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Letting certain people post uninhibited also hurts the community. There's no perfect solution.

> 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.

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