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The practice of shadow banning involves an administrator or system operator hiding posts from a particular user in order to minimize their effect on a readership. Shadow banning has been a common strategy on forums for dealing with malicious or inappropriate behavior or censoring some form of user traffic.
Shadow banning is also known as stealth banning or ghost banning.
The alternative to shadow banning is simply to banish a user from a forum. However, system administrators have sometimes favored shadow banning for one important reason: When banned outright, the user can rejoin the network under a different avatar or name. With shadow banning, the user does not know that his or her posts are being hidden, so they are unlikely to activate a new account. In the meantime, their posts will have zero effect, because they are not visible to the network. While shadow banning is effective against many kinds of improper user activity, some see it as raising privacy issues because the actions of the system administrator are not always transparent.