Over the past few months, I've become concerned over the long-term effects of some aspects of our moderation and infraction system. After discussing it with our moderators, I've come to the conclusion that we need to institute some reforms in our management of the message boards, in order to ensure the continued growth of this community.
Effective immediately, the following changes will be made to the infraction system:
- The duration of all new infractions will be halved, with major infractions now staying on the record for only 12 months. This means that it will be easier for posters with a good track record that occasionally slip up to have a chance to have their points reduced as they continue to remain positive members of the community. It will also make it less likely that posts from several years ago will contribute to any decisions about banning. (Offenses with a permanent infraction will retain that status, but these are only given for extremely flagrant, repeated offenses.)
- All offenses will now earn a warning by default for their first occurrence by a given poster. The only exceptions will be Instant Ban offenses (commercial spam accounts, criminal activity, hate speech, etc.), the permanent infractions mentioned above, or anything else so clearly deliberate as to be judged intentional misconduct. If, after a warning, the poster commits the same offense again, they will then earn an infraction. If the poster commits an unrelated offense, it will again default to a warning for that new offense. (Of course, if you already have a warning or infraction on the books for an offense, then that counts as you having been warned about it.)
- Posters who have earned 300 infraction points will, rather than being immediately eligible to be banned, go on Probation. Probation will last until either their infractions expire (reducing them below 300), or they earn another infraction. If another infraction occurs while on Probation, the moderators and administrators (and in some cases, the site owner) will discuss privately whether to ban the user or not, based on:
We don't want anyone to be banned due to misunderstanding, but neither do we want to allow those who continue to flaunt the rules to remain here indefinitely.
- How many infractions, expired infractions, and warnings they have garnered;
- Whether those old infractions would have expired under the new shorter infraction durations;
- And maybe most importantly, our perception of how likely the poster is to be able to change and resist earning infractions in the future.
It is important to realize that none of the actual rules are changing, just the method of enforcement. If something violated the rules yesterday, it will still be a violation today. The only difference is how we, the moderating staff, will handle those violations.
We hope that these changes lead to a more friendly atmosphere between the staff and the posters and that everyone continues to enjoy this message board for years to come. Thank you.