If you see a patent in the application pipeline that you know is bogus (obvious or prior art), you can do a preissuance submission:
I challenged a patent application and it was rejected. Now, I can't say if the patent examiner already knew that the patent was both obvious and had prior art, or if my application informed him of that, but it was rejected.
Lyon v. Boh, 1 F. 2d 48, 50 (S.D.N.Y. 1926), https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=969659756696519...
In Facebook's case, though—see above—there were two final rejections. A final rejection happens when all the claims are invalidated, so your submission is now vacuous.
It's called an IPR, an inter partes review  in the USPTO. Most potential challengers, though, are likely to save their ammunition for if and when they get sued on the patent. (And they might quietly let Facebook know they have prior art, so as to discourage FB from getting aggressive — FB might want its patent to remain officially valid, so as to be able to continue to rattle its saber at others, instead of having invalidity officially confirmed.)
It's called an IPR
Obligatory warning: I'm not a patent lawyer but I've responded to both final and non-final office actions, eventually getting a patent
This sounds like it's not exactly shadow banning; your direct friends can still see your comment. I'm vaguely aware that they have special comment sections on "public" pages, articles, etc, that filter the giant thread down to stuff your friends actually wrote. I'm guessing that at some point, if you were banned from the page/etc, then your friends also couldn't see what you wrote. If that's true, then this is a little nicer to the banned user than a shadowban.
More importantly, it's more effective because it's less likely to be detected.
It still shouldn't be patentable because there's prior art involving a bunch of systems with various forms of audience selection such that how to implement this specific set of audience selection rules is obvious to most software developers. Patents cover how, not what, and they do not cover inventions whose implementation is obvious to most experts in the field.
This is (ahem) patently not true; there are plenty of patents whose implementation is incredibly obvious. Insultingly obvious. As in, "Did that company try to patent string comparison?"
Look up the "standard network byte order" patent, for instance. It's now expired and was never enforced. The friend-of-a-friend who got that patent was heard to exclaim "I can't believe they gave that patent to me!", which should tell you a lot about the quality of the patent industry then -- IMHO it hasn't changed for the better.
They should not be, and somebody should probably be lobbying congress to address the patent office not being sufficiently strict.
I'm not entirely sure why, but there appear to be perverse or at least badly aligned incentives for patent examiners, and it would appear they only look for prior art in specific locations, and these aren't the ones that the industry uses.
So you get situations like someone getting a patent for putting structures on multiple lists at a time (e.g., a lookup list, and an LRU replacement list, and maybe a list for keeping track of locks) and this is something that people have been doing since rocks were young, but some nincompoop at OraGooSoftBook got a patent on it because these structures appear in OS textbooks or maybe Knuth and not anything the examiner encountered in law school, or any legal publications. And now FaceGooSoft has a legal lock on code you wrote (hey, you did diligently read all the patents relevant to your industry before you wrote a single line, just like everybody else does right?).
More detail: https://fsfe.org/campaigns/swpat/swpat.en.html
The law should be something like just manipulating the electronic state on an otherwise non-infringing machine is never an infringement. You have to actually connect it to new hardware.
But still wasted a lot of resources which could have gone in something of real value to nature or humanity
Look at Robert Kearns. He invented the intermittent windshield wiper and demoed it to the “Big Three.” They then took his idea and implemented it themselves. So he sued them and won.
Maybe removing patents would spur innovation, but what then do you do when you’re the little guy?
Inequities in wealth and power are serious problems. Patents are a horrible method to deal with them though. If you set out to have a goal of supporting little-guy innovators, we'd do best to institute things like UBI and universal health care.
That whole windshield wiper story isn't too far from patent-trolling situations. Big companies get sued all the time by "inventors" who got patents on things that the companies would have come up with on their own anyway. The overall net effect of patents is harm for the public interest.
To be fair, there was no public record of it until 2012 or so.
I'm not sure if reddit publicly acknowledged it before then, but it was certainly known that you were doing it. (It was also pretty damned obvious that you guys were fucking with vote counts -- e.g. "66% like it" on every post -- among other questionable anti-spam tactics...)
The earliest record I can find of the idea being discussed on reddit -- there might be earlier ones, this was just the earliest I've been able to dig up so far -- was in a suggestion by user ltbarcly back in June 2007:
> A better idea is a silent ban. Let him post comments, and show him those comments, but just leave them out for everyone else.
Source, as preserved by archive.org: https://web.archive.org/web/20070604141333/http://reddit.com...
There are also blog posts complaining about it from well before 2012 -- e.g. here's one from 2010: http://www.stochasticgeometry.ie/2010/03/09/silently-banned-...
The comments on it even use the term "shadowbanned".
pretty sure implies he has a hunch that they did, not 100% certainty. They may've said they hadn't considered such a thing before in a "forum" that the OP was able to overhear this either directly or indirectly and it wouldn't be a stretch to consider that in Facebook's history of borrowing from others, they then borrowed it from reddit.
It doesn't discount that it existed prior to reddit, just that they may have been the source for Facebook.
Microsoft was selling Office 365 subscriptions for a while and I never bought one. Eventually, I bought one from Amazon. So it is both true that I got it from Amazon, but that Microsoft had them prior.
There it was originally called "Hellbanning"
Patents are a joke.
Also they filed in 2012, it just took seven years to grant.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_banning there is precedent from the 1980s, and Fogbugz had this feature in 2006. I don't know when Reddit implemented it, but by 2012 it was widely known that they did, so they may have implemented it first as well.
How was this patent granted?
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUD and https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=kt367n...
[MUD1] became the first Internet multiplayer online role-playing game in 1980, when the university connected its internal network to ARPANet.
Which dates that particular piece of prior art to 1980 or later.
She was made into an object if you investigated her. She was a "mirror".
Some discussion here: https://blog.codinghorror.com/suspension-ban-or-hellban/
Links to Metafilter discussion here: https://ask.metafilter.com/117775/What-was-the-first-website...
> On the Citadel BBSes I frequented in the late '80s, it was referred to as the "twit bit", and the disliked user would sometimes be said to have been "twitted".
We implemented it sometime in 2007.
I also seem to rember msn messenger also had a silent blocking feature. Your activity would be invisible to the blocked user and you'd appear as offline.
Ignoring a user is entirely client-side. You might be able to test it with a ctcp, depending how the client is designed and configured, and depending on their umodes (if ctcps are blocked) as ctcps are standard messages with a prefix.
Silencing is unlike Reddit shadow bans; firstly, it only applies to private messages, not to channels. Secondly, it has to be configured by the individual users, not by admins.
When ignored, it really is no different from a shadow ban.
I think what the grandparent is saying is that those implementations count as prior art and this application should have been rejected. It is ridiculous to even insinuate that the it is possible that thing that I cannot continue doing the thing I have been doing for decades because someone patented it a decade or two after I started doing it.
And when litigation, right or wrong, is won by the deepest pockets (settlement), I imagine this is just one arrow in the quiver of evil FB. WTF else is in there?
Can the Iliad be considered prior art?
I’m not a patent lawyer, but looking at the claims, the way that forums like HN, Reddit, IRC implement shadow banning do not appear to infringe on this patent.
It seems likely to me that by the time the claims were done being narrowed after the multiple rounds of rejections, they have managed to patent something narrow enough that only they are actually doing it.
Specifically, any kind of shadow banning that occurs at the level of a “channel” wide audience, and not a one-to-one connection, appears to not be covered.
The way to read the claims, as I understand it, is everything within a single claim is a logical AND in order to infringe the claim, and dependent claims require everything in the parent claim as well as everything in the subsequent one to hold true. If any one part of a single claim does not apply to your system, then you do not infringe that particular claim.
Should Facebook be able to take a hyper-specialized application of a common feature and patent that particular application? It comes down to whether their implementation is unique and distinctive enough to be novel and non-obvious.
I do think in this case it’s totally dicey to say that shadow banning on a friend-based feed versus a channel-based feed is really a novel and non-obvious application of shadow banning. But at least it is a fairly narrow application that they are claiming.
If you want to show prior art against this patent, I assume it would have to be on a friend-based feed and not a channel-based feed.
The first thing I would do if taking this to court would be to read “green eggs and ham” to the jury. Facebook is trying to patent a particular place where you can eat green eggs and ham. It’s nonsense and should be thrown out, and they should be embarrassed to have pursued this. But it’s also not really that worrisome.
No, because in the context of current state of communication software it was totally obvious to translate the idea of shadow banning to a “friend-based feed”.
>But it’s also not really that worrisome.
A huge company shrinking the space of available programming techniques for no good reason by abusing laws that were supposed to boost innovation is pretty worrisome.
This is how it's supposed to be, but with today's courts/lawyers does it actually hold up? I remember reading that in the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit that the jury ruled Samsung violating certain claims of specific Apple patents, but not all the claims of each, in their final judgement. I think an infringing judgement was even made on some dependent claims when the independent claim wasn't deemed as infringed upon.
I think that anyone hit with this could argue for dismissal under Alice.
If not, what would be the status of the court transcript???
The money from said fine ought to be granted to the party that brings evidence to court that the patent has been granted in error.
Further the examiner who approved it ought to be terminated. Ample reason for both parties to do a better job.
I hereby suggest that we petition the government to fire the individual who granted this. Is the most appropriate venue for this farcical quest change.org?
Alternatively we can just admit that the entire patent system is better off scrapped.
They received a patent on receiving data, recognizing it was a certain type of data, and performing an action on it.
And what was this used for? A user clicks a phone number and it brings up the phone app.
>>thereby providing fewer incentives to the commenting user to spam the page or attempt to circumvent the social networking system filters. <<
I would think its just the opposite and would encourage whack-a-mole antics, as in many sockpuppets. just how many shadowban posts would a blog socmedia etcetera see as acceptable overhead to further the illusion of transmitted posts during a shadowban. i would think its a problem to carry a bunch of content, to show to only one person.
putting the grey hat on, it could make a beautiful online scratch pad, or even a dead drop so a number of people could use the shadow banned account to communicate exclusively with each other.
When people attempted to vote multiple times, the count would only increase locally in the spammers browser. Only the first vote was saved in the database. The spamming votes we stored in a cookie on client and added them to the results before rendering the result so he believed he submitted multiple votes.
We had some server side logging as well. Was funny to see in the logs, the number of people that tried to submit multiple votes and to see a few user submitting a lot before realizing the votes didn't get added to the db.
Was very effective and reduced the worst of the spamming significantly.
Imagine if other companies started patenting other numbers of clicks. Like B&N patenting 2 click checkouts. Apple patenting 3 click checkouts... this is clearly what patents were intended to be used for.
You can argue the exclusivity period is too long, but Amazon absolutely trail-blazed checkout technology, and the trade-off of the patent system is now their exclusivity is over, and the technology is free for all.
At least one thing we don’t have to worry about in tech is “ever-greening”.
I was there. No it wasn't.
E.g., here's a slashdot article from 1999 with a bunch of comments complaining about it: https://slashdot.org/story/99/10/12/1826242/amazoncom-receiv.... And Japan rejected the patent as obvious in 2001.
US Software patents are pathological because the only novel part of most interesting software is the mathematics. So the only things that are patentable are dumb and obvious systems built on top of the actual contribution. Crypto is the epitome of this pattern because all of the Turing-award-level mathematics was not patentable but "that meth but with blockchain" or "that math but with more bytes" is patentable. It's dumb and the opposite of innovation.
Dijkstra's algorithm is another good example of the main innovation never being patented but a bunch of obvious stuff built on top of it receiving patent protection.
The existence and availability of obtaining patents on new publicly disclosed inventions heavily incentivizes R&D efforts overall. The disclosure and exclusivity properties encourages constant innovation and novel discoveries in order to compete. There is unquestionably a constant arms race to patent new ways to provide features which amaze users. I assume Amazon was then and continues to be now absolutely laser focused on developing patentable user-facing features which increase conversion.
The same patent system which gave us 1-click also gives us technology like Apple Pay, which is a delight to use along with impressively secure. In 30 years I assume people will be lamenting how obvious that was too.
Do you remember what the Amazon website looked like in 1997? Wayback Machine doesn’t even have a snapshot that old.
And the collection of patents that Amazon has been issued, which affords them protection of their published IP, are part of what enables them to spend those Billions every year developing all the new technologies they continue to create and publish today.
> the client computer will know which item is currently being offered for sale. In such a case, the viewer will be able to order it by Simply pressing one button on the TV remote
They were the first do this "with a shopping cart", and needed a patent examiner tell them how to get the patent claims approved. Genius(!)
> The Patent Owner is also advised that claims 1 and 11 would be considered to be patentable if they were amended to recite providing a shopping cart model
This is what is wrong with the US PTO: old inventions are patentable for new applications as long as it is novel, without consideration for inventiveness. Is it the "Guinness World Records" of invention, where you can be awarded for using a saw "in a musical ensemble".
> "It is also possible that permanent information about the viewer (i.e. the name, address, method of payment and credit card number) may be preentered once by the viewer, so it is not necessary to solicit that information each time an order is placed. The information is stored in permanent memory in the client computer. In such a case, when an order is placed, that information is retrieved from the permanent memory, appended to the item number and transmitted to the central computer."
Aha, but you see of course this isn’t at all how the Amazon 1-click system works.
The most important thing about patents is you cannot patent the overall concept. You can only patent a specific implementation, and only that specific implementation technique is covered by the patent.
Likewise, if we didn’t let people patent distinctly different implementations of the same overall concept—if Amazon’s unique implementation of a one-click online purchase was not novel or non-obvious—that would imply that this earlier patent somehow covered what Amazon was trying to do! So now you’ve made the problem exponentially worse by making patents absurdly broad, patenting the overall concept of buying an item with 1 click, versus a specific method and apparatus for achieving the functionality.
The abstract notion of making purchases through a computer as simple and take as few steps as possible is “obvious” but it’s also not patentable. But it you invent a new way to make that feature possible you can patent that.
I go back to the Apple Pay example, which is the result of massive R&D effort to find new ways to essentially make 1-click possible, but; orchestrated in a very particular way between machines at the merchant, Apple, card processor, and client in order to achieve better scale, across many merchants, with a consistent UI that is manifestly simple to access and configure, and with a heightened level of security.
The point was that the invention of 1-click buy is patentable as applied to "a shopping cart".
> After all, what did it take B&N; to work around the 1-click patent? They had to add a second click for the user to confirm the order.
That specific implementation, in 1997, was patentable. And now anyone can freely do the same, if they went to, although we now know that isn’t really the best way to do it.
It shouldn't be patentable any more than the Gillette Cloud 9 or the Wilkinson Sword Legs 11.
Our company, which has a number of "software" patents, also implements shadow banning in a communications application, and we never even thought to patent that. Despite the fact that we review all new features for patentability before they're released.
Then you are too young to remember Mentifex
In Reddit's case, they shadowbanned me immediately after I bought Reddit gold, and an unpaid, unaffiliated subreddit moderator let me know that my account was snowbanned.
Getting Reddit to reverse the ban took sending a message to an admin and waiting a few weeks.
This shadow ban, the continuing degredation of old.reddit.com (its showing incorrect URLs now), and people getting pissed off at me when I suggest breaking up their wall of text into paragraphs (replying "this is just Facebook!" or similar) have pushed me away.
I'm not on Facebook, and I don't want to interact with people who can't be bothered to put in a modicum of effort to comply with subreddit stanfards and rules. Sadly, Reddit has chosen to tailor itself to adopt this demographic over the last few years :c
Reddit gold is not a subscription to Reddit. This is a donation function that displays a badge. You didn't have a premium account and you weren't above the rules.
Being picky, mean or downright unpleasant will get you banned you from certain places. Unless done in a polite and educational manner, calling out people for their lack of punctuation or grammatical errors is generally frowned upon and considered toxic behaviour since it does not contribute to the conversation.
Regular moderators can effectively shadowban inside their subreddits by using AutoModerator and telling it to remove all posts made by certain users.
Reddit Gold has literally been renamed to Reddit Premium and is described officially as both a "premium membership" and a "subscription": https://www.reddit.com/premium
While your comment makes it sound like AutoMod just removes comments, what I think you're meaning to point out is that AutoMod can selectively hide all of a user's comments to everyone except for the comment author, which is the exact same as shadowbanning, and isn't just a simple comment removal.
A lot of subreddits use this feature now, too. Some automatically shadowban any user that doesn't have above a certain amount of karma, while others auto shadowban everyone and then only maintain a whitelist of authorized posters. If you've ever posted on a subreddit and gotten zero replies/votes, it's worth going into incognito mode and trying to view your comment from there. Chances are, your account is shadowbanned in that subreddit.
Users can only know their comments are removed if they check from logged-out or another account, or if the moderators notify them by posting a reply or messaging (which some do, but not a lot of the time overall).
And either many redditors have never had their comments removed, or more likely, shadowbanning is apparently a lot more effective than people realized.
Pretty much all of reddit's moderation tools were created 10+ years ago for anti-spam purposes, and have hardly been changed since then. They don't work very well for how they're actually used now.
Most of the subreddits with active mods and communities have yet to stylize and reimplement their custom CSS, sidebar and links on the new UI (or can't due to limitations of the new UI), which means lots of people using the new UI miss out on key features that differentiate a subreddit from the rest of Reddit.
I give it to you, a Subreddit AutoModerator Ban and a Reddit Shadowban are similar in result but not the same thing and should not be referred as such. As far as I know, a regular moderator cannot use AutoModerator to ban a user across the entire website.
For the re-branded Reddit Premium, you seem to be right. But the point is moot, having a premium account is not a protection from getting banned. See paid games where users with accounts worth thousands of dollars are banned.
(Edit: Oh, just noticed who I am talking to. Hi Deimorz! Great work on all of this.)
This is exactly what automod does.
That would be like saying that paying an employee to watch someone's account and manually delete every comments and submissions is a shadow ban. It is not. AutoModerator is an amazing piece of work but it is just that, a robot moderator.
But that's not the point. The point is that "an unpaid, unaffiliated subreddit moderator" cannot blanked ban you from the website (and that being a premium user won't protect you from such bans either).
Which is exactly the same as adding a flag to a user's account.
This is some bizarre hair splitting going on here.
>That would be like saying that paying an employee to watch someone's account and manually delete every comments and submissions is a shadow ban. It is not. AutoModerator is an amazing piece of work but it is just that, a robot moderator
I don't know what you're trying to say here. What exactly, in your mind, is the difference between "a robot moderator", which is code that controls what is and isn't visible on a subreddit, and core reddit code, which is also just code that controls what is and isn't visible on reddit?
>The point is that "an unpaid, unaffiliated subreddit moderator" cannot blanked ban you from the website
Reddit is infamous for having multiple poweruser mods that are moderators over many of the most popular subreddits, and many of these subreddits share banlists (even ones outside the 'powermod cabal'). A ban from any one of these 'unpaid, unaffiliated subreddit moderator' will result in a shadowban from the majority of the website.
I hear you and agree that yes, a 'premium subscription' does not mean you're immune from bans, but you seem to also misunderstand the banning mechanisms on reddit. 'Shadowbanning' is much more widely used across reddit than I think you are aware of.
Which sounds like a frightening and dangerous abuse of the moderator privilege to me. I'm astonished that Reddit has continued to allow this practice to continue. Also surprising are that you can comment in a subreddit and get banned from totally unrelated ones just because a mod decides it to be.
You have just described two different things, with different names and different logics. The results of running both is the same but the two are not the same thing.
Moderators sharing lists of usernames to ban versus the software itself banning users globally is not the same thing either. Again, the result is similar, but the process and logic are different.
It is important to make a clear distinction between similar processes.
But yes, you're right, the results are identical and most users will not see the difference.
Regular mods see shadowbanned posts in the modqueue. In my case, the admins confirmed the automated spam detection snowbanned my account shortly after I paid for Reddit Gold.
>You didn't have a premium account and you weren't above the rules.
I didn't break any rules or expect any special treatment, all I wanted was a silly badge...
>Being picky, mean or downright unpleasant will get you banned you from certain places.
I have never been warned or banned for any of this type of behavior on reddit.
It is critical to assume the other party is writing in good faith when interacting IMO.
vBulletin has been doing it for well over 15 years too.
What do you mean by showing incorrect URLs? I use old.reddit.com all the time and haven't noticed anything wrong.
I reported a post which was then removed as a duplicate due to this bug recently, and OP ended up notifying myself and the mod of this bug (since only OP used the new UI).
make sure to mention inventors names (link to them if you can)
sometimes the patent examiner magically does a 180, hope the PR is helping
another use of the PR is to find potential suitors and licensees of the patent
its always written as a "not advertisement". kind of like how a buzzfeed listicle isn't an advertisement, but little do you know that the 3rd thing in the list is the one that got the whole listicle written to begin with.
And my guess is that the people who challenge it are going to make sure it ends up in Judge Alsup’s court, if possible.
I feel like it's more ethical to just outright ban someone than to shadow ban. This is not only censorship but false advertising.
When you interact on social media you expect a certain level of fairness and visibility of your content.
This masquerades as providing that fairness when in fact you are screaming in an empty room. Shady.
Others not so much. When they came back repeatedly with a new account after multiple bans with no change in behavior they got shadowbanned. The couple of users that figured it out and came back again got the nuclear option. Imperfectly and without guarantee of no collateral damage, it linked IPs, accounts, etc of the user. They could register a new account but the shadow ban followed them unless they were very careful; in which case we just applied it manually.
The thing is, you have to make the system easier for you to control than it is for them to exploit. Otherwise they’ll just grind you down until they “win”.
Shadow banning is way more effective. IP bans don't work because even tech illiterate users can figure out what's going on and get a proxy working.
We ended up going with normal account-level banning after experimenting with IP-based shadow banning. The game was popular with kids, who would tell their siblings/school friends about it. So lots of IPs were associated, and at the time teasing apart different traffic streams from the same IP was sci-fi level stuff.
But, we did learn that normal banning was way less effective. If it weren't for the collateral damage, we would've kept shadow banning with IP account association.
The shadowban slowed them way down by denying the feedback. A user would have to respond to them for them to even know they did it. If they did, we’d manually shadowban that one too and they wouldn’t realize for awhile.
Lots of work for them. Little for us.
This does not masquerade as providing fairness at all. It's nothing to do with fairness. It is removing that user in a way that makes it difficult for them to come back. That is all.
Firstly, not all shadow bannings are guaranteed to be fair and not due to some judgement error by moderators or moderation algorithms.
Secondly, I would argue that sites like Facebook are uniquely positioned to cause harm to users for whom its moderators or algorithms have failed. It has been commented and studied that heavy facebook use is correlated to depression.  It has also been commented that facebook feeds your dopamine response cycle.  A user who has been unfairly targeted by FB moderation may feel isolated from friends and family, may feel like they suddenly lost their dopamine fix, and may therefore experience psychological distress and isolation. It's not hard to imagine how a decision to shadow ban can have real consequences on the banned, who may in truth be decent human beings not deserving of such treatment.
Footnotes - Some random citations from google searches on this topic - by no means exhaustive:
There is a similar dopamine response cycle with gambling addicts, but a casino barring an addict for the safety of themselves and other customers is hardly seen as "unfair" or unethical regardless of how the banned person feels, because similar to with social media bans, it is generally seen as being for the benefit of the community and even the banned members themselves.
A banned FB addict might spiral into depression just like a barred gambling addict, but in both cases if anything the ban is helping the person face and overcome their addiction rather than continued service which would be enabling or perpetuating their addiction.
Or: the gambling addict isn't typically nearly-forced into using a casino to keep in touch with loved ones.
The idea is that the person being shadowbanned is either communicating in bad faith (trolling or trying to underhandedly manipulate others), or is a paranoid schizophrenic.
In practice, though, shadowbans are applied to people who are persistent annoyances, even if they're not intentionally so, and even if they're not delusional. The result is a shift of the forums' Overton Window. Gradually, other people become annoying outlyers on contentious topics, and they have to be shadowbanned as well to "keep the peace". On and on it goes.
People who are justifiably shadowbanned — trolls and paranoids — probably check periodically to see if their main account has been shadowbanned. Otherwise they're poor trolls or not very paranoid paranoids. If a troll discovers this, they will be enraged and redouble their efforts if it's technically possible to get around the ban. If a paranoid discovers a shadowban, it will feed their paranoia. Either case is very bad for the forum, when the toxic user inevitably re-registers (assuming they're able; if they're not why couldn't they just be banned outright?), causing chaos until they're identified and shadowbanned again. The only person this really works on is the unintentionally annoying poster who discovers the shadowban and becomes depressed over being gaslighted, and might leave the forum on account of that.
Shadowbans seems like they're part of a war of attrition against justifiable targets, with quite a lot of collateral damage.
> If a troll discovers this, they will be enraged and redouble their efforts if it's technically possible to get around the ban.
In my experience shadow-banning people on my forum, outright banning someone tends to enrage people much more since they basically realize they are banned in the heat of the moment that got them banned. One benefit of shadow-banning is that they may have cooled off by the time they realize, and frankly people tend to handle it better, even sometimes a "ah, touche" sort of mentality.
I've noticed my own posts on HN individually shadow-banned by looking at my comment history in incognito mode and I get it. "Yeah, I knew I shouldn't have worded that post so strongly."
Better mod processes help the issue. On my forum, people shadow-banned pop up in review queue at intervals. If they seemed to have cooled off, they can be unbanned. Mods can also vouch for certain posts like people can on HN with showdead on. There's a view in the mod panel that sorts people by vouch count and we can potentially unban people that way as well.
Nobody would need a shadow-banning mechanism if the moderators had unlimited resources. People forget that it's an effort to be on the right side of the trapdoor function.
Meanwhile I wager that people that don't think shadow-banning is ever just are coming from an idealism you tend to have before you actually try running a forum and realize the extent a single person can harm your community and waste everyone's finite time.
I think the next level of shadow banning (if not happening today) will be shadow supporting or shadow questions/responses. Where an entire thread keeps progressing to convince a banned user from investigating their true status by keeping the dopamine flowing.
I think the world is much better when it gives people chances to improve.
also you don't have a right not to be censored by private companies.
Not that I'm necessarily arguing for GP's point here, but the point of a bill of rights is to grant or in some way codify rights that people think they should have. They are not necessarily lists of natural rights that won't be violated.
You kind of do. They can't claim they offer one experience and then knowingly provide another, lesser one.
Proprietary platforms are under no obligation to host your content. Choosing to deny access or full use of their products to you isn't "censorship"
And we'll never get one as long as everyone who wants one is not being the change they want to see in the world.
I'm thinking YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Google when I'm talking about these sorts of things.
We've also got the fun game of "Platform or Publisher?" and responsibility about the content on the site itself.
Is it right for a CEO to get charged with a crime if someone on their website offers sexual services (SESTA / FOSTA)? Well, if it's an open forum, absolutely not. If the company is in complete control of their content? That's a different story. Now the question becomes "how much control over content can a CEO give up and still remain responsible for the content on the site?" and where we as a society decide we need to end up on that gradient is where we answer the question: "what should site owners be able to do on their site."
I agree with you about software patents, though. I think software patents across the board do more harm than good.
That said, I would never support something such as disallowing shadow banning in an internet bill of rights. That goes way overboard and just ties the hands of legitimate platform operators.
Until then, frivolous patent holders have free rein to coerce contracts that licence claims they know won't stand re-examination.
It's the kind of thing that blows your mind the first time it happens to you, but then you learn to check for it everywhere.
If the US doesn't do it, others will, to their own distinct advantage.
Also React was relicenced.