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Vigilante xbox bannings?

I, like many people, enjoy playing with my friends online be it on xbox live, Playstation Network, or whatever the Wii has these days. I have a few friends that enjoy talking "trash" and while it is harmless and never amounts to anything, we found out the hard way that running into the wrong person can land you in some hot water.

I was playing Capture the Flag on Modern Warfare 2 on the night of December 4, 2009 with 4 other friends. We hold ourselves on high as good players that rarely lose and speak out against glitching and any sort of cheaters at all, because we're here to have fun and if we win, we want the win to be fair. Anywho, we were winding down for the night, on about a 12 win streak when we ran across two gentlemen (grouchyTRICKY and The Pro) that accused us of "Javelin glitching" and we responded that it in fact was not any of us and to report our teammate that was doing it. The random left the game probably in hopes that he wouldn't be reported, and my friend retorted "You're still probably going to lose." It was at that time when grouchy informed us "he knows someone that can ban us, do you guys want to get banned?" Laughing it off because we had been threatened with this countless times my friend said "What does your uncle work for Infinity Ward?" he replied with "Just wait, he just has to pick up the phone, you'll be banned by the end of this game." We continued to laugh into the game thinking nothing of it.

We played the first round, everything was going well, one of my friends (RavlngPsycho) was going about 24-0, and he was ecstatic because he had just prestiged, was only level 20 and didn't have any of the weapons he was used to having but still managed a fantastic killstreak. My other friend had 3 flag caps (Just Phokus) and was managing to get quite a few kills as well. We were winning about 7 caps to 0 when the last few seconds of the game came around and Just Phokus had the flag running to get one last capture in when he got booted from the game. Being surprised by Ravlngpsycho's impressive 35-0 kill to death ratio we didn't really notice he was gone. We got back into the lobby and grouchyTricky proceeded to as "WHO ELSE WANTS TO GET BANNED? RAVING PSYCHO, RAVINGPSYCHO?" As a sidenote, Ravlngpsycho has his family settings so he can't hear, nor can he talk to anybody so he has no idea someone is yelling at him.

We backed out of the game to get Phokus back into our party when one of my friends gets a phone call from him. His words echoed through the speakerphone "Dude, I'm banned for 2 weeks." We were a bit shocked but nonetheless we laughed it off as a joke, until quickly Ravlngpsycho was booted from our party. Seconds later he called me with the same grim news. "I got banned for 2 weeks, for nothing. What happened last game?" I wasn't quite sure what had happened at all.

The next day Psycho was not happy about this banning at all because truthfully, he had done nothing, he physically couldn't trash talk, and he couldn't have javelin glitched because he hadn't even died that game, so he took it to the xbox forums to get an answer.

He wrote to them

I was playing Modern Warfare 2 with four other friends tonight and got banned and I don't know why. I have family settings on my account and cannot hear anyone else talking but apparently this player [MOD EDIT] whom we beat several times was getting very upset with my friends and particularly me for killing him a lot. He said he had an uncle who worked for Infinity Ward and could have us banned by the end of the game, two of my friends started getting into it with him and we went into another game, towards the end of the game one of my friends got banned and after the game I got banned. I never spoke to the kid nor did I realize he was speaking to me but I have not been cheating, I don't have a bio and this kid definitely had something to do with me getting banned. If you could please let me know why I was banned I would like to clear this up, thanks. My account name is Ravlngpsycho.

The Pro answered with

He said no such thing. I was there. *You* said "Don't tell me, you have an Uncle that works there and is gonna get me banned right?" when you were told by another player to stop the glitching.

It has nothing to do with the fact that you were killing someone, it's *how* you were doing it that violated the Terms of Use. Your suspension will stand as issued.

It seemed strange that they decided to single him out but things became stranger when we kept an eye on the forums and it wasn't just us that were running into The Pro and his banning ways.

Someone wrote from a temporary account saying

i was suspended last night at around 3am which from what so did many others, for a reason that wasn't specified to me. but from what i've heard, most of the suspensions that took place at that hour last night are for cheating/glitching/modding in modern warfare 2.

i read your forum post, and saw that it said "just one complaint of cheating and evidence" will get me suspended for cheating. i checked, and my profile is not code of conducted, and my gamertag HarDRocK369 isn't being told to be changed either. i don't use modded controllers or aim bots, and i don't exploit glitches in the game. i'm lead to believe with the amount of people banned you did not actually gather evidence, and wrongfully suspended me on assumptions alone. and i also just recently purchased live time for a month because that is what i could afford, and that is now wasted because by the time i get back i'll have about a week or so left.

i'd like to know what the reason for my suspension is, if cheating what 'evidence' you had gathered, and who besides these forums i could call and speak to about this because i'm very angry about this.

Again The Pro answered

The evidence is I saw you glitching. I was there. Other players were even telling you not to do it, and you persisted. You further made some, shall I say "interesting" statements between rounds that in and of themselves deserved a suspension.

If you want to maximize your online playing time, adhere to the Terms of Use.

While that may usually be excused by myself as some sort of cheater trying to weasle his way out of a banning, later that night he came back and posted again on the forums. The post included that fact that he wasn't a high enough level to even javelin glitch and about the "interesting" statements, he was playing ground war so he could stay in a party with his friends so he didn't have to listen or talk to anyone. This guy had the exact same problem as Psycho and had received severe punishment for absolutely nothing at all.

Soon after, Ravlngpsycho tried to contact The Pro, and the other enforcement member Bootblack by PM to see if he could work something out or tell them his case and how he hadn't done anything at all. Turns out that they have no reason, nor time to answer your questions.

Being fed up with the fact that there was no help anywhere in sight and the enforcement team seems to ban anyone that they want, Just Phokus decided to call up customer service and see if something could be worked out. The first time he called he asked to be transferred to a higher up in the department that handles account bannings. The question was quickly answered by the representative hanging up the phone. A bit irate he called back again and asked simply for a supervisor. He asked why he was banned, the supervisor pulled up some sort of screen and slowly read the e-mail that he received Friday night back to him slowly and said he couldn't help him, which lead to the supervisor quickly hanging up.

I'm not sure how Microsoft/Xbox handles finding these "Enforcers" or teams but it seems to me that they might give them a bit too much power. What stops these people from going onto live with their accounts, finding someone they don't like and just banning them? I for one am a bit disgusted by this process and find myself looking in the direction of PSN for my online gaming needs until some sort of checks and balance system (as far fetched as it seems) is put in place to monitor these vigilante mods.

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About Simmons 2pt0one of us since 3:46 PM on 10.01.2007

Hey look buddy. I'm an Engineer. That means I solve problems. Not problems like "What is beauty?" Because that would fall under the purview of your conundrums of philosophy. I solve practical problems. For instance, how am I gonna stop some big mean muther hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous behind? The answer? Is a gun. And if that don't work, use more gun. Like this heavy caliber tripod lil' ole number, designed by me, and built by me. And you best hope, I don't point it at you.

I use teh GOOZEX

I enjoy most FPS mostly Team Fortress 2, and I am an MMO whore

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