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Ryan Williams

Shadow banning (banning without user's knowledge)

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A concept I've seen around for a few years and recently seen referred to by Disqus as 'shadow banning' is something I'd love to see in IPS Suite.

See here for a good description: https://blog.disqus.com/introducing-shadow-banning-and-timeouts

In short, it's banning a user but they have no idea they're banned — others simply cannot see their contributions and they have no impact on the community.

As someone who's dealt with some very persistent trolls who make account after account using endless email addresses and IPs, I can say wholeheartedly that this would make a huge difference to controlling them and provide a small amount of satisfaction in essentially trolling them back.

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Holding posts for moderator approval is different from shadow banning.

Posts that are held for approval are clearly indicated to the user that they are being moderated. Shadow banning means posts appear to be submitted only to the actioned user.

Fully implementing shadow bannning into something like IPS would be really complex, especially when you factor in things like reviews, reputation, other apps (Gallery, Downloads, etc.), and so on.

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On 7/3/2017 at 7:16 AM, Makoto said:

Holding posts for moderator approval is different from shadow banning.

Posts that are held for approval are clearly indicated to the user that they are being moderated. Shadow banning means posts appear to be submitted only to the actioned user.

Fully implementing shadow bannning into something like IPS would be really complex, especially when you factor in things like reviews, reputation, other apps (Gallery, Downloads, etc.), and so on.

Not really. vBulletin has had the feature for a while.

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I think Mopar is right, this would essentially be implemented as a global ignore. The responsibility for making sure all different types of content are hidden should really be handled already by the ignore functionality, and if not that's a much bigger issue.

Edited by Ryan Williams

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Could be useful as a kind of temporary measure against a smart troll (buying time until they realise they are shadow banned, say by viewing the site as a guest), or a hilariously good one against a stupid troll who doesn't realise at all.

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Shadow banning is one of the few things I hate... If you want to keep userbases i'd be careful with such a feature. It has a tendency to make them angry once the secret is out and you will regret implementing it. I imagine this could change dependent on niche. So it does have it's uses.

But I have a rule, When people shadow-ban. I never visit again!

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I think like any tool it's down to people to use them carefully. Banning is something I generally avoid anyway, preferring to talk people into sense in private which many people are surprisingly receptive to.

Shadow banning is more of a specific weapon against the people who are blind to reason and no matter how many times you ban will keep coming back. Even if they're aware of the feature's general presence on the web — which I'm sure they will be over time — it frustrates and disrupts the procrsss of their trolling, and any small victory against such types is useful.

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On July 10, 2017 at 4:39 AM, Netherlord said:

... But I have a rule, When people shadow-ban. I never visit again!

I'm with you on this. I just think it's kind of wimpy, kind of like keying someone's car. 

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Just now, tonyv
On July 10, 2017 at 4:39 AM, Netherlord said:

... But I have a rule, When people shadow-ban. I never visit again!

I'm with you on this. I just think it's kind of wimpy, kind of like keying someone's car. 

That’s not really the case. The tools you’ll need will be based on the specific situation, taking into account things such as likelihood to register multiple accounts, likelihood to be combative to traditional moderation methods, demographic, etc.

A timed shadow ban could actually be very helpful in diffusing tense situations, letting things cool down and preventing replies to poorly considered posts.

P.S. Hello from the IPS app. 😀 I’m liking it!

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The main negative with shadow banning is once they realize they're shadow banned, they will (presumably) contact the admins/mods and then get (again, presumably) even angrier that they were treated in such a way.

Just like performance reviews at a job, nobody should be surprised when they get banned (unless it is instantly for an egregious violation of your community rules and guidelines). Good moderation and a system (first, warnings and/or verbals, then temp bans, then permabans all while letting the violator know why action is being taken against them) negates the need for such a divisive feature.

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On 7/2/2017 at 5:34 PM, Ryan Williams said:

A concept I've seen around for a few years and recently seen referred to by Disqus as 'shadow banning' is something I'd love to see in IPS Suite.

See here for a good description: https://blog.disqus.com/introducing-shadow-banning-and-timeouts

In short, it's banning a user but they have no idea they're banned — others simply cannot see their contributions and they have no impact on the community.

As someone who's dealt with some very persistent trolls who make account after account using endless email addresses and IPs, I can say wholeheartedly that this would make a huge difference to controlling them and provide a small amount of satisfaction in essentially trolling them back.

Vbulletin 5 has this as a built in feature. 

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23 minutes ago, Joy Rex said:

The main negative with shadow banning is once they realize they're shadow banned, they will (presumably) contact the admins/mods and then get (again, presumably) even angrier that they were treated in such a way.

Just like performance reviews at a job, nobody should be surprised when they get banned (unless it is instantly for an egregious violation of your community rules and guidelines). Good moderation and a system (first, warnings and/or verbals, then temp bans, then permabans all while letting the violator know why action is being taken against them) negates the need for such a divisive feature.

It’s possible you’re dealing with a very different type of the user to the ones this feature would typically be targeted at.

To quote my original post:

Quote

As someone who's dealt with some very persistent trolls who make account after account using endless email addresses and IPs [...]

These users can’t be reasoned with. You can warn, inform, and ban to your heart’s content — they’ll be back under a new IP and determined to post garbage.

The only thing you can do is slow them down, for which shadow banning is one of a number of methods.

Edited by Ryan Williams

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I used to use the tachy goes to coventry feature on the old vbulletin, which basically does what you suggest. It came up in a conversation once with one of my sponsors who is a bit more on the ball than me. He was dubious as to the legality of it.

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On 9/23/2019 at 8:49 PM, Ryan Williams said:

It’s possible you’re dealing with a very different type of the user to the ones this feature would typically be targeted at.

To quote my original post:

These users can’t be reasoned with. You can warn, inform, and ban to your heart’s content — they’ll be back under a new IP and determined to post garbage.

The only thing you can do is slow them down, for which shadow banning is one of a number of methods.

Also in this boat.

We have used shadowbanning in the past on our previous platform on a large scale forum and while not perfect, it certainly slowed down the frequency of these user's new registrations.

Right now we have a few trolls who have registered dozens of accounts on dynamic IP addresses. Each time they get banned they just create a new account. The only way to really slow them down would be shadow banning. These trolls love the process of forcing the admins to do another ban.

 

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