TL Moderation Fan Fiction: The SmartBan

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TL Moderation Fan Fiction: The SmartBan

(Originally written in December 2008 for a private audience.  Below is fiction.)

 Part 1, The Initial Announcement:

You may have noticed that TL has progressed more and more towards temp banning, esp. with the clever thematic "lockdown" icon.

Well with new SmartBan technology this greatness goes a step further, with the Ensnare Icon (see attachment).

For those of you not paying attention to the latest technology news, SmartBan technology replaces current "sledgehammer or a shotgun" technology with a full rainbow spectrum from scalpel to assisted suicide in the following way:

Moderators assign bans in terms of 1 post per N hours, where N is whatever they like.
A SmartBan status of 25 is a limit of roughly 1 post per day.

1 ... 1 per hour.  (0.5 ... 2 per day)
25 ... 1 per day.
150 ... 1 per week.  (75 ... 2 per week)
750 ... 1 per month.  (350 ... 2 per month)
9000 ... 1 per year.  (4500 ... 2 per year, 3000 ... 3 per year)

Now moderators can simply stymie users' ability to post more and more.  Imagine what you would do if you knew your next post would be your only one for a month!  With this new technology Mods really can put the squeeze on posters to perform or be punished even more.  At the same time, finding just the right setting could turn some diamonds in the rough into simply, jewels.

Mods now have a way to reward users for improving and punish them further.  Simply reduce their SmartBan if they are good and increase it if they are bad.  Mods never had it so easy, and the site never had it so good.

A simple javascript addition to your ModFace3000 gives you a sleek sliding bar for adjusting SmartBans that gives you in real time the meaning of the smart ban number in the most appropriate language (be it days, weeks, hours, years, or centuries!).  Drag the bar to the right--is that two millenia you think they should have to sit in the corner?  Or to the left--maybe three times a day is okay, just no more than that until you stop spamming!

Yeah!  Developed by genius scientist Liquid`Drone, marked with his beloved Queen's Ensnare Icon in his honor, introduced in the year 2008, it has since propelled Teamliquidia into new great heights!  Why no one such as Stimey had suggested this years and years earlier and was insulted if not ignored is anyone's guess.


 Part 2, More Info Released "Today":

SmartBan shouldn't be viewed as a status parallel to the existing perm ban (nuke icon) and temp ban (lockdown icon).  It's an independent status all users can have whether temp banned, perm banned, or neither.

The SmartBan icon (ensnare) will only show up for the user if they are not perm banned or temp banned.  Otherwise it will show their conventional ban status (lockdown or nuke icon).

The reason for this is that mods may want to set a SmartBan setting to a user while also temp banning them, that way when their temp ban elapses, they resume under a limited way.  The tempban form for mods will be edited to allow easily simultaneously setting a SmartBan--by adding a SmartBan to the mix mods can shorten their temp bans and extract more contributions from edgy users and also give them a chance to reform.

When you are temp banning a user simply enter a SmartBan value in the box--this value will remain until revised manually by someone (maybe never).

Scientists considered several icons before coming to Ensnare for the SmartBan.  They looked at various SC units, but decided their spell and ability options were more appropriate, keeping with the "nuke/lockdown" theme.  However, no Terran spell seemed appropriate.  Other ideas were Stasis and Maelstrom.  It was quickly decided that stasis would be inappropriate as it lasts longer than Lockdown.  Maelstrom, on the other hand, was on about equal footing with ensnare.  Two factors put ensnare over the edge:  While lockdown and maelstrom both hold the unit still, unable to do anything, scientists felt that ensnare's "slowing down users" was more metaphoric of what the SmartBan tries to do, even though in reality all three bans literally "stop" a user for a period of time.

"The difference is that with the SmartBan you are moving, just at a slower rate--you don't call the time between posts when not banned a ban--it's not anagalous to being banned every time you aren't posting.  In this way, being ensnared is like being given a set movement speed, and this is not the same as being immobilized.  In reality you already have a movement speed in TL, albeit the spam rate cap, or human or quality practical limits--but the SmartBan sets it even lower so that your damage is minimized and you are forced to think about your posts in a way  not even achieved by the most constant babying via several temp bans.  The result of the SmartBan should be an easier to read and moderate, more effortful, version of the poster--and if that still sucks, step the SmartBan up higher and it can work as good as any other kind of ban."

"We don't think this is the last advancement in ban technology, but it's the first leap forward in some time."

 Part 3, the SmartBan FAQ:

Isn't the SmartBan just the same as a TempBan?

While in some ways it can work that way, it offers much more.  The
TempBan is a single slap to the face to the user, and if you make it
too short, it doesn't effect them--too long, they make a new account.
The original TempBan sets a time the user can't post for, and once it
elapses, it's over.

The SmartBan is like a higher tech version of this.  It stays on top
of the problem user, automatically, offerring them something between
being banned and being unbanned--it lets them be gray, whereas the
TempBan makes then black for a time, then white again.

When a user is SmartBanned they can post like a regular user, just
slower--maybe much slower.  They can still read and PM as normal
(except moderators--PMing a moderator counts as a post for them.)  The
automated advice tells them two things:  (1) You have been given a
limited chance to post to prove you can do better--think before you
post, or the limitation will get more severe, and there are no limits
on how severe.  (2) If you choose to use your limited chances to
communicate talking about your ban, be warned--it may hurt you.  You
can PM regular users for free, but if you PM a mod it will count like
a post, so we advise that before you try to convince a mod to your
view of your ban, see if you can even find two regular users who agree
with you.  If not, don't bother the mods and certainly don't post
about it because most likely you are wrong.

What does the SmartBan number mean?
How does SmartBan work?

It means how many hours you are unable to post (or PM mods) since your
previous post (or most recent SmartBan status change).  When your
SmartBan status changes, your timestamp changes too.  Every user has a
SmartBan timestamp that records their most recent activity--you will
not be allowed to post until the amount of hours elapsed since that
timestamp exceeds the SmartBan setting (in hours).  Keep in mind
again, that when your SmartBan is changed, this also changes your
timestamp as if you posted.  So you must not only wait 24 hours from
your last post, in the case of a "SmartBan 24", but also 24 hours from
the time the moderator changed you to "SmartBan 24" status.

How can we (mods) get the most out of the SmartBan?

While the PermBan can be counted as one ban, you might argue that the
TempBan is actually an infinite amount of bans, and so more options
simply aren't needed.  This would be missing the point though.  In
practicality a TempBan does three things (or damn near one of the
following three):  (1) Nothing--the user hardly notices the limitation
because they weren't going to post anyways or they miss a little
bit--the warning they receive would have been the same, if they were
required to click Okay to the warning before posting again; (2) User
is gone for a while, comes back knowing he better improve, worried he
will be banned more (he didn't like it); (3) TempBan is so long the
user goes and makes a new account, continues posting, maybe unnoticed,
or gets banned again, this time perm.  Out of these options only (2)
is really desired.  So we can count the TempBan as 1 option (achieving
the 2, see previous sentences), and PermBan as another.

The SmartBan is different.  It creates more than 1 more option.  A
SmartBan can fundamentally tweak users to the decimal point in a way
no Perm Ban or Smart Ban can.  It achieves a similar effect of (2) in
previous paragraph, but more finely tuned to maximize all those
benefits:  You can find the sweet spot that keeps the user reading,
planning their next post, worried about their quality, yet doesn't go
and make a new account or stop reading the site and thinking about it
until they come back.  You can get users to improve BEFORE giving them
their rights back, and you can gradually give them a PARTIAL ability
back as a reward, whereas with TempBan you must simply let them back
without any proof, and your only reward is lack of punishment.

SmartBan opens up a whole new universe of not only multiple levels of
punishments, but also possible rewards; look at the following:

It hasn't been emphasized enough.  The SmartBan's greatest usefulness
comes when combined with a reasonable TempBan (1-6 days), and a
seemingly small SmartBan value.  Look at this chart:

SmartBan 1 means 1 post per hour.
SmartBan 2 means 1 post every two hours.
SmartBan 3 means 8 posts per day.
SmartBan 4.5 means about 5 posts per day.
SmartBan 6 means 4 posts per day.
SmartBan 9 means about 19 posts a week.
SmartBan 12 means 14 posts a week.
SmartBan 18 means about 9 posts a week.
SmartBan 24 means 7 posts a week.
SmartBan 48 means 7 posts every two weeks.

So you can see that a very low limit (1 or even a fraction of that)
can improve spammers, and you can reduce other people more and more so
that they can still participate and improve (and be punished if they
perform badly)--and put the pressure on them to improve, just by
tweaking their SmartBan setting.  They will quickly earn the desire to
post better, and they will spend more time reading and less time
posting.  There will be a higher chance their posts will be planned
out hours or days in advance.

They should know that when they, a SmartBanned user, makes a post, the
whole world will be watching.