46

I won't speak to your own particular situation; there's not enough information to make any kind of judgement on whether the moderators are right or not. But as a general rule, I can think of at least one situation where a permanent ban is indeed the right thing to do. In the case of harassment, allowing a harasser back onto the site will often make the ...


31

Ultimately bans, permanent or otherwise, are there to send a message to the users of the site. The length of the ban indicates the seriousness of the offence, so a permanent ban says "this person did something so bad we don't want them around any more". It, hopefully, reminds other users to behave themselves. Unless the developers/administrators of the site ...


25

I usually ignore these kinds of messages, as they are written in the heat of the moment. A user's response at the beginning of a suspension isn't as important as their response at the end. If they come back and have addressed their problem behavior I'll welcome them back. If they haven't learned anything, the next suspension can be longer.


24

Consider these two points: If you let the community decide who gets kicked out, you have a popularity contest or mob rule. If your site has moderators, it's because they have been entrusted to care for the site. I have seen this situation on sites I moderate. When faced with users calling for the eviction of another user, I make the following points (in ...


23

Yes, you should apologize. You're human. They are human. Humans are known to make mistakes. Since the sanction was made in public, an apology should be too. This shows that moderators of the community are not infallible and that they are willing to make amends for their mistakes. The public apology does not (and probably should not) go into specific ...


19

People generally are confused about the nature of a website. They see that it is something they can just freely enter from anywhere and assume it is public, but a store is a better comparison. You don't pay to enter a store and anyone can enter, but it is still private property. This is why Terms of Service on websites exist and why they have any value at ...


19

It's always a bit tricky when you have a situation where real life and online life cross. Fundamentally, you have to decide which matters more, the real life situation or preventing the problems online. If it is a friendship that you both value, then it may be worth having a chat with him offline about the behavior. Make sure he understands why it is a ...


18

I see a few downsides to a hellban. The first is that it is generally unacknowledged that it exists by the administration team. If trolls knew it existed, it'd be trivial to check for. All they need is a second account (or guest account). If that account can't see the original user any longer, they are banned. Another downside is that you have a known ...


15

The first and most important thing is communication. For starters, things should, ideally never escalate to a moderator calling a user names. Other moderators or staff members should be there to support him, and even remove him from the argument if things get personal. Second, if the suspension was wrongly placed, it should be lifted. The moderator should ...


15

There are a few different reason why permanent bans can make sense and it depends on the situation and community. The first thing to figure out is what kind of permanent ban is being talked about. Is it a ban on your account or a ban on your person? A permanent ban on an account is a penalty issued against an account that takes time and effort to build up....


14

If the majority of users from Bananastan are a serious problem, and it's not feasible (or too strenuous) to use 'traditional' techniques (user-by-user basis), I would say it's perfectly acceptable to block Bananastan. Your site, your rules. Of course, this is ignoring the technical challenges involved in doing this. It's insanely hard to block a geographic ...


13

Punishment is NOT always necessary, and often undermines what you're trying to do. Ask yourself this: In your entire life, how often has your personal response to punishment (not feedback, not natural consequences, but punishment, like a time-out, getting grounded, etc.) made you think, "Those are reasonable rules, and I really should have respected them!" ...


13

If there other moderators on your site get them involved and let one of them sort it out. As soon as you are involved in this way you should take a step back and do nothing else until the situation is resolved. This is why you need a team of moderators on a site. They can back each other up and you can still act as a team in cases where one of the moderators ...


13

As an official responsible for the smooth operation of a community, you need to be aware that your actions affect the the social integrity and harmony of the group. What you do should not be about absolving yourself of any personal sin except to the extent that it re-stabilizes the group or those members who might require it in order for the group and all of ...


12

No, punishment should not be recursive. You're moderating on behalf of the community and the user's participation in the community, not based on what venom they spew at you in private. How you handle them should be based on their public content. Whether or not they incur additional action should depend on how they choose to behave after their suspension is ...


12

It's not punishment, it's discipline. The goal is to make the user learn. With that in mind, let's look at your question: But, if a user breaks a rule and has demonstrated that it was an accident and they already learned from their mistake (emph mine) If they've already learned from their mistake, and you believe they have, then by definition you don't ...


12

The basic idea of apologies is that you make an apology whenever you feel sorry for something that you did, to the person that you wronged. It's a matter of personal integrity. You don't apologize because you made a detailed analysis that shows that you will get personal benefits by apologizing. If you follow that rule your apologies will have meaning. ...


12

Banning, generally, comes with levels of severity. A temporary ban is useful to help calmer heads prevail. The idea behind it is a short period where the user can step away, take a deep breath, and come back after they have calmed down. A temporary ban, with feedback from the moderation team on why they are temporary prevented from participating, allows a ...


11

A long-standing rule of thumb is that a user who wants to avoid a ban will find a way to avoid the ban. At the end of the day, getting rid of ban evaders is a battle you cannot win. You can only make it harder for them to notice, and evade the ban. The various forms of silent bans (hellban being the prime example) are already very hard to notice - assuming ...


11

Freedom of speech means that the government can't punish them for what they say. It doesn't mean that you can't do so in your community. When you moderate a community, you have a house-right. You have the right to evict anyone from the community for any reason you see fit. The content users post is served by your system, and you are under no obligation to ...


11

I can't speak to your situation specifically, as each community has their own policies for appeals. They also have their own political structure and ways of working within that structure to get what you want. I can, however, give you some guidelines that I have utilized in my community in the past. Post in complete sentences, using mostly correct English. ...


10

Rules should be explicit as possible, but there will always be people who try to get round the rules and will try to interpret them to their benefit. There is nothing you can do to stop this. All you can do is try to minimise the chances of this happening. Some points to consider: Set up your system so that the community can feel like it owns the rules. ...


10

These ideas are drawn in large part from Stack Exchange and partly from anti-spam techniques. Filtering If there are patterns in the trolling, you could take a page from automated anti-spam measures and apply pattern-matching to the problem. This depends on how well you can characterize trolling messages, of course; start building a corpus. There may be ...


10

Ultimately you may need to exclude this person from the discussions about the next event so that they don't know when or where it's happening, but with the discussions happening in an open Facebook group that could be tricky. You could create a 2nd group that specifically about the organisation of the events and make that closed and don't approve this ...


9

I wanted to add to these answers and point out that it's a very bad idea to let users rally against a specific user. More often than not, this starts as just one or two users who've noticed something about another user that drives them nuts. Rather than contact the user or even the moderation team, they choose to post publicly about it and turn the entire ...


9

Generally, this kind of behavior is intending a response to feel justified. Most people, when called out for violating a rule, do understand that they were out of line, however, people also do not like to be wrong. They want to be able to believe it is personal, so some have a tendency to become angry at whoever is pointing out their fault and yell at them,...


9

It's best if, when deleting a message, a moderator explains why to the user, but sometimes that doesn't happen for whatever reason. The real opportunity for the moderator to change the course of events here came with the second posting (first reposting). Instead of just deleting it again, the moderator should have contacted the user, explained the (now) ...


9

It depends on what sanctions you imposed on the user. If you just told them off then your apology should be enough, though you should probably send them a personal version of the apology or make them aware of your public statement in some way. If you docked them "points" (assuming they have "points" on your system) or suspended them then you should ...


9

In an ideal case, he should have to be obey all the same rules as any other member of the server, even if you did not know him in real life. There are two ways to achieve this, the first is by excluding people who break the rules, the second is by making the rules impossible to break. As an aside, you say, "He would be mad at me", but I'm not sure how that ...


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