Banning is usually a form of punishment from the service, either by deleting the guilty party's account or suspending it for a period of time. In extreme cases, the person's IP address may be blocked from the server to prevent them from simply creating another account, sometimes indefinitely; however, this particular action is rarely taken, as most Internet Service Providers allocate dynamic IPs to their customers which can change from time to time. These actions are usually invoked for such offenses as violating the website's Terms of Service, trolling, promoting prejudice, disrespect of moderators, or promoting illegal acts.
The term originated in 1996 from MSN Chat, where the administrator ban icon was a hammer. The term has since become commonplace in the game sales community and among game forums. The name has been used in more mainstream venues, such as Halo 2 and Halo 3 video game for the Xbox console. Developer Bungie used the term "banhammer" when describing a July 2005 patch that scanned the user's hard drive and summarily restricted him or her from joining Xbox Live without possibility of appeal or leniency if it was determined that his or her copy had been modded. News site Slashdot began using the term at that point and has subsequently applied it to multiple instances of similar housecleaning occurring on World of Warcraft.
In other games such as Blizzard's StarCraft, the host has a hammer icon next to his or her name and is able to boot people from the chat along with the ability to ban people from the channel for a specified time period. The banhammer has even made an appearance in the RPG The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, where it can be found on the corpse of an NPC.
- Thompson, Chris, "3D printed ban-hammer", Boing Boing, URL retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Lasky, Michael (2005-05-23). "AT&T's CallVantage: Excellent Phone Service on the Cheap". PC World (IDG). Archived from the original on 2 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
- "HALO 2 & CHEATING: How does the Bungie "Banhammer" actually work?", Bungie.net, 2005-06-10, URL retrieved 2006-12-29.
- "Halo 2 and Halo 3 Online Cheaters Get Smashed by Bungie's Banhammer" GamePro, 2006-01-13, URL retrieved 2006-12-29.
- "Searching For: banhammer", Slashdot.
- Velvin, Sinder, "Morrowind Easter Eggs", The Imperial Library fansite, URL retrieved 2006-12-29.