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Note: this question was originally closed as "too broad" since it originally asked five questions. However, I've edited it down to two very similar questions. Additionally, the standard for "too broad" is much more lenient on this site, as there are quite a few questions that are even broader but are allowed to be open.

I'm aware that the longest possible chat suspension length is generally 9,999 hours, or 417 days. However, I've noticed a couple of chat users recently that are suspended for far longer than that, on the order of 1.1+ million days, or 3,200+ years.

After some digging around, I discovered that the 9999-hour restriction is client-side only; if you defeat the client-side restriction, the server will happily accept any larger value.

According to Shog, this isn't recommended. But I've seen at least two users who have been suspended for more than a million days. (I will not be linking to any of the users here, but a quick search on Meta Stack Overflow will find one case.)

I have a few questions:

  • Under what cases would a moderator want to suspend a user from chat for this long? Is the standard longest suspension length of 417 days not enough in certain cases? If so, why go for millions of hours?

  • If the longest suspension of 9,999 hours is not long enough, should that length be increased? Maybe if it's not long enough such that they have to bypass a client-side restriction, since Shog commented that it's not recommended, the limit should be both increased and enforced server-side?

It would also be nice to know where the number (~28.5 million hours) came from, technically.

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    Well, we are definitely not allowed to mail users bobcats any more - and someone clearly felt we needed to keep said user out of chat.... – Journeyman Geek Feb 20 at 5:43
  • I'd say when they (a mod) have given a user oodles of chances, and repeatedly asked this iser to refrain from repeating an undesired behaviour. Only a permanent ban gets the message across – Mari-Lou A Feb 20 at 8:21
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    Didn't The Answer on MSO Which Shall Not Be Linked already give you the answer to most of these questions? – Cody Gray Feb 20 at 8:33
  • @CodyGray Only the first question, and only in that specific case. I've actually come across another case, in a deleted answer I linked earlier in the post but later removed since the answer was deleted. – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Feb 20 at 8:35
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    Also, I don't see why this "doesn't appear to seek input and discussion from the community". Can that please be explained? – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Feb 20 at 8:36
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    Well, great. For question #2, let's return to that in about 3000 years. For the rest of the questions, these are just implementation details; who cares? – Cody Gray Feb 20 at 8:36
  • @CodyGray The third question is not about an implementation detail, and while the fourth and fifth are, I don't see why questions that no one else cares about but are otherwise within the scope of the site (about SE) are considered off-topic for the site. (FYI please see my bio) – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Feb 20 at 8:38
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    Imo the situation is fine as-is. Extraordinary cases require extraordinary measures (such as disabling client-side verification). If we'd just have this as an option and we'd have consensus on when to implement it, it would be less extraordinary, and I trust the moderator team to only implement this when needed (and the case on MSO seems justified in hindsight). – Erik Reinstate MonicA Feb 20 at 9:51
  • Under which circumstances would a user be "banned" from chat for ....? – Mari-Lou A Feb 20 at 12:24
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    There is a known Vampire issue on SE and as vampires exist longer then humans the longer times are required. See related What vampire has the longest existence? – James Jenkins Feb 20 at 13:56
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    Wait, you're saying that there was a time where I could have gotten a free bobcat just by trolling, @JourneymanGeek??? – user1228 Feb 20 at 16:42
  • 28,417,200 hours, to be precise. 1,184,050 days. – ArtOfCode Feb 20 at 19:36
  • @ArtOfCode So, where did that number originate from? – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Feb 20 at 19:41
  • @SonictheWizardWerehog I don't know. – ArtOfCode Feb 20 at 19:55
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I'm not familiar with the specific case you mention, but will share my opinions for the general case.

There are no rules for those things. If the moderators find someone to be unfitting for chat and beyond any hope of becoming fitting for chat ever, they need to put permanent chat ban.

Since such thing does not exist, and deleted chat profile will just be auto created, the only way is long temporary chat ban.

Is the standard longest suspension length of 417 days not enough in certain cases?

No, 417 days are not enough, because there's a risk that person will just come back after those 417 days and cause more havoc.

If so, why go for millions of hours

I'm pretty sure that's just a random big number the mod wrote, without calculating exact amount of time. Just big enough to make sure the user will never be able to chat again.

If the longest suspension of 9,999 hours is not long enough, should that length be increased?

Maybe, this can be a valid new feature request.

Should we make the restriction server-side?

No.

Does the technical reason above also tie in with network-wide site suspensions?

I doubt there's any relation code-wise between chat ban and suspension, let alone network wide suspension.

  • Well there is a relation and this is that main site suspensions lead to chat user suspensions (when correctly set parent user) – MEE - Reinstate Monica Feb 20 at 11:31
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    @MEE yeah, but still... – Shadow The Princess Wizard Feb 20 at 12:10
  • What would you say if the user concerned received a 3,200+ year chat ban whilst suspended from chat? And therefore had clearly not done anything untoward in chat? And was to all extents and purposes, a civil poster with considerable expertise? Who was not banned from Meta chat? – John Duffield Feb 22 at 16:28
  • @JohnDuffield I'd say discuss this with the site mods or SE community managers who can see the whole picture. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Feb 22 at 16:38
  • @Shadow Wizard : there's an issue with that. Generally speaking the SE managers haven't got the time to take an interest in minor suspensions. Then if there's a complaint about a major suspension, the first thing they do is look at the "rap sheet". If there's been prior suspensions, then regardless of whether they're justified, they consider the major suspension to be justified. It isn't a good system. Especially since it ends up with specious 3000+ year suspensions which make SE look vindictive. If I had my way, SE would operate under an "open justice" system. – John Duffield Feb 22 at 16:50
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At the point where we're throwing said 9999-hour bans, chances are the user in question is likely to have had a pattern of poor behavior… often including ban evasion. Our options are limited in these cases to asking a CM for help, which may not be great for a long term problem than needs immediate, decisive action.

Shockingly enough, some users don't get the hint and try to get around suspensions. It's frustrating. Sometimes mods get creative…

There is no particular reason we expect someone to come back after a 9999-hour suspension (and do the same old thing). Both a million-hour suspension and a 9999-hour suspension mean, "we asked you to stop, you didn't".

Practically, there is no advantage to give longer suspensions past a point. Sometimes… Well it seems proper.

In any case, the mechanism for chat suspensions and regular suspensions are different. No one's worked out a way to give a longer than maximum length suspension on sites without asking a CM.

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