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Old 05-28-2015, 04:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Changes to Rule Enforcement

Introduction

I am proposing a new policy for rule enforcement. Some key features are :
  • Equal treatment of members
  • Predictable consequences for rule breaking
  • Transparent rule enforcement
  • Mod job is made easier by automatic creation of reports, rule enforcement records and bans
I've summarized my suggestion below in some simple points. Each point is discussed more in detail below.


Summary

The proposed policy is based on the following philosophy.
  • The rules should apply equally to all
  • Mods should strive to react to any instance of rule breaking
  • Rule breaking should be consistently punished with temporary infractions
  • Members should be informed impassionately about what rule they broke and the amount of infractions they got as a consequence
These points are discussed below under discussion.


Plan of action

The following is a proposed plan of action for implementation.
  1. Bolster the mod team with more moderators
    • Ask ex-mods to come back
    • Consider members for modship
  2. Mods revise the rules in cooperation with admins (Yac)
    • Update rules announcement
  3. Mods determine infraction amount penalties for various instances of rule breaking
    • Penalties can be revised to fit the current infractions system OR
    • Infractions preset values can be modified to fit penalties
  4. Write up guide with examples in mods forum to help mods moderate according to new system
  5. Inform the rest of the community in a dedicated thread
    • Set a startup date
    • Possibly give weekly updates on how the new system is working, perhaps with some stats
  6. On startup date and thereafter, moderate post-startup-date-posts according to new system

Discussion

The rules should apply equally to all

Noone should be allowed to break the rules more than others. To ensure fairness and justice, the rules should generally apply equally to all, whether they are old time members, newbies, moderators, etc.


Mods should strive to react to any instance of rule breaking

To discourage rule breaking, it is important that rule breaking has predictable, negative consequences. Reacting to all instances of rule breaking is also a way to promote fairness, by ensuring that all who break a rule are punished.


Rule breaking should be consistently punished with temporary infractions

Temporary infractions is a great way to punish members and especially when used consistently. Among other things, infractions have the following benefits.
  • Are easily available from every post through a drop-down menu
  • Automatically creates a PM to the user and a report quoting that PM for other mods to see in the mods forum
  • Has the ability to give predetermined amounts of infractions as well as custom amounts
  • Are generally temporary, but can also be permanent
  • Infractions automatically "keep score" for moderators, meaning that if two moderators unknowingly punish the same user for two separate rule breakings, the infractions add up
  • Go on a users permanent record for easy reference in the future
  • Makes temp/permabans an automatic consequence of the system, removing decision making and manual action needed to ban members

Infractions are versatile and while such a system can be strict, it can also be calibrated to be lenient, allowing members to commit low levels of rule breaking without serious consequence.

Small amounts of infractions generally do little, but as they pile up, freedoms are automatically removed as the user passes certain thresholds. A user who breaks a minor rule may not suffer any true ill conseqence, but if he or she keeps it up and gains more infractions, he or she may become automatically tempbanned until the infractions time out, putting the user back under the ban threshhold.

More than just a punishment, the amount of infractions a user has can be seen as a measure of freedom. A user with 0 infractions have more freedom than a member with 6 infractions.


Members should be informed impassionately about what rule they broke and the amount of infractions they got as a consequence

Members are generally punished through infractions, not through PMs. Should a conflict arise between a mod and a user as a result of an infractions PM or similar, the mod has nothing to lose while the member has "everything" to lose. To ensure that mods do not abuse this position of power by escalating conflict to goad or troll users into breaking more rules, policy should dictate that PMs are meant to be informative and never hostile.

Angry PMs from punished users are to be expected. Moderators should generally be encouraged not to answer such PMS, or at least to do so with professionalism and good temper.
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Last edited by tore; 06-05-2015 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like a plan, but there could be downsides to this system. I think a discussion about it wouldn't hurt.

Oh, and I thought you should know that "Impersonating staff" is on there twice, under 3 and 10 points. (Edit: Fixed! )

Last edited by Oriphiel; 05-28-2015 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So did you update this because you feel like it's not happening? Or would you like to see it happen? What's really going on here?
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriphiel View Post
Sounds like a plan, but there could be downsides to this system. I think a discussion about it wouldn't hurt.

Oh, and I thought you should know that "Impersonating staff" is on there twice, under 3 and 10 points.
I agree and thanks for the heads up! Copy & paste error corrected.

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Originally Posted by RoxyRollah View Post
So did you update this because you feel like it's not happening? Or would you like to see it happen? What's really going on here?
This infractions system is built into the board, but it's not being used. I've been in support of using it pretty much since I discovered it. I discovered it after I became a moderator some X amount of years ago.

I've brought it up once or twice on earlier occasions, the first time in the moderators forum. It's probably buried in the discussion thread there. Now I thought I could bring it up again.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Megalomaniac.


Ok. I was really just wondering where this came from. So are you gonna put this to a vote?
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As when you proposed this when you were a mod, I see a lot of hassle and aggravation for everyone (not the least of which would be trying to get the owners of the site to change the current infraction set up) without any perceptible advantage. You even seem to acknowledge in your proposal that this would annoy a lot of members. So what's the point of it?
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It sounds alright in theory, but I just don't know if it'll make things better. Either way, even if everyone voted for it and the mods decided to go ahead with it, I'd still recommend that we have a trial run first. After trying it for a week or so, we could have another vote/discussion about it.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxyRollah View Post
Megalomaniac.

Ok. I was really just wondering where this came from. So are you gonna put this to a vote?


I thought about it and decided not to. If I put up a poll, it's gonna be the first thing people see when they come to the first page. Most members don't really understand the infractions system and why it is practical and so there won't be an "educated" opinion behind their vote. One of the important reasons for this is that some of these benefits will apply to moderators and not members.

I can describe it briefly with an example in this post, though.

Examples of infractions in action

A moderator can hand a user X amount of temporary or permanent infractions. Generally they will be temporary. Let's say you have two mods and one user. Moderator A, moderator B and User DERP.

Example 1 : Mod A sees user DERP break a 5-point rule. Mod A gives a 5 point infraction which expires in a week. When Mod A does so, a report thread is made in the mods forum so that all other mods can see that this user was infracted. The infraction also goes on that users permanent record for all mods to see. This is very useful. Now, three days later, DERP breaks the same rule again and is infracted with another 5 point infraction by Mod B. This will cause DERP to have 10 infractions for the next 4 days, until the first 5 infractions "wear off". So, user DERP will be automatically tempbanned for 4 days and all this moderation will be recorded and visible to other mods in the future.

Example 2 : User DERP is so disruptive, a moderator chooses to make a 5 infractions penalty permanent. Now, DERP always has 5 infractions and thus has less leeway than other users who can behave nicely and end up back at 0 infractions.
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Last edited by tore; 05-28-2015 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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After thinking about it, I find these proposed changes a bit strict. Most of the members here are great people who legitimately care about each other, but under those rules (where, for example, saying two stupid things in a week has the potential to get you perma banned), a lot of them would have been banned a long time ago simply for getting carried away, as we all sometimes do. As another example, a person says one stupid thing in the past, and a mod slaps a permanent infraction on them. After that, making just one mistake, even a tiny one, could push them over the limit and automatically ban them.

It's true that the current system of leniency leads to a few abrasive people running around and making trouble, but it has also allowed for us to have members who we're all better off from having met. I think that's a fair trade off. Not to mention that users who were abrasive in the past, but are now more reformed, would never have gotten the chance to change their ways under these new rules. Just my two cents on the situation.

Last edited by Oriphiel; 05-28-2015 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
As when you proposed this when you were a mod, I see a lot of hassle and aggravation for everyone (not the least of which would be trying to get the owners of the site to change the current infraction set up) without any perceptible advantage. You even seem to acknowledge in your proposal that this would annoy a lot of members. So what's the point of it?
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