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Publicly Posting Bans

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As an administrator or staff member on a RP board, what are your views about publicly posting bans? 

 

Do you announce bans to the site - whether by naming the culprit specifically, or simply mentioning an unnamed individual was banned for X reason? Or do you treat bans as a private matter among staff? 

 

While I don't recall seeing one in a while, Wall of Shame threads used to be rather common. These were threads that would list the screen name and reason for various bans - whether the reason was theft, rule breaking, harassment etc. As a staffer, would you be supportive of such a thing, or critical of such a practice? 

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I elaborated on the other thread about this, but I absolutely would not allow a Wall of Shame. The RP world my member group participates in is quite small, so word gets around on its own if somebody has stolen art or other content. But since all you have to do is change your alias from one site to another, having a wall of shame isn't really effective.

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I do not believe in making a specific post or thread, wall of shame, or public black listing. However. If I ban someone because they broke guidelines, I do believe in transparency. Such as communicating why someone was banned and specifically which guideline was broken and why. I also believe in keeping screenshots, logs, and copies of everything for bans if it's not spam.  There used to be a ban list on our SMF that members could see who was banned and why. 100% of it was robot/spam sign ups. I didn't make a deal out of it, there wasn't huge links to it or public bruhahas about it. I deal with banned accounts as par for the course, not something to dwell upon. 

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I would never condone a wall of shame type thread and I would refuse to staff on a site where one was present. I've never run into a situation where I've had to ban, though there's been a couple times that I've asked someone to leave or suggested we weren't the right site for them. But I would never announce it, either to my members or in a guest-viewable thread or anything really. If someone asks why a player isn't around, I'll answer them, because I believe in honesty and transparency. But there's... just not any use to doing this, that I can see. Especially since people change names all the time, as @jshort said. 

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If someone asks for some reason, I'll usually tell them why in as courteous a manner as I can. It depends on what it is, but if I'm unlikely to be able to explain what happened without divulging too much of the person's personal business, I will just tell them I had my reasons.

 

Otherwise, honestly, it takes so much for me to ban someone, and my sites are often so small, that by the time I do ban someone, everyone else already knows why. There has never been an instance in which someone didn't know if they were there to see what led to it. New people, though? They don't have a reason to know. Like why is it any of their business? All they need to know is that player was there and now they're not. And when I do ban, I'll usually go right over my software's head and ban at the server level, so they basically have until their IP address changes, and after that I don't care if they come back. Sometimes this doesn't take very long to wear off, but I've only had one instance in which it wasn't enough to get the point across (but that's a whole other can of worms).

 

Idk. I guess banning in general just kinda seemed like an exercise in futility, because I learned pretty early on that it doesn't really work, and those massive walls of shame kind of hammered that in, or something. If you've got a ban list that long, maybe the problem is you... sorta deal, so, I've always tried not to resort to banning until I had no other choice, or the infraction was serious enough I needed them goneright now. End result is, there's nothing to really be transparent about, because it's already pretty public knowledge, and why scare new players with this long list of names like "Do one tiny thing wrong and you're gone," is kind of how those came off sometimes. I'm a weird bean, idk. I also never really feel like I'm obligated to explain myself; if you need to know, then you know. Otherwise, I guess you don't need to know, type thing, and this just kinda rolls into that.

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I think it's better to be transparent than to be hush hush about bans. Yes sometimes announcing a ban can cause drama, but not announcing it can leave people wondering what happened to xyz? why did they leave. If the banned individual is especially reactive, having some kind of announcement can help combat any attempt to farm member sympathy and overall, prevents misinformation and speculation.

 

That doesn't mean tell the site everything nor to shame the member being banned. Better to keep the information factual but simple, members who want more details can be encouraged to ask staff.

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As an Admin I have more experience archiving characters than banning them. I am rather thankful that my board is so new we haven't had a lot of drama around it. We've had overturn in our member base sure and a couple people we've had to kick from the discord after they've lurked for three months and never spoken or posted an app on the board. So we've booted them with a message saying they can come back if they'd like but they have to make character within a given time frame. 

 

What we've generally done as staff is quietly remove someone who has caused a problem and left it alone unless asked. Generally we do an interest check every other month. You don't need a link a post or anything. Just a post to the thread with a list of your characters and whether you want to keep them or not. If we've had to remove someone they can't reply to it and we just make a general announcement about the interest check saying. "Just so you know, a couple people didn't make the interest check so we've cleaned up the discord and archived characters and threads. If you need plots now or connections for any characters let us know and we'll help figure something out!"

 

The only time we'd do something public was if there was a real and present threat to our RP community. Like knowing a player had been actively stalking and sexually harassing another player. Or some other reason that we need to let the players know when they might be unsafe if they let personal info out into the world. 

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On 3/19/2019 at 5:40 AM, SithLordOfSnark said:

I would never join a site that has that. I also don't feel like it's anyones business who I've banned or why unless it directly relates to them.

 

This. And in this case, I'd tell the person privately and ask them not to make it a matter of discussion on the Discord/chat/OOC forum areas, etc. 

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I don't hide it (telling people if it's asked), but I don't go out of my way for it. 

Usually we'll announce it in a subtler way, though, because we do mention when previously played character are not available, so... I guess we do? But just as often it's someone left rather than we kicked them so...

I don't think it's something to be ashamed of (at least for the Staff; the player maybe should be, depending on the ban), but it's definitely nothing I want to be overtly broadcasting.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve only banned like..... twice? I think? One I didn’t really talk about at all to the members. They were a serial member that for some reason kept coming back to the site as a different alias, they would make 4-5 characters, rp for a week, then disappear and do it all over again. I confess that I didn’t even realize it was the same person for like... 2 years? But I was doing some spring cleaning of accounts with 0 posts and as I was going through each member I realized crap. This is the same exact IP and the same exact writing style and similar emails. Very strange. I reached out to them and said I knew what they were doing and told them to stop. Then I asked if they would like me to connect all their accounts to one OOC account for them. It was so weird too because they had NO reason to do this because we didn’t have character caps or restrictions. They never responded. But a week later they were back at it so I just. Yeah. I banned them. It was quiet and went unnoticed so there was no point to explain. 

 

The other banning I recall was an ex best friend. And there was no way the site couldn’t know what happened because she was my best friend beforehand, a co-admin, and one of the more active members of the site. I’ve talked about what she did before and don’t feel like opening old wounds again. Let’s just say she betrayed the trust of myself and another friend and sent both of us into a really bad place mentally (and we’re both diagnosed with issues that make these things even harder to deal with). I ended up having to CLOSE the site because of how physically ill it made me. I couldn’t even look at it for years after the events that took place. It was just so tainted. 

 

But i didn’t really explain the full details to the site. I just said we were closing due to admin stress. I’m sure some people knew though. I didn’t feel like talking about it and the one person involved with it outside the co knew because she  was involved. Nobody else asked. I don’t know what I would have said if they did. I suppose it would depend on the person and how tender I was feeling that day. 

 

Sorry: on subject: no. I wouldn’t keep a list. I never even kept one in the staff areas of my boards. 

Edited by Zozma
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Wall of Shame: hard no. Although popular opinion now might be that those kinds of threads were gross though, and are ineffective nowadays, I can kind of see why they might have been a thing though. 10 years ago we didn't have Discord servers and large chat groups for our RP communities. Getting word around that there might be a "dangerous" member of the community would have been more difficult so idk, maybe Walls of Shame were like lighting the beacons in LoTR or something lol.

 

Anyway, kind of echoing what @Kit the Human said. If someone gets banned, chances are people know why, because they've been complaining about that person to me. I don't tend to announce it publicly, but I can kind of foresee reasons why I might. Otherwise, I would tell people who asked what happened but not invite conversation about it. 

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As an administrator or staff member on a RP board, what are your views about publicly posting bans? 

Ew, seriously, just ew. If there is not a legal or unethical reason as to why someone was banned I have no right to publicly announce their forced departure. If they would like to announce it themselves then so be it. I as a staff member however will have NO part in shaming someone in front of the entire community. I'm sure receiving the ban was bad enough for them, no need to make it worse, you never know what someone is going through behind that computer screen and I'll be damned if I'm the one to make it even worse by shunning them publicly.

 

Do you announce bans to the site - whether by naming the culprit specifically, or simply mentioning an unnamed individual was banned for X reason? Or do you treat bans as a private matter among staff? 

- No. I do not. I know of some friends who have mentioned this before via a site update without publicly stating a name, however in this case people can still guess since x person just up and disappeared so who was it? People can put two and two together. Its still a public shame with or without a name.

- I prefer bans to be treated as a private matter in staff confined discussions. They do not leave the staff areas and are confidential to us only. I treat it as if I was a doctor with a patient. If someone comes to me and asks, my response is somewhere around the lines of "you will need to discuss this with the person themselves, I will not be revealing any details that the user may or may not want to discuss publicly". NOW, this is not always the case. Sometimes there are staff members of other sites that may come to you with questions about a particular member and their behavior on your site, as staff to staff I feel it appropriate to be open and honest in these situations. They may choose what they wish to do with the information from there by either keeping an eye on the person or just totally giving them the boot. None of my business from there. In the instance of illegal activities or similar I feel that warrants a public post though, just for everyones safety.

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As stated in the Member version of this thread....

 

Nope, nope, nope!

 

Honestly, making it all public and putting up Wall of Shame type posts, forums, announcements just promotes OOC Drama (in my opinion). As others have said, if a person is at the point of being banned, almost everyone already knows why. Ban them, contact those with open threads and tell them the minimum needed so they can close the threads or mark them abandoned...whatever the site requires.

 

I RP to write and socialize - not to feed the Drama Llama! ;)

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