Mods banning people when they seem to have offered another chance?

Re: The recent banning of cynyc

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=15501306&postcount=2

I have a different bone to pick here, not related to the question of what is or isn’t a slur, or to the actual merits of this or any other banning.

ISTM the mods here have a habit of issuing warnings (often including the words “Don’t do this again.”) and then, without further incident, banning the offender. In the present case, for example, we see this mod warning:

Then the next thing we know, the poster is banned, apparently without further notice.

Something ain’t right with that. When you issue a warning, that’s an instruction to do (or not do) something in the future. When the mods BAN someone, they often put a final post in the thread saying so (and then, they might or might not close the thread). But issuing a warning seems to say, in effect, “Okay, we’re giving you a chance (one last chance, maybe) to clean up your act”, but it seems to be a promise that we’re not banning you NOW. Then you go and ban the guy. That seems like a betrayal of sorts. It’s a stab in the backside.

That kinda-sorta happened to me once (on another board, years ago). I got a warning that I would be suspended if I wrote anything like that again, which certainly sounds like it’s saying “Okay, we’re not going to do that now” and then, the next time I looked, I found myself suspended for a month.

I left that board and never looked back. I thought it was a damn dirty trick.

Yet, there’s this appearance that the mods here do that too. There have been several cases I’ve noted of people getting a warning and then the next thing we know, they’re banned. That makes me feel like this board is a dangerous place to hang out, never knowing who will be gone next. It reminds me of the horror stories we used to read about all the people disappearing in Argentina in the Juan Peron days.

If the mods have sufficient log-in and posting records, they might note that I (mostly) left this board earlier this year for several months, after yakuza got disappeared, IIRC. People were actually engaging him in his … unconventional … discussions. Yeah, he had a few warnings and mod notes. And then one day, without any obvious notice, he was just banned. I looked for banning notices or any final obnoxious posts in all this threads, and couldn’t find any.

My complaint here IS NOT about the actual merits of any bannings. It’s about the mod practice of giving warnings (implying you’re not getting banned… yet) and then promptly banning. That just seems wrong.

ETA: Mods, note typo in title line: “…when them…” should be “…when they…”

A mod can’t just ban someone. But they can issue a warning. So they’ll see someone fucking up and issue one. Then, later, it comes up in the mod loop that so-and-so has been acting like a total fucking retard for a while and they decide to ban them.

AClockworkMelon has it right. No Mod can simply ban a poster (other than a spammer or proven sockpuppet) on his or her own.

When an infraction is seen, it is Warned. Having issued the Warning, a Mod might then go check out the current Infractions record, particularly if it seems as though he or she has issued or seen other Warnings, recently. Or a second Mod might see the Warning and check out the Infractions based on the feeling that “this has been happening a lot.”
Once the record of multiple Warnings in a short period is recognized, the Mod will take the matter to the rest of the staff to consider the situation. There is a period during which other Mods may chime in with their own views or evidence before a vote to ban occurs.

This might look like it is some nefarious effort to lull a poster into complacency before smacking him or her with a banning, but the alternative is to immediately suspend every poster who has been Warned in order to provide the staff the chance to review the record, and then to remove the suspension if there is no call for a ban, (or too few votes to support a ban).

Gotcha covered on the typo, Senegoid.

Ric

This is a matter of policy though, correct? I have to assume that as a technical matter, one Mod can in fact ban someone. I have seen socks and spammers banned so fast I haven’t even had time to report them – certainly within a minute or two of the offending post.

It is nefarious. This ends up boiling down to banning users capriciously because the mods aren’t fully coordinated with each other in real-time. (And again, I’m saying this completely apart from any arguments as to the actual merits of any case.)

How about this for a less nefarious alternative: Once the bad poster has gotten all the warnings you think he’s entitled to (or all you think he’s worth), and the mods have pow-wowwed and decided the time has come . . .

THEN, leave the poster alone, but be ready (any of you) to ban immediately (with a proper notice as to why) the next time that poster posts a naughty post. Then, post a final post saying something like this (as, in fact, you sometimes do):

Hypothetical Mod action

Okay, hypothetical ex-SDMB-participant, you’ve had numerous warnings about <whatever>. That will be all.

Banned.

This has the effect of being more permissive, giving the guy one last chance to never f-up again, as consistent with the actual warnings that were already given.

That’s complete bullshit. The whole point is to remove the capricious nature by waiting for Mods to discuss it. You, if you are a poster who’s been warned, you know it.

And how can you expect the mods to be “fully coordinated in real-time?” They are unpaid volunteers maintaining individual work schedules and lives and modding in their spare time. By necessity they aren’t coordinated in real time, and they probably never will be.

I presume they hold these discussion most often by email or PM, in which case even their discussions aren’t in real time. And I would also assume that not every single mod is in on every single discussion, so there’s a fair chance a mod may not be in the loop on a particular poster (or a bit behind in the loop) and hence not ready to “pounce” on that particular poster. So you end up with another “nefarious” delay anyway.

…and then people can complain about someone being banned for a borderline warning.
There’s nothing nefarious about the policy here. You don’t get banned without multiple warnings. I might, however, raise the possibility of giving cynyc his very own locked ban thread, so interested posters can marvel at the accumulated warnings.

Don’t be ridiculous. The mods can only ban you: it’s not like they have the power to kidn

I have to wonder if the OP knows what “nefarious” means.

Anyway, the simplest solution to the “problem” here is to simply recognize that a warning means that you have violated the board rules, and that your posting privileges may be in jeopardy. A warning does not guarantee, offer, or otherwise imply that the poster will receive any additional chances to reform. If it’s your first warning, or at least your first in a good while, there’s unlikely to be any additional penalties. If you’ve racked up several warnings recently, you should understand that any additional warnings could be followed by a suspension or outright ban.

No, you need to wonder if I know what the word “warning” means. The definition you’ve just given doesn’t correspond to any sane definition that I’ve been aware of.

And I need to wonder where the Alice-in-Wonderland logic here is coming from. Take Boyo Jim’s post, above, for example. It’s mostly a non-sequiter and a straw-man argument – that is, he’s rebutting an argument that I never made.

I noted that the mods don’t get together to discuss bannings in real-time, but where did I ever say that they SHOULD or assume that they could? (Which is what Boyo Jim rebutted there.) What I wrote was, there’s another and more plausible alternative to the one tomndebb mentioned (which was to immediately suspend a poster pending further discussions).

And I tried to make it clear that I’m not arguing on the actual merits of banning any particular poster. Yet I see several responses above that seem to focus on what a really bad baddie cynyc was, that I should be defending him. That’s also off-focus. I’m not defending cynyc.

I wanted to argue simply that a giving a “Warning” isn’t a very meaningful thing to do if a poster can get banned following one, even without any further actions at all by the poster. The notions described by Miller seem capricious to me.

A poster does NOT get banned following a warning. A poster gets banned after repeated warnings.

Yeah, but what if someone innocently starts five different “fuck the mods” threads in the span of 10 minutes? It’s unfair for them not to know which one will earn the coup de grâce!

Apparently, I don’t need to wonder.

Well, there’s a couple of problems with your solution, not the least of which is that it’s a solution in search of a problem. But another big one is that, if a poster is acting out in a thread, it’s often important to get him to stop his disruptive behavior immediately. When a cop sees someone speeding, they pull him over first, then check to see if he has other outstanding warrants. Same here: if someone is breaking a rule, we issue a warning that they’re violating the rules. Then, if necessary, we discuss if the poster’s history argues for stronger sanctions.

I don’t see a single post discussing anything remotely connected to the cynyc banning, except Measure for Measure, and he’s just saying that he’d like to see an announcement of the ban here in ATMB. No one in this thread, so far, has argued against your thesis by reference to cynyc.

So, “nefarious,” “warning,” and capricious? You know, they have a lot of dictionaries on line these days.

I would also like to point out that we have no knowledge of the communications (if any) between the Mods (blessed be their names) and the banned. I have heard tales of posters who, having received a warning via PM have gone totally batshit, also via PM. Thus escalating a rather pedestrian Warning into an Insta-ban.

You never know.

It’s usually repeated warnings, then a suspension, then another warning, then a ban.

Unless it’s a spammer. They get killed off immediately.

We have also had people come in and start trolling (making inflammatory comments, picking fights, etc.) right off the bat. We don’t give them much consideration either, just ban them.

But the average poster, no, it’s a process and a passage. By the time someone is banned from the board like this they’ve had a lot of admonitions, a fistful of notes, a bunch of official Warnings, and usually a suspension. And mostly it’s the same offenses over and over again too, like personal insults.

I think that’s your own interpretation. A warning is a note saying “you’re not allowed to do what you just did.” Often we do include a ‘don’t do it again’ message, but people who have many warnings don’t always get that courtesy because they already know what the rules are - or they should. Sometimes we’ll warn them that they have one more chance or that they are at risk for a suspension or a ban. We do try to avoid double-jeopardy situations (giving someone a mod note and then going back to make it a warning, for example).

Yes, Peron was famous for blocking people from internet forums, usually after a handful of warnings.

That’s not 100 percent true - we can “just ban someone” if they’re obvious trolls or being jerks in a major way. But if they’ve been around for a while or the behavior is more debatable, we’ll discuss the ban and take a vote.

Due process for trolls.

The “jury of their peers” part could get interesting…

All you’re really doing here is arguing semantics. You should think of them as “Infractions” if that makes the situation clearer to you.

Over time, we’ve developed a graded system of warnings/infractions. We call the first level of cautions/warnings “Moderator Notes,” which we do not formally compile. More serious or continued offenses receive a formal “Moderator Warning,” which are compiled by our automated warning system.

Now the system actually offers two levels of punitive actions, a “Warning” (which corresponds to what we call “Mod Notes,” except they are formally compiled), and and an “Infraction,” which corresponds to what we call “Warnings” here.

Because of the confusion in the terminology (and the discrepancy with our treatment of Mod Notes), we have not implemented this two-tier level in the automated system. But in reality, our Mod Notes should be though of as “Warnings,” and Warnings as “Infractions.” When you compile enough of the latter, a new one can have immediate consequences.

Really? :dubious: