Do we ever need Permabans?

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Do we ever need Permabans?

STIMEY D OKGM FISH
Administrator
(Originally written in 2008).

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=80895¤tpage=4

niteReloaded:

Your guestion whether PERMAbanning is worth it is a better one than the one this topic began with.  The original thesis of this topic was that bans are "pointless" which is utterly easy to refute.

But you have taken the topic's name and maybe some of the responses and recovered maybe a real objection to bans; you have recovered a real question:  what are bans accomplishing?  Sure they aren't pointless, but what are they doing?  How long do they need to be to do this?  Are they excessive, i.e. can we get the same result with less severity, or can we improve our results?  once we admit what the bans are for, we can then aim for maximum results.

Instead we see a lot of excuses.  "Rights-based" explanations.  For instance Kwark says the analogy between permaban and the death penalty fails, because while you have a right to life, you don't have a right to teamliquid.  This is a bad analogy itself.  You don't have rights; they are fictions, written fictions that powerful people may or may not follow.  In this respect any documentation TL offers is similar, be it a guide or a ten commandments or what have you.  In reality they don't have to follow them, all that exists is the power--the U.S. government can come and kill you right now and your rights have nothing to do with whether that is possible or not.  Rights are promises, though, and that's where the analogy is somewhat true.  While in the U.S. you are promised to be able to do certain things or not have some things done to you, TL makes no promises.  Perhaps that is what "it is our house" really means.  TL promises you nothing.  We can speculate as to why but that would just be insulting and more excuses would ensue.

But I think niteReloaded's analogy is more right than Kwark gave credit for.  When you kill someone as a punishment, they are destroyed; they can act and speak no more.  They cannot change or earn or prove themselves; they can't reform.  10 years 20 years 50 years?  No chance.  They could win a nobel prize, discover the cure for cancer, find God, w/e,  you don't care what they can or will do--they are over, FOREVER.  That's the death penalty; it's permanent.  So I think this is similar to a permaban.  Let's admit the similarity.

I have been banned from TL for several years.  Do any of my bans warrant weeks let alone months let alone years?  That's the wrong question to ask.  It's not about punishment, because as we see in the u.s. punishment hardly does anything.  The question is, have I been given a chance to reform?  have i been told what needs to change, and been given a  chance to show that i could do it?  No, because I'm not worth the effort.  No one is worth the effort.  Ban them for a billion years and throw away the key.

So anyways, the question is, what is the ban trying to accomplish?  Deter me from making my bad posts?  Okay, that works.  But if your broader goal is to increase the quality of the site, I think you are not maximizing your gains.  you're throwing the baby away with the bathwater.  Temp bans give people a chance to show you they've changed.  But in many cases I think people are perm banned right now when a temp ban would have been better.  And furthermore people may be temp banned or perm banned without it ever being clear what they should do differently.  Imagine you are locked up (similar to a ban because you are taken out of the ability to parcitipate in society, to act, etc.) but not told why, other than maybe "don't be a dumbass."  Or maybe you were told "don't act like this" and shown a video of your entire day.  that is literally what a lot of bans are like.  now maybe you're let out of jail in a week, a month, three months.  in such cases you really don't know wtf happened.  and if you try to find out, odds are that path will get your ass banned again if you get pissed off at the arrogance and disrespect you are bound to receive, not to mention the snide responses by people who didn't even read what you wrote.  and of course in many cases you won't be let out at all.  you can write and write but the truth is, the people keeping you out won't spend 8 seconds to think about why you should be kept out let alone tell you or anyone who is willing to ask.

So the question is, what's the goal here?  If it's to get some emotional release by fucking with people at the expense of your site's (forum) quality (amount of quality contributions), I think it's successful.  But if, for instance, forum quality comes first, this is a huge waste not putting a cap on how long bans are.  Bans should never be so long.  Bans should start short and get longer with each repeat offense, making it clear what they did wrong at each step.  Then you would maximally reform posters rather than, throwing them away and having this constant cycle of bad people on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th account, who honestly don't always know exactly what they were doing wrong, but are guessing and probably over-correcting themselves--withhold much good content because it might be what got them banned, when it really wasnt.

that's another issue.  a lot of the content that is closed/banned doesn't really seem to be that threatening to the site.  people that made bad topics or pointless responses all day long seem to be promoted rather than banned.  bans are given to the people who take the time to get involved in discussions and ultimately have a few choice words for trolls and idiots who use TL like a poor man's youtube.  I think it leaves TL a pretty dull place and honestly the majority of smart people i've seen here over the years feel the same way, but of course this isn't true because the new users don't see it and, well ...

i think i've written enough..  niteReloaded is right though.  What's the goal of the permaban vs. a long, longer temp ban?  Serious, why are all my accounts banned for life, why not 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?  i honestly think it's just a lack of effort, lack of critical thinking, or my bans would be shorter than infinite.

Feuerbach out :/
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Re: Do we ever need Permabans?

tdotkrayz
I think TL should have a system that if you get permabanned, you have to do something totally awesome like make a guide, or start a meme (u gotta skate style), or just post something funny consistently in order to get back.  
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Re: Do we ever need Permabans?

STIMEY D OKGM FISH
Administrator
That wouldn't be bad, provided that they had some way of submitting attempts in a way that could be evaluated by all.  If you let the mods privately judge, I think biases will tend to outvote the unbiased when it comes to banned users.

I do think that if you set the duration or cost too high, they will simply make another account and go back incognito.  Ideally this would be prevented, but right now it's not.  Even in SC you can just buy another CD key.  How's an internet forum going to do that, other than charge for user names, or have lengthy periods of time to create accounts, etc.?  Anyways, that's a separate issue.  For now, you run the risk of them not "paying the toll" or "doing their time" if you make it unreasonable.
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Re: Do we ever need Permabans?

intrigue
hi ppl,
my name is intrigue i'm a moder8r on teamliquid.net. nice to meet you! i think perm bans aren't so bad!
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Re: Do we ever need Permabans?

Matt
In reply to this post by STIMEY D OKGM FISH
Hey Stimey.

I remember the first thread I read was ... I think the 10 commandments. I remember a long running argument between you and various mods. At the time, I felt sympathy for you. Also, anyone reading  that thread would have the literal fear of God (in this case mods) put into them. For a long time I lurked and even after creating an account edited my posts and held my tongue to make sure I didn't piss anyone powerful off.

This has abated now that I have been with the site for some time. I still really keep my behaviour and thoughts in check though (perhaps I'm just ultra risk-averse). I don't always like Moderator actions, I can think of 2 prominent mods who regularly abuse their powers in my opinion. Overall though, I like the way the site is run.

"Bans should start short and get longer with each repeat offense, making it clear what they did wrong at each step. "

I think they do. In a lot of recent cases I've seen posters be continually rude, contribute nothing for months and then on the fourth or fifth strike get perma banned. I like this. These guys are probably young and definitely need to grow up a bit. We all go through phases, but these people aren't even trying like I did to show some respect as new users or just some human decency. If anything, in these cases I wish they were banned sooner. But I appreciate the warning system that 2 day bans ensure.

"And furthermore people may be temp banned or perm banned without it ever being clear what they should do differently."

I agree with this. But I think the real problem lies with the posters themselves. Now I'm not talking about an intelligent, erudite poster who has a massive fight with a mod or several mods and is banned for it. I'm talking about the shit-talkers who are 80% negative in their posts. These guys probably need some more life experience. Perhaps in 3 years they'd look back at their behaviour  and cringe. The problem is that TL is not a free counselling service. It's not up to the mods to try and reform people, nor should it be. They are just regular people like the rest of us. People need to be responsible for their own actions.

So I understand why you're pissed. Should you be allowed back? I wouldn't have a problem with it. But then I am not in possession of all the facts. I wasn't around in 2005 or earlier. Perhaps there's a good reason they don't want you back. Or perhaps not, perhaps you just got on the wrong side of a hot-head like Mensrea or Chill or whoever. But on the other hand, have you ever tried to make peace with TL? Do you feel you were possibly wrong at some point, that perhaps you needed to mature as well as them? Peace is always the best option. If I were you and really wanted back in to the fold I'd make peace with those I'd had raging arguments with. Humble yourself if necessary. Life needn't be so hard.

Anyway those are just my thoughts. Figured you might appreciate them seeing as I agree with some of what you've said and am unbiased as far as not having been around for the drama earlier.

Take care Stimey
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Re: Do we ever need Permabans?

STIMEY D OKGM FISH
Administrator
I appreciate your thoughts.  I am pretty sure they will never let me back in, though.  Even when some of them think they will, it only takes one to ban me and it's fine because "he's already banned anyways."  It's happened several times.  I can't make peace with them because they have closed their minds and their hearts and won't open them for what they have convinced themselves is nothing to gain, everything to lose (me).

s