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The Downfall of DN
A few years ago, I made a HUGE list of all of Dueling Network's problems, as well as solutions to each one. That list is quite long, so I'm only gonna touch on a few important ones in this blog entry.
In the year of 2012, DN would often have around 9,000 users online at any given time. There was a YCS in March of that year where over 4,000 duelists showed up for. Based on these 2 statistics, I would argue that Yugioh was at it's all time peak during this year. In later years, DN slowly reached lower averages, until it ended up with less than 3,000 at its peak in the day.
So what happened? Did Yugioh become less popular in general? Or was it just DN? One thing I know for sure is that DN had the potential to reach much higher averages when it wasn't doing so well. Where did those 6,000 other online users go?
They were banned.
A lot of things happen when a user's IP becomes blacklisted on DN. Being apart of the staff of the site, I would see dozens of users a day filing ban appeals, where it turned out the cause of their ban was simply using a proxy! After so many years of endless IP banning, TONS of innocent users would become wrongfully banned on the site. It slowly caused the numbers to decrease. Often times a users would be given instructions as to how he can reverse the proxy ban. But if he did so incorrectly, the response from the staff was more or less, "You had one chance to do it right. Your ban stays."
Now, as a website owner, I want my site to become as successful and popular as it possibly can. In other words, I want to do what I can to bring more and more people to the site. Based on the way DN was ran, however, it was just the opposite. DN's senior staff's sole purpose was to keep certain users off the site. When they found out a user is evading a ban, they would often celebrate because that meant they could ban that user over again. And that process would often lead to more IP bans. They believed that eventually, all toxic members would finally be off the site so that the few who were remaining could have it all to theirselves.
I have a better idea. Instead of blacklisting all the users you don't like, why don't we discipline problematic users so that their behavior can improve, and the site can remain successful? I've taken measures to do just this, in fact. When DN banned a user, that user had no choice but to create a new account and either be caught, or not, depending on how relentless the grays were. On Duelingbook, problematic users are frozen instead. When you're frozen, it's impossible for you to cause problems with that account. You still have access to the site though, so creating a new account is less likely to be considered. If a new account was created and caused even more problems, I could easily temporarily freeze an entire IP address. DN never thought of this, which could have prevented so many permanent IP bans.
What I want you to understand is that compiling a huge list of blacklisted IPs is not a good idea. It causes more problems than it solves, and it slowly deteriorates the success of a website. If any user is denied access to the site because of someone else's wrongdoings, that to me just isn't fair. Duelingbook won't make the same mistake. So, if our numbers decrease at some point, at least you'll know it's due something else!