Console Bans Between August 29th and September 9

This is a reposting of an article which appeared on MajorNelson.com on September 23rd, 2011.

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Hi everyone, Stephen Toulouse here, "Stepto" on Xbox LIVE and the weekly Major Nelson Radio podcast.  Most of you know me as the head of the Policy and Enforcement team for Xbox LIVE.

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As I have noted many times on the podcast, the enforcement team exists to help protect the LIVE experience. One of the ways we do that is to prevent consoles from accessing the service that are involved in bad behavior such as cheating, fraud, running unauthorized software on the service, or playing illegitimate copies of games (to name a few). For the vast majority of our actions, our team reviews a lot of data, examines the behavior, and then we take action.  In some cases, very rarely, we use software features on the Xbox itself to help us take action.

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Recently, it was brought to our attention that a number of customers had concerns about the validity of a recent ban of their individual consoles, which they feel had been triggered inaccurately. In this case, the bans were related specifically to modded consoles. I take these claims very seriously, and after an initial investigation we have confirmed that a handful of banned consoles did in-fact appear to not have been modified or tampered with. We’re still conducting our review but the cause appears to be a software issue, not an error on the part of the enforcement team’s normal actions.  It’s very specific and occurred between August 29 and September 9, affecting a very small percentage of users.

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One of the most serious actions my team can take is to prevent a console from accessing Xbox LIVE.  We make every effort to be conservative when taking that action. If there is any doubt that this step was taken incorrectly, we want to address it while at the same time protecting the service for our customers.

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Therefore, while we are still conducting a thorough investigation, the enforcement team is taking the step of reversing the bans for the tiny set of impacted consoles in that time period. Again, while it’s an extremely small percentage of impacted consoles, the good news is that we know exactly which ones. If you believe you are affected, simply try to reconnect your console to Xbox LIVE.  If it cannot still connect, that console was not a part of this issue.

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Within a few business days, we will issue the primary account holder on the impacted console a credit for three months of Xbox LIVE Gold and 1600 Microsoft points.  Since we know exactly who is affected, those customers do not need to take any action.  Everything will be applied automatically. No keys or tokens to redeem, no other action to be taken.

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I’d like to take a moment to personally apologize for the inconvenience this has almost certainly caused to the affected customers. You have my assurance that we are investigating how this error occurred and have since discontinued use of the software that was used. The Xbox LIVE community is the best out there and we regret the inconvenience this may have caused for our loyal members.

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If you listen to our podcast (and I know many hundreds of thousands of you do!) you know I give out my email address in every episode.  I read all the email there, and it’s *** Email address is removed for privacy ***.  Please feel free to give me your feedback. If you feel you have been affected by this situation, be sure to use www.xbox.com/support/contact so we can get you to the appropriate people to help.

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As always, you guys are the reason I come into work every day.  Thank you so much for making Xbox LIVE an amazing community and I look forward to hearing from you.

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– Stephen Toulouse, head of Xbox LIVE Policy and Enforcement

 

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Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 1 Applies to:

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Please note that you're still not allowed to post about Console or Xbox Live account bans in the Xbox Canada forums. If you have questions about this post, please use the appropriate venues to discuss it.

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Not sure why this guy gives out his email when he dosn't even respond. This is prety outrageous. I came to these forums and then went the the forums I was told to go and got nothing but abuse when I posted about my xbox banning. Everyone just assumed I deserved it and labled me a criminal. and then I get a email that saying these unreversable and permanent bannings was actully a mistake. really classy. I spit on this 3 months free and 1600 points. dosnt even compare to the money I spent having to buy a new xbox and hard drive. Thanks for nothing xbox, I have backed you guys since launched and even Still followed you when you banned my old xbox for now reason. You guys sure pulled a fast one over me. Scum bags

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If one good thing comes out of this, I hope that Microsoft rethinks its policy and procedures regarding banning its members or consoles.  I can understand Wafflarian's rage if he's being straight with us, I put alot of money into my XBOX and its services as well and can't imagine what that must feel like having to go through with that.  There are members (not mentioning any names) who are quick to pounce on these victims when they ask for help and they should remember this particular case (Aug 29-Sep 9) and give them the benefit of the doubt next time.  I thought that this is supposed to be a "General Discussion" forum, why is it that it's such a big deal when these people post here for help on these issues?...:-)

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[quote user="Arkham99"]

If one good thing comes out of this, I hope that Microsoft rethinks its policy and procedures regarding banning its members or consoles.  I can understand Wafflarian's rage if he's being straight with us, I put alot of money into my XBOX and its services as well and can't imagine what that must feel like having to go through with that.  There are members (not mentioning any names) who are quick to pounce on these victims when they ask for help and they should remember this particular case (Aug 29-Sep 9) and give them the benefit of the doubt next time.  I thought that this is supposed to be a "General Discussion" forum, why is it that it's such a big deal when these people post here for help on these issues?...:-)

[/quote]

Wafflarian's situation is quite regretable, however the reason it's "such a big deal" when people post here asking for help is the simple truth:  None of us can help them here.

Instead of gaining the assistance they truly need, their threads just clutter up the forum.  The problem also lies with Xbox Support directing people to the forums, and the Canadian site's design which goes here instead of the main page which in turn links to the Support forum.

Sinnix is bringing these issues up with management though, so hopefully something can be done so that Xbox Support can better facilitate customer concerns instead of miscommunication happening.

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Juxtapose13

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Not all of them are posting here first, many are posting after they've gotten nowhere with the so called "good links".  They post there and get a carbon copy of an excerpt from the Terms of Use regarding Marketplace Theft and still have no idea why they're being banned.  Think about it, if you know you're guilty of Marketplace Theft, why would you post anything at all anywhere knowing you're open to scrutiny.  I support Microsoft's attempts to squash the many pests who continue to infiltrate the network, but it has to do better at protecting its law abiding members, I certainly wouldn't have gone out and bought another XBOX if I were in Wafflarian's shoes...:-)

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[quote user="Arkham99"]

...They post there and get a carbon copy of an excerpt from the Terms of Use regarding Marketplace Theft and still have no idea why they're being banned...

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While that's true, the point is that none of us here can give them a true answer or resolve their situation.  Many of the posts in question are requesting to know why they've been banned.  Can you answer them?  Can I?  Can Sinnix?

No, none of us can because none of us work for Xbox and none of have access to enforcement details.

Xbox Policy Enforcement does _not_ read the Canadian General Forum, thus, their posts will not be answered in the way they're hopping for and as such, the surge of posts we've been seeing have simply served to clutter up the board.

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Juxtapose13

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And thats a huge problem as I see it. This little rouge division of xbox is running lose banning xbox's. Word out there is that games with scratched disks and taking longer to load were getting flagged by the system they had set up to see if peoples xboxs were modded. My xbox was older and sometimes took a while for the disk reader to load games. apperntly stuff like this gets you flagged. Prety outrageous. Oh but the system is 100% accurate my bad...

I don't understand why these guys are aloud to operate without giving out reasons or explanations to people. If a xbox is banned, please do fill the person in on the details. All I wanted was to talk to someone about this at the time and find out why my xbox was banned. Well I found out about three weeks later and a unreversable and permanent banning wasnt so unreversable and permanent...

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I'd agree that more transparency is needed, even the "the good news is that we know exactly which ones" smells of the same arrogance as their "thorough investigations".  If someone one is accused of stealing, reveal (atleast to the accused) what exactly they stole.  Yes, Juxtapose13, we're all aware that we're all gamers here and that's all the more reason that we should be "in the know" when our fellow gamers are victimized by the Corporation that many of us look up to and hold to the highest standards.  I'm still a HUGE XBOX supporter and would like to think that the people who've served up the best console and network money can buy continue to do so and take further steps to prevent anything like this from ever happening again...:-)

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@Wafflarian The Enforcement Team isn't a "rogue division," as you put it.  They are a legit internal department of Microsoft's Xbox division and they have systems in place which they use to determine who is violating the CoC and ToU.  In this case, they made a serious mistake, no question about that, and it clearly goes to show that no system is foolproof no matter how much they'd like you to think so.

@Arkham99 More transparency to the end user would be nice and you'd get no argument from me, but that doesn't change the fact that the individuals posting about bannings in this forum _will not receive the answers they're seeking here_, as not one of us can provide them with said answers.

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Juxtapose13

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I'm sure Wafflarian would agree that the posts that he received here were much more helpful (I know not saying much!) than the run around that he got going down the official avenues.  As for "clogging up" the General Discussion forums, that's a load of crap, these forums aren't even close to being called busy at the best of times, there's plenty of room, you're always welcome to skip over the threads that don't interest you...:-)

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