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How does the automated flagging system for length and content work? Can it trigger suspensions by itself without human input? How is the severity of the penalty determined?

I am wondering because I came across the following case:

Dr. Sonnhard Grauber has been temporarily suspended "because of low-quality contributions". Now he is one of the most prolific contributors of our forum, having answered over 6000 questions.

He usually answers relatively "low-tech" questions and his answers are frequently short. This might be the reason some of his answers tend to get flagged. I've come across them pretty regularly when looking at the Low Quality review queue. Nevertheless, looking at his recent history, all his answers are solid and useful.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it is appropriate to discuss any particular user. Will you consider rephrasing the question so that it is a general question about this suspension reason? $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Feb 2 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ArcticChar That's a good idea. I've rephrased my question. $\endgroup$ – Lukas Kofler Feb 2 at 1:56
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There are no automatic account suspension. Each suspension is instated by a moderator or SE staff, who fixes the length. There are some basic guidelines but ultimately it is up to the moderator suspending (up to a year).

The automatic VLQ flags are often triggered by very short answers. But the automatic aspect of certain flags is really a tangent.

We usually do not discuss details, but a general remark that could also be given to an abstract version of the question. You say "Nevertheless, looking at his recent history, all his answers are solid and useful." Maybe so, but you may want to take into consideration that you can only see the part of the answers that were not deleted.

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  • $\begingroup$ May you also provide some statistics about this closed reason? This seems to be the first time I see it. $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Feb 2 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure what you mean with "closed reason" could you please clarify. $\endgroup$ – quid Feb 2 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, I meant to say suspension reasons. I saw cool down, voting irregularuties a lot but this one is new to me. $\endgroup$ – Arctic Char Feb 2 at 2:39
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for clarifying. The displayed reason is not always very telling (maybe the three are all there is I'll have to check). A suspended user always gets a message that explains in (considerably) more detail what the problem was. $\endgroup$ – quid Feb 2 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ I do think the networks' total lack of transparency supporting your claim in paragraph #1 leave far too much in "never-never-land". Also, there is little, if any, accountability for errors in such decisions. I'm not in any way speaking to this particular suspension, but towith the "party-line," without accompanying transparency, accountability, reflects poorly on the organizational structure of the network, @quid. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Feb 2 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ It particular, @quid "There are no automatic account suspension. Each suspension is instated by a moderator or SE staff, who fixes the length." And therein likes its propensity for abuse. Not in this case, mind you. But banishments of users and moderators on SE have been long problematic, conducted in secrecy (off the public record), and hence not subject adequate accountability. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Feb 3 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy it is a balancing act and there are trade-offs. But I do agree that sometimes more transparency would be desirable. $\endgroup$ – quid Feb 3 at 2:21
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    $\begingroup$ @quid " A suspended user always gets a message that explains in (considerably) more detail what the problem was." Does that claim pertain to math.stackexchange in particular? Because I know from personal experience that this is definitely not the case on other stackexchange sites. $\endgroup$ – Servaes Feb 3 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Servaes on every site a suspension is accompanied by a moderator message; these will typically be more detailed then what is displayed. Moreover, they allow to ask for clarification. It certainly does happen that users are not satisfied with the explanations they get, and we might need to improve there, but that is not the point here. All I mean to convey is that a suspend user always does get message that specifically signals their suspension and allows to ask for clarification. (It is not the case one comes back to the site, is suspended and there is nothing beyond the general message.) $\endgroup$ – quid Feb 3 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ However, the suspension process itself is completely opaque, and once a user is notified of a suspension, there are no means available to said user to appeal the suspension or to contest the alleged facts. A user is, in effect, charged with an alleged crime, informed of their alleged crime, and sentenced, with no hearing, no trial, no means to defend oneself. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Feb 3 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Servaes so there was no message or a very brief and unclear explanation on the message? $\endgroup$ – allesia_b Apr 16 at 21:08

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