USMB Moderation & Enforcement

Discussion in 'Announcements and Feedback' started by flacaltenn, Aug 20, 2014.

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  1. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator Gold Supporting Member

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    USMB Moderation & Enforcement

    The most obvious sign of Moderation actions is when a member's name in their post header gets a strike through it. This indicates that they are currently banned from accessing USMB as a member. (Names used to turn embarrassingly Pink) It's understandable that many posters think that banning people is the primary tool of Moderation. But that is far from the truth. The intent of this note is to give you a general understanding of what you DONT SEE when USMB Moderation works WITH posters to keep them in good standing. Our job is to keep threads viable and open. And to moderate at the appropriate level in each forum zone. Your job is to understand the simple rules and recognize how they change depending on what Zone you are in.

    Details of enforcement are subject to Staff Discretion and the discussion below is intended only as a general guide to the Moderation process.

    We communicate with members in the following ways::

    Private Message (Conversation) Contacts ---

    We employ PM contacts for most trivial rule issues and as a "heads up" type of Warning if there is no recent history of similar infractions for that poster. You might also get a PM warning for stuff like Sigline and copyright violation issues. If the PM contact involves a rule infraction, you should resolve not to be repeating that mistake in the near future in order to avoid an Official Warning.

    Official Warnings ---

    These are more formal looking warnings that are generated from a form. The Moderator will add a message explaining the Rule Violation and the context of the issue. One of the offending posts is appended automatically to the Warning. Understand that the offending post shown in the Warning may not be the ONLY post for which the Warning was issued. The Warning may have zero or more points associated with it which indicate the seriousness of the offense and perhaps reflect your prior history of violating the rules. In general, you do not want to collect many Warnings in a short time as that indicates you may be subject to bans in the near future.

    The Ban Hammer ---

    Several types of bans exist:

    1) The Forever Gone Instant ban is reserved for those pesky fake passport criminals and kitchen updaters from England. Also rarely used for the Professional Troll who decides to come by and trash the forum overnight. All their posts, threads and PMs are also purged.

    2) The Meltdown/Cool-Off Ban is used for getting control of an immediate situation where there is a poster intent on openly tagging the board with open challenges to a recent Mod action or a continuing personal war with another poster.

    3) The Escalating Infraction Bans are the most common and numerous. As a poster commits the same offense repeatedly, or accumulates too many points in a short timespan, short period bans are assessed. In many cases, Moderators don't have much discretion in DEFERRING a ban because they start to become automatic with higher point totals. Length of these bans can increase if incurred too frequently.

    4) The Perma-Ban is a parting of the ways. All bans are done openly among the staff and discussion is involved. But with perma-bans -- we like to have many Moderators and Admins weigh in on the decision. Generally, the Perma-Banned member's posts and threads are retained.

    These are not the ONLY tools of moderation. There is a fair amount of "poster consultation and rehabilitation" going on to avoid escalation of infractions and penalties. We also issue "Forum Bans" where a poster is denied access to a specific forum. These are mostly applied to the Clean Debate Zone, and the Zone2 Forums.

    Now that you know the tools we use, the most common complaint we hear is :
    "CrazyTool678 did THIS -- and Moderation did nothing." (sound familiar?) :-]

    But it should be obvious now that indeed Moderation does a lot with posters BEFORE the visible bans are applied. Posters are generally NOT banned for JUST the latest infractable offense. The community also may not see the immense amount of moderator post deletions/edits that go on daily because of time lags in response and because deletions are not immediately obvious.

    If we are doing this process correctly - by the time a poster is banned, everybody that has had contact with the offender should KNOW or SUSPECT why this person was banned. If it's a total surprise to the community, it might have something to do with serious situations behind the scenes. Bans should NEVER be a surprise to the offender either.

    Here's a couple more points.

    1) Know how to get a list of Moderators and Administrators. You may contact ANY moderator at any time with ANY questions that shouldn't be asked on the open forums. Currently the link is at

    Notable Members | US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

    2) All infractions and bans are reviewable and reversible. If you think you have a case, plead it via PM contact with the staff. Preferably, calmly and courteously. You may abuse the Moderators via PM but NEVER on the open forums. And choosing to do such abuse won't get your penalty increased, but probably won't buy an advocate for reviewing your case either. :D

    3) All member Reports are read and processed. There might be a lag in handling them, but all will be resolved. So be patient and don't attempt to engage a poster who is bound and determined to break the rules. Realize that you will NOT SEE any evidence that Warnings or Infractions were issued, or that counseling is in progress, but it is going on constantly. Rarely does Moderation contact the Reporter with a description of the resolution to their report.

    4) There MAY BE exceptions to the Moderation Process as it is explained in this note. But it's a more accurate depiction of what generally happens behind the scenes besides just banning posters.
     
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