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Why are my questions no longer being accepted? - That means I am banned from putting questions !!!:

You can’t post new questions right now

Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from your account because most of your questions need improvement or are out of scope for this site. See the Help Center page Why are questions no longer being accepted from my account? to learn more.

Please do not create a new account. Instead, work on improving your existing questions by editing them to comply with the site's guidelines and address any feedback you've received. You can also continue to contribute to the site in other ways, such as editing other posts to improve them.

That's what shows up when I use the "Ask Question" button on ELL.

What's wrong with my questions all of a sudden? My last question was Meaning of "They must have adjusted to London, more or less". Is this a wrong question? All the time there weren't any disturbances and the process was calm and affable. I don't understand that?

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  • Getting negative reactions sucks. We've all been there and I'd like to help you figure out if it's something you're doing, or just unwarranted reactions from other users. Please edit your question to tell us specifically which reactions you don't understand. For instance, is it the close votes? If so, please tell us why you don't think the reason for the close votes applies to your question. If there are other recent questions of yours that have gotten a bad reception, please also link them and tell us which reactions you don't understand. We're here for you :)
    – gotube Mod
    Dec 16, 2023 at 20:34
  • What do you understand by "Getting negative reactions sucks"?
    – philphil
    Dec 16, 2023 at 22:43
  • 4
    If you really want to know, gotube is basically saying that nobody likes receiving negative feedback. The only people who can explain why your questions are attracting downvotes are the same users who have cast their downvotes. You're one of few who actually name and link back to the source. Yet, for some that is not enough. I think the real problem lies with the general decline of interesting questions, if the site had ten good questions a day users would be more engaged.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 17, 2023 at 0:30
  • 2
    #2 And if hi-rep users were more engaged they would probably be more generous with upvotes, too. On the positive side, well maybe not exactly "positive", three of the five downvoters have either visited, posted, commented, or voted on meta in the last two years. And two users have openly expressed interest in running for moderator, if an election were held on ELL in 2024. So, they could probably explain why they downvoted (if they did, we don't know) or give a more detailed explanation for closing the post.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 17, 2023 at 11:52
  • I should have said "..three of the five users who voted to close".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 18, 2023 at 7:11
  • The use of "must" can be looked up in any dictionary. So, the question is asking for basic meaning. Oxford Dictionary via Google: 2. expressing an opinion about something that is logically very likely.
    – Lambie
    Dec 18, 2023 at 18:22
  • @ gotube - I feel compelled to repeat my question: What do you understand by "Getting negative reactions sucks"? Please say it in concrete terms. Whose reactions suck? What reactions suck? Tell me examples of reactions that suck.
    – philphil
    Dec 19, 2023 at 18:43
  • There is a lot of advice for asking questions that will be well-received in Please, everyone ... details. Please! including a post that lists some examples of well-written questions. Don't let people discourage you from reading certain books because the language is outdated - you can always ask questions in English Language Learners Chat if you don't want to write up a detailed questions or you feel like people might be getting tired of that source.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:32
  • @philphil I didn't say that reactions suck. I said that (you) getting negative reactions (from other users) sucks. I hope that clears up my comment enough for you to improve this question.
    – gotube Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 1:39
  • @ gotube - No, there aren't any negative reactions from other users that suck and that's why there isn't anything that sucks, actually!!! And that's why I'm wondering why I am banned from putting questions all of a sudden! Tell me the reasons, please - I don't understand that ! To give the whole thing a positive turn - I have got many excellent answers (reactions :) ) up to now and it would be a pity to stop the thing for whatever reasons.
    – philphil
    Dec 21, 2023 at 11:13
  • 1
    This post on the main Meta for Stack Exchange has a detailed explanation of why, and what you can do about it: meta.stackexchange.com/q/86997/273494
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 11:25
  • 1
    You could have said you were prevented from posting questions since the beginning! It seemed you were referring to the less enthusiastic response from users, and the odd closure. So, now you know. Ignoring comments, can cost you dearly. Although, I have to say, banning you rom posting new questions seems overly harsh. But that's AI for you, they don't have intelligence, they only see zero votes and downvotes and then the system takes over. No one can help, only if you get a few upvotes might the ban get unblocked. Good luck.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 13:58
  • Thank you very much indeed. Meanwhile I have studied ColleenV's last post and link and there is mentioned I must not delete questions; but I deleted questions, I deleted those questions that didn't get an answer - sometimes because the phrases were dated or obsolete. I thought this should relieve the forum community of a burden because some users criticized that. I now suspect this is the reason of the ban - maybe of an automatic ban.
    – philphil
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:24
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    Those questions didn't get an answer because users were getting bored by then, and you were not listening to them. You carried on posting 46 questions. I now find there were even more questions because you had deleted some before I started my little investigation. Imaging someone posting 50 questions about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in three months! Hang on... I think someone did just that but many years ago...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:42
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    I was hoping that you would see why someone who posted 50 questions about the same novel would be tiring and then I remembered that there used to be a user who posted an awful lot of questions about the series of novels by JK Rowling. I'm just saying you're not the first to ask questions about a particular book or a series of novels by the same author. Your error was not to add a little of research to show you had tried to find the answer online, and maybe these questions were better suited to EL&U. Uncommon obsolete language is not very helpful to learners unless they are advanced learners.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 22, 2023 at 0:07

3 Answers 3

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The system looks at all of your contributions and will block you from asking questions if you have too many downvoted, closed, or deleted questions (the exact algorithm is a secret that's not even known by moderators). Your last question, when it got downvoted once, was merely the last straw. Then you deleted a bunch of the questions you asked, which likely has dug you into the hole further.

Maybe some of this negative reception is that people don't like the redundancy of the questions, but there's little you can do about that now. However, one problem you can fix is that you don't include any research you've done in most of your questions. No, including it in the comments after the fact isn't enough. And, like I said, self-deleting questions is only hurting you.

My suggestion would be to improve your closed questions first, in the hopes of getting them open again. (Note: you'll probably need help undeleting any that were deleted by Community automatically, so I would start with the ones that aren't deleted or are self-deleted.) The questions you self-deleted that aren't closed would also be good to fix up (to hopefully avoid further downvotes) and undelete.

Helpful links

All deleted questions for the current user

Recently self-deleted questions for philphil:

There are 21 deleted questions in total. Some of them were locked here on ELL because they were deleted after being migrated from ELU, but I unlocked them.

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  • Was the OP question banned over five days ago or after they deleted the questions?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:49
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    @Mari-LouA They were question banned when they asked this meta question, at which point their most recent main site question was not deleted and scored -1. They were deleting questions before that point and they deleted questions after that, but it probably wouldn't be useful to make a timeline. I can't say how much work OP needs to put in because I have no idea how deep they are into the question ban, just that they're still banned.
    – Laurel Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:02
  • The questions are on topic even though they all seem alike, and the OP could have shown some "research" but they are perfectly valid questions. Some are interesting from a lexical point of view, if you love words and archaic words they are a trove. The OP should edit and add a dictionary definition where possible, then they can ask if a phrase is/was derogatory, only used in the UK, what would be their modern-day equivalents, whether these expressions are used today etc. Personally, I'm quite curious about Q4 and Q6
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:10
  • @Mari-LouA While I didn't review any of OP's closed questions in depth, I'd like to change ELL's "research" close reason in the same way I'm redoing ELU's. There are a lot of questions in the close queue that shouldn't be there, and some questions are definitely getting closed when they really can't be answered by a dictionary. (I just need to wrap up ELU's change first for my own sanity.) But either way, OP needs for people to upvote them, not downvote, and including research is the way to go for that I think.
    – Laurel Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:29
  • I think the automatic system needs to change. Question banning should be based on content and whether a Q is off-topic or not. Many (the majority?) of the deleted posts were deleted by the OP themself. One question got 2 downvotes the others were stuck at zero or did not have a positive score because they had received one upvote and one downvote. That's not worthy of being question banned. Are question bans handled exactly the same way across the network? Should a question's merit on ELL be based on Stack Overflow's numbers?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:37
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    @Mari-LouA It does work the same across the network, with only meta sites being different, but there's not much point in discussing it here since it would need to be changed by the developers (which is extremely unlikely to happen). That's why I want to focus on what I can change or otherwise influence, like the stuff I mentioned. If you feel certain types of questions are getting closed or downvoted unfairly, you could ask a new meta question here too.
    – Laurel Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 22:49
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While tracing back the list of questions asked by the OP on the main site, a few comments caught my eye:

November 29, 2023

"For some reason, it appeared" means the commenter did not expect to find the definition for pace in the OED.

  • @philphil I suspected that before long you would be using outdated expressions such as methinks. I suggest you put RLS to one side, as you are plainly struggling with it anyway, and read something more contemporary.

November 23, 2023 (EL&U)

November 17, 2023

October 11, 2023

October 7, 2023

It appears that your first question about the novel is dated September 24, 2023

What do you take "buy over our head" to mean in the following context?

Excluding any questions that may have been deleted, the OP has posted a total of 46 questions about the novel “The Wrecker” on ELL. And another 12 questions on EL&U

The OP asked “What's wrong with my questions all of a sudden?"

The problem is people have attempted to tell the OP that they are getting weary (bored) with the same type of questions. The presentation is nearly always the same, the source is definitely the same, and the type of answers posted are pretty much the same. They have repeatedly reminded the OP that the expressions, phrases and words from the novel are either uncommon, dated or obsolete. For example,

Is the phrase "I am agreeably disappointed in your behaviour" common nowadays or is it obsolete - is it an understatement or is it a quirky jest?@philphil

December 11, 2023

In a comment below the meta post, I mused:

I think the real problem lies with the general decline of interesting questions, if the site had ten good questions a day users would be more engaged

By this I mean seeing the same novel crop up every couple of days will create a sense of frustration especially among those users who have hinted that sense of frustration. It's as if you are stubbornly ignoring their observations.

You're absolutely free to ignore users who have commented on your posts. Moreover, you are reading a challenging text, kudos to you, but you must have an inkling as to why your posts are not being received so positively as before?


RLS = Robert Louis Stevenson

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  • 1
    A very insightful answer. Dec 17, 2023 at 17:31
  • 1
    That might apply to OP's other questions, but this one is from a more contemporary source.
    – gotube Mod
    Dec 18, 2023 at 3:23
  • 2
    @gotube "What's wrong with my questions...?" The OP is talking in the plural, the newest question on ELL is not the problem. It follows the same structure, the same formula, it is asking about a phrase and its meaning.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 18, 2023 at 7:04
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    And this is why being kind and answering questions that should probably be closed for lacking detail is a problem. The person asking learns that "this pattern works" and starts using it and then is confused when all the sudden people get annoyed by it.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:26
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The Help Center page "Why are questions no longer being accepted from my account?" that the warning links to has a good explanation. I'm curious why that didn't help you understand the problem.

There's a very detailed explanation at What can I do when getting "We are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account"? I've excerpted a few key points below.

An automatic filter is in place to ban questions or answers from IP addresses or accounts with a history of extremely poor posts.

To avoid bypassing the filter, its internal rules are a secret, but it is partly based on downvotes cast by other members of the communities. If other members of the site consistently give your posts a low ranking, you should try to identify the reason(s) for this.

To help prevent you from encountering a ban, the system will give you a warning if you are on the road to a ban, and may temporarily prevent you from posting questions or answers for a few days. If, despite these warnings and rate limits, you continue to post too many poorly-received questions or answers, you will be altogether banned from posting more, and you will see the error message.

If a post was poorly received (downvoted or closed), those negative marks will continue to count against your account even if the post is deleted! Whenever possible, try to fix posts instead of deleting them.

Automatic bans never expire or "time out". This means that you cannot simply wait for a certain amount of time. If you do not take action, you will never be allowed to freely post again. The only way for the ban to be lifted is by contributing positively to the site in other ways.

Moderators cannot lift the ban.

Before you do anything else, fix your existing posts!

If you've deleted some poorly received posts, you may want to undelete them and try to fix them up. If you're unsure how to fix a question, or if you've fixed a question and you would like community members to take another look at it, you can post about it here on ELL's meta.

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  • It's worth pointing out that users with 10K can see deleted posts but the OP has to first give a link. I have the feeling any deleted posts are countable on one hand. I don't think the questions were actually "bad", they had context and they were on topic, I think users' biggest complaint was their repetition. How come a moderator doesn't know if a user has been question banned? Shouldn't there be some sort of notice on a person's account? No?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:01
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    @Mari-LouA No, it's an automated system and mods have no ability to affect it, so they don't get notified. I don't remember if there is a mod-only notation on the account. The user should get a warning that would hopefully prompt them to ask why they're getting that warning before they're actually question banned. Maybe the wording or timing of that warning is not well designed though. Users being confused about why they're question-banned seems to come up a lot.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:10
  • @Mari-LouA I just realize the warning has a link to more information; I wonder if the problem is that SE tries to solve everything with a wall of text instead of something simpler that would be easier for learners to understand. It might be worthwhile to add a section to the contributor's guide
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:18
  • I know the ban is automatic, and mods have nothing to do with banning an individual. I'm asking why they are unable to tell if a user has been banned. Why must moderators, even ordinary users for that matter, wait until the user actually spells it out?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:20
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    @Mari-LouA Because the company thinks that the walls of text and links to more walls of text solve the problem, so human intervention is not necessary. SE is confused about what their focus should be... They think their purpose is ferrying information between askers and answerers, when they're real purpose should be connecting people so they can collaborate on creating a reference library of knowledge and helping people find what they need in it. (and I don't remember whether mods can see if someone is question banned or not - it's probably buried somewhere)
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:23
  • (ugh, and I just saw that auto-correct made me look stupid by substituting they're for their and it's too late to fix it. That is a feature where I would welcome better AI, or at least AI that doesn't seem to hate me.)
    – ColleenV
    Dec 21, 2023 at 14:37
  • @Mari-LouA Moderators can tell if someone is question or answer banned by checking their profile, though I can't say that I check it unless I have a reason to think it's relevant or I'm looking at other information in that area.
    – Laurel Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 20:10
  • @Laurel so there is something. And I'm sorry, but there was a very good reason to look at the OP's profile, at the very least checking the number of posts submitted about "The Wrecker". Obviously I'm not blaming gotube, he was the only mod who showed some interest. Where is Glofindel in all this? He's the one with the wealth of experience, how many sites is he a moderator on? Six? Seven? No, it's NINE.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:00
  • @Mari-LouA I think Glorfindel is dealing with personal stuff right now. I don't have any details other than he's not been very active lately. As for me, I started an answer to this meta question but never finished writing it—I'll just say that I'm a mess.
    – Laurel Mod
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:14
  • @Laurel Re Glorfindel, family and work will, and should–rightly so–take priority, and if being a moderator takes away valuable time away, then they should step down. Let someone with more free time and greater enthusiasm take over. I also think moderators should be made to retire after six years.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 21, 2023 at 21:53
  • 'To avoid bypassing the filter, its internal rules are a secret, but it is partly based on downvotes cast by other members of the communities. ' - so casting down and close votes is an important part of curating the site. Dec 31, 2023 at 20:44

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