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Mrloud15

Policy on Banning Alt Accounts

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Hello everyone, 

 

About a month ago a thread was created regarding our policy on permabanning alt accounts. Dumbo proposed a new policy in this thread (see blow). The admins have been discussing implementing this policy, but we would like to know what you guys think about it first.

 

 

Here's Dumbo's post from the thread: 

 

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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Any alt used to circumvent a ban should be permabanned, and should be accompanied by an extension of the ban on the original account. Any alt used to X-ray, radar, use hate speech, or violate any server rule to keep the main account clean while still breaking rules should be permabanned, and the main account should get a harsher version of whatever appropriate punishment usually accompanies the violation. Using alt accounts as a way to attempt to bypass the server system of rules and justice demonstrates that a person (not an account, the human being running the account) does not respect the rules of the server on a fundamental level. In order for that to change, very real and serious consequences need to be in place, or else they should be made to leave and never come back. Repeat alt abuses should result in a full permaban for all accounts and an IP ban. 

 

That said, the use of alt accounts without any violation of server rules should be unrestricted. I don't use alts on Nerd, but anyone who does without violating server rules should be allowed to do so, but with the understanding that this is a privilege that has the potential to be revoked should they use the alt maliciously. I don't see any harm in people having several accounts on the server. It doesn't give any advantage that you can't get from having allies on the server or a clan. 

 

I believe this is fair. 

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Willravel, do you not see that as banning the account rather than the person, though? Isn't the main goal of this to avoid exactly that situation? If someone uses an alt to circumvent a ban, I don't see why that should merit a punishment that could be way beyond the scope of the original ban. Sure, we can take into account cases pf people who repeatedly circumvent, but we already take into account past offenses when determining the appropriate punishment.

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If someone uses an alt to circumvent a ban, I don't see why that should merit a punishment that could be way beyond the scope of the original ban. Sure, we can take into account cases pf people who repeatedly circumvent, but we already take into account past offenses when determining the appropriate punishment.

 

If someone has used an alt to circumvent the ban, they've demonstrated that they're not responsible enough for the privilege of using alts. They've abused their privilege, thus it must be revoked. You're not permabanning the person, you're simply taking away a toy that they've demonstrated they cannot be trusted to use responsibly. Our bans should not be a puzzle game, where banned users figure out how to not face up to the consequences of their actions by circumventing their punishment. In other words, the scope of the violation for circumventing a ban with an alt is significant, necessitating an equally significant response. 

 

Maybe allow them to appeal later if they can demonstrate true reform, but it should be default policy that using an alt to circumvent a ban means you lose the privilege of using that alt. 

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I'd also like to point out that technically, then logging into a freshly-unbanned account while another account is permabanned is undoubtedly ban evasion, even without malicious intent. It generally shouldn't be our business to designate a person's "main" account (although Dumbo's method of declaring the first account used to login to the servers as their main account might be practical). It's a sticky situation either way. 

 

What I'd suggest is some method of contacting an account's owner via email/Mojang account and notifying them when a person who had used that account has their ban sentence past, indicating to them the steps needed to declare that they are the owner of the account and would like it unbanned. 

 

 

Using alt accounts as a way to attempt to bypass the server system of rules and justice demonstrates that a person (not an account, the human being running the account) does not respect the rules of the server on a fundamental level. In order for that to change, very real and serious consequences need to be in place, or else they should be made to leave and never come back. Repeat alt abuses should result in a full permaban for all accounts and an IP ban. 

 

I agree with Willravel on this point; alt accounts used to circumvent bans demonstrate disrespect for our server's rules and community. 

 

As to the guideline Dumbo is proposing with regard to additional sentencing for ban evasion, I think it's a good guideline. It discourages people from evading bans with alts regardless of the nature/length of the ban. 

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I think this is ok, but if he is an immature player who keeps getting banned and using his alts, I think a perma-banned is needed.

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I was never for doing a permaban on a "main" account, because I know people can change. Also there was already several cases before I was on staff where people were permanently banned, yet unbanned later. It completely went against its definition. Also, if people know there is no chance to return, they have no reason to hold back or act mature. With extended bans (which I tried to work towards), players have some goal to work towards, some measurable amount of time to mature.

Now, I say all that to say this: I agree with the sentiment that alt accounts are a tool (often used to afk at grinders), and a privilege which can be revoked if you misuse the tool. The staff punishes people who circumvent any plugins in place; be this world guard, lwc, or even mcbouncer. Using an alt account to evade a ban circumvents mcbouncer, and I feel that it deserves the punishment of revoking the privilege of using that alt account.

These are my thoughts, take them as you will.

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Any alt used to circumvent a ban should be permabanned, and should be accompanied by an extension of the ban on the original account. Any alt used to X-ray, radar, use hate speech, or violate any server rule to keep the main account clean while still breaking rules should be permabanned, and the main account should get a harsher version of whatever appropriate punishment usually accompanies the violation. Using alt accounts as a way to attempt to bypass the server system of rules and justice demonstrates that a person (not an account, the human being running the account) does not respect the rules of the server on a fundamental level.

If it's a *person* breaking the rules then it's a *person* who should be banned. Obviously alting while banned should be punished, but the punishment shouldn't be applied unevenly across their accounts. Which account was used to evade a ban is immaterial.

The current rules lead to bizarre situations, such as the one I'm in now. My alt account (barneybot) is permabanned for evasion, but my main account is unbanned and it's perfectly OK for me to register new accounts and play on them. Now am I, as a person, banned or unbanned? Common sense dictates I should fall into one category or the other, but I don't.

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The current rules lead to bizarre situations, such as the one I'm in now. My alt account (barneybot) is permabanned for evasion, but my main account is unbanned and it's perfectly OK for me to register new accounts and play on them. Now am I, as a person, banned or unbanned? Common sense dictates I should fall into one category or the other, but I don't.

You are unbanned (I know, I was there), and are fully capable of playing on our servers. That is the category you fall in. The alts are just "toys" as Will said, and yours were taken away because you misused them. As you said, you are welcome to get new ones, if you feel that is something you need, but it does not prevent you from running around and playing on the servers. We all regret things we've done, but sometimes you just have to deal with the consequences.

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If it's a *person* breaking the rules then it's a *person* who should be banned. Obviously alting while banned should be punished, but the punishment shouldn't be applied unevenly across their accounts. Which account was used to evade a ban is immaterial.

The current rules lead to bizarre situations, such as the one I'm in now. My alt account (barneybot) is permabanned for evasion, but my main account is unbanned and it's perfectly OK for me to register new accounts and play on them. Now am I, as a person, banned or unbanned? Common sense dictates I should fall into one category or the other, but I don't.

 

The *person* was banned. When you evaded your ban, you demonstrated that you didn't respect the authority that instituted the ban in the first place, so it was decided that the tool you used to bypass the ban was not something you could be trusted with using. That's why barneybot is off Nerd for good. You, the person, were punished additionally with that ban evasion leading to a longer ban time, if memory serves. 

 

You're not in a bizarre situation now, you're on permanent probation. You don't have the liberty of having your alt unbanned because you demonstrated that you can't be trusted with it. Think of it as being similar in principle to permanent drivers license revocation after a bad DUI—not that evading a ban is anywhere near as bad as a DUI, of course, simply that a liberty can be permanently revoked if the liberty is sufficiently abused. 

 

FTR, I fought to have to allowed back on the server. I'm not holding a grudge or anything. If I had done something worthy of a significant ban and then had an alt banned by trying to evade it, I would understand why that alt was no longer allowed on the server. I think it's a fair policy. 

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You don't have the liberty of having your alt unbanned because you demonstrated that you can't be trusted with it. Think of it as being similar in principle to permanent drivers license revocation after a bad DUI—not that evading a ban is anywhere near as bad as a DUI, of course, simply that a liberty can be permanently revoked if the liberty is sufficiently abused.

I can be trusted with *some* accounts but not *other* accounts? Where's the evidence? What things would I do on "barneybot" that I wouldn't do on "barneygale"?

The DUI analogy is incompatible too. A more apt analogy would be getting sent to prison for a few months over a DUI, and then when I got out, I'm not allowed to drive blue cars, because the car I was driving at the time was blue. All other coloured cars are fair game.

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I was never for doing a permaban on a "main" account, because I know people can change. Also there was already several cases before I was on staff where people were permanently banned, yet unbanned later. It completely went against its definition. Also, if people know there is no chance to return, they have no reason to hold back or act mature. With extended bans (which I tried to work towards), players have some goal to work towards, some measurable amount of time to mature.

 

Everyone knew that permabans were never permanent, and as they were never handed out to brand new players it didn't matter that they were called permabans. I preferred the old system by far because it allowed the banned player to decide when to appeal and come back because they knew that they were more mature, now it has turned into us setting the date for them to have matured by. I have no idea why we changed from that system because it was working out fine, if there was a problem with the name 'permaban' then don't give it a name or a date on the ban appeal, tell the player to wait a few months until appealing and only appeal when they feel that they've matured. Now we're handing out 6 month+ bans fairly frequently, that sounds a lot longer to me than saying "come back when you feel you've matured and we'll reevaluate the ban"; especially when the ban reasons don't warrant anything more than a week.

 

You're not in a bizarre situation now, you're on permanent probation. You don't have the liberty of having your alt unbanned because you demonstrated that you can't be trusted with it. Think of it as being similar in principle to permanent drivers license revocation after a bad DUI—not that evading a ban is anywhere near as bad as a DUI, of course, simply that a liberty can be permanently revoked if the liberty is sufficiently abused. 

 

It is bizarre. He's allowed to play on the server, but also not allowed to play on the server? The logical solution is to unban all accounts when the main is unbanned, and if the main is banned then all other accounts are banned. The alts aren't something that you've given him, they are owned by the player, so by taking away what is theirs you are punishing the player. If 1 account is banned then all accounts should be banned.

 

Although I totally disagree with what you are saying I can see where you are coming from and since this issue doesn't bother me too much I wouldn't have commented if it wasn't for this:

 

You are welcome to get new ones, if you feel that is something you need, but it does not prevent you from running around and playing on the servers.

 

This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You don't want a player using their alts because they misued them, but you're okay with them using other accounts as long as they buy new ones? It's similar to paying for an unban but you're not getting any of the profit!

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Good point there Torn. The punishment here is being forced to shell out for a new account, which from my perspective is almost identical for paying for an unban. Fortunately I'm not so hard-up that I can't afford a new account, but you're essentially pegging the punishment for an in-game infraction against their income IRL.

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This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. You don't want a player using their alts because they misued them, but you're okay with them using other accounts as long as they buy new ones? It's similar to paying for an unban but you're not getting any of the profit!

 

It does make sense. I want the punishment for it to be severe enough to deter doing it. Serious things have serious consequences. It is the reason there is a full rollback on x-ray, it is serious and staff wants the punishment to make people think twice before doing it. If people know that their alt will be forever unusable if they evade a ban with it, they are less likely to evade a ban with it. If they know "oh, I can use this while I'm banned, as long as I don't let anyone know it is me. If anyone catches me, I'll be banned another week", to me, that seems like it is worth the risk. Then you will have players who are never really banned.

 

 

Good point there Torn. The punishment here is being forced to shell out for a new account, which from my perspective is almost identical for paying for an unban. Fortunately I'm not so hard-up that I can't afford a new account, but you're essentially pegging the punishment for an in-game infraction against their income IRL.

 

And it isn't paying for an unban, you have to have that main account unbanned before any new alts can play or they will be permanently banned too. It's not forcing you to buy anything, because that main account got unbanned. If you feel you need another account to play with, then yes, that is on you. But as you said, what can you do on Barneybot that you can't do on Barneygale? Why do you need the alt account? Just play on the unbanned account, and enjoy it.

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I can be trusted with *some* accounts but not *other* accounts? Where's the evidence? What things would I do on "barneybot" that I wouldn't do on "barneygale"?

 

It's not about prevention, it's not about being trustworthy on some accounts while not on others, it's about consequences. I'll tell you what, if you want it to seem less random, we should discuss changing it to never using any alt accounts on the server, not just barneybot. That would be consistent, yes? The idea would be that as a result of having abused the privilege of using alts to bypass a ban, you no longer have any of the benefits of using alt accounts in gameplay. It's tying the punishment to the crime, and it's not at all random. 

 

The DUI analogy is incompatible too. A more apt analogy would be getting sent to prison for a few months over a DUI, and then when I got out, I'm not allowed to drive blue cars, because the car I was driving at the time was blue. All other coloured cars are fair game.

 

The DUI analogy is intended to illustrate the permanent loss of a privilege you've abused. I'm not suggesting you were drunk when you used an alt or that an alt can be used to get to the grocery store faster than walking, either. Analogies do not imply absolute direct comparisons across all factors. 

 

It is bizarre. He's allowed to play on the server, but also not allowed to play on the server? The logical solution is to unban all accounts when the main is unbanned, and if the main is banned then all other accounts are banned. The alts aren't something that you've given him, they are owned by the player, so by taking away what is theirs you are punishing the player. If 1 account is banned then all accounts should be banned.

 

The accounts are something which we allow or disallow access to the servers, so it's not as simple as ownership. What do you think about revoking the right to have any alts as punishment for using an alt to circumvent a ban? After all, that's a privilege that we can revoke, regardless of ownership of accounts. The person banned names a main account, in barney's case it's barneygale I presume, and that's the only account they can use from then on. It's about tying the punishment to the crime. If the crime is misusing an alt, the punishment is losing the ability to alt. That way there's also no monetary punishment either, just you don't get the in-game benefits of having alts as a consequence for misusing them. 

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The accounts are something which we allow or disallow access to the servers, so it's not as simple as ownership. What do you think about revoking the right to have any alts as punishment for using an alt to circumvent a ban? After all, that's a privilege that we can revoke, regardless of ownership of accounts. The person banned names a main account, in barney's case it's barneygale I presume, and that's the only account they can use from then on. It's about tying the punishment to the crime. If the crime is misusing an alt, the punishment is losing the ability to alt. That way there's also no monetary punishment either, just you don't get the in-game benefits of having alts as a consequence for misusing them. 

 

I'd prefer to err on the side of leniency, but at least this solution would make more sense.  It doesn't strike you as odd that a person is allowed to play if they purchase a new account, but not allowed to play under a different name?  This solution would be much harsher, so I'm not in favor of it personally, but at least it's consistent, as opposed to the current policy.

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This is an interesting topic especially considering that it questions one of the oldest rules on the servers from what I recall. So far, I have read through the original topic created and the responses following up until Willravel's above.

My only concern with the discussion so far is that a rule has been proposed by Dumbo and the other admins through MrLoud15 and we seem to have drifted into a specific individuals circumstances. While it's good to pull examples, it may be best to focus on how this rule could be amended so that any individuals with permanently banned alts can further talk to the head admins and how it will affect them.

 

Personally, I feel that AvadaKedavra's response in the original topic summarised my thoughts in brief.

 

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.

 

 

Furthermore, Dumbo's proposal to reset the ban period and add additional time for evading a ban sounds like a reasonable compromise that is a way of delivering justice. People should have a sense of punishment while their ban exists for their original infraction (griefing as an example), however, once the ban is over and the individual completes a reasonable appeal for their actions then it should be a clean slate for that person.

 

By a clean slate, I mean that their previous bans are listed in the forums merely as a reference point should that person find themselves appealing a future ban. Any accounts banned prior to and during the appeal period should be unbanned because the punishment is over and it is the mutual respect from both the community to that person to prove they can re-integrate and respect the rules.

 

The bottom line for me is that a person flaunting their ban by evading deserves a longer ban period. This means time away from their friends, time away from the servers in a capacity which they can fully enjoy. Once the ban is over and they have served their time then the person is being given a new chance to play and I don't feel it is fair to keep punishing after this point.

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This is an interesting topic especially considering that it questions one of the oldest rules on the servers from what I recall. So far, I have read through the original topic created and the responses following up until Willravel's above.

My only concern with the discussion so far is that a rule has been proposed by Dumbo and the other admins through MrLoud15 and we seem to have drifted into a specific individuals circumstances. While it's good to pull examples, it may be best to focus on how this rule could be amended so that any individuals with permanently banned alts can further talk to the head admins and how it will affect them.

 

Personally, I feel that AvadaKedavra's response in the original topic summarised my thoughts in brief.

 

 

Furthermore, Dumbo's proposal to reset the ban period and add additional time for evading a ban sounds like a reasonable compromise that is a way of delivering justice. People should have a sense of punishment while their ban exists for their original infraction (griefing as an example), however, once the ban is over and the individual completes a reasonable appeal for their actions then it should be a clean slate for that person.

 

By a clean slate, I mean that their previous bans are listed in the forums merely as a reference point should that person find themselves appealing a future ban. Any accounts banned prior to and during the appeal period should be unbanned because the punishment is over and it is the mutual respect from both the community to that person to prove they can re-integrate and respect the rules.

 

The bottom line for me is that a person flaunting their ban by evading deserves a longer ban period. This means time away from their friends, time away from the servers in a capacity which they can fully enjoy. Once the ban is over and they have served their time then the person is being given a new chance to play and I don't feel it is fair to keep punishing after this point.

 

 

My god is it good to see you again Barli and hope all is well as I'm sure everyone does.

 

To add to this, I agree that we should change to the new system of adding time and no permabans, but then the severity is what I disagree with.  They need to understand that you can't just skip around your ban date so on top of the orignal ban date for the first account, tack on a month for each alt and then give each alt an unban date of 2 months on top of that to push the seriousness of it.  Sorry if this has been said, its a bit late. 

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I think a blanket harsh penalty is dumb. Around the time I first became moderator, I took in a noob called LW5221, who played with me for a few weeks. He must have been under 12yo. When I banned him (homophobia or something, I don't recall..), he used his mum's CC to buy LW5222. The same thing happened twice more til he reached LW5224. I think at this point I left him online and spoke to him the next day when he actually responded to my PMs.

 

Plenty of times since I've seen alts banned for evasion where the perpetrator was just young and ignorant rather than malicious.

 

For cases like this, I think it makes more sense to extend the ban time proportionally to the length of the original ban. Dumbo's idea of resetting ban time is a good one I think. Doubling would also work.

Edited by barneygale
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I have an additional thought reguarding this that hasn't been brought up, and its been something thats always kind of scared me. 

 

I have two accounts. For a time, I'd log on both about equally (zifnab06 and therealzifnab). Lets say I was banned for something trivial, such as 'not replanting crops' (not that this has happened in the past, but its always been a complaint of mine, but thats another story). 

 

A hypothetical situation: 

 

I play on 'zifnab06' for a while. I then log in with 'therealzifnab' for a while, as that account is on the other side of the map and I want to work on somethign else. During that time 'zifnab06' is banned for something (a moderator thought I was griefing, or someone just got too ban-happy over something, which happens). I have no way of knowing, and my alt is permanantly banned because I'm evading. I think Dumbo's idea would work better here than the current ruleset, which states therealzifnab is permanantly banned for evading, even though I had no way of knowing my main account was banned during that time. 

 

Another hypothetical: A player has an alt they use to sit at a farm. Said player is then banned on their main account for something, but the alt remains logged in during the time. Does this mean that the alt is permanantly banned? 

 

These are just some edge cases that came to mind. I realize the repeated offenders (I was banned for massive griefing, then continually logged into other accounts to bypass the ban) are in another category all together. However there are some cases where its not fair to ban the alt permanantly. 

 

Another thing to mention: people change. A year ago, the heads were stating that certain people had permanant bans, and would never be welcome here again. And yet, a year later, here they are being productive members of the community. Permanant bans aren't actually permanant in a community that has been around as long as nerd - if someone was permmabanned 4 years ago, and they appealed, more than likely the admin/moderation team would realize they are more mature and have changed. 

 

Sorry for rambling, just my thoughts. 

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I agree with zifnab on the not knowing thing - the logs show if people have tried to log in after being banned, so they can tell if the person knows or not in theory

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Okay, going to post here really quick before my phone dies. Just throwing around an idea in my head that might make some structure to this alt account banning policy.

What about if we were to start treating the banning of alt accounts in the following ways.

1. If an account is banned and a player is found playing on an alternative account, the ban will be reset and whatever ban length has been set will automatically be doubled or 2 weeks added (which ever is larger... i.e. if a player is banned for 1 week, he will have 2 weeks added for a total of 3 weeks and his ban length will be restarted from the day his alt account is banned. If a player is banned for 1 month for xraying, his ban length will automatically be extended +1 month and his ban time will again restart from the date his alt account was banned.

2. When his ban length is up, both his accounts will be unbanned, however, the next time he is banned his prior alt account will be banned as well for the duration of the current ban. (Notes will be put on his mcbouncer account. If you don't want your alt accounts doxxed, don't evade bans with them) no alt accounts will have notes annotated unless they are used for ban evasion.

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