Here I, the infamously absent Crimson, pipe in.
No, I do not think *disabling* it will work.
- Noob a pops on (probably a shadow character for UltraHighLevelGuy), runs over and picks up a trade between characters, and runs off. So long as he stays in town, nobody can touch him. Given it's impossible to keep a server admin available at all times (and come on, there are 30 players at this point, that's an overkill), you're pretty much screwed.
That doesn't mean I can't just delete characters who get a complaint lodged because they broke this rule, which I can investigate at my liesure. Does that get you your 20th level mage back? No, but that's 3hrs to rebuild, chances are the effect on the upper level player will be much harsher.
The intent of the rule was to eliminate pointless slaughter by placing the aggresive character at now greater risk. Now there's a stated rule against it, I need no further justification to act when it occurs.
On the downside, that does mean that a single player could probably create havoc in the interim, but this is mangband, not a $10Mil IPO Sierra game, such are the breaks.
Are you not entertained?
Is this not what you came here for?
-- Maximus Decimus Meridias, The Gladiator