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Edit: added more precise info at the bottom.

It was brought to my attention today in chat discussion with moderators of other SE sites that we don't seem to have all of the question-limits that SO has, after I mentioned a particular user that was posting (and often deleting after downvotes) a large number of very low quality questions.

It looks like (on the basis of that discussion) the Community team (i.e. people who do the admin work of SE) is looking at the impact of doing so (how many users would be affected), but I figured I would raise the question of whether people would seek this if we had the option.

We already have some limits in place, because I saw a user hit one the other day. I don't know what is in place and what isn't right now, but it looks like we may not have all the limits our own help suggests we do.

Having all of it in place would reduce the ability of new users to post many poor questions - they would progressively only be able to ask weekly, then only after improving their existing questions (though it's possible a few of our current users with very large numbers of downvoted and deleted questions and very few upvoted questions might not be able to lift the block at all).

If you think it's a bad idea, feel free to downvote (it's okay, that's how this is supposed to work) and/or comment or post some specific thoughts. If you think we should seek to do it, you know, do the converse things.

If there's some support I could turn it into a feature request.


Edit: more precise information

We currently have the rolling rate limits but do not currently have the full-bans where you can't post until you fix some old questions (including fixing self-deleted ones and undeleting).

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    $\begingroup$ Can you clarify the nature of the limits that Stack Overflow has that we don't? What are they exactly? How strict are they? Would it be possible to have those limits, but with a looser (or tighter) threshold? $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @gung my knowledge is for the moment partly vague; there are "rate limits" and there are posting bans (there's also one for answers). I believe we may have the first but not the second, but it's possible I have that information backward. I don't know exactly how strict they are (in how hard it is to hit them or to lift them) and if I did I expect I wouldn't be able to say. The stricter ban link says "One or two bad posts will not cause you to be blocked from using the site". ... ctd $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ ctd... Back before I was elected mod I did manage to get the sense (partly via things I'd read and partly via discussions) that even 3 or 4 bad posts shouldn't get the ban but that by then you would have hit the rate limit. I don't know how solid that understanding is. My understanding is there's only "on" or "off". $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 15:53
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It seems hard to answer this without knowing quantities and (for most of us) without being able to see what moderators can see.

I naturally approve of the unstated principle that we should not discuss individual cases explicitly in public. Nevertheless, policy here often follows from precedent, in the sense that it can take a user being a nuisance in a particular way and irritating enough people to become conspicuous before we can decide what is unacceptable behaviour. (Some times, fortunately, people who prefer their own rules for posting and discussing to those of the forum jump before they are pushed.)

  • Posting (and often deleting after downvotes) a large number of very low quality questions.

Clearly we want to discourage such posting. Deleting low quality questions is public-spirited, however. But what is a large number here? I feel confident that I would have noticed any such user with 100 questions. I can recall one intermittently active user who has posted many questions over the years, mostly when a puzzling passage is encountered in their reading and they ask for clarification without, it seems, reading around very much in other places. But their net contribution is positive. I can recall one user who very intermittently seems to ask slightly different versions of the same highly cryptic question. That person is puzzling rather than a real nuisance. Perhaps other cases are in mind. Any way, can you put some numbers on these statements?

  • Having all of it in place would reduce the ability of new users to post many poor questions - they would progressively only be able to ask weekly, then only after improving their existing questions.

At a guess, this would just drive most of the posters with very weak questions straight off the forum. That seems harsh. Many very poor questions just aren't improved at all, but making it more difficult for posters even to try again would be tough.

  • It's possible a few of our current users with very large numbers of downvoted and deleted questions and very few upvoted questions might not be able to lift the block at all.

Again, how we can comment on this possibility?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Nick. If by "quantity" you mean "how much they have to do various things before they hit these limits" ... even moderators don't know exactly (but could probably figure out by checking cases after the fact). If you mean "how many people would this affect on introduction" ... again, I don't know but may be able to find out. I will say that posters can try again, but they're progressively more encouraged to try fixing their existing questions first (that is, to learn the norms by starting to follow them). The user that triggered the original conversation has posted around 25 questions. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ I'd argue deleting low quality questions is public spirited if you're not going to ask it again. If you delete it in order to ask essentially the same poor question multiple times, that's gaming the system in a way that many of the SE sites have been set up to stop you doing. The SE model is "improve the question you've already asked". $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks; I appreciate the difficulties. 25 was the kind of signal I wanted. Thank goodness I missed that case; it might have triggered apoplexy. The same poor question again and again is certainly a confounded nuisance: terminate with extreme prejudice! $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Jul 27 '15 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ Not all of them were the one same question; the most reposted one may only have been five or six times ... but a number of other questions have been posted and then deleted, then posted again. Well over half the total posts (I think it was nearer 60%) have been deleted. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 27 '15 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ Is there anything to prevent such users from simply setting up new accounts? They seen unlikely to have high reputation they would like to keep. $\endgroup$ – Christoph Hanck Aug 2 '15 at 8:02

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