Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

  > Hellbanning is not about security; it is about removing 
  > people from the conversation. For that it works wonderfully 
  > (though I would argue that it is actually too hard to 
  > become hellbanned).
How do you feel about the banned person who responded to you below? He appears to be banned because in an addendum to single post he stated his sincere opinion that Groupon was a pump-and-dump scheme and implied that Andrew Mason was a psychopath. Is this cause for banning or not? I can see the argument either way, but the arbitrariness of the decision does make my uncomfortable.


clobber 8 hours ago | link | parent [dead]

As someone who is posting from a recently hellbanned account, I can say you easily know you're hellbanned when the site becomes unbearably slow (by design as that's what hellbanning also does) and in the case of losethos, he just made a new account: SparrowOS. Why not just "hide" those posts but still let people reply to them if showdead is on? It's really cruel in the case of someone like losethos. For the part about "removing people from the conversation" - what about when it's a single post or one that rubs a moderator the wrong way? Or say your comment was made to a friend/partner of a VC and they didn't appreciate the dissent? I've seen some very old accounts hellbanned that racked up thousands of karma and were stilled wiped out from a single post, maybe because they didn't want to toe a particular line.

The fact that HN is tied to YC and not independently/transparently run by users means it's open for conflicts of interest and possible "abuse" as it is certainly no democracy - and the rules could never be applied evenly or fairly. Since it's grown into something more from when it started, it should be spun off from YC the same way reddit was made (somewhat) independent of Conde Nast.

There is no "beauty" to hellbanning. It's a bad form of censorship and moderation and only leads to resentment. It's worse than downvoting without a reply because you've essentially told someone to "fuck off" when a mod disagreed. I've felt this way about hellbanning way before I was hellbanned.

I think that he should consider: "If you realize that you have been hellbanned, come back with a new account and clean up your act... then great!"

Insulting your downvoters and calling people psychopaths is toxic. He would be wise to refrain from doing so in the future if he wants to continue contributing here.

Also, as far as I know most (all?) hellbannings are triggered by downvoting, not mods. It certainly seems likely that in his case it was triggered by downvotes.

I presume you have "show dead" on and are seeing his responses directly. But for those who don't, he points out below that his post had a net score of -2, making it seem unlikely that the downvotes triggered a ban automatically. Perhaps the ban lies to you about the score? My previous belief was that 'flagging' brings the post to the attention of moderators, who then decide whether to act, but that downvotes are independent.

calling people psychopaths is toxic

I agree, and this is what makes it tricky for me. But I think the problem here is with the opinion itself, rather than the way it is expressed. I don't know Andrew, and don't wish to insult him. But some reasonable recent research suggests that 4% of CEO's are clinical psychopaths. Is this possibility simply off limits to discuss here? Maybe it needs to be, or maybe there is some way it can be approached more tactfully.


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact