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barneygale

Permabans for alt evasion

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Rather selfish topic as my alt was banned for ban evasion.

 

Rules state:

 

> If you are caught playing on alt accounts while your main account is banned will result in your alt accounts being permanently banned.

 

Ignoring the weird grammar ("if you are caught [...] will result"), this seems rather unfair to me. We should be punishing people, not accounts!

 

Exceptions have been made to this rule before, and I'm hoping one will be made for my alt.

 

I needed to use it cus I'm writing IRC relays. I actually borrowed an alt account from edk, which is perfectly legal for me to use.

 

It seems like a bizarre situation where I can legally evade a ban on one alt by using another alt! And the reason that alt is banned... evading a ban using an alt!

 

I suggest the rule is modified to something like:

 

> If you are caught playing on alt accounts while another of your accounts is banned, your ban will be extended and your alt will be banned too.

 

You could be more specific about how much the ban is extended by, but I think it's super-weird that I, as a person, can be unbanned and considered a normal player, yet still have an alt account banned.

 

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I think that the idea behind banning alt accounts permanently is to discourage users who are banned and are attempting to gain unauthorized access to the servers. I don't really see any issues behind simply adding extra days/weeks onto a ban time if a user violates this rule (rather than banning the alt permanently), and unbanning both the original user + the alt once the new ban time is passed.

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Probably worth noting that, at least in the case of stolen accounts, this rule is not heavily enforced.  Most appeals I've seen involving someone showing months or years after a ban, claiming their account was stolen, end up with the simple request that they acknowledge the rules and affirm their account is secure.  I don't recall ever seeing an instance of someone hearing, "Sorry, looks like your account was stolen and used to evade, so it won't be unbanned."  (For good reason, that would be quite the dick move)

 

...I think it's super-weird that I, as a person, can be unbanned and considered a normal player, yet still have an alt account banned.

 

It does indeed seem odd, I must agree.  However, since in this case your alt was your own account and so used intentionally, then while you are considered a normal player, that account itself may still be considered not a "normal" account.

 

On the other hand, this rule is one that has nibbled at my mind occasionally, especially now that "permanent" bans seem to be going out of style on MCPublic, being replaced by 1- or 2-year long sentences.  Alting has always been considered one of the larger in-game offenses, since it is an act of defiance and may also facilitate further rule-breaking/disruption, and the perma-ban threat can serve as a deterrent.  However, there are a few legit uses of alt accounts, such as cosmetic preference, anonymity,or limited AFK activities (to say nothing of testing relays), and permanently cutting off players who have otherwise regained equal standing in the community from that does seem a little unfair.

 

Of course, it's a long-standing policy, and remains so until it's changed, but maybe we could discuss some adjustment.

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Could the rule be rewritten to reflect how bans are dealt with? If the punishments must get weaker, it would be good to see the policy keep up with this. Abuiv is one recent example of it not being a permaban, but that ban length reason wouldn't be a suitable future rule.

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The idea that people are banned, rather than accounts, is something I totally agree with. It's the basis of the "don't use alt accounts to evade a ban" rule.

 

But the punishment goes completely against this creed, by giving individual accounts potentially longer bans than the main.

 

If we want to keep the permabans, I suggest:

 

> If you are caught playing on alt accounts while another of your accounts is banned, your alt will be banned and your ban made permanent

 

Basically I just find the idea of banning some but not all of a person's account really weird. It seems to lend an advantage to players who can throw money at alts, something survival admins have always been keen to avoid.

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I don't think it's entirely nonsensical that some of a persons accounts might be dealt with differently than others, as long as those accounts were used differently by that person in the course of a ban.  If someone uses an alt account to evade a ban, they are basically associating that account with the original infraction in addition to the evasion infraction, so there is some sense to keeping it banned longer than the main account, though not necessarily forever.

 

As for banning people, not accounts, it's a nice ideal but the nature of the Internet makes it practically impossible.  By that philosophy, someone who gets banned would have all of their alt accounts banned immediately, which would require the staff to have knowledge of those accounts (and any future accounts that individual might gain in order to evade, not to mention borrowed/hacked accounts).  Alts can only be banned as they come to the staff's knowledge, which is often only after the fact of an evasion.

 

Just some thoughts about the permaban policy; perhaps alt accounts used for evasion can be unbanned but have to be appealed separately, and maybe no sooner than a certain time period after the most recent appeal on other accounts.  Whatever that time period is might be fixed, like a week, or perhaps be affected by the length set on the original ban.  Anyone looking to appeal multiple accounts may end up with a lengthy process, but alting has to have consequences of some sort.

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I always saw the rule of banning a player's alt permanently was to make people think twice before alting. However the wording is odd as it seems if a player is banned and bypasses the ban using an alt account but is never caught, once he is unbanned and considered a normal player again, if it is then found out that he bypassed his ban using an alt account does his alt account then get permanently banned? does he get a new ban? and if his alt account doesn't get banned then the thing that is being punished is getting caught. I'd say permanent ban on the alt account is the wrong thing to do, instead a large extension on the current ban something extreme which would still have the effect of making the player not want to alt something like two to three weeks or even a month.

TL:DR scrap permanent ban of the alt just ban it and extend the ban length dramatically.

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> As for banning people, not accounts, it's a nice ideal but the nature of the Internet makes it practically impossible.  By that philosophy, someone who gets banned would have all of their alt accounts banned immediately, which would require the staff to have knowledge of those accounts (and any future accounts that individual might gain in order to evade, not to mention borrowed/hacked accounts).  Alts can only be banned as they come to the staff's knowledge, which is often only after the fact of an evasion.

 

I don't think the "people, not accounts" mantra requires the admins to ban every known alt immediately. The important thing is that, once an evading alt is known, it gets banned.

 

The inverse of the policy would be "accounts, not people", which I've rarely seen used in other communities. If (theoretically) nerd were using this policy, then using an alt to bypass a ban would be perfectly legal. The question over whether to ban alts the moment the main account is banned is orthogonal to the issue.

 

So IMO the issue is not whether all alts are immediately banned, its whether alts are banned for evading a ban at all. If we believe this is wrong because the idea of a ban is to keep a *person* from playing, then why do we keep those alts banned after the person has paid her debt?

 

Don't get me wrong - I don't want us to be lenient on ban-evaders, I just think the increased ban time should be applied uniformly across all of the offender's accounts, rather than applying solely to the evading account.

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If someone logs in with an alt when they are banned, it shouldnt be an INSTANT permaban, just a normal ban for both accounts. However if this person logs in with 20 alts (possibly with bad/taunting names), thats when a permaban should be implemented. The reason for this is if someone is miss-informed or "turns a new leaf" they would be able to use there account for intended uses like grinders and afk farms.

Edited by Difficult1

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> As for banning people, not accounts, it's a nice ideal but the nature of the Internet makes it practically impossible.  By that philosophy, someone who gets banned would have all of their alt accounts banned immediately, which would require the staff to have knowledge of those accounts (and any future accounts that individual might gain in order to evade, not to mention borrowed/hacked accounts).  Alts can only be banned as they come to the staff's knowledge, which is often only after the fact of an evasion.

 

I don't think the "people, not accounts" mantra requires the admins to ban every known alt immediately. The important thing is that, once an evading alt is known, it gets banned.

 

The inverse of the policy would be "accounts, not people", which I've rarely seen used in other communities. If (theoretically) nerd were using this policy, then using an alt to bypass a ban would be perfectly legal. The question over whether to ban alts the moment the main account is banned is orthogonal to the issue.

 

So IMO the issue is not whether all alts are immediately banned, its whether alts are banned for evading a ban at all. If we believe this is wrong because the idea of a ban is to keep a *person* from playing, then why do we keep those alts banned after the person has paid her debt?

 

Don't get me wrong - I don't want us to be lenient on ban-evaders, I just think the increased ban time should be applied uniformly across all of the offender's accounts, rather than applying solely to the evading account.

 

I didn't mean to say that I disagree with the idea of banning people and not accounts; as you say, that is the point of disallowing alt evasion in the first place.  The problem I meant to get across is that it's darn hard to enforce, which is probably one of the reasons it has historically carried such a harsh punishment.  It's similar to the stiff bans for xray--it's easy to do, difficult to detect, and goes strongly against the server ideals of fairness, so there has to be some kind of deterrent.

 

I'm not arguing for keeping the permaban policy on evading alts.  In fact, reading back, I don't think a single participant so far has argued for that, so that policy is probably on it's way out.  Now I suppose we're trying to hash out what would replace it.  So far everyone seems to agree that evasion should add time to the original ban as well as result in banning the evading account up to at least the point of appeal.  The only variable left, it seems, is whether/how long evading accounts should remain banned after the main account has appealed successfully.

 

I also think difficult1 brings up a good point.  Not all ban situations are the same, and perhaps flagrant evaders could be dealt with differently.  Legit alternates perhaps might be unbanned immediately, but accounts created solely for evasion might fall into a different category.

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I agree that permabanning alts doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and we could probably come up with a better way of dealing with such situations when they arise. Additionally, we don't have many guidelines on how the original ban length should be altered due to ban evasion. Instead, we should create a policy based on the philosophy that we ban people, not accounts. From this point of view, all of a player's alts which were banned due to evasion should be unbanned at the same time, but these instances of ban evasion should compound the original ban length.

 

My proposal is that if a banned player is caught alting, the new unban date will be set to the latest of either:

A) Two weeks after the previously declared unban date; or

B) The addition of the previous ban length to the time of the most recent evasion.

 

For example, if I were banned for one month for x-raying (we'll say 4 weeks for simplicity) and I evaded one week into my original ban, two weeks would be added to my ban, pushing the unban date to 6 weeks after my original ban. On the other hand, if I were to evade my ban 5 weeks into my original ban, the new unban date would be set to 4 weeks after this ban evasion, or 9 weeks after the original ban. When my unban date is reached, both my main and alt accounts would then be unbanned.

 

This method of banning would ensure that at least two weeks are added to the ban for each evasion. This length can, of course, be changed depending on how severe an offense we consider ban evasion to be, but I think the basic model is sound.

 
There is also the bridge we would need to cross between compromised accounts and ban evasion: where do we draw the line? It's not infrequent that we have griefers on Creative who repeatedly log in from other accounts as soon as they are banned, but from my experience, very few of these players tend to appeal their bans. If a player with 20+ banned alts were to appeal, we can't necessarily unban all of these accounts, as they are more than likely compromised. If this situation does arise, I recommend we just unban the main account after the given ban length (the main account being the one which was first used to log onto our servers), and keep the rest banned as compromised accounts. In most cases, it isn't difficult to tell whether a player is using legitimate alternate accounts, anyway.
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Excellent summing up and ideas Dumbo. I like the idea of "resetting" to the beginning of the ban period for each evasion. Thanks for your response.

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Reviving this thread to once again point out how silly and poorly-applied this rule is.

 

We have staffers like jchance who are can forgive a 1 year old permaban for alt evasion, saying "I'm willing to let it go". This player was appealing their alt ban alongside their main and hence had not been involved with nerd for some time.

 

And we have staffers like Mrloud15 who can't forgive a 2 year old permaban for alt evasion, fails to explain why, and posts in a way that implies staff discretion doesn't even exist. It does exist! It existed in the the ban appeal jchance handled, and it existed in the appeals of edmundishere, Toncom and probably others too. Another factor is that my main account was unbanned months ago, and the admins have had plenty of time to determine whether I'd do anything malicious with those alts.

 

I'm not massively pleased that I have to post in the "general discussion" forum on an issue that's tightly aligned with my (now closed) ban appeal, but apparently my ban appeal isn't the right place to talk about it :/

 

I would like to hear someone explain how the current formula is better than Dumbo's suggestion. Mrloud15, would you like to take it away?

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I would like to hear someone explain how the current formula is better than Dumbo's suggestion. Mrloud15, would you like to take it away?

 

Ok, so I'm not Mrloud.

 

The problem with this case, I think, is not so much which policy is better, it's which one is, to use your own words, current.  Personally, I expect this policy will be changing soon, but my (or anyone else's) thinking so does not negate its existence.  We can't just start obeying a new set of rules because we think we have better ones, no matter how many people agree.  We have to wait for the rules themselves to be updated.  If getting that done requires some poking...

 

And as for staff discretion, we can't claim it doesn't exist just because it doesn't fall our way.  Mrloud didn't not make a decision, he just made one you disagree with vociferously.

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Reviving this thread to once again point out how silly and poorly-applied this rule is.

 

We have staffers like jchance who are can forgive a 1 year old permaban for alt evasion, saying "I'm willing to let it go". This player was appealing their alt ban alongside their main and hence had not been involved with nerd for some time.

 

And we have staffers like Mrloud15 who can't forgive a 2 year old permaban for alt evasion, fails to explain why, and posts in a way that implies staff discretion doesn't even exist. It does exist! It existed in the the ban appeal jchance handled, and it existed in the appeals of edmundishere, Toncom and probably others too. Another factor is that my main account was unbanned months ago, and the admins have had plenty of time to determine whether I'd do anything malicious with those alts.

 

I'm not massively pleased that I have to post in the "general discussion" forum on an issue that's tightly aligned with my (now closed) ban appeal, but apparently my ban appeal isn't the right place to talk about it :/

 

I would like to hear someone explain how the current formula is better than Dumbo's suggestion. Mrloud15, would you like to take it away?

 

Barney, I personally don't agree with the policy and think it is a bit harsh myself but that is the policy that is currently in place. It is great that you want to see it changed and adjusted but the way you are going about it is disrespectful and I don’t think that’s right.

 

There is no reason to call out Mrloud in your post or even link to an old appeal where jchance forgave an alt account. Yes it has happened, possibly many times, but there are also many times that it hasn’t happened and we have denied alts being unbanned. I personally don’t want to go dig through appeals to find them. I think you are an intelligent person and can see that there is multiple times where we have denied alt unbans.

 

Mrloud clearly explained why your alt account was banned and why it will remained banned, and even said that when the policy changes you could appeal for them. Continuing to argue about it simply because he won’t unban them isn’t doing anything productive. This is why Mrloud says that appeals are not the place to discuss policy. We want you to post in a topic where everyone can post in and can contribute to, not a ban appeal that only you and staff can comment on.

 

I personally want to see this policy changed and Mrloud said that the Head Admins are discussing it. You and anyone else is more than welcome to come and post in this thread with feedback about the policy, but coming in here and being upset that your alts were not unbanned is not helping the discussion.

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> And as for staff discretion, we can't claim it doesn't exist just because it doesn't fall our way.  Mrloud didn't not make a decision, he just made one you disagree with vociferously.

 

He made a decision that was not explained. All previous appeals that I'm aware of reached a different conclusion. Is it so much to ask for an explanation as to why my appeal is different? I asked in the ban appeal and was told it was not the place; hence these posts.

 

> There is no reason to call out Mrloud in your post or even link to an old appeal where jchance forgave an alt account. Yes it has happened, possibly many times, but there are also many times that it hasn’t happened and we have denied alts being unbanned. I personally don’t want to go dig through appeals to find them. I think you are an intelligent person and can see that there is multiple times where we have denied alt unbans.

 

I'd consider myself intelligent but not all-knowing. If there are occasions where a main account has been unbanned but the alt accounts not unbanned even months later, please show me.

 

> Mrloud clearly explained why your alt account was banned and why it will remained banned

 

He really didn't. He just said "it's banned because that's the rule", but when often that rule is not applied, why is it applied in this case?

 

> This is why Mrloud says that appeals are not the place to discuss policy. We want you to post in a topic where everyone can post in and can contribute to, not a ban appeal that only you and staff can comment on.

 

That's what this topic is and it achieved fuck all in the months it's been around.

 

> coming in here and being upset that your alts were not unbanned is not helping the discussion.

 

Why not? It's a good case study of how tediously stupid this rule is.

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I agree with everything SwitchViewz said above. I think this policy is stupid, however it is the current policy so Mrloud has done nothing wrong by simply enforcing it.

 

He made a decision that was not explained. All previous appeals that I'm aware of reached a different conclusion. Is it so much to ask for an explanation as to why my appeal is different? I asked in the ban appeal and was told it was not the place; hence these posts.

 

I may have misread your appeals, but I misunderstood what you were asking. It seemed as if you were asking why the accounts were not unbanned, to which the answer is obvious and Mrloud and others stated many times. I didn't realise you were asking why others received a different outcome to you, although the situation being the same. I can't speak for Mrloud, but he didn't handle those other appeals afaik. Maybe those other staff were being lenient, maybe they didn't know about this rule at all. Mrloud has just gone by the rules and enforced them properly here, he is not at all in the wrong.

 

A discussion is currently happening in modchat about this policy, hopefully it can be cleared up soon enough and I hope this answers yours concerns.

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I agree that permabanning alts doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and we could probably come up with a better way of dealing with such situations when they arise. Additionally, we don't have many guidelines on how the original ban length should be altered due to ban evasion. Instead, we should create a policy based on the philosophy that we ban people, not accounts. From this point of view, all of a player's alts which were banned due to evasion should be unbanned at the same time, but these instances of ban evasion should compound the original ban length.

 

My proposal is that if a banned player is caught alting, the new unban date will be set to the latest of either:

A) Two weeks after the previously declared unban date; or

B) The addition of the previous ban length to the time of the most recent evasion.

 

For example, if I were banned for one month for x-raying (we'll say 4 weeks for simplicity) and I evaded one week into my original ban, two weeks would be added to my ban, pushing the unban date to 6 weeks after my original ban. On the other hand, if I were to evade my ban 5 weeks into my original ban, the new unban date would be set to 4 weeks after this ban evasion, or 9 weeks after the original ban. When my unban date is reached, both my main and alt accounts would then be unbanned.

 

This method of banning would ensure that at least two weeks are added to the ban for each evasion. This length can, of course, be changed depending on how severe an offense we consider ban evasion to be, but I think the basic model is sound.

 
There is also the bridge we would need to cross between compromised accounts and ban evasion: where do we draw the line? It's not infrequent that we have griefers on Creative who repeatedly log in from other accounts as soon as they are banned, but from my experience, very few of these players tend to appeal their bans. If a player with 20+ banned alts were to appeal, we can't necessarily unban all of these accounts, as they are more than likely compromised. If this situation does arise, I recommend we just unban the main account after the given ban length (the main account being the one which was first used to log onto our servers), and keep the rest banned as compromised accounts. In most cases, it isn't difficult to tell whether a player is using legitimate alternate accounts, anyway.

 

I personally like Dumbo's proposal. I think it still provides a strong deterrent compared to permabans, without being unreasonable or absurd when applied.

To simplify the process, I propose that instead the ban length should simply be doubled and the time period for the ban restarted, since a ban isn't truly in effect until a player isn't playing on our servers (the intended effect of a ban).

 

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If the original permaban rule wasn't always followed, what makes this one any more ironclad? I'd like it to be, but I'm guessing it'll be incompletely applied after time in the same way as permaban.

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I do not think people should be permanently banned from alt escape, it may be time to ban just one year so that eventually they can come back and play later.

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If the original permaban rule wasn't always followed, what makes this one any more ironclad? I'd like it to be, but I'm guessing it'll be incompletely applied after time in the same way as permaban.

Rules are rules and we try to apply them equally to all, and we're not perfect as is clear. So what's your opinion, if we were to apply the rule would you like it better or worse than the current ones?

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Just a few thoughts. I think the policy in place (banned players caught on alts should be permabanned) should be followed, because its a policy. It should change however. Maybe something like doubling the original ban length for ban evasion? (IE: You were banned for 3 months. Its now 6)

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