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Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

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Bans, account deletions questions


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#1 Anakam

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:27 PM

First, please, I would like to avoid having any boots occur in this thread.

Second, my apologies to anyone I have asked for advice about posting this topic & questions.  I was waffling a bit.

I'll try to keep the text of this short, given what I think is a pretty complex background and a relatively recent significant shift in board rules.  I think those who know me well can guess what my opinions are, and my questions at the end likely make it even clearer, but I've tried to stick with neutral statements in composing this post.  The basic idea of this thread started as 'huh, what's going on?'.  If you're not interested in the background, or it's too long (screencaps are about half the post length), my questions are at the end of the post.

As far as I know, we've always had here a courtesy from the staff: no one's account is deleted, no matter what they've done.  The group 'dead accounts' is used for permabans (and indefinite suspensions?), and some posters who have decided to leave are in the 'awaiting authorisation' group (people in either of these categories are not in the Member List linked at the bottom of the page, AFAIK).  This no-deletion policy is a courtesy that I have always appreciated, though it's never been codified into any version of the guidelines, AFAIK.  'Dead account' summarizes the situation of a permaban pretty well, IMO, while leaving the profile the same as for members still able to post.

There's also a continuing courtesy from the staff to announce board-wide bans.  This used to be in the guidelines.  The banning of eninn in May was announced.  Again, I appreciate this courtesy being continued--if nothing else, it lets the members know we're not going to see that person post again.  (For 99% of cases that is, I know of some permabans--'dead accounts'--who have returned to the 'Islander' group in the past.)

That's basically my preface: two things, one always a courtesy and one formerly a guideline, but both have stood through many, many things at Ex Isle.

Onto the things more relevant to my questions.  The examples aren't a commentary on the posters themselves.  All examples were accessed yesterday in a US time zone.  The following four examples are what a 'dead account' has, to my recollection, always looked like (except for changes due to board upgrades, etc.):

Dead accounts, profile viewable
http://www.exisle.ne...darthsikle

http://www.exisle.ne...706-tom-sawyer

http://www.exisle.ne...er/1700-martyr

http://www.exisle.ne...ne.../199-g1223

I think the above four were permabanned in 2005/2006 and in 2010.  As far as I know, all were announced.  There are other examples, but I went with the first few I found.

The following two examples are 'dead accounts' whose profiles are not viewable (screencap example below for another poster), and whose handles can't be clicked on in their posts and therefore looks like a deleted account (I'll attach a screencap of what the difference looks like in the skin I use).  Both bans were announced.  One is from 2011(?) and the other is from May of this year.

Dead accounts, profile not viewable:
http://www.exisle.ne...ne.../1131-robl

http://www.exisle.ne...ser/5288-eninn

Thoughts 1 - 10, 'no longer active' looks like another way of saying 'deleted'.  Or, it could mean staff only may view the profile.  I try not to hang out where account deletions happen.  

Now are two examples that I find most confusing, and are the start of my 'huh, what?'.  The profile error message is the same as for the two posters above.  They're still in the Islander group, but aren't in the member list (that list in order of posts screencaps are attached below, showing the range they'd be in for their respective letters).  There's no announcement of a boardwide suspension that I can find.

Islanders, profile not viewable
http://www.exisle.ne...user/5108-kota/

http://www.exisle.ne...r/1585-scherzo/

This is a mixed message: other Islanders have viewable profiles.  Some 'dead accounts' do and some don't.

Screencap examples (with apologies to LotS for using one of his posts as a contrast example for clickable vs. non-clickable):

Picture 10.png

Picture 11.png

Picture 8_eras.png

Picture 12.png

Picture 13.png

Again, based on these examples, I'm asking about things that are essentially courtesies (particularly the no deletions policy) that have been extended to the membership over the Isle's history.  My questions are basically:

Isn't 'dead account' adequate to indicate a permaban, and the posters with non-clickable names: have the accounts been deleted?
Are some boardwide suspensions no longer being announced?


Another plea that I hope this thread doesn't result in any boots.  Thank you for reading.

Edited by Anakam, 14 June 2014 - 02:29 PM.


#2 EChatty

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:34 PM

As far as I know, there aren't any recent (aside from Ennin) boardwide suspensions that I am aware of. Someone else can look into it, one of the admins who has more access than I do.

#3 Balderdash

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:36 PM

I don't recall any posts from anybody saying that scherzo had been banned or Kota  for that matter but maybe I missed something.

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#4 Anakam

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:43 PM

Thanks, Chatty.  Like I said, the 'Islander' group & inaccessible profile mix is super confusing. :/

I know from reading recent IC threads that there was a forum-specific banning and LoP said he would not be announcing those.  I tried to look back over recent IC and OT threads to avoid looking like a complete idiot and I didn't spot anything either.

Edited by Anakam, 14 June 2014 - 02:44 PM.


#5 Mikoto

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:58 PM

Hmm, I can't actually answer this one. I'm not entirely sure how the software works.

My best educated guess is that 'banning' people has several different ways of accomplishing it. As a Validating Admin I can go into a member's profile here on the board and hit "Flag as Spammer" option which basically removes all posting privileges, but I don't think it changes their group status.

Or I can switch into the admin control panel, look up the member and press a ban button, or manually change a member from one group to another. Such as "Islander" to "Dead Account." However I'm not supposed to use those options so I know little about them.

Again I repeat, this is an educated guess. I could be completely wrong. In any case, I'll bring it to the attention of Orph who will know the answer. I have no idea how long it'll take him to reply though.
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#6 Anakam

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:09 PM

View PostMikoto, on 14 June 2014 - 02:58 PM, said:

Hmm, I can't actually answer this one. I'm not entirely sure how the software works.

My best educated guess is that 'banning' people has several different ways of accomplishing it. As a Validating Admin I can go into a member's profile here on the board and hit "Flag as Spammer" option which basically removes all posting privileges, but I don't think it changes their group status.

Or I can switch into the admin control panel, look up the member and press a ban button, or manually change a member from one group to another. Such as "Islander" to "Dead Account." However I'm not supposed to use those options so I know little about them.

Again I repeat, this is an educated guess. I could be completely wrong. In any case, I'll bring it to the attention of Orph who will know the answer. I have no idea how long it'll take him to reply though.

Thanks for coming in so quick. :blush:  I definitely wasn't expecting to get an answer right away, but it'd be good to know the answers to my questions sometime.  After reading LotS's thread from January asking about board announcements I'm even more confused about any possible answer to my second question.  But I appreciate the guessing and definitely understand it's not a definite answer, though different banning methods makes sense to me.  Thank you for asking Orph, and I know he's super busy. :(  (Which is also unfortunate because he can be quite a funny poster in general in addition to his software guru abilities!)

#7 FnlPrblm

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:30 AM

View PostAnakam, on 14 June 2014 - 02:27 PM, said:


<<snip>>


Again, based on these examples, I'm asking about things that are essentially courtesies (particularly the no deletions policy) that have been extended to the membership over the Isle's history.  My questions are basically:

Isn't 'dead account' adequate to indicate a permaban, and the posters with non-clickable names: have the accounts been deleted?
Are some boardwide suspensions no longer being announced?


Another plea that I hope this thread doesn't result in any boots.  Thank you for reading.

Ok, forgive me as I have a migrane the size of Canada right now. (No worries, I've taken Excedrin Migrane and used some Native American balm, so hopefully it'll pass) :)  I say that because I'm not 100% sure of what you're asking, so I'm not sure I'll be answering 100% spot on.  But I'll try. :)

I can view RobL's and Kota's profile.  (Those were two that you posted, one being non-viewable and dead, the former being an islander, but non-viewable.)  RobL was last active (banned) around July 2012.  Kota was last active/suspended/banned in Janurary 2014.

Kota was banned by LoP, I'm pretty sure of that.  I believe this is what led to a change to the current letter of the law, so to speak, with the GL's.  I thought that one was pretty much well known on the board at the time.  So I don't know if there was an announcement specifically to that or not.  It may or may not just have been where the issue took place or whatever.

An answer to the deletion thing is...absolutely zero accounts have ever been deleted since I've been on staff (even back when I was a mod).  There are moral, technical and security reasons as to why they never will be.  Now, why you can't view their profile, I'm not sure honestly.  But, as you could see with Kota, all their posts are still available on the board (minus a rare few that would get the board into legal trouble).  It could simply a matter of different coding and linkage as to why one is viewable from years ago, but one now isn't.  Again, I'm not sure.
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#8 Sci-Fi Girl

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:31 AM

I haven't looked at all the links and member profiles yet, but just pointing out that I can't see those member profiles either.  To be specific, it says I don't have permission to view them.  Here is a screencap of the error message:

Picture 1797.png


So Admins can see those profiles, but Islanders cannot.  Is it because their emails were scrambled or something?  Because when you come across a page like that, it looks like it's by design.

This has got to be a question for Orph.  :)

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#9 Lover of Purple

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 01:20 PM

As long as I own the board I will handle bans as I see fit. I prefer to longer post bans ONLY because we end up with pages of complains/discussion/and so on and the person banned often gets dragged through the mud and that is wrong since this is only a message board, not life altering.



Edited to add: We do not delete members.

#10 Anakam

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:30 PM

View PostFnlPrblm, on 15 June 2014 - 07:30 AM, said:

View PostAnakam, on 14 June 2014 - 02:27 PM, said:

<<snip>>


Again, based on these examples, I'm asking about things that are essentially courtesies (particularly the no deletions policy) that have been extended to the membership over the Isle's history.  My questions are basically:

Isn't 'dead account' adequate to indicate a permaban, and the posters with non-clickable names: have the accounts been deleted?
Are some boardwide suspensions no longer being announced?


Another plea that I hope this thread doesn't result in any boots.  Thank you for reading.

Ok, forgive me as I have a migrane the size of Canada right now. (No worries, I've taken Excedrin Migrane and used some Native American balm, so hopefully it'll pass) :)  I say that because I'm not 100% sure of what you're asking, so I'm not sure I'll be answering 100% spot on.  But I'll try. :)

I can view RobL's and Kota's profile.  (Those were two that you posted, one being non-viewable and dead, the former being an islander, but non-viewable.)  RobL was last active (banned) around July 2012.  Kota was last active/suspended/banned in Janurary 2014.

Kota was banned by LoP, I'm pretty sure of that.  I believe this is what led to a change to the current letter of the law, so to speak, with the GL's.  I thought that one was pretty much well known on the board at the time.  So I don't know if there was an announcement specifically to that or not.  It may or may not just have been where the issue took place or whatever.

An answer to the deletion thing is...absolutely zero accounts have ever been deleted since I've been on staff (even back when I was a mod).  There are moral, technical and security reasons as to why they never will be.  Now, why you can't view their profile, I'm not sure honestly.  But, as you could see with Kota, all their posts are still available on the board (minus a rare few that would get the board into legal trouble).  It could simply a matter of different coding and linkage as to why one is viewable from years ago, but one now isn't.  Again, I'm not sure.

Fnl, this was by no means so urgent for you to post with a migraine!  (And it hope it goes away soon.  And I do appreciate the posting but egads get rid of the migraine first, IC can't be doing any favors there!)

Ah I thought RobL got banned in Dec. 2011 but something in spring or summer '12 would have been easy for me to miss because I did quals then.  And, that you can view the profiles does answer my question about whether the accounts were deleted, thank you.  I'd begun to think they hadn't been, but as I said my first several thoughts were about deletion, not blocking.  And, your answer about the no deletions policy is exactly what I've heard in the past, so thank you for that.  :)

I was aware of at least one forum-specific banning in January 2014, and that there were a couple of controversial threads in OT in the first half of the month, but even though I think I visited the board some during that time, it wasn't obvious that there had been board-wide bans, no, and having looked at those two threads the follow-up in the form of bannings isn't clear.  Since I couldn't see the profiles, seeing recent posts that led to the banning was also harder (especially since there are some things this version of the search engine seem to have trouble with).  Mikoto suggested that different banning & group tools are a factor in members not seeing the profiles, and I think she's right about that.

Regarding the part of my first question having to do with account categories, I still find 'dead account' much, much clearer than 'Islander' for people who have been shown the door indefinitely, but whatever makes the most sense in the admin panel.

View PostLover of Purple, on 15 June 2014 - 01:20 PM, said:

As long as I own the board I will handle bans as I see fit.

I apologize if I was unclear, LoP, I was never questioning the actual bannings.  That was not the goal of the thread at all.

Quote

I prefer to longer post bans ONLY because we end up with pages of complains/discussion/and so on and the person banned often gets dragged through the mud and that is wrong since this is only a message board, not life altering.

That is one of the places I got confused (one of two main places of confusion).  LotS started a thread in January asking about board announcements and a forum-specific banning and you replied there about why no announcement.  eninn's banning got announced though and locked (and yeah I do know what happens when those threads get left open!).  So I thought that generally forum-specific wasn't announced, full bans are announced.  I know the perils of hypothesizing from so few points but I hope that clarifies the source of my second question and now I understand that in general bans will not be announced.  Thank you for explaining and for responding so quickly.

Quote

Edited to add: We do not delete members.

Thanks, Fnl answered that too and that is exactly what I was looking for with part of my first question.

And thanks for all the fish. :cool:

Edited by Anakam, 15 June 2014 - 08:36 PM.


#11 Lover of Purple

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:51 PM

For you Anakam....any time.

#12 Orpheus

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:14 AM

I'll review this thread when I have time to give you a better, more complete answer.

I think much of the confusion lies here:
IPB has several tools to block posting by various accounts for various reasons, and Ex Isle crafts custom tools to suit its policies and guidelines. One of IPB's tools is "flag as spammer". Since spammers are *usually* relatively unknown newcomers, sometimes come in waves, often do many things at once to get their message out (mass PMing, putting spam links in sigs and profiles, etc.) and are constantly coming up with new tricks, we set "flag as spammer" to be a one-click block of all the tricks we know about.

Other situations can arise (for example) when a member is initially suspended and then banned (without being unsuspended). The suspension may have been a provisional move, and the ban may have been applied after consultation. Since Admins (or sometimes staff) can still see the profiles, it's hard for us to check (or even think of checking) that members can see them as well. IPB's profile doesn't give us any cue to such things.

I can't fault a mod for (e.g.) using the "flag as spammer" tool as a quick initial fix. Only I know *most* of the systems interactions and side-effects, and IPB has pulled the rug out from under even me by changing the underlying code without a specific announcement. IPB assumes that individual boards will use the tools they write in certain ways, but they have never issued a manual to detail this. Sometimes they/we guess wrong. For example, they keep tweaking the available member group permissions in ways that make it harder to properly implement EI's unique Watchdog category. (Few boards would want a group that can see all, but not sanction members)

I'll look into this in more detail, to see if anything has changed on IPB's end, and if I need to adjust anything in our implementation.

I'm sorry if this reply is not on target. I'll write a better response after I've had a chance to review



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