I recently asked and self-answered a question about a racist slang term (Q) because I wanted the term documented for the record. The question was initially poorly received (score -3), though the answer fared better. None of the early downvoters left comments as to why the question "is unclear or not useful". It crossed my mind that because of the taboo subject matter, they might be downvotes for disagreement analogous to what routinely happens in child metas and Meta Stack Exchange.

Some Stack Exchange sites (but not child metas) automatically impose an indefinite question ban once a user asks about three poorly received questions, but not all do. I wonder whether this question would count as my first of three strikes, or whether English Language & Usage uses post bans at all.

  • "Creating the new tag 'post-ban' requires at least 300 reputation. Try something from the existing tags list instead." Could a moderator or 2K please add the tag [post-ban] to this question? Jan 4, 2015 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


We do not use permanent automatic question bans, which are what you refer to. However, temporary automatic question bans of up to a week's duration are enabled. I should note that the automatic bans do not use 3 bad questions as the sole criterion; instead, the algorithm for determining whether an automatic ban should apply takes many factors into consideration.

In particular, the question you posted currently has a score of 0. Although the question ban algorithm is secret, past evidence suggests that a question with a score of 0 is not an active trigger for an automatic ban.

That said, moderators can of course impose manual suspensions, of a duration at our discretion. This is usually done after a consistent pattern of low quality questions, or other behavior that is actively detrimental to the site. In this instance, I see no reason to consider your question to be of low quality, or that it has otherwise been harmful to the site or community.

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    The fact that you mods haven't summarily closed/deleted the question effectively makes your final sentence redundant. I disagree, as per my comments and votes on the question (I think it "trivialises" the site). I don't know or care who first used the expression niggas gotta nig, nor do I care how many people understand to nig as anything other than a vague usage where to nig = to act in ways bigots associate with 'niggas'. I see the whole thing as a matter of Off Topic "sociology/culture", not English language usage as is more properly addressed by ELU. Jan 5, 2015 at 15:44
  • Apparently the community has downvoted it to -3 now. How can it be made less harmful? Jan 6, 2015 at 16:43
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    @tepples: As it happens, I watched Blazing Saddles again last night. The words nigger, nig occur dozens of times in the movie (which most people agree could never be made today). Taken on its own terms, I don't find the movie in the least offensive, but I still don't see why you're so keen to discuss an offensive usage here on ELU when you obviously understand it perfectly well yourself. Jan 8, 2015 at 14:00
  • @FumbleFingers I self-answered because I do "understand it perfectly well". The discussion is over what the question part of a self-answer should look like. And for a lot of faq questions across multiple SE sites, there isn't much "research" shown in the question itself. Jan 8, 2015 at 14:04

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