It's a lame, lazy and flawed system of moderation which ends up with a ton of false positives.
I wouldn't be surprised if this comment gets me silent banned!
When it applies to the most egregious of problem users then it works as intended, but there have been cases where people have been, apparently, posting while banned for some slight, and providing reasonable content. That suggests to me that some banned users might be amenable to a warning or might well change their behavior if they were made aware that their actions were intolerable.
Also, it makes no sense to me to continue using up the site's resources stringing people along who, by definition, the staff doesn't want there. Although I admit I have no idea how much of a problem that is with HN itself, since it doesn't use a database.
Because you cannot stop them so at this point it is less about saving resources and more about harm reduction. It's unfortunate some people who probably would change get caught up in it but it's really a small price to pay(their not having their comments public but still being able to use the site normally) for the greater enjoyment.
The only people you're effectively hurting are the ones who think they are making useful contributions but make the unfortunate mistake of hurting the moderator's feelings.
I disagree with this assertion. Shadow-banning on HN is quite well known, and any troll worthy of the term understands the landscape of their endeavors.
>banned regularly so it effectively doubles their work
How is opening a link once a day or so in incognito mode to check for their comment effectively doubling their work?
>Quite often their willingness to invest time into trolling drops off with lack of response so often they will leave before they understand that shadow banning is a thing.
Again, I think we both have very different ideas on the transience of a trolling campaign. I assure you, once someone is determined to troll a specific community, its a much longer commitment than you are estimating.
Edit: Impressive. Down-voted for stating my disagreements with counter-points.
If the downvote was unfair, someone often comes along and fixes it; and if it was fair, then you should reflect on what you said. Either way, the impulse to complain should be held in check.
From my personal experience having dealt with trolls on other popular forums and implementing shadow bans myself previously my experience runs counter to your beliefs.
You don't have to catch every troll with shadow bans. You make the experience for the new ones unenjoyable by removing their feedback and they are more likely to move on before they become committed enough to start cycling accounts.
If someone is determined to troll a community than no form of protection other than brute force moderation will work but compared to the number of trolls out there the number that rise to that level of abuse are very small.
Silent banning is more like censorship than banning - you're silencing someone because you don't agree with them, without telling them they're being silenced.
It's also a matter of where the line is drawn. Most forums ban obvious spam - viagra, porn, etc. But HN (IMHO) bans people for being overly critical, for not agreeing with the groupthink, or perhaps not having enough tact or politeness.
Silent banning has 0 effect on spam and trolls - they'll verify their spam/troll comment has appeared, and if it hasn't, just create a new account. The people it hurts are simply people who happen to offend a moderator.
You can be pretty confident not to post spam, but how do you know if your comment may offend some moderator? - These days most things offend someone. That IMHO makes for a 'walking on eggshells' type of forum, rather than an open place to discuss.
Yet you argued in another comment that this evidence should be hidden from the community. If you have faith that the evidence would show that bans are always justified, why not argue for them to be public?
That's the one I was referring to. Can you point me to the one you are referring to that says why you prefer an opaque system?
Being offended shouldn't offer anyone any special rights. If something "offends" you, ignore it and move on.
Its a good think you said "shouldn't" rather than "can't", because any number of laws forbid various kinds of offensive behavior.
> If something "offends" you, ignore it and move on.
Not everyone can "move on", which is why we have the laws we do. This is only peripherally associated with the present topic, but no one should imagine that offensive behavior is absolutely tolerated, or that people can only relocate themselves to solve the problem.
For example, sending "offensive" tweets should not be illegal IMHO.
Yes -- that's a point I made also.
Perhaps new accounts could start off dead until endorsed, and bans could be reversed. A bit like pending comments, but at an account level. It takes away "starting a new account" as a solution to being banned if both accounts have the same (100% dependent on content of posts) likelihood of coming back.
I have a different perspective on HN than I think many other people do here; I consider myself a guest, and don't see myself as part of what makes HN HN. In the somewhat unlikely event that Daniel and Nick do something to make the site unworkable for me, I'm not going to get angry about it.
That's very interesting. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels you're quite a central part of what makes HN what it is. Without contributors - "guests" if you like - who add genuine value there is no community here beyond that you could find on any number of other tech/business news sites. A party with no guests ...
This an especially strange comment - perhaps an attempt at modesty - when one sees in your profile, this:
>"Must-read list: 'idlewords (emeritus), 'pbsd, 'apaprocki, 'patio11, 'gruseom, 'anigbrowl, 'mechanical_fish, 'carbocation, 'potatolicious, 'grellas, 'dctoedt, 'yummyfajitas, 'tzs, 'rayiner, 'DannyBee; Yeah, yeah yeah, 'pg too."
which rather suggests that for you these people make HN what it is, or at least are essential to giving it the twist of flavour you seek. You've got to realise that should everyone else be forced to make a list like this then you'd be on a large proportion of them, surely?
For me, I try to ignore the source of the comments before I consider them but I've been here long enough to have enjoyed many of your comments whether they added a sweet, or sour, flavour to a particular thread. Thank you.
This too shall pass and anger is probably not the right response to that passing, fair play.
They're usually a bad idea.
Better is to assume good faith and accept that mistakes happen, rather than assume mods need to be kept in check and all actions need to be scrutinised.
Although, where this would really be useful is with banning. Unfortunately, banned users aren't supposed to know they're banned and being able to actually see what straw broke the camel's back might give the game away. But it might help demonstrate to users what's expected of them.
As someone who has been on the receiving end of a shadow-ban several times over the years, you realize it right away if you actually pay attention. Your comments suddenly get no votes or responses.
This leaves no room for improvement of the moderation that does occur. This could be fixed by allowing people with 5000+ karma or so to see the mod logs.
If that's the price to be paid for transparency, I think it's worth it. The idea of a cabal of mysterious insiders ,pulling the strings while the rank-and-file plebians stay in the dark, blissfully unaware of what's really going on, - sounds more like the plot for a (bad) cyberpunk movie, than a desirable model for real life. It also strikes me as pretty close to diametrically opposed to the "hacker ethic".