Currently, moderators can kick users out of a room. I've done this to two users now, and they just come right back into the room. I conclude that it's not effective for its presumed purpose (slowing down trolls or other troublemakers, on a room-specific basis).

I propose that a delay be imposed on users after getting kicked, before they can re-enter a room. It wouldn't have to be a large delay; 15 minutes at the most. This would satisfy those folks who need a way to slow down users that are disruptive, without having to resort to long lists of users with write access and use of "gallery mode." It's also a less blunt instrument than suspending users from chat.

In addition, if this isn't already a feature request, I think room owners should be able to kick users.

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    Manish has a kickban bookmarklet, code is here. – hichris123 Apr 17 '14 at 22:36
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    @hichris123 While the bookmarklet is nice I'd much rather see this be an implemented feature server-side (particularly combined with the room-owners-can-kick capability)! There have been issues in the past where users insist on being disruptive, so it's basically a mod-kicking-user-spamming war... – voretaq7 Apr 17 '14 at 22:41
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    @voretaq7 I agree, just wanted to mention it in the meantime. Since this will be implemented in 6-8 weeks, of course. ;) – hichris123 Apr 17 '14 at 22:42
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    When it comes to chat feature requests, 6-8 years is a bit more realistic. – DeadMG Apr 17 '14 at 22:45
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    I suppose you could just ban the user for a day if (s)he/ keep coming right back in... – Mysticial Apr 17 '14 at 23:04
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    Yes, but I believe bans kick the user out of all of the chat rooms. Mostly this is a request to make an apparently useless chat room feature useful. – Robert Harvey Apr 17 '14 at 23:05
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    Right, but the user should realize that getting kicked out of a room is a warning. And if he doesn't heed the warning, there may be consequences... – Mysticial Apr 17 '14 at 23:06
  • Otherwise, yes it sounds like a reasonable request. Even if most of us can't use it. – Mysticial Apr 17 '14 at 23:06
  • The second guy was sort of "oh, I get it. You don't want me here" after re-entering for the third time. – Robert Harvey Apr 17 '14 at 23:07
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    @Mysticial I don't believe there is a message that accompanies being kicked, so users may think it was a glitch, or otherwise not understand what it means. – C. Ross Apr 18 '14 at 0:42
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    I've been kicked before (jokes). And yeah, it's confusing. You simply get dumped to the rooms page. That should probably be changed too. – ɥʇǝS Apr 18 '14 at 3:37
up vote 57 down vote accepted

This has been implemented now. The short story is: room owners can kick abusive users, who will then be banned from re-entering the room for a certain time.

Of course you want not just the short story but all the dirty details, so here they are:

In the user popup that appears when you click on an avatar in the "who's here" list or next to a chat message, room owners have a new action available:

"kick-mute this user" action in the user popup

We chose the name "kick-mute" mainly to clarify that this is different from the old "kick this user" (which was only available to moderators, and, as you noted, was fairly useless). We just say "kick" everywhere else.

Room owners may have to reload the page to see this new menu item.

Clicking this item and confirming an alert saying

Do you want to kick [Name] out of this room? A high number of kicks may be reported to moderators.

will, well, kick the user. They will drop out of the "who's here" list, and they will be redirected to a page that (almost precisely) contains the message that Shog9 suggested. They will also be shown this page if they try to re-enter the room.*

The kicking room owner will be informed how long the kickee will have to wait before re-joining the room (see the section "Ban duration").

*If the kickee has loaded the current chat page before this change came into effect, they may be redirected directly to the rooms list instead, so they'll have to try re-entering before they see this message.

Who can be kicked?

A room owner can kick any user (including other room owners) from their room, provided all of the following are true:

  1. The kickee has spoken in this room within the last 24 hours.
  2. If the kickee has previously been kicked from this room, they have spoken again after said ban was over.
  3. The kickee is not suspended.
  4. The kickee is not already kick-banned from this room (this also pretty much follows from 2.)
  5. The kickee is not a moderator.

The kickee does not have to be in the room at the time they're being kicked (requiring this would allow trolls to prevent being banned by entering a room, quickly saying "TABS ARE BETTER THAN SPACES!!!!one", and immediately leaving the room again before anyone could have taken action).

Ban duration

If this is the first time the user is kicked anywhere (i.e., not necessarily in the same room) in the last 24 hours, the ban will last one minute. If it is the second time, the ban will last five minutes.

If it is the third or more time the user has been kicked within 24 hours, the ban will last for 30 minutes. In addition, the user is automatically banned from creating new rooms and from sending invites. This automatic ban does not expire and can only be removed by a moderator. Moderators can also remove the kick-ban before it expires.

Auto-flagging

If a kick action fulfills any of the following criteria, an automatic moderator flag will be raised (on the kickee's last message):

  • This was at least the third time that this particular user has been kicked within 24 hours (this is the same criterion as for the invitation/room creation ban, so moderators can immediately evaluate whether this defensive ban is unnecessary, appropriate, or not even enough).

  • This was the 3rd, 6th, 9th, etc. time that this particular room owner has kicked a user within the last 24 hours.

  • This was the 5th, 10th, 15th, etc. time that a user was kicked out of this particular room within the last 24 hours.

The automatic flag will contain the numbers for all of these values (number of kicks against this user, number of kicks by this room owner, number of kicks in this room) that cross the minimal threshold (3, 3, or 5, respectively), and a link to a page that shows the details on the kickee's current and previous bans, and that also lets them remove the bans.

If a kick action caused an auto-flag, the kicking room owner will be informed of this fact.

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    I am so glad this feature is implemented. Is there a way to revoke a kick before the time is up? – Zach Saucier Sep 11 '14 at 14:42
  • @ZachSaucier Yes, but only moderators can do that. – balpha Sep 11 '14 at 14:44
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    Thank you for finally giving us the ability to moderate our own rooms! This is a huge win! Thanks! – ircmaxell Sep 11 '14 at 14:45
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    @ircmaxell There may be more to come. With the infrastructure changes I mentioned in the aside in this answer, it's now much easier to create more fine-grained bans (and conversely, additional permissions) that can be given to users. – balpha Sep 11 '14 at 14:48
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    Would it be reasonable to consider adding "starring" messages to the list of privileges lost after you've been kicked 3 times? That might help cut down on the star spam. – Retsam Sep 11 '14 at 15:03
  • @Retsam Please post a new feature request, such a discussion should get lost in a comment thread. – balpha Sep 11 '14 at 15:09
  • Awesome! Thanks for doing this it's a great help. I'd like to join Retsam in that rooms can still be abused via Starring messages, avatar bombing, and spam flag bombs. Once these are out the system should be clean though :) – Benjamin Gruenbaum Sep 11 '14 at 16:43
  • +1: I like this; good job. I wouldn't without the totting-up mod notify, as owners are not above reproach, should not be considered "gods" and have been known to misbehave quite badly from time to time. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 11 '14 at 16:53
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    IMO there should be an audit message about this (maybe owner-visible only, if that's not too much work). – Cat Plus Plus Sep 11 '14 at 16:54
  • A non-editable audit message. It's bad enough with moves and topic changes. – R. Martinho Fernandes Sep 11 '14 at 16:54
  • "A room owner can kick any user (including other room owners)" Why would a room owner be allowed to be kicked? I'd expect a room owner to not be abusive and have their ownership revoked by other owners before being kicked. Otherwise owners may end up just kicking each other. – cryptic ツ Sep 11 '14 at 18:12
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    @crypticツ Counter-question -- Why not? How is it a problem? "Otherwise owners may end up just kicking each other" sounds like a constructed problem; after all, room owners aren't revoking each other's ownerships right now either. – balpha Sep 11 '14 at 18:18
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    Tabs are better than spaces! – bjb568 Sep 12 '14 at 2:25
  • Can moderators kick users that haven't spoken? – ɥʇǝS Sep 22 '14 at 2:06
  • @ɥʇǝS No, there are no differences between kicking by mods and kicking by "normal" room owners. – balpha Sep 22 '14 at 5:11

I've been thinking about this for a while... It'd be a really nice way to allow room owners to actually moderate their room without the sort of tricks you refer to (I'd include mass-migration of posts to "bin" rooms in this list as well - fine for cleaning up abuse, terrible if it has to happen as a matter of course for every day interactions).

My only concern here is that it doesn't actually improve on the whole "gallery mode" trick very much, in that you could presumably write a script to implement this today without any additional support from the system. IMHO, if someone is getting kicked a lot, there's a problem - either with the kicker or the kickee.

I'd like to see this implemented as follows:

  1. First kick exits the user from the room (loading the list of rooms, as today) and blocks the user from talking in the room they were kicked from for 1 minute. They should be shown a message that explains what happened and what they should do to avoid it in the future:

    You've been kicked from [room name]. Generally this means that your behavior was not in keeping with the norms established in that room.

    • Most rooms have a topic or topics they prefer to chat about. In [room name], you should try to talk about the topic of [room description].
    • Always be respectful of others.
    • Spend a bit of time reading what others are talking about before speaking up yourself - try not to interrupt active conversations!

    You'll be allowed to talk again in 1 minute.

  2. Second kick that day (from any room!) blocks user from talking in that room for 5 minutes.

  3. Third (and subsequent) kick that day (from any room!) blocks user from talking in that room for 10 minutes and raises an automatic moderator flag.

This would then accomplish three things:

  1. It gives room owners a little bit of extra moderating power for their room only.
  2. It would automatically escalate abusive users to actual moderators if they got kicked enough. They could then be suspended entirely if need-be.
  3. It would automatically escalate abusive room owners to moderators if they're misusing "kick"... (may also serve to escalate from one moderator to the entire team in cases where such oversight would be appreciated)

Necessary restrictions:

  • Don't allow kicking users who haven't talked (at all or since the last kick).
  • Don't allow kicking users while they're down (already waiting out a kick or a suspension).
  • Don't allow kicking moderators (this restriction already exists).

"Nice to have:"

While discussing this internally, RobertC made the point that we currently do very little within the system to encourage users who've lost their cool to actually take a break - even suspension has no guidance associated with it, and users who can't chat can still read the conversation that first raised their ire - even as it continues without them. If feasible, we may wish to consider...

  • Blocking kicked users from re-entering the room after their third kick until they are allowed to chat again.
  • Blocking suspended users from re-entering any rooms for the duration of their suspension.

Naturally, they'd still be able to read the transcripts, however this may remove some of the temptation for angry users to sit, stoking their anger, until the system allows them to release it upon the hapless villagers.

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    "...not in keeping with the rules" -- I would replace word rules with norms. This likely would tame potential complaints from kicked users if there are rules, where can I read these. "...not in keeping with the norms" – gnat Aug 20 '14 at 7:23
  • This looks great, should really help out. Right now, room ownership is mostly a joke. – ɥʇǝS Aug 21 '14 at 18:45
  • (sorry, I've read the post badly) +1 these all ideas sound just perfect! – yo' Aug 29 '14 at 11:57
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    I like the automatic mod flag part - I think that it would keep any form of power abuse in the chat under tight check. The second delay is probably too short though, especially if mod has not reacted to the mod flag yet. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Sep 8 '14 at 12:56
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    Sounds like a good idea. I personally think the durations may be a bit too short, but I'm sure the specifics can be debated later. I like the idea itself. – Some Guy Sep 8 '14 at 12:57

Here's my suggestion for the situation:

We should disable 10K user flags in the chat as they're broken anyway since they bear no context and I'm not sure I trust most 10K users to be good judges in this case. Mod flags are always there in cases of abuse.

Instead for the 'keeping the user outside of a chat' use case - implement Shog's suggestion and let room owners kick users from a specific chat room. This type of system should keep us covered from most types of users who disrupt the chat. Most of the conversation in the chat is quite nice and of high quality, it's a good gathering ground to discuss interesting questions in SO and help users with questions too small to consist of a SO question.

We've build something that does this outside of the system in the JS room and I'd like to share what we learned from this experiment:

Some problematic users just don't understand the system - the first 'kick' should remove the user from the room and show them a help screen like Shog suggested. A user may rejoin the room immediately after reading the help text. We're found out that (surprise surprise) kicking users is really antagonizing to them. If talking to them doesn't help initially or they don't understand what they're doing wrong - this should serve as a strong indicator.

There should be no 'stigma' here and this should be a step designed to help the user understand the system better. People easily get antagonized by hostile behavior from a community and can turn into problematic users quite fast.

Some people are genuine trolls or help vampires - those people are not looking for constructive discussion. Sometimes people want to test their boundaries. The 20 rep limit really helps cut down the noise here, but there are a lot of people who come to the room, ask for help, and when they're told to do their own research before asking start acting in an abusive manner. The second flag should last 30 minutes so the user has sufficient time to cool down.

It should be made clear to the user that they can correct their behavior at this point and become constructive members of the community.

Some people are repeat offenders - we've had random people we don't like join the room and for weeks make sexist remarks that border sexual harassment, racist remarks, and hateful remarks. Telling them they're not welcome members of our community didn't help very much. Upon a third kick a mod flag should be raised and the user should not be able to join the room until a mod has reviewed the flag or for the very least for at least an hour.

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