Getting Around Blocks

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
In a thread recently, there was a series of posts that very explicitly stated the following;

1) Poster "A" blocked Poster "B"
2) Poster "B" expressed some confusion over the block
3) An unknown Poster "C" copied Poster "A"s post and direct messaged it to Poster "B"

We all know that there are certain ways to circumnavigate a block, but I very distinctly recall reading red text to the effect that copying the text of one person's post to allow a poster that had been blocked to read that person's words is against the forum's rules.

Irrespective of the context of that particular thread, this seems very cut and dried. What use is the block feature if people don't have to respect it? Yet, I received pushback when calling out the behavior, and subsequent mod red text failed to even address the block circumnavigation. I double checked the forums rules and nothing is directly mentioned about blocking at all, not even in the section on harassment.

Can we receive a clarification on the rules surrounding blocks? I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that this behavior should be considered acceptable.
 

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Hello

Full disclosure, I'm one of the party involved.

I am not very familiar with blocking rules and procedure - I can't recall ever blocking someone here, and (as far as I am aware), I am very rarely if ever blocked by others. So when a conversation got - from my point of view - suddenly derailed and glitchy, I was confused and said so.

Someone then sent me the last post, which was addressed to me which basically stated that I was trying to get them (the blocker) in legal trouble thus they were blocking me. This post was messaged to me by the other user to help me understand what had happened (yes, I had been blocked), not to help me "spy on my foe" (I don't consider the blocker a foe). I must assume that my blocker wanted me to see their last message somehow, otherwise why address it to me? No further posts from my blocker were sent to me, I have no idea what they have been doing since, and that is fine.

I'll note that this block occurred because of a misunderstanding - I certainly wasn't trying to get them in legal trouble and I bear them no ill will, beyond maybe wishing we could have keep talking and clear up the misunderstanding.

I think that person C did break the rules, and I probably solicited that by my confused post. That being said, I think in this case the harm to person A is pretty limited, and that person C was trying to be helpful, not stir up drama or such. As such, I will not disclose who person C was.

Should my behavior warrant sanction by the mods well... so be it.

lastly Gradine, I can see that this episode upset you, and I am very sorry for it.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
In this case, Poster A blocked Poster B after directly responding to Poster B's prior post. The way Poster A has his ignore settings, that prevented Poster B from seeing the response. So I really don't see anything particular unethical about Poster C passing that on.

Plus, it's a post all of the rest of us in the community can see in a publicly viewable thread. There's not really an expectation of privacy as there might be in a direct message. In fact, Poster B could have seen it by simply logging off and viewing the thread.
 


Ondath

Hero
I think trying to go around blocks or following what a person who blocked you said is petty and rather childish. That said, I don't know if codifying block-workarounds would be the way to go. Sometimes I see that I'm missing a clear piece of an ongoing conversation, and in those times I tend to check the thread in incognito to see if someone who blocked me is the missing piece, and then I move on if they are. If this is against the rules, I will of course refrain from doing this in the future.

Personally, I blocked some people simply to keep my enjoyment of the forums high - seeing the same people make the same annoying arguments (or hold the same condescending tone) everywhere they go is tiring. That said, I don't expect the way I use blocks to be absolute pronunciations of a law, if people work around the block to see what I wrote, I don't mind so long as they don't badmouth me afterwards.

I agree with @billd91 though, these are public forums and if by "circumventing blocks" we mean not allowing these people to see our public messages at all, that seems impossible (and odd to request) to me.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Two-way blocks exist for a reason. I can understand if your biggest internet stresses are having to interact with somebody annoying why only having a one-way block so you don't have to see their posts anymore is all that matters. For some of us, though, two-way blocking is a matter of safety and security. I have people on block lists (not just here) who I block to keep them from being able to perceive my presence. It is not always safe to be someone like me on the internet. Two-way blocks help offer some measure of safety. It's bad enough that they're easy enough to get around via logging off/incognito mode, but I know there's nothing the mods can do about that.

Copying and pasting full text of posts and sending them through direct messanging to get around two-way block is something the mods can do someone about, and the fact that they still haven't addressed this despite this thread in meta and my previous report is extraordinarily troubling to me. If that sort of thing is okay then it means two-way blocking is practically useless, in which case why have it?

Really wanting to hear from the mods @Morrus @Dannyalcatraz @Umbran about this.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
As usual, as a matter of policy, we don't publicly discuss specific moderation actions, or lack thereof.

In general, we frown upon people doing things that intentionally "get around" blocks. If you do that, you are highly likely to see red text or a threadban. You don't find this in the rules simply because it happens so rarely as to be basically a non-issue. If that were to change, we'd make it explicit in the rules.

But, like our other rules/guidelines, we look at the details of the individual case to determine if action is called for. We apply our best judgement, and that may not agree with any particular person's personal take on the matter.
 

Ondath

Hero
Two-way blocks exist for a reason. I can understand if your biggest internet stresses are having to interact with somebody annoying why only having a one-way block so you don't have to see their posts anymore is all that matters. For some of us, though, two-way blocking is a matter of safety and security. I have people on block lists (not just here) who I block to keep them from being able to perceive my presence. It is not always safe to be someone like me on the internet. Two-way blocks help offer some measure of safety. It's bad enough that they're easy enough to get around via logging off/incognito mode, but I know there's nothing the mods can do about that.

Copying and pasting full text of posts and sending them through direct messanging to get around two-way block is something the mods can do someone about, and the fact that they still haven't addressed this despite this thread in meta and my previous report is extraordinarily troubling to me. If that sort of thing is okay then it means two-way blocking is practically useless, in which case why have it?

Really wanting to hear from the mods @Morrus @Dannyalcatraz @Umbran about this.
I absolutely did not mean to invalidate your experience. This is a very valid concern, and apologies if my comment came across as dismissive. Circumventing two-way blocks or blocks made for personal security are a completely different matter, and in those cases helping people circumvent those blocks is pretty malicious.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
and the fact that they still haven't addressed this despite this thread in meta and my previous report is extraordinarily troubling to me.
With respect, you posted this thread at 4.33am. I didn't see it until you tagged us all that evening, at which point Umbran replied within 22 minutes. Please understand that we also have home and work lives, and can't be summoned instantaneously. :)
 

Digdude

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
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