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I have noticed that while most communities that I have seen allow you to appeal your ban sooner or later and are not that quick on banning people, there are some that do not allow any unban appeals and ban permanently. It is often combined with very strict rules that disallow, for example, criticizing anything, discussing banning policy, and couching new players to follow the rules (natural reaction to some situations of most people I have dealt with online) and/or vary ambiguous rules that are frequently used to justify bans of some behavior that is simply not liked by the admins.

And I have noticed that both "democracy-based" communities like SE and "censorship-based" communities like some forums actually can both yield very high-quality content.

So, I am asking if there are any advantages and disadvantages of permanently banning people for even the slightest rules violations and not allowing to appeal those bans?

My question is based on experience from gaming communities and those related to role-playing games, hence I am mainly interested in the answers related to that sphere.

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I've not much experience with communities that don't allowed "unbannings", but I can see some potential advantages. Whether these are real advantages that actually help the community will depend on the circumstances of that community. Trying these out somewhere open, like Stack Exchange, may well turn out to be counter productive.

  1. You don't get into potentially lengthy discussions/arguments with people about whether the ban was justified or not. There's nothing you can say that will result in your ban being lifted so there's no point in trying. This allows the moderation team to concentrate on other aspects of their job. This can be a big advantage on high volume sites.

  2. As long as the rules are applied consistently there is a certain degree of clarity and certainty with this approach. There's no half measures and everyone knows where they stand.

  3. It can engender a sense of security amongst the community members if they know that transgressors will be removed (whether it is permanently or even just for a few days) and that they won't be back any time soon.

  4. It makes moderation easier ;) You don't have to revisit suspensions to see if they're still warranted.

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