The Unsharing

The subject of banning is one that I've been reluctant to tackle in SoulseekQt since the very beginning. There are few topics in the history of Soulseek that have been as much the subject of strife and ill-will. Horror story after horror story, it seemed as if for almost every case of it being used to prevent download abuse, someone out there has been banning for all the wrong reasons. Because they didn't like what the other person was sharing, or often for no apparent reason whatsoever, and refusing to answer any questions; a situation I've been in myself in the past. All arguments against banning aside, there appears to be no way around it. He who shares is the one offering their own data and bandwidth for others to enjoy, and control over their own upload queue cannot be denied to them. So an alternative to banning, I did not come up with. The distinction I've decided to make instead is largely semantic, but in other ways also functional. There has already been much refinement of the concept of public and private sharing in the new client. For a while now, you've been able not only to select different folders to be shared either with everyone or users on your list, but also with specific groups of users, being able to expose a completely different file hierarchy to each user. Collapsing the notion of banning into this already existing system of selective sharing, what if, instead of banning a user, you simply unshared your files from that user? What is the difference, you might be asking at this point? Off the bat, not much. All uploads queued to that user will be automatically removed from your queue, and no longer having access to your files, any further attempts to queue or re-queue will return a 'file not shared' message, which already sounds less hostile. There are other side benefits to this as well. Not having access to your files, nothing will be shown to that user when they are trying to browse your share, and no search results will be returned to them either. The intention here isn't to fool the other person into thinking you've simply unshared those files, but rather to communicate that a privilege that was previously offered has now been made absent, and to present a less personal front. Again, semantics, but I do quite like the alternative.

Builds for Windows, Mac and Linux are available on the download page.

Cheers, Nir

Comments

i appreciate your attention to this issue and i think your solution is a great idea

Thank you! I've been finding myself feeling a lot less guilty having to unshare my files with someone rather than ban them on the rare occasion that I need to. Sometimes a semantic difference is just the right kind of difference ;)

i find myself on the receiving end of it quite often because i am sharing an itunes library and i have felt exactly the way you describe ... "banned" or "denied" feels a bit like a middle finger, but "remote file error" or "file not shared" never feel personal at all. now i can slsk w/o guilt. thanks again nir.

roomx's picture

I like this idea, too.

Apologies for the necro, but I didn't want to create a thread for the same thing when we got this one.

I just found out myself about the unsharing while checking out the rightclick options on blocked users. I do like this idea a lot and it's the perfect way to limit access to my shares the way I want to.

I'm not much for semantics, unsharing is the same as banning for me, and I certainly enjoy "unsharing" the freeloaders that I catch in my upload queue or those that have THEIR shares 100% private and not allowing anyone to download from them.

I prefer legitimate sharing. It helps the community grow and keeps it fair. I allow people to download from me, as long as they allow other people to download from them. If I whois a user in my upload queue and I see "sharing no files or maybe sharing privately", bye bye Charlie. 0 sharers and private sharers are both freeloaders to me.

Got my first "banned" today. Sent a short, polite note to the member asking if I'd done something wrong. No response. To my further puzzlement, this particular member was someone downloading from my *own* shares earlier. I merely browsed his shares, found we had common musical tastes, and tagged items in his shares I found interesting. Went upstairs to fix a snack, came back, and discovered I was "banned".

Got to thinking later though - this community has A LOT of members, many of whom share A LOT of really cool files. It's not like one person or elite faction has the keys to some rare and exclusive archive. As a matter of fact, within minutes, I found the same files on two other members' shares. In retrospect, there was no need to feel jilted; one door closed, thousands of others remained open. Just my two cents.

With all due respect, I disagree with the terminology chosen. It seems to me that it is intended more to protect the people doing the banning than to salve the feelings of the banned. It gives the former a warmer, fuzzier label to hide behind. If it's banning, then call it banning.

Two additional points:

1. Unless it's a case of something really egregious, such as freeloading or violating the conditions you state in your information section, there is no excuse for not replying to requests for further information, and for not giving the banned user a chance to fix the problem. Whoever fails is to do this, apart from flagrant cases, is a jackass, plain and simple.

2. As to the suggestion that the files can almost always be found elsewhere: No, not necessarily. To prove me wrong, please point me to where I can find Teddy Lasry's out-of-print, vinyl-only album "E=mc2" in lossless format. The only person I know who has it is the jerk who banned me without explanation and without replying to my request for further information.

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