How I got Silenced for Posting that I love World of Warcraft (Full Story) Pls RT
I'll have a video for the entire thing up in a few hours if you guys want to watch that instead.
This is a really long post because I'm going to outline everything that I did and also the measures I took to make sure I didn't misattribute my suspension to something other than the Silence Penalty.
TL;DR: I tested to see if the Silence system was actually done manually, it wasn't.
A week ago, Blizzard posted a new system to combat "toxicity" in WoW, that system was called the SIlence Penalty or Silence System. The official post is here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/20177160/new-silence-penalty-coming-to-world-of-warcraft-7-12-2016.
When I first read this, I immediately disliked it under the philosophical basis that it is inherently patronizing and childish and also under the functional basis that it would be hard to implement and would take time away from more (in my mind) pressing issues such as cheating or stopping account sharing/real life money services. I also didn't believe that Blizzard would actually investigate each silence claim like they said they would in the second paragraph.
So I did what I always do, I made a video complaining about it outlining all of the points I posted above and uploaded it on YouTube. My like/dislike ratio was about 2400/600 which is, unless you're Keemstar, pretty fucking bad. A lot of people disagreed with me and said that it was for the best, many used a variation of "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" or some other authoritarian rhetoric. People also criticized my point that the system would be vulnerable to abuse if a large group of people reported a player and got that player silenced under the notion that Blizzard said that it would Investigate claims before punishing the players.
I'll admit that I was frustrated at how naive people were being, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I get childish responses defending a childish system.
A week passes and 7.0 comes out. I wake up early to play it (7 PM) and my expectations were seemingly met. There were multiple posts on the official forums and also on Reddit from players claiming that they had been given a Silence Penalty without an investigation. Now, I am a skeptical person so the first thing I do when I hear something, even when I agree with it, is I try to find out all the ways that it could be wrong. Story is made up? Photoshopped chat/emails? They deserved it? Etc.
Everything that I looked at seemed to point to the fact that the Silence Penalties were not being handed out via GM investigation but as an outsider, I wasn't able to be certain.
A couple hours later, at the Wendy's drive-thru, I had an idea: I would get a group of people to collectively report me for saying something that did not break the ToS and see if a Silence Penalty would be applied to my account. I could have asked someone else to do it, I could have used another account, but I figured the best and most conclusive way to test this would be to use my own account.
I got on Twitch, got 39 other people together in my Garrison, typed "MY NAME IS ASMONGOLD AND I LOVE WORLD OF WARCRAFT!!", and then they reported me (for abusive language). Within about 1 minute, I was disconnected from the server. I logged back in, tried to type something into /s and got this message: "Your chat and mail privileges have been temporarily suspended pending Game Master review." (VoD of the event: https://www.twitch.tv/asmongold/v/79013153 about 20 minutes in)
Based on the fact that the action on my account occurred less than 3-5 minutes after the reports did leads me to believe that this was not done "after investigation", but instead was done through an automated system.
Now, I know there are some auto suspensions, and whether I do or don't agree with those is another topic. So at this point I was not conclusively certain that I had received a Silence Penalty. I checked my email and received this from Blizzard Customer Service: (http://i.imgur.com/mQLk35L.jpg).
I clicked on the link that says "account silence article" for more information, I was then taken to this page, https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/7571. ACCOUNT SILENCED. At this point, I was almost certain, but there could still be explanations. Maybe they had this system before but hadn't used it? Unlikely. The page was last modified (at the time of the Silence) 15 hours ago. Also, the "Wayback Machine" that shows websites from an earlier date didn't have a archive of the page (it also didn't have one of some other support articles I tried, so that isn't the best evidence). Also, the addition of the doubling of penalty time made me think that the post was made from the Silence Penalty.
The penalties mirror the penalties that were listed in the original Silence Penalty article, based on that and the recent update time, I concluded that the penalty I received was indeed the new Silence Penalty that was added in 7.0.
Now, what does all of this prove?
--Mostly, it proves that the Silence Penalty is not done "after investigation" like Blizzard told us that it would be.
--It also proves that a group of people can apply that penalty to a random player, regardless of what they say.
I am very much against "mob justice" and the Silence Penalty in this form is exactly that. If Blizzard intends to make a subscription-based game, they should at least afford players the benefit of the doubt and not proactively punish them and at the VERY LEAST they shouldn't lie to us when saying that the reports would be investigated manually (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20746374555#6)
At the end of the day, I think the Silence Penalty is bad for the game for a number of reasons but one of the most functional ones is it's potential for abuse, as long as it exists, it will be abused. Sometimes you can't trust people with the collective power of punishment and this is one of those times. The systems we had beforehand were sufficient at dealing with everything outside of trade chat spam.
** A note regarding "sqelching" **
If my account was squelched, it now incurred the same penalties that a Silence applies, so if I was "squelched" I was also Silenced. If a squelch can be done without an investigation, a silence can too.
**A note regarding previous offenses on my acct**
Everyone else who had this same thing happened to them received the same punishment as I did. All of them probably didn't have offenses on their account. Also, my last offense was over a year ago.
Thanks a lot for reading guys, I love this game and I hate to see it corrupted with contrived and anti-social systems like the Silence Penalty. I really think that Legion has the potential to be a great expansion in the way that we haven't seen since WotLK or BC and systems like this undermine that.