Lets say a user uses chat and has a nice bot account. They've legitimately earned rep on that bot and uses it to do practical functions for the room, such as evaluating math expressions. Later, the main user gets banned from chat or suspended for some amount of time.

What do you do with the bot account? Should it also be suspended?

  • 6
    Only if the bot account is used to circumvent the ban of the main account.
    – rene
    Feb 24 '18 at 22:49
  • 1
    @rene care to expand in an answer? Feb 24 '18 at 22:51
  • 2
    Nope, I'm not a moderator so I rather have them chime in and set policies for this.
    – rene
    Feb 24 '18 at 22:53
  • 3
    Well, it is more common sense than policy... if the person is posting via the bot account manually, then the bot account should also be banned, as this is what @rene meant by "used to circumvent the ban of the main account". Other than that, if the bot has legit use, I really don't see any reason to ban it. Feb 25 '18 at 7:02

As a moderator who spends a lot of time on chat...

It depends. Practically speaking, while bots theoretically have one owner, many bots are maintained by multiple members of the community. The point of a suspension isn't just punishment - it's to let the user have a timeout when they misbehave. I suppose part of the issue is "does suspending the bot do this?" and whether it is collective punishment, and is leaving the bot alone against the spirit of the suspension?

Historically, and rather interestingly - the chat bot on Root Access was suspended, and not the maintainers, so there's some degree of precedent for a bot being suspended for not acting correctly, but not the owner - and presumably that can work the other way.

Considering that we have taken a dim view of people trying to get a chat bot suspended in the past (though I can't remember enough to pull up an example), if a bot is triggered to perform an action that's against the rules, we'd have to review both the bot and the person who triggered said action.

On the other hand, on Root Access or any other chat room on which I am a regular, I'd totally kick someone who's clearly trying to get around a suspension with a second account. The utility of the bot to the room and the lack of use to get around a suspension is critical here.

So, assuming that the bot continues to serve its purpose in the community, the maintainer doesn't use it to get around their chat suspension (and this would/should result in increased suspensions for the user and presumably invoking the "this is why we can't have nice things" rule), I don't see any particular benefit in extending an owner's suspension to the bot automatically.

Where abuse occurs, of course, we'd need to review and use common sense, in mitigating the abuse.

  • In case the bot starts (legitimately) malfunctioning or has a bug, the maintainer won't be able to respond to pings if they're suspended. So there needs to be an alternate point of contact if the user gets suspended and has a bot. Jul 11 '19 at 19:19
  • Uhm. My answer literally makes a case for when not to suspend the main user. If a bit goes nuts and we know who the bot maintainer is, Suspending the bot to sush it and superpinginging the maintainer makes sense. The answer has many if else statements for a reason
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Jul 12 '19 at 13:25

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