As reported by Spinks, poor old Battlechicken has been having something of an uphill fight with Bioware after their anti-cheater systems falsely identified her as the sort of low-life in need of a good banning. Fortunately, the whole saga seems to be finally coming to a happy ending, and as usual for Spinks her intelligent and well-argued post has resulted in the sort of intelligent and well-argued comment thread that we lesser bloggers would give our eye teeth for :p
Unfortunately, I have to sympathise with Thade’s position in that comment thread – far, FAR too many of the people who go to the ‘court of internet opinion’ over their allegedly unjust banning either were banned for something which richly deserved it… or weren’t actually banned at all and are trolling for fake outrage (a phenomenon I felt the urge to ramble about nearly half a year ago).
What does this mean in this case? That people who do have the bad luck to be caught up in false positives, like Battlechicken, are not going to get the sympathy they deserve because we’re all sick and tired of the ones who ARE cheating jerks crying wolf about being banned unjustly. Part of me says that in the interests of justice, only those guilty beyond any reasonable doubt should be penalised… but there’s another part of me that says that the consequences of risking letting the guilty go free in this case outweigh the injustice. Allowing hackers, botters and griefers to get away with it results in a worse game experience for everyone, not just the handful who get unjustly punished, and there’s the ‘broken windows’ effect as well; the more the low-lifes are seen to get away with their behaviour, the more acceptable (or even necessary) other players see it to do likewise.
I will say that any disciplinary process should have an appeals process that includes sensible, mature human judgement, and that it should NOT consist of firing off form letter replies. I would also add that in my view, anyone who appeals (either formally or informally via the forums) and is shown that they DID deserve the ban should have their punishment increased to deter them from wasting everyone’s time and trying to game the system.