Banned from WordPress.org: Because I Was Talking to Myself …. [S01E01]
it appears that you use 2 accounts in the forums to have conversations with yourself. Multiple accounts are not permitted in the support forums.
This is what i got as reply from some WordPress.org admin (whoever reads and responds to firstname.lastname@example.org) after asking why my 5 years old account was disabled (banned). It seems that a second account of our website team was also disabled, apparently for the same reason. That account was also 4-5 years or so. And we NEVER got any warning about anything, we just got banned.
Before going into details, let me say out loud that we never did anything bad at WordPress.org. Never. We simply have no reason to do so using multiple accounts, we are not developers and we have no reason to manipulate reviews. Both banned accounts are totally legitimate and belong to different people. Actually from what i have been told, we have around 6 accounts at WordPress.org, all belonging to different people in our small friends team.
We spend a night trying to figure out what happened, since THE “moderator” at WordPress.org totally avoided to give any details about what exactly happened. All we were told is that we were having conversations (multiple) with ourselves.
And we (think we) have found the cause: I have replied with a comment in ONE Theme topic about breaking WordPress.org rules (because some theme “offers” was always shown at admins dashboard). But the topic i replied was created by the second account that was banned, some guy from our team. I guess this is was the “talking to myself”. And some no so clever script or mechanism flagged the accounts for sharing the same IP.
Was that ONE and ONETIME reply the cause of two accounts being blocked from WordPress.org ? Probably, since we found nothing else. But if those moderators are so experienced as they tout, it would be so easy to check if some account is malicious or not. It is so easy to check the history of posts and reviews. Even a rookie would see that both accounts are totally legit and different and have done nothing wrong. So all those “volunteers” moderators are not so clever after all but just Legends in their own mind.
So why we were actually banned ? Because of multiple accounts at WordPress.org as per Forum Guidelines:
Do not create multiple accounts, aka sockpuppets. Sockpuppetry is often used for nefarious reasons, and as such we ask that you simply don’t do it. If a sockpuppet account is identified, it will be banned immediately.
If you are plugin or theme developer only, having separate personal and “business” accounts is acceptable for uploading code to the WordPress repo or for a very limited capacity of support of that plugin or theme. In that limited capacity that may not be consider to be sockpuppetry.
“A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person”
The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization, to manipulate public opinion, or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer”
But creating multiple acounts in some online service must have some reason or purpose (apart from having some mental disorder). And this is definitely not our case.
Are the moderators at WordPress.org just crazy ? Actually no, they suffer from power-mad syndrome. Simple as that. Searching the Internet i found a lot of stories and complaints for WordPress.org moderators and especially one of them.
Why i’m writing all this ? Because i have nothing to hide, because we did NOTHING wrong, we DIDN’T create multiple fake accounts at WordPress.org, we NEVER manipulated reviews (this is where multiple accounts are used) and we never promoted or insulted any plugin or developer.
So what now ? It seems that this really sad story has not finished yet. Banning us has created some other problems, related to WordPress.org GDPR compliance. But i will wait for a few days, just to be sure and then write the second “episode” details, hoping that in the meantime it will be resolved. For the moment we still get reply notifications from WordPress.org topics we have participated and we can’t either reply or unsubscribe.
(Am i crazy to talk to my self ? Actually Talking to Yourself: A Sign of Sanity. I was a bit worried about it … you know ….)
update: No replies. So here it comes: