1. #1

    The ban evaders and the case for a post limit for Off Topic

    There are at least two consistent ban evaders in Politics.
    One is a relatively reasonable left-wing Remainer in the Brexit thread who nonetheless cannot help but scream profanities on anyone neo-liberal and who also indulges in ridiculing the moderation of this site by telling us again and again how stupid we are for reporting him and that he can make a new account in 10 seconds.
    The other is that poster who keeps making anti-EU, pro-US posts using articles from the Daily Mail.

    I would love to know the reasoning on why some structural solution is not sought so that mods do not have to constantly waste time firefighting. It can certainly not be effective to be spammed with reports for these two posters and other similar posters around the site. I will assume that a forum simply does not have access to the data required to effect a hardware ban for evaders. Yet I think that it is valid to stop low post count accounts from creating threads in off topic, at least in forums other than Suggestions & Feedback and perhaps Computer. In the other forums this is counterintuitive since a lurker might decide to create a thread to seek advice and we would not want to force them to spam to bypass that. Yet for the rest of off topic or at least for Gen-OT and politics, there is no argument to be made about a lurker needing access to thread creation.
    On the often suggested post count limit to post on OT, I'd just love to know the official line at this point in time (and with the observable changes in the behaviour of our community that we have seen over the past two years. I am largely inclined to agree with many posters that a high post count limit (100+ posts) would probably stop ban evaders. Bumping up their post count to such a degree seems counterintuitive and behaviours common when they can make a new account very fast might disappear if they have to do so. An alternative would be to stop people from making accounts so fast (perhaps have a time delay of a full day before you can activate a new account).

    An additional concern is that some posters who are often banned keep a secondary or even a tertiary account; an old account that they can use to get back to posting almost immediately. This is not really possible for us to prove though I would assume some might be caught by IP bans. Practically speaking nothing but a hardware ban can work there; the issue is that other posters often start accusing those accounts of being ban evaders and lacking the ability to prove anything may end themselves infracted for what is essentially forum vigilantism.

  2. #2
    They can and do IP ban ban-evaders on this Website as I had a few Guildies complaining about it once on WoW. But apart from that I'm not sure how hard they really want to go after these people, since anyone that really wanted to could easily just mask their IP with a new account.

    I think most people just accept their Bans and we really only have to deal with a small amount of People that actually waste their time enough to create multiple accounts to dodge Bans.

  3. #3
    There's no way to HWID ban people without having an associated app that is able to create&link a HWID to the specific email account. For example Steam, Epic, Bnet would have this ability. This forum doesn't. Even like that, they can still be masked with relative ease, with a VM for example, which is pretty much just basic computing knowledge in 2019.

    IPs can be banned, although also super easy to maneuver around with VPNs or proxies, many of which are free and offer sufficient performance for forums and general net exploration.

    Anyway, coupling VPNs with VMs is making it really easy to avoid pretty much every measure to ban you. Most forum admins rely on a combo of behavior patterns (browser type, IP range, OS type, cookies etc.) but these tools are quite limited. Anyone with a shred of brain matter can avoid bans if they want to.
    "I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear." - EFF, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

  4. #4
    The Forgettable Forgettable's Avatar
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    Yea, I've been burned for calling out the latter ban evading poster as our "resident spambot." Doesn't seem right.

  5. #5
    Elemental Lord Yunru's Avatar
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    Use a shadowban?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    Use a shadowban?
    That would actually work brilliantly.

  7. #7
    Anung un Rama Endus's Avatar
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    To play devil's advocate;

    A post count limitation encourages the evaders to spam in other forums before shitposting again in GenOT. This compounds the problem, since they often don't expect to get away with evading, just shitpost until the mods check reports and take action. It delays their resumption of shitposting by 3-5 minutes, at best.

    All the info the mod team has to identify evaders can be spoofed or faked; this is why they don't rely on automated systems entirely; I'm not gonna reveal specifics because my goal isn't to help evaders get away with it, just noting that IP checks are just a first-pass tool, and IP bans aren't terribly effective if they're dedicated. IP bans are also often a really bad idea, since you don't want to ban, say, a university's IP, because of one guy trolling from his dorm room; you'd ban every other person using the university's student internet.

  8. #8
    Give me WC3:R, Blizz! The Stormbringer's Avatar
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    @Endus How about a post limit before you can make threads? That way mods can see the people who are shitposting in topics and ban them, but at least they won't be polluting the forums with entirely new threads of crap.

  9. #9
    Anung un Rama Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Stormbringer View Post
    @Endus How about a post limit before you can make threads? That way mods can see the people who are shitposting in topics and ban them, but at least they won't be polluting the forums with entirely new threads of crap.
    I can't speak to the last year, but I know the idea's been tossed around before that among the mods; it isn't a new idea.

    Same issue as a basic post count limit, though; you encourage the evaders to spam posts to meet the post count before continuing with their shitposting. It compounds the problem and doesn't delay them all that long.

    If they had paid mods watching actively for such conduct, it could work, but as it is, with all volunteers, there isn't necessarily anyone checking reports or watching the threads to notice anything until hours later, and by then, the damage is done regardless.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    A post count limitation encourages the evaders to spam in other forums before shitposting again in GenOT. This compounds the problem, since they often don't expect to get away with evading, just shitpost until the mods check reports and take action. It delays their resumption of shitposting by 3-5 minutes, at best.
    I'm not necessarily in favor of restrictions like this, but you could probably circumvent that by requiring them to do 30 posts on 7 different days or something like that. That way they would be banned before reaching their target audience (assuming their 30 posts are spam) and there would be very little incentive to spam other forums to gain access to the politics forum.



    Shadowbanning has the problem that you can check it pretty easily wether other people can see your post or not, if you have two accounts. Works well for casual spammers, but not really for hardcore ban evaders.
    "And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five?
    A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head."

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    To play devil's advocate;

    A post count limitation encourages the evaders to spam in other forums before shitposting again in GenOT. This compounds the problem, since they often don't expect to get away with evading, just shitpost until the mods check reports and take action. It delays their resumption of shitposting by 3-5 minutes, at best.

    All the info the mod team has to identify evaders can be spoofed or faked; this is why they don't rely on automated systems entirely; I'm not gonna reveal specifics because my goal isn't to help evaders get away with it, just noting that IP checks are just a first-pass tool, and IP bans aren't terribly effective if they're dedicated. IP bans are also often a really bad idea, since you don't want to ban, say, a university's IP, because of one guy trolling from his dorm room; you'd ban every other person using the university's student internet.
    Can you really make a 100 posts in just a few minutes?

  12. #12
    Anung un Rama Endus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nymrohd View Post
    Can you really make a 100 posts in just a few minutes?
    Good posts?

    No.

    Also, there's no way they'd require 100 posts. They don't require that for posting links/images and such, as it is; if you make it too difficult, you just ensure people stop trying to participate at all and the forum dies.

  13. #13
    I still think a waiting period from account creation for thread creation and Gen-OT posting would at least chill things a bit. Now you see one sockpuppet banned and the next popping up within minutes. Now a dedicated shitposter might create a dozen ahead of time, but mitigating the problem is something if we can't do away with it entirely.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Endus View Post
    IP bans are also often a really bad idea, since you don't want to ban, say, a university's IP, because of one guy trolling from his dorm room; you'd ban every other person using the university's student internet.
    And nothing would have been lost.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Flarelaine View Post
    I still think a waiting period from account creation for thread creation and Gen-OT posting would at least chill things a bit. Now you see one sockpuppet banned and the next popping up within minutes. Now a dedicated shitposter might create a dozen ahead of time, but mitigating the problem is something if we can't do away with it entirely.
    Yeah I can see people making accounts and just letting them sit for the amount of time and use them when they need it.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bigsav1 View Post
    What's to stop people from making accounts and then letting them sit until they need it? There's always going to be a around everything.
    I wouldn't know, I've never been banned so I can't think with the head of someone actually planning for it.

  17. #17
    We can't hardware ban, and restricting new topics by post count will only make things worse. I've got a solution in mind, just no development time right now to implement it.

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