I'm developing a website where users can be banned for unwanted behavior.
When a user is banned, he won't be able to log in on his account anymore.
As a result he wouldn't be able to change/remove his personal data.

Is it good practise to hide the details of a banned user?
This f.e. for privacy reasons, or to hide vulgarity/spam.

  • Change/override his username to "[banned]"
  • Change/override his picture to a default one
  • Don't list his profile in the memberlist anymore
  • Prevent other users from accessing his profile
  • Remove/mask all his posted content

Or should this be reviewed on an individual basis? (less workload)

  • What will your users think? What would be the purpose of listing a banned user? Will the banned user ever be able to be unbanned? Are you banning the user - or just the username? And if you're banning the user how are you verifying that? – Mayo Jul 28 '15 at 14:36
  • 3
    There might be legal ramifications to not allowing banned people access to their details. That's something I'd want to confirm if it were me building this. – JonW Jul 28 '15 at 14:37

It all depends upon what you are trying to achieve.

If it's simply to prevent the user taking actions (such as posting in a forum), it seems overkill to destroy everything they've ever done and prevent them from actually logging in. Bear in mind that forum posts that are randomly deleted cause confusion when others have already replied - context is frequently lost.

If the user has performed a serious breach (something that threatens your site or is clearly illegal), then preventing them from logging-in might be proportionate, but you should always give users a clear way to access and remove information about themselves - even if that's just via an email request to a site admin.

Changing their username to banned is pointless - it does nothing to help other users and simply shows that your site is capable of banning people (which most users would expect anyway). The same goes for setting default images or altering any of the user's other information.

If it were me, where possible, I would simply try and limit what actions the banned user could take and remove any offensive material. Everything else can be left as is, unless the user chooses to remove.

  • +1 for the great points made here. Allow users to remove information about themselves, even if they are banned. While bans are considered a natural part of any community, it would be unwise to call them out explicitly with a "banned" profile name; it emphasizes a rare, negative community punishment more than is needed. Removing posted content in particular would be inadvisable. Despite bad behavior that gets a user banned, it is possible their posts have still contributed positively to the community. – Benjamin S Aug 3 '15 at 13:36

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