In a bungled effort to keep its online play clean, videogame publishing giant Electronic Arts has wielded an iron fist when it came to dealing with trolls. Anyone who was flagged for belligerent behavior while playing online or leaving nasty comments in forums has been banned from playing games they've purchased from its Origin service both online and off. Now that's changed, with EA shifting the ban only to online action.

We're no friends to online game ear-assaulters, but taking away virtual property they bought was never a fair punishment. If a troll lacks access to a game he believes is rightfully his, what's to stop him from resorting to piracy?

Now those with disabled accounts can shift their settings to "offline" to play. The act of forcing misbehaving gamers take this walk of shame is punishment enough.

[via EA]