted for good reason.

  • But still, I think that sometimes some people goes to fast to downvote and do not give any reason. Here is an example of answer downvoted without obvious reason askubuntu.com/a/339533/32413
    – Boris
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 20:57
  • @Boris the point still stands, downvotes can be used for questions that aren't detailed enough, or are not able to be answered, or any numerous other reasons. I tend to downvote questions if they're blatantly not researched, and usually accompany that with an "unclear" vote or a comment as such, and then if they edit and add information then I usually remove the downvote. But it's not like you can downvote abuse, the system catches you. Same for upvote abuse.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 23:44

But when questions are rated then as "many low-quality questions" only by fact, that questions had been downvoted somehow ... ?

The question ban takes into account a number of factors, which although they have not been completely revealed, we do know some of them, including how many deleted questions you have, how many downvoted questions you have (and how many downvotes they have) and possibly closed questions.

However, you really don't explain what you are getting at in your question, nor whether you have been banned or what.

  • @EliahKagan It wasn't exactly a typo, but I see now I didn't word it well (I was in a hurry). From a statistical point of view I do think the OP has a good chance of being question banned with just one or two badly downvoted questions that he has deleted. The OP has asked 56 questions, only 13 of which have any votes (of course, this doesn't mean the he posts bad questions necessarily, but that's not what the ban algorithm looks at) and only 3 of those 13 questions have more than 1 vote. He has two questions with a score of -1, and 1 closed question. I can't see deleted posts. (comment cont)
    – Seth
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 0:31
  • From my experience on SO/MSO the question ban is not very picky, though I can't say whether we don't have a less strict version in place. I can well imagine if the OP has 3 deleted questions with a score of -1 or less he would easily be banned. This goes to show how important it is for people to upvote good content and downvote bad content. I will probably remove that sentence from my answer however, because it can easily be taken the wrong way without lots of explanation of what I really mean.
    – Seth
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 0:34
  • 1
    Well, for now we can only throw stabs in the air, until he explains fully what he meant :/.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 1:12

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