Poll: Shadowbanning/Stealth Banning; Agreeable or No?

runic knight

New member
Mar 26, 2011
Why would you ever hide the fact you banned someone from them? What good does that actually do? Do you really think they is a fair punishment for breaking rules even, let alone the more regular use of it being a tool abused by mods doing so based purely on personal motivations rather than enforcing site rules?

Stealth banning is stupid as hell. It doesn't show anyone hit but it what rules were broken or what was done wrong, it doesn't show the community what isn't acceptable by having visible consequence, and it actively encourages paranoia in communities and abuse by those with the power to do so.

Not even the idea of using it on trolls or spam programs makes it a worthwhile effort, as anything automated can be adjusted to check that posts are being seen, and anyone trolling wont care and will just jump accounts anyways. At best you slow that down for as long as it takes for them to notice, and then they are both right back to where they started, wiser for the experience.

In the end it solves absolutely nothing and is solely the tool of the lazy and cowardly to try to wrangle the community in without all the effort of actually enforcing bans they'd take shit for enforcing, or without actually confronting people they want banned with the rules they violated.

It is a worthless half-assed solution to a problem and it is no wonder at all why it never works for long. People find out they are shadowbanned and adjust accordingly. Trolls make new sock puppets, programs get an extra line or two of code to check, and regular posters realize they were shadowbanned and drag that out into a massive issue of paranoia, moderator distrust, public spectacle, and political posturing.

Nothing of value comes from shadowbanning.


New member
Apr 14, 2008
The Decapitated Centaur said:
BoogieManFL said:
You can't learn from a shadowban like you can a real one.
Is the point to teach someone? I think usually not
It should be. I was once banned from a forum and while it was in a grey area (and later undone) and I didn't feel I warranted a ban it made me sit down and look at my posts from another perspective. Something I thought I was doing well enough before, but I wasn't. It helped me be a better person online.

If someone breaks the rules tell them and follow through. Sure, many people may not learn from punishment but some do and that at least leaves the potential for it to be a learning experience.

Consequences and being held accountable for your actions is part of our very culture. Subverting that just to avoid a conflict is counter productive in the long run and sets a bad precedent.

Beyond that it's just a very shady and cowardly way to handle it.


Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
No, i think all moderation action should be visible to the one being moderated, preferably public.

Since the topic is about reddit, heres a story of how i got shadowbanned on reddit. When i originally registered i was browsing just a couple subreddits making comments and shit, then one day i saw something on the escapist i thought would be interesting for one of the subreddits and created a link-post. Apperently escapist is on the spambot list for reddit and i got promptly shadowbanned, but not told about that. I continued to participate in community until a moderator of that community noticed that i make good participation content despite being shadowbanned and PMed me explaining i was shadownbanned. Getting the ban removed by admins, lets just say uphill battle is an understatement.


Regular Member
Apr 21, 2020
Stealth ban all of the bots that are ruining the gaming discussion.
It shouldn't be applied to regular users. If there's a problem with them, let them know

Paragon Fury

The Loud Shadow
Jan 23, 2009
The Decapitated Centaur said:
Paragon Fury said:
The Decapitated Centaur said:
Paragon Fury said:
So a topic that popped up recently on Reddit was the practice of "Shadow"/Stealth Banning people from Subreddits, or websites altogether;

Basically "Shadow"/Stealth banning is the practice of either preventing people's posts/threads from appearing altogether, or making it look like they appear to the person in question, but they don't actually appear for anyone else, even if that person is given a direct link to the topic (one of the easiest ways to find if you've been stealth banned). Or in some cases returning a mysterious/vague "error" message that can't seem to be resolved.

The concern is that rather than police actual offenses, this type of banning is used to enforce political views/ideas and the personal whims/ideas of moderators and sites without having to commit to an actual ban that could get the issuer caught (since there is no trail, no statements issued and often the target can't even tell).

Is "Shadow"/stealth banning acceptable? Or should sites and mods grab their brass ones and make themselves and the reason for the bans known in all cases?

For my personal view, I've very much seen and been on the receiving end of the negative end of this kind of banning - I'm an old veteran of IMGUR's NSFW Wars. The Cliffnotes version is this;

The popular image hosting/sharing site IMGUR didn't used to have filters or much in the way of rules. The sites owner and manager, Sarah, wanted to crack down on a lot of the outright porn and such that was being posted. So she and her mods began banning anything remotely NSFW, including things that you could ostensibly find in a PG-13 movie or T rated game. This made a lot of the community mad as it seemed that the mods and Sarah were completely overreacting without trying to find any middle ground. It went back and forth pretty badly, but Sarah finally broke down and relented - IMGUR received a filter system and a "Mature" category, though outright porn was still banned. However, Sarah very clearly was bitter over losing and having to give in lest she lose their viewership of her site. She's allowed her mods to basically run rampant and the defining rule is "You could be banned/have your content removed for having pretty women, period, at the sole personal taste of the mods/Sarah". Though they claim they don't shadowban and that they follow an objective standard for banning and removing content, basically no one believes them. One user in particular even made a forum thread showing how the site shadow bans people (IMGUR likes the "Infinite Vague Error Message" approach)....though it was quickly taken down.
I think it sounds fucking hilarious to be honest, makes people take a while before they realize they're banned and may try to evade it somehow. Something just amuses me about someone just continuing to post being a dick and no one ever responding or seeing it

The 'worry' about the ban sounds pretty silly, the tool itself doesn't lend to that any more than a regular ban with discussion of bans being forbidden

Also, for the record, you lose a lot of credibility in your telling when you say 'having pretty women' could be enough. We all know exactly what you're talking about and it's disingenuous to just phrase it as 'pretty women'.
Not Banned, Removed or Suspended [http://imgur.com/gallery/cpO6R]

Removed and Suspended [http://imgur.com/a/CRjAm]

I could go on, but that might be pushing the point too hard.

Yes, thank you for proving my point that it isn't about who's pretty, no need to hammer it in

Or is the point that you've got a very distorted view that what you like is objective?
Well, considering IMGUR is the one who will let that half-naked Brexit Protester stay on FP/MV, or scantily-clad real women but removes anime and manga, I'd say they're the ones with the fucked up definitions and bias.