Valve employee apologises for manually banning a Dota 2 player

Employees will no longer have the power to manually ban after the incident

A Valve employee has apologised for misusing his power to manually suspend a Dota 2 player following an in-game disagreement.

As spotted by Dot Esports, Reddit user u/minijuanjohndoe posted yesterday claiming that he had been given to low-priority status by a Valve developer after the pair argued during a match. The employee then told minijuanjohndoe “do you know who you are talking to” before using his position at Valve to manually suspend him and list him as low-priority. It now transpires that the employee is Sean Vanaman, who works for the studio Campo Santo that was recently acquired by Valve. Vanaman has posted an apology to the player, reversed his suspension, and claims that Valve will now be removing the ability to manually ban players entirely following the incident.

“The team looked into this case, and concluded the user clearly did not deserve the ban,” Vanaman writes. “Even if the user did deserve a ban however, we all think it’s clear that manually banning users is not a good idea because of how hard it is to be objective in Dota games that you are in. My mistake in this case being a sterling example. As employees, we should have no special privilege when playing Dota.”

“That has been the team’s informal policy in the past, but it has clearly failed in this case. It won’t remain informal going forward – manual bans like this won’t be allowed anymore altogether. And sincere apologies to user u/minijuanjohndoe.”


Low-priority status in Dota 2 serves as a temporary punishment to players who “have engaged in behaviors that are detrimental to the community,” according to Valve. It means that players can only compete in the Single Draft game mode for a certain amount of games until their status is lifted.

With manual banning taken away, the only way to get someone banned no matter who you are is to report them post-game and let Valve’s automated system do the rest.