I'm writing in reference to your English Language and Usage - Stack Exchange account:


Due to many moderator flags on your questions, we have elected to suspend your account for 7 days.

Your questions are generally of low quality and hard to understand, and mostly in the "please do not ask questions of this type" category of our FAQ.

You have asked a large number of questions, many of which were downvoted, deleted, or closed.

There appears to be no increase in quality (your effort expended to research your questions and make them good, clear, and useful) over time between your oldest questions and your newest questions.

This is a troubling pattern, and has become abusive to our community.

We strongly recommend that you:

read our tips on asking great questions

familiarize yourself with the markdown editing help

look at existing questions by other users for guidance

You are welcome to come back with your questions after 7 days if you can address the above issues.

Regards, waiwai933 English Language and Usage - Stack Exchange moderator

I'm shocked to read such terrible e-mail founded on two false and abstruse assumptions: "Your questions are generally of low quality and hard to understand" and "You have asked a large number of questions, many of which were downvoted, deleted, or closed".

The following picture shows that only 4 questions got negative votes ("many of which"?!) and only 4 questions, incidentally the sames, were being closed; to the contrary the data show an excellent trend:

  • 4 questions have been favorited;
  • 1 question has been viewed 1,417 times;
  • 1,79 (> 1) is the mean "votes/questions" (@tchrist has calculated that the recent current mean is negative).

In the light of data, I ask to the community whether that e-mail is a great injustice or not.

enter image description here

  • 16
    You fail to mention that several of your questions were deleted.
    – user10893
    Aug 31, 2012 at 16:35
  • 11
    In fact, 9/23 of your questions are deleted; 8 of them had a negative score. The scores of those ranged from -4 to -10. In addition, 3/10 of your answers were deleted and only 2/10 have any positive score. 10/23 of your questions are also closed, including several which aren't deleted.
    – user10893
    Aug 31, 2012 at 16:38
  • 4
    Seriously, seven days is a slap on the wrist. Certainly got your attention, didn't it? We give folks on SO seven days for drinking the water. It seems clear by your user history that you know how to ask a good question, so what's the problem? Aug 31, 2012 at 16:50
  • 1
    "1 question has been viewed 1,417 times" seems factually incorrect.
    – MetaEd
    Aug 31, 2012 at 16:51
  • 1
    The Gigolo question has been viewed 1417 times. Figures, since it's about sex. Aug 31, 2012 at 16:52
  • 1
    Using @-notification in a question doesn't work.
    – user10893
    Aug 31, 2012 at 16:57
  • 3
    @simchona Right, because that's the only thing wrong with this question ;P
    – user17323
    Aug 31, 2012 at 17:04
  • 1
    I'm trying to figure out what's "abstruse" about these two statements: "Your questions are generally of low quality and hard to understand," and "You have asked a large number of questions, many of which were downvoted, deleted, or closed". Those allegations seem pretty straightforward to me.
    – J.R.
    Sep 2, 2012 at 2:19
  • 3
    Just a thought: The fact that "4 questions have been favorited" doesn't necessarily indicate a high-quality question. Questions can be favorited for any number of reasons – including a train wreck of a question. Or, perhaps someone liked someone else's comment.
    – J.R.
    Sep 5, 2012 at 2:06
  • 3
    This is a funny question. What I find so funny about it is the capitalisation. 'Great Injustice' I must admit I have problems with capitalisation. I suppose this capitalisation is allright if it is a heading but it would be wrong in a sentence. What is amusing is the idea that to be suspended from English Stack is a 'great injustice'. Surely there have been worse miscarriages of justice. I can think of a number of countries where you would not expect to find justice. Sep 13, 2012 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


Moderator messages are private, for your protection. You're free to respond and correspond privately, working with the moderator team to resolve the problems without risking your public reputation.

...But since you've chosen to waive that privilege, I'll share a screenshot of my own:

xavier's lowest-ranked questions, mostly deleted

As you can see, there have indeed been quite a few questions "which were downvoted, deleted, or closed" in the last few weeks. This is a problem: it creates a poor experience for other users, creates more work for the members and moderators who work to maintain the site, and wastes the efforts of those trying to help you learn.

The message you received pointed all of this out, and offered suggestions for improvement. Your response?

xavier's response to the moderator message he posted

Well then.

  • 3
    I don't have enough rep to see what's been deleted, but at least four answers have been deleted with the questions. I don't think they had upvotes, or they couldn't have been deleted, but it's Not A Good Thing to do, nonetheless.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Aug 31, 2012 at 17:33
  • 1
    ... I appreciate your organic answer to this particular question. On the other hand, it is unclear to me why an user with the lozenge has answered in such a destructured way, using three fragmented comments! However, coming to the final point, I'm sure you know the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words"; it refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image! And this is helpful in an high degree for a not native of English language! Aug 31, 2012 at 18:04
  • 5
    @AndrewLeach Those questions (that had answers) weren't deleted by the OP; the community voted to delete in three cases, and a mod deleted the other one.
    – waiwai933
    Aug 31, 2012 at 18:11
  • 1
    @XavierVidalHernández What does your comment have to do with anything? Attack the argument, not the delivery.
    – user10893
    Aug 31, 2012 at 18:30
  • 21
    @XavierVidalHernández Your comments are as impenetrable as your questions. Stop overreaching. Use short, simple sentences. Cut out the postmodernist claptrap.
    – tchrist Mod
    Aug 31, 2012 at 18:41
  • 2
    @XavierVidalHernández: "I'm sure you know the adage 'A picture is worth a thousand words'; it refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image!" Yes, I'm familiar with that adage, but, even after one week of mulling it over, I'm still trying to figure out what message you were trying to convey with that picture of the angry monkey. I must confess, any "complex idea" that springs into my mind is hardly flattering, and certainly not "helpful" to any degree, much less to "a high degree."
    – J.R.
    Sep 7, 2012 at 1:00
  • @J.R. ... pheraps, but, onestly, I think it depends from how you are to perceive and interpret the angry monkey from a phenological point of view! So, I suggest you to search a key to interpret the image, whitout any preconcept founded on the distinction between expert and illiterate people! Sep 7, 2012 at 12:45
  • 1
    @XavierVidalHernández: I don't know but I think the image of the monkey is not about the monkey, but more about him pointing away, ostensibly meaning 'Go away' in a punitive manner. But the message explains, 'Go away for now, and come back when you have learned how to act well'. The monkey is just supposed to be funny, I think.
    – Mitch
    Sep 7, 2012 at 16:23

You've already been given the actual stats. Yes, you've had a few highly rated and viewed questions. But you've had overwhelmingly more that are voted negatively or deleted. That is a rare accomplishment.

Now voting and closing are for the most part done by multiple people, not by single autocrats.

And the temporary suspensions are done automatically, based on number of closes, deletinos, flags; that is, your suspension was by a mindless process that just looked at your status.

Of course the cutoffs and other principles embodied in that process were chosen by people. But the point is there is no single person out to get you in particular. The process is set up to get people with poor performance. And the features of poorness were exhibited in your status.

The intention of suspension is punitive. It hurts. But the hope is that that pain will convince you to change your posting behavior (hopefully mentioned in comments to your answers or questions).

So there was no 'great injustice' done. You were not treated unfairly. The process did not single you out differently from other people. Other people with the same objective behavior are automatically suspended.

  • 1
    Hm, no this was a manually triggered suspension by a moderator, EL&U (afaik) doesn't have automatic question bans like the trilogy sites, Meta Stack Overflow and Programmers (but even if you had them, this was a suspension not an auto-ban). There are some automated moderator flags that are raised when a user continuously posts low quality questions that notify the moderators there's something going on, but a moderator decides whether to dispense the candy or not.
    – user17323
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:14
  • 1
    That said, I'm obviously not suggesting that one or more of the moderators (or anyone else) are out to get the user or any other user, the data Shog9 shared clearly show the user's behaviour was disruptive to the community (and perhaps even abusive).
    – user17323
    Sep 1, 2012 at 10:16

You ask if “that e-mail is a great injustice or not”; I'll presume that you meant to ask whether the email does a great injustice to you. (An email itself cannot be an injustice.)

Among other things, the email asserts the following:

• many moderator flags on your questions
• asked a large number of questions, many of which were downvoted, deleted, or closed

I think the above assertions should be regarded as facts, taken as given. (Aside: In addition to your questions with net negative vote totals, your questions with net positive totals received dozens of downvotes.) The email also asserts:

• questions are generally of low quality and hard to understand
• mostly in the "please do not ask questions of this type" category of our FAQ
• appears to be no increase in quality ... between your oldest questions and your newest questions

Whether those assertions are true is much more a matter of judgment (than for the first two assertions) but my opinion is that more outside observers would agree with them than would disagree. In summary, I think it fair to say that no injustice has been done to you in statement of the facts. Rather than arguing with the facts, I suggest you modify your behavior; for example, see the response by Oscar Reyes about 80% of the way through blog: A Day in the Penalty Box.

If you read the blog entry mentioned above, I think you'll find the reasons for your suspension are perfectly in accord with SO policy. That is, suspension was not unreasonable. But a seven-day suspension probably was not reasonable. I think two or three days would have been better. Suspending a user for long intervals is a blunt instrument, an inaccurate and somewhat disfunctional instrument. In some cases it may turn the user into a worse problem than before, although of course that is not always possible.

  • I think the suspension periods are pre-set, so 2-3 days isn't an option
    – user10893
    Aug 31, 2012 at 19:36
  • @simchona, if so, the accepted answer to question #23661 must be out of date. Aug 31, 2012 at 19:44
  • 1
    @simchona No, you can suspend for any length between 1 day and something ridiculous like 5,000 (I don't recall the actual maximum).
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 31, 2012 at 20:18
  • @AnnaLear, if a moderator accidentally suspends him- or herself, can he or she undo the suspension without outside help? Aug 31, 2012 at 20:35
  • @jwpat7 Yes, they can.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 31, 2012 at 20:45
  • 1
    As Anna notes, moderators are free to impose any reasonable suspension length they feel is appropriate. They're also able to send messages with no suspension - and the guidelines suggest that for problems that don't require immediate suspension, a warning be issued first. Following that, the first suspension defaults to 7 days, the second 30, the third 1 year. Mr. Hernández had been warned once previously.
    – Shog9
    Sep 2, 2012 at 3:03
  • @Shog9 One year? Oh my stars...
    – user231780
    Aug 25, 2017 at 14:41
  • @JamesWaldby-jwpat7 I think it's changed now so that moderators cannot suspend themselves (and due to the UI change, also lack a button to unsuspend themselves). Not that it does much.
    – wizzwizz4
    Apr 13, 2018 at 11:14

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