I’m not quite sure how I feel about these sorts of reality-altering tricks that are impossible in the world of atoms. On some level, they feel disingenuous to me. And it’s a bit like wishing users into the cornfield
with superhuman powers far beyond the ken of normal people. But I’ve also spent many painful hours trapped in public dialog about users who were, at best
, just wasting everyone’s time. Democracy is a wonderful thing, but efficient, it ain’t.
That said, every community is different. I’ve personally talked to people in charge of large online communities – ones you probably participate in every day – and part of the reason those communities haven’t
broken down into utter chaos by now is because they secretly hellban
their most problematic users. These solutions do neatly solve the problem of getting troublesome users to “voluntarily” decide to leave a community with a minimum of drama. It’s hard to argue with techniques that are proven to work.
I think everyone has a right to know what sort of jail their community uses, even these secret, invisible ones. But keep in mind that whether it’s timed suspensions, traditional bans, or exotic hellbans and beyond, the goal is the same: civil, sane, and safe online communities for everyone.