What is a Hell Ban? General Nonsense 26 JUL 2011

Annoyingly, you always get people who just want to cause trouble and create unpleasantness in a community just for the fun of it. You know them, the guys in online games who run around and kill people on their own team, the people who constantly post inappropriate comments on a forum or news article – basically we’ve all encountered these miserable idiots at some or other point in our online adventures.

So how does a community manager get rid of them? Well the traditional method has always been the almighty ban hammer, which outright kicks a user account off a particular service. However, this is almost always a waste of time, as the banned user simply creates a new account and logs in via a different IP.

So how about a more subtle way of achieving this then?

One of the main methods of doing this is known as “hell banning”, basically creating a scenario whereby the affected user becomes invisible to the rest of the community, but most importantly, isn’t aware that he is now nothing more than a ghost in the system! He continues to make trouble, or rather thinks that he is continuing to stir, while the rest of us go on enjoying our experience none the wiser to his actions, because outside of him, no one else can see his interactions with the community!


A complimentary method to the one mentioned above is sometimes referred to as a slow ban, basically downgrading the load time or connection speeds of the targeted bad user, thus giving them a negative perception that the service is running too slow to use, and which hopefully will then entice them to shuffle off and look for new pastures to haunt.

And there you have it, two new methods of getting rid of that pesky fly in your ointment. And as an aside, always remember the golden rule: don’t feed the trolls! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.