overly broad hostbans on servers?

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slthrp
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overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by slthrp » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:05 pm

Hi. First of all, I did rtfm and understand that I need to contact server owners directly to actually get a ban exception, that's fine, but I'm tossing this post here as a meta-discussion of one thing that may be contributing to a decline in playerbase. The only difference between myself and someone completely new to the game is that I played just enough a few years ago to know that the game is worthwhile and fun (not enough to develop any skills :P ). After deciding to try it out again recently, and registering a handle, I was still unable to spawn on bztank.net, the purplepanzer maps, badgerking, etc (in short, the maps with people on them) because of a hostban. Thinking it was maybe a coincidence, I rebooted the DSL router and tried another IP address, no dice. Now, my ISP is AT&T, and the dynamic allocation block concerned may cover a fairly larg chunk of the greater Los Angeles area, for all I know. At any rate, I just wanted to raise the question of whether it's possible that a large number of would-be new players are having this experience, and simply leaving (or worse, being introduced to the game at MoFo :shock: )? In particular, the cases where the server apparently fails to send an explanatory message before the kick and the player is left looking at a "ready to spawn" screen, but can't, is very alienating. I had to find a post here describing the bug to know what was going on. I seriously doubt that someone who didn't already know that it was a fun game would expend the effort to figure stuff out or leave feedback, so...

is there anything in place to let server owners see how much traffic their hostbans are turning away? or anything to prevent them from staying in place for a long time due to "set & forget"? I'm just curious, because based on my experience, I could see this as being a factor in preventing fresh blood from flowing into the community. Just some food for thought. :)

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by allejo » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:25 am

There currently is nothing in place to let server owners see who their bans turn away. I personally think that admins need to be more careful with host bans and not simple ban *.com hosts to make sure they catch them all (Exaggeration). PM me your IP/Host and I'll see what bans I can narrow down. A lot of servers have very very old host bans that do nothing because those cheaters or offenders don't even play anymore.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Cobra_Fast » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:20 pm

allejo wrote:There currently is nothing in place to let server owners see who their bans turn away. I personally think that admins need to be more careful with host bans and not simple ban *.com hosts to make sure they catch them all (Exaggeration). PM me your IP/Host and I'll see what bans I can narrow down. A lot of servers have very very old host bans that do nothing because those cheaters or offenders don't even play anymore.
I second this. There are (were, I'm not up to date) many servers, where entire ISPs are (or were) banned.
A good example was how when Zw3rgy was still active, most servers had banned a major german ISP because he was using it...

IMO, it's a better strategy to only allow registered players to play on your server in the first place. That way you can just sort out the badguys by their username (I know this could be bypassed, but it needs more work on the villains side than just resetting their internet connection to get a new IP). I'm aware that it'll turn away new players, but registering is free and not that hard; I remember registering years back because BoxyWars was running a similar strategy (where you could play but not chat as an unregistered player).

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by blast » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:05 pm

Cobra_Fast wrote:IMO, it's a better strategy to only allow registered players to play on your server in the first place. That way you can just sort out the badguys by their username (I know this could be bypassed, but it needs more work on the villains side than just resetting their internet connection to get a new IP). I'm aware that it'll turn away new players, but registering is free and not that hard; I remember registering years back because BoxyWars was running a similar strategy (where you could play but not chat as an unregistered player).
Please have tried this, but all it resulted it was their server at the bottom(ish) of the list.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:48 pm

I think at least there should be a whitelist for players who are registered for a minimum time (eg. a year or so).

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by blast » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:31 am

There's no way for server owners to really handle something like that.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:40 pm

Sure, maintaining such a list would be too much work. But I guess this could be done in the server code. I don't know the code, but as far as I understand it handles the authentication already. Adding an option for whitelisting registered players could be possible without too much work. A problem could be that the registration date is not transferred to the server yet.

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by JeffM » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:06 pm

The servers can handle a whitelist. what was suggested was a shared whitelist they all use based on registration time. That involves much more then just bzfs support for whitelists. That is a shared access list over all servers and not somthing that we are set up to do.

If the project was going to decide who could and could not play on that kind of level, we'd not let people run servers and we'd just run them all ourselves.

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by I_Died_Once » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:07 pm

Let me chime in with my two cents, I'll be expecting my change!
slthrp wrote:or worse, being introduced to the game at MoFo :shock:
Whats so wrong with that? ;)


Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, upon being banned, a cheater can and will change their IP address and username and start in again with the same ol' tactics with cheating, playing for the other team, and more. Often times one has no choice but to ban an entire subnet or ISP. I agree its unfair to other players who might not be cheating or breaking any rules at all who just happen to live in the same area and have the same ISP as the cheater, but then again, this is why the bigger/better servers have public info posted and ways to get in touch with server owners and admins so one can be whitelisted to prevent being caught up on said hostbans.

I suggest searching the forum for whatever server you might be hostbanned at and getting in touch with the owner to resolve such issues.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by slthrp » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:40 am

I_Died_Once wrote:Whats so wrong with that? ;)
Hey, don't get me wrong, I personally learned to love randomly exploding a few seconds after each spawn, once I kinda sorta figured out why it was happening... :P
I suggest searching the forum for whatever server you might be hostbanned at and getting in touch with the owner to resolve such issues.
Yeah, this isn't unreasonable for somebody who already plays the game, it just seems like setting the bar kind of high for somebody who's just trying to get started, if you can put yourself in that frame of mind for a moment. So mostly I was just pondering whether there might be some stale, large-scale hostbans in place that might be turning away new players before they're involved enough in the game to want to deal with more than just registering. It's pure speculation.

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:52 pm

After looking into the code I think a whitelist based on registration date can not be implementet easyly (the date is not available).
But wouldn't it be possible to create a "whitelist" group on the list server? Then the public server admins could decide if this group should be whitelisted (an option possibly has to be implemented, I would volunteer to try this).

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by blast » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:08 pm

Many servers already have whitelist groups for their servers. Part of the problem with hostbans is that they're buggy, so half the time the player caught in the ban just ends up with a seemingly hung connection instead of seeing the rejection message.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:16 pm

I think whitelist handling in the general code and a central whitelist could solve some of the problems with buggy hostbans.

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by joevano » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:26 pm

The project has nothing to do with the running of the servers, so a centralized whitelist would not work. I wouldn't want the project to be whitelisting people on my server because they do not know who I am keeping out and have no control over how I run my server.
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:36 pm

The idea is to make this an option which can be controlled by the server owner.

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by joevano » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:22 pm

Multitronic wrote:The idea is to make this an option which can be controlled by the server owner.
That is already possible with a GROUP on the forums. Many server owners already do this. It is no different than the way they manage their admins...
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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Multitronic » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:01 pm

Ah, I didn't know that. What has higher priority, the GROUP or the hostban?

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by JeffM » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:01 am

a group can define the ANTIBAN permission to override a ban

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Re: overly broad hostbans on servers?

Post by Green Manalishi » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:24 pm

allejo wrote:There currently is nothing in place to let server owners see who their bans turn away. I personally think that admins need to be more careful with host bans and not simple ban *.com hosts to make sure they catch them all (Exaggeration). PM me your IP/Host and I'll see what bans I can narrow down. A lot of servers have very very old host bans that do nothing because those cheaters or offenders don't even play anymore.
indeed. can the server owners and admins please take the time to get rid of the old and non-functional range-bans/host-bans? (ex: the ones on nightmare and cwr). the older they are, the less purpose they serve and legitimate players do get caught under them. i have tried to clear all range-bans that i put on the current nuissance (whose IP range changes regularly) but if i have overlooked some please feel free to clear them too.

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