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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:13 am 
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Althalus has just posted the article "[Moderation Policy Update] - Revamping Warnings" in Site Announcements.

Comment on it here!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:21 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:14 am 
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Good policy.

So if I'm reading this correctly, I only have one week left to get my first warning to ensure i'm grandfathered into the previous Code of Conduct's 6-strikes-and-you're-out system?


In writing codes of conduct for cool sites like this, I think the only possible problem is sometimes you throw out the baby with the bathwater. I hope that was considered in the drafting of the policy.

Love this site, thanks.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:41 pm 
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No, your not reading it right. Everyone with or without warnings is going to be on the 5 strike system, it is just that everyone with 3 or more warning is losing 1 warning in the transition.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:06 pm 
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About freaking time tbh


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:40 am 
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So if I'm reading this correctly, I only have one week left to get my first warning to ensure i'm grandfathered into the previous Code of Conduct's 6-strikes-and-you're-out system?
No. Everyone's going to be on four-strikes-and-you're-out, period.

However, there are people who already have Warnings extant right now; some of them even have four. It would be unfair to say to those people, "Hey, you know how we told you a month ago you were receiving a one-week ban because you were issued a fourth warning? Well, we're retroactively changing the punishment for four warnings to a permanent ban, so you're banned now! Goodbye!" Retroactively increasing past punishments isn't something we want to do.

So, in order to be fair to those people, we're saying to everyone, "We're changing our policy, but you know how the Code of Conduct told you that your next Warning would come with {punishment X}? Well, it will still come with {punishment X}, but will go up from there as described by the new policy. Behave accordingly."

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:03 pm 
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*cough update the original CoC cough*


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:06 pm 
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I just flagged that for them too, eligin :)

Looks like OZ is right behind Canada once again

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:08 pm 
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Sounds like a sound policy decision.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:42 pm 
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I have a concern with this policy revision.

It's basically akin to a "mandatory minimum" sentencing structure such as is common in the US criminal law system. 4 strikes = permaban. This kind of thing feels very fair and impartial at first. But what it fails to account for are mitigating factors and other case-specific details. The US legal system also allows for executive branch pardons and commutations (even if such are rather rare), so that there is a structure to account for cases where the correct application of the laws results in an unjust result.

Two possible mitigating factors that seem worthy of consideration, in general: Post count over the previous year and a nebulously defined general level of net contribution to the community. I don't post much, and am a new user. If I manage to rack up four warnings at my current posting rate, roughly 1/30 of my posts warrant official moderator action. If someone who averages a thousand posts a year gets four warnings, they could have as low as a 1/250 ratio. While it's absolutely true that both me and the high volume poster would have earned four warnings, it's a lot easier to slip up if you're posting a lot more. Humans aren't perfect creatures, we get emotional and have bad days. Members of the community who put more of themselves into the forum are necessarily going to, at times, put some of the uglier parts of themselves into the forum. Obviously this doesn't excuse misbehavior, nor should it be a blanket get out of jail free card, but it seems worth considering.

Second, I think that contributions to the community should be weighed when considering reprisals. To get specific, the Duels forum is vastly less useful with Hakeem gone. I got to NGA by google when I was totally new to magic, had had Duels for a little bit and wanted to play better. I learned a ton from Hakeem. Would I have stuck around if he had been banned before I googled "mtg duels good decks"? Dunno. Probably? But the site would have been a lot less useful. It's true that enforcing community guidelines is essential to the health of the forum, but quality content and quality contributors are essential as well.

My proposal is that the policy be revised to allow moderators to, at their discretion, issue an unofficial warning (which would still be recorded, and could be considered when evaluating a poster's future actions) when mitigating factors indicate that an official warning would either be in some way unjust or unfair or would result in a net loss for the community, and that the positive contributions of offending posters should weigh heavily into that decision.

Edit: I'm speaking partially from personal experience in this post. For several years I've been a moderator of what had been the most flame-scorched sub-forum of the official forums of an MMO. Most of the flame-throwers doubled as the most knowledgeable and helpful posters, who had been there a lot longer than I had and had largely taught me the game. When I became a moderator, I took the approach of trying to understand why each party in a flame war was upset, PM them expressing that I understood their concerns, and asking them to remember the community guidelines and to delete/and or edit their posts that had been problematic, even in cases where the guidelines would have fully supported stronger sanction. It worked really, really well compared to the more punitive approach that my predecessor had taken. No one needed to get banned, there wasn't meta-drama where people were angry about the moderation, and the sub-forum was more peaceful. But that of course does not directly relate to this forum - different players, different game. Just to explain where I'm coming from.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:59 pm 
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Great post

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:16 pm 
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That's terrible reasoning.

Unfortunately, every perma-banned user (or at least every one I've heard of) has had a giant *** post count AND been a top contributor of the site. Their behavior has still been unexcusable.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:20 pm 
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Yes, people that do the most driving are more likely to get into the occasional accident.

Common sense over rigidity. That's all.

There's another and better thread to talk about this random. You should move your idea over there

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:25 pm 
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The problem is that there are certain things you really can't get away with doing repeatedly. Giving people leeway based on their post count and "community contribution" is just giving people leeway they don't deserve because they are popular and/or they post a lot. <- In almost 10,000 posts, I've only received one hard warning and it was over a year ago. It's not that hard to stay out of trouble.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:29 pm 
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Yeah but now your posts suck :(

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:31 pm 
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mjack33 wrote:
That's terrible reasoning.

Unfortunately, every perma-banned user (or at least every one I've heard of) has had a giant *** post count AND been a top contributor of the site. Their behavior has still been unexcusable.


I'm new to the forum and unfamiliar with any of those cases, so I'll assume this is completely accurate. Under the policy I proposed, these posters would still have gotten perma-banned, because their conduct was "inexcusable". By definition, inexcusable conduct should not be excused. But there is misconduct that, while it does break the community conduct guidelines, may in fact be excusable given mitigating circumstances. What's wrong with allowing moderators to use their best judgment in such cases?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:37 pm 
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There's another and better thread to talk about this random. You should move your idea over there


While Hakeem's situation was of course the catalyst for my post, I think this is probably the correct thread. It seems, sadly, that the damage there has been done. I'm hoping to see policy adjusted going forward so that moderators never feel compelled by procedure to take action that costs the community valuable contributors. If they think the action is necessary morally, or for the health of the community, then they should absolutely do what needs to be done, and we should all thank them for their self-sacrificing (because banning well-liked people never makes one's week more pleasant) efforts. But if it actually goes against their best judgment, but they feel they must because the rules require it, something is wrong there and it needs to get fixed.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:35 am 
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randomname wrote:
My proposal is that the policy be revised to allow moderators to, at their discretion, issue an unofficial warning...
They can; that's what the "soft warning" described in the Code of Conduct is.

I fully agree that contacting users privately to work things through is often the most effective way of dealing with problems; that's why we already do it.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:41 am 
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randomname wrote:
I have a concern with this policy revision.

It's basically akin to a "mandatory minimum" sentencing structure such as is common in the US criminal law system. 4 strikes = permaban. This kind of thing feels very fair and impartial at first. But what it fails to account for are mitigating factors and other case-specific details. The US legal system also allows for executive branch pardons and commutations (even if such are rather rare), so that there is a structure to account for cases where the correct application of the laws results in an unjust result.

Two possible mitigating factors that seem worthy of consideration, in general: Post count over the previous year and a nebulously defined general level of net contribution to the community. I don't post much, and am a new user. If I manage to rack up four warnings at my current posting rate, roughly 1/30 of my posts warrant official moderator action. If someone who averages a thousand posts a year gets four warnings, they could have as low as a 1/250 ratio. While it's absolutely true that both me and the high volume poster would have earned four warnings, it's a lot easier to slip up if you're posting a lot more. Humans aren't perfect creatures, we get emotional and have bad days. Members of the community who put more of themselves into the forum are necessarily going to, at times, put some of the uglier parts of themselves into the forum. Obviously this doesn't excuse misbehavior, nor should it be a blanket get out of jail free card, but it seems worth considering.


This is an online forum, not a country. It makes almost no sense to compare the "penal codes" of the two. If you manage to get 4 hard warnings, you are not going to improve your behavior. Keep in mind that a hard warning isn't the first response the mod team goes for in most situations. Hard warnings are debated on the mod forum, not just given at a whim. In all my time frequenting various forums, I have never gotten even a single formal warning. Ever. And yes, I still get emotional, I don't hold back on what I want to say, but the amount of redacted you have to pull to even get one formal warning is large enough that I never crosses that threshold. I have gotten a soft warning about once. If you have a "hard warning"/total post ration of 1/250 you're still doing something very wrong.

I really doubt I'm some sort of virtuous saint.

I also dislike the idea of keeping problematic posts around because they provide some sort of nebulous "value" to the community. In my personal experience with online forums, that is never worth it. It sours the community and makes it rot at the base. In pretty much every community, you'll have people providing the same value without being toxic. If you keep people around because they're popular or provide some sort of value that supposedly offsets their toxicity, you're probably making a mistake. All it does is show people that being toxic is allowed, as long as you post a lot.

I encourage you to think about what sort of behavior elicits a hard warning. Keep in mind that most users getting a hard warning will have gotten plenty of soft ones beforehand.

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