Blizzard forum users speak up against bans

Posters on Blizzard's official forum have drawn attention to the forum's banning practices after noticing an increase in users receiving temporary bans for posting seemingly harmless messages.

Posters on Blizzard's official forum have drawn attention to the forum's banning practices after noticing an increase in users receiving temporary bans for posting seemingly harmless messages.

Polygon was approached by posters who noticed that forum users were being banned on the grounds of harassment for addressing their messages and questions to Diablo 3's design team.

One forum user, Mike Bok, told Polygon that he was banned after posting a question on the forum asking why Diablo 3's game director, Jay Wilson, had not given an interview or statement since the game's release. He says he was promptly banned for this post, with Blizzard explaining that his message violated the forum's Terms Of Use.

The message that Bok posted read:

"I have already had a post deleted and have read that other have been banned. It seems that if you even subtly request that Jay Wilson make a statement or take an interview publically on the forums then it is promptly censored. I wonder why Blizzard would not want people to question why Jay Wilson has not made any public statements or interviews since the delease of Diablo 3? He seems like he used to be a very talkative guy..."

His violation, according to Blizzard, read:

"Please refrain from creating posts aimed at specific employees. This is not appropriate for these forums and violates the forum Code of Conduct."

Bok collected screenshots of other users posting on the forums asking why they had been banned (after their temporary bans had been lifted), only to have the threads be deleted and the users receive additional bans. Another forum user was banned for quoting a post that expressed negativity towards Diablo 3.

"The forum moderators in Diablo 3 have now cranked up their efforts to make the general forum almost sterile of anything controversial or of any significance," Bok said.

Bok says that while he understands some bannings are realistic, he and other forum users feel like many of the bans are unfair, especially when posters are banned a second time for asking why they were banned to begin with.

"Blizzard needs to let people say what they need to say on the forums. There comes a point where even seemly obscene criticism becomes constructive feedback," Bok told Polygon.

"Censoring is always a backwards approach to solving issues. I am already seeing the effects of this and many players now are reluctant to criticize or even post because they are unsure what will get them banned. It is proving to make for a very sterile and useless forum, which should be the place where the players and Blizzard meet to discuss improving Diablo 3."

Blizzard declined to comment on the issue.

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