So I register on a new message board (for the first time), post a few tame posts (one of them was in the wrong forum and got moved, but I got up a rapport with the Mod that moved it in the end) and then go to bed.
I arrive at work the next day and find an e-mail in my mailbox saying I’ve been ‘hard-banned’ and that my latest attempt to subvert IP checks has failed.
“Do not attempt to register again. Continued attempts such as this are considered abuse and will be reported to your various ISPs”
At the top of the e-mail is a list of screen names that I have supposedly been registered as in the past (one of the names is the name I actually registered as)
W. T. F???!
Has this type of thing ever happened to any one here ? (being mistaken for a repeat-registering troll)
Yup. Happened to me (sort of). SDMB (without warning) briefly banned my IP address, which is dynamically assigned by my ISP. As reconnecting didn’t help, I’m guessing that a whole range of addresses got banned; I complained and got no reply, but I was able to log in again after a few days.
I began my time on the other boards thinking - I’ll behave myself and I’ll not piss anyone off. I’ll act like a 3000+ poster there. And then I get hard-banned. That’s HARD-banned! (meaning I can’t even see the forums, let alone post to them)
Actually It’s an admin not a mod (my mistake). The reason I want to fight it is I don’t like being acused of being a trouble maker/repeat offender/disruptor of a message board on which I have about 6 posts and which I have only ever registered to once.
The likely ways they can use to track a habitual troll are:
Username - some trolls use variants on the same name. Obviously easy to circumvent, so hardly a reliable method. I’d be very surprised if they banned you just on this basis.
Cookies on the PC - more accurate than the above, but easy for the user to circumvent by wiping his cookies. To be honest, the only way I could foresee this have happening to you is if you were using a PC in a public place, which wasn’t being reset and cleared after each session. This is possible, if you’re accessing from a net cafe, university, workplace or other place where computers are shared - but very unlikely, unless their system administrators are completely incompetent. If you’re using a home PC, do you share it with anyone?
IP address - the likely candidate. Whiles relatively few users have fixed IP addresses, most people are likely to only use one or two ISP’s (home and work) and so are likely to be issued session IP addresses from the same range (or two). This is harder to circumvent than cookies, requiring at least a modicum of knowledge to route through a proxy, or for a user to change ISP’s. The downside though is that this is a blunderbuss approach, as barring an IP range will also be banning lots of other users on this ISP?
There are other ways of spotting persistent trolls, from software that will heuristical analyse their grammar to basically spyware that hooks into a machine to provide hard to clear tagging - but these are very uncommon.
How to fight this? The most obvious way is to email the admin again, stating that you’re sure there’s been a mistake. Other than that the only ways would be to circumvent the methods above, but that seems a bit of a hassle just to access a new messageboard.
I fell victim to that at the weekend. I visited another message board for the first time ever and was greeted with a “you’ve been banned from these boards” message.
Lobsang: Just drop it. It is not worth your time and effort to keep trying to prove you are not the returning troll. Chances are that every email you write to the Admins complaining about the unfair banning will just ‘prove’ to them that you are.
We sometimes temporarily ban IP ranges when a troll is persistant. Occasionally, this means that a few regular members won’t be able to post for a while. We apologise for the invonvenience, but it’s a method that works, even though it does mean temporary inconvenience for SDMB posters who’ve done nothing wrong.
Lobsang, this sounds like an IP match-up gone wrong. I have no idea what other criteria the administrator in question used: we generally don’t ban people that easily, especially when they’re behaving properly.
Well I’ve given up now (I got no reply from my latest e-mail to them) It probably isn’t worth the effort - the trafic at the site was far less than here. I can’t think of anything else (other than the banning situation) bad to say about them but then again I spent at the most two full hours there.
I guess I’ll stick with good old SDMB.
Thanks for the support quys especially Coldfire for responding to my humble request for a mod’s advice/input.