First, some perspective: I was a member of a community about 5 years ago. At that time, I violated community rules and was issued a permanent ban. When this occurred, it took some time to get over, but I eventually moved on. A few months ago, I had a bout of nostalgia and visited the community again. Several of the members I was closer to were still members. I decided to see if "permanent" was "permanent". In this case, I was still banned.
I approached the moderation team, off site. There are only a few moderators that I recognize. Most are "new" since my original ban. I plead my case to be allowed back. My argument boiled down to "It was 5 years ago and I have changed. I understand the rules and will not violate them again." After a few days, I was told that my ban would not be lifted because it was "permanent". When I asked if there was any recourse, the moderator I was talking with said that there wasn't because they didn't have a record of what had happened, but their policy was that "permanent was permanent".
So, my question to leaders of communities, does a permanent ban get you any benefits? From my point of view, five years is quiet a long time and I feel that plenty could have changed in that time period. Is there a risk to allowing a ban to expire after a "long" period of time instead of lasting forever?