Hellbanning and Identity

Here’s an interesting crowd control mechanism for discussion forums:

hellbanned user is invisible to all other users, but crucially, not himself. From their perspective, they are participating normally in the community but nobody ever responds to them.

Neat. No point in rebooting with a new ID because nothing appears to be amiss. In the comments there’s this interesting tidbit, too:

You’d be surprised at how little of your identity is made up of login/OpenID/e-mail/IP/etc and how much of it is made up of behavior. Duplicate identities are very easy to spot in the vast majority of cases.

I’m reminded the brouhaha surrounding Scott Adams’ pseudonymous self-defense over some controversial article he wrote or something. Apparently, he was all over the web on all kinds of forums sticking up for himself. At the time it was pretty easy to find the stuff he was writing as ‘PlannedChaos’ (it still is).

The point is, to anyone familiar with his writing, it is brutally obvious that PlannedChaos is Scott Adams.

It seems that the moment there is some value to unmasking someone, pseudonyms are mostly useless.

Another way of saying that is: the only time they’re supposed to work, they don’t.

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