This question was asked by a suspended user.

I voted to close it as Off Topic (purely because of the user's status) and edited an exclamation mark into the question text to advertise my action/reason to others (I've done this many times before).

A mod reversed my edit and asked me not to do this again (the question has in fact been closed).

I'm prepared to abide by any decisions made by mods, but I'd like to know whether it's site policy that I shouldn't have edited in my warning marker - and if so, why?

I'd also like to know how it comes about that currently this user only seems to have asked a total of 22 questions, when I know perfectly well that he's plagued the site with hundreds of questions - over many months, if not years.

The implication is that his questions are being deleted. Is this site policy? If so, why bother to reverse my "warning" edits? If not, why are the deletions being allowed/encouraged by mods?

2 Answers 2


Just because the user is suspended does not make the question off-topic. The mods can deal with the suspensions just fine; there's no reason to abuse the closing mechanism here. If our policy is to delete questions, as it is, then we will do that.

As for the exclamation mark, what possible purpose does it serve? Users who know what it means will recognize the username anyway, and putting it on a question before a mod has confirmed that the user is in fact the suspended user could be very damaging if it's not actually that user.

  • 2
    Are you saying that users (as opposed to mods) should not concern themselves with the issue of whether a questioner is suspended? Do you speak for yourself, or for all mods collectively? Given that all of this user's questions are deleted within a few weeks of being asked, your position doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The possibility of valid users being disadvantaged by being erroneously flagged as Norton_S seems daft, to be quite frank. Dec 24, 2012 at 5:41
  • 5
    @FumbleFingers I'm saying that no one should be closing these questions as off-topic if they are not in-fact off topic. You can answer his questions, or not answer, or post comments warning other users, or flag us if the accounts haven't been merged, or do nothing, but you should neither edit the question itself nor vote to close the question if it should not be otherwise closed. I'm afraid I don't follow what you say about how deletion of his posts doesn't seem to reconcile with my answer; as a policy, we delete any questions from him unless there are upvoted answers.
    – waiwai933
    Dec 24, 2012 at 6:40
  • 1
    I don't claim to speak for all mods, nor is any of this necessarily the consensus of the mod team, but I am speaking as a mod and not just as a regular user (except for the part about question deletion, which is a consensus postion among the mods).
    – waiwai933
    Dec 24, 2012 at 6:41
  • I support this as well, and was the mod who reversed the edit. It served no purpose, especially given the accounts had already been merged.
    – user10893
    Dec 24, 2012 at 6:42
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    @simchona,waiwai: Well, we voted you guys to be the mods, so I guess that means you call the shots on these decisions. Personally I agree with MetaEd that N_S is playing a game with ELU whereby he thinks he's "winning" if he manages to post questions that aren't deleted - so effectively the current policy makes it too easy for him to gain positive feedback (and thus continue posting). As I'm unable/unwilling to aid & abet N_S by treating his questions as pari passu, I will in future simply ignore them. Dec 28, 2012 at 15:05

Sometimes Norton S asks good questions, even if, as one user has said, he usually asks nonsensical questions only to see whether he can stimulate some of us into wasting our time by answering them. I always ignore questions that aren't interesting to me, or that I think I can't offer any answer of value to, and it seems to me that a comment stating that "This user is Norton S" after any Norton S question is sufficient. Then the moderators can decide what to do and the rest of us can choose to ignore the question for whatever reason. If Norton S can't be stopped from posting, I don't see why we can't make use of his rare good questions. We don't need to be such vigilant policemen, do we?

I'm in favor of leaving those good questions on the site simply because they're good questions and against deleting everything he posts just because he's suspended. I'm more concerned about the question than the questioner. I like the policy of preserving the question if there are upvoted answers.

  • 5
    I assume that responding to NS questions, good or bad though they may be, gives him positive feedback, i.e., gives him good reason to defy his suspension. This is why, if NS asks a good question, it should still be deleted. But if you think the question is worth answering, there's nothing to stop you asking it yourself.
    – MetaEd
    Dec 26, 2012 at 7:10
  • @MετάEd: +1 You make two good points. I hadn't thought of asking his good questions myself, but, you're right, that's a preferable option. Thank you for that suggestion. I'll do just that next time I see one. That way we can ignore him and deny him some of that positive feedback.
    – user21497
    Dec 26, 2012 at 7:33
  • @MetaEd I think questions should be treated without considering who wrote them. If the user in question writes good questions, the questions should not be deleted (and I believe that is one of the points of the SE system, content is important, not the person). The user, however, may be suspended/deleted if they broke the rules.
    – sis
    Jul 18, 2019 at 17:42
  • @sis what happens when the suspension is lifted? Does the suspended user get to benefit from the reputation points accumulated? What if the question hits HNQ (I'm going to presume you know what it is, search MetaSE if you don't), sometimes a question can earn 20, 30, or even 50 upvotes. While the suspension is in process the user will see no change in their rep, but after? Not only do they gain those points, they might also earn privileges.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 20, 2019 at 9:34

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