In a move that isn't particularly surprising given their lack of support for intellectual diversity to date, Reddit has introduced outright bans to replace its shadow banning policy.
Reddit has introduced an "Account Suspension" feature that will replace Shadowbanning for non-spammers, though previously shadowbanned accounts are not going to be automatically unbanned.
A post on July 28, 2015 by Reddit admin /u/krispykrackers explains the basics of Shadowbanning, a tool initially created to counteract spammers by hiding their content without letting them know their account had been shadowbanned. However, this was Reddit's only tool for an account-wide ban, and it has since been used on people other than spammers as well.
Account Suspension will be more straightforward and transparent than a Shadowban. An F.A.Q. page (sic) linked in the announcement post states that only Reddit administrators will be able to apply suspensions, which can be temporary or permanent. Permanent suspensions will result in a message about the account's status being added to that account's userpage.
See, I'm a veteran. This means I was willing to take a bullet for the right of my countrymen to speak their minds. On this at least I have not mellowed as I've aged. My personal line in the sand is that we will never site ban for anything but over-the-top spamming or gross/repeated illegal activity while I am on staff. See my journal if you feel the need for that last statement to be expounded upon.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12 2015, @05:52PM
Subs like Suicide Watch are moderated quite heavily. The users there are constantly bombarded by trolls and spammers. The mods will use the shadowban for most of them, but when they are over the top trolling then they'll ban them, but that usually ends up with the troll just creating other alts and continuing to troll even more, so they'll weigh that option versus the shadowban, and most times they'll opt for the shadowban. The shadowban is a godsend for them because it will take a long time for the offenders to realize their posts aren't getting through.
As far as the whole free speech thing, the community came up with the rules, and the mods just enforce them. If you have someone that is breaking the rules such as posting "methods", then the mods, for the most part, will contact the poster, and ask them to edit that out. If they don't, then they just delete it. Rarely will the mods interfere with discussions unless it goes totally off topic right away, or if it ends up breaking more of the posting rules.
The worst part of the shadowban thing is the learning curve to just set it up! It should be just an option on the ban page instead of having to copy & paste the name of the offender into the massive list of offenders because it can easily be broken from a less tech savvy moderator.
(Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12 2015, @06:09PM
The problem with shadowbans is when they get used against legit posters. I quit hackernews when I got shadowbanned - I posted a follow-up story with all new information to a very popular story from a week earlier. It was the most upvoted story I had ever submitted and was getting active, civil discussion. Within a day my
story was "disappeared" and I was shadow-banned. But I had no idea I was shadow-banned. No one told me anything. I didn't even know shadow-banning was a thing. I only found out because I had wipe cookies and often read anonymously so I saw my shadow-ban. I had a 2000 karma or whatever they call it over there, I was not a spammer or a troll.
In trying to figure out what had happened, I figured it was some kind of bug, I saw another guy who had been diligently posting and making submissions nearly daily for 6 months after a shadow-ban. Because hackernews has a setting to see "invisible" posts I was able to figure out what his last post was before the shadow-ban - the guy had done nothing particularly wrong But neither he nor I had an inkling that some random punishment had been inflicted. But hackernews had stolen many hours of his life as he tried to participate as a productive member of the community there. Oddly, he was not angry when I told him his posts were invisible. He went and found a moderator or something (a process that is not spelled out anywhere on that site) and got his ban lifted.
I decided fuck that shit. That level of callous disregard for real people putting honest effort into participating in a community is fucking sociopathic. If you know to look for it, shadow-banning is ridiculously easy to detect - just check if your post is visible if you don't use any login cookies. It is not a solution to stop anyone even moderately motivated. But automated or unthoughtful application can be so tremendously inhumane that if you aren't closely managing it you are downright evil in my book. Its the kind of thing that sounds brilliant! to a teenager, but adults should know better.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12 2015, @07:06PM
I totally agree with what you said. The mods on SW don't take shadowbanning nor banning lightly. They do automodding as well, but the parameters are very tight, so as to not impede with legitimate posters.
I think the behavior you're describing is quite prevalent everywhere in human life. There are always (I hesitate to use the word "people" because that would imply that they have compassion and empathy) people, that will always try to game the system, or just create chaos in everything they touch. So, there are tools to help the moderators and admins, and they're being abused by others, and of course that just makes it hard for people that are legitimately following the rules and being good community citizens...it's nothing new, and they really are hurting others, and it needs to be stopped somehow. I'm at a loss as to how.
Due to the sheer volume of posters to that site you posted at, it could have been a mistake or deliberate, but I would have tried to ascertain what was going on. If you got nowhere with it, then I would have just abandoned the site as you have done.
I had the same thing happen with me on Digg. I guess LOL Cats are much more interesting than what I was posting, so I just left them to it.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12 2015, @07:14PM
> Due to the sheer volume of posters to that site you posted at, it could have been a mistake or deliberate, but I would have tried to ascertain what was going on. If you got nowhere with it, then I would have just abandoned the site as you have done.
The thing that made me give up was that they had no clearly delineated process for even figuring out what was going on. No trouble-ticket system, you had to figure out who to contact and then figure out how to contact them. Every single thing to correct the problem is the burden of the punished. There was not even an acknowledgment anywhere on the site that there could be problems (not just shadowbans) much less where to go and what to do. That might be ok on a low volume small community site where everybody knows everybody. But not something like that place. It is a sign of not giving a shit about their own fuckups.