Reddit has decided to do away with shadowbans and replace them with suspensions, the company announced this evening. Shadowbans, for those unfamiliar, is a punishment for those who break the rules; users who have been shadowbanned can still post, but only they can see their content. In substitution, Reddit has introduced a new type of account restriction, one that “increase transparency when handling users who violate Reddit’s content policy.”
Reddit administrators, and only admins, can hit an account with a suspension, meaning mods don’t have the power. When an account is suspended, the user will be notified through a private message, and will be given details about how long the suspension will last, and the reasons it was applied. When the suspension happens, users are limited only to replying to the suspension notification for appeal purposes.
A suspension may not be permanent; it will depend on what rule the user broke. Says Reddit, these users will “effectively have had their account put into read-only mode.” Voting, post submissions, commenting, and PMing are all blocked for suspended accounts, a big change over shadowbanning. Moderators can also be suspended, but Reddit indicates it is still ironing out some of the rules on how the restriction will work.
Those using mobile will get an error if they try to do something with a suspended account, while those in desktop will see notifications. Those who visit a permanently suspended user page will see that it has been suspended, as well, and won’t be able to see anything else. Those who visit a profile that has been temp-suspended, however, won’t see an indications of such.
Our current form of account restriction, the shadowban, is great for dealing with bots/spam rings but woefully inadequate for real human beings. We think suspensions are a vast improvement.