What is this?
Its a rants page for me. It seems to be that I am given an endless supply of things to rant about, thus it would be a shame to allow such opportunities to go to waste. Its a fact that I am a hate filled individual, and given the chance I will exact vengeance upon you, your friends, your family, and the trees and shrubbery around your house. Do not attempt to appeal to my better side, for I have none. Your only hope is to quietly agree with me and pray that I do not direct my wrath upon you.
Can I comment?
You may, each rant will be assigned a designated comments area. You may comment there all you like. However, keep in mind that I reserve the right to delete anything stupid from this page.
Rant 24: How to not get Banned
I'm the sort of guy who often ends up as a mod wither he likes it or not. So, I know the ins and outs of how moderating works, and what doesn't work when trying to moderate. I have been very frustrated in the past when dedicated trolls, jerks, and just plain horrible people would get their 4th perma-ban removed because after all they did, someone felt they deserved yet another chance.This is always followed by a couple more months of making a site a bad place to visit until they annoy one of the mod team enough to get another ban, which is naturally reversed within a week or so. The cycle generally continues this way, and in all the sites where I have been a mod, I have fought against such a cycle, and even made some enemies within my own mod team due to my habit of saying "I told you so" whenever they'd get their next ban.
But, this rants page is for Epic Mafia, and I have talked about my moderating other sites long enough. Lets talk about here.
A Good Mod
A good mod is not afraid to make enemies, and not afraid to piss someone off. A good mod must be aggressive enough to tell someone to stop being a douchebag if they don't want to get booted out the door, and firm enough to stick to their decision a week later. At the same time, a good mod must be open to reason, and willing to listen; however, they must also be able to identify when someone is just jerking them around and wasting their time. Those are not all of the qualities that make up a good mod, but I feel those are, in general, the most important qualities. A mod needs to enforce the rules, uphold the community standards, and they must bear the burden of drawing lines in the sand, and kicking the ass of anyone who crosses them.
Lets presume for a minute that you're dealing with someone who is a good mod. In general, a good mod will casually give what I will call an "unofficial warning" as their first step. This is more like a soft reminder that someone is stepping out of line, and it's just a friendly reminder that they cut it out. This is best done in whatever place the offense is taking place, if possible. Subtlety is pretty good here. It can be as simple as saying "Cool it". This isn't even a true warning, it's closer to trying to nip things in the bud before they progress far enough to get to a warning. This is good if someone is close to the line, but not crossing it yet.
A good second step is the official warning. This is to get the message through the thick skulls of those who didn't take the hint before. The warning shows that the mod is watching, and that you'd better knock it off because they said so. If the first warning is ignored, then there is little point in a second warning, I've always felt. A 2-tier warning system only serves as a "safety buffer" for people who want to take advantage of the system. Folks like that learn they can ignore the first warning entirely, and continue causing problems until they get their next warning.
The third step I've always felt should be a temp ban. Long enough to be something that will be remembered. I've often found a week to be a good time for a temp ban.
If things ever continue after that, a good mod will follow steps 1 and 2 once again, and then follow it up with a permaban. Obviously, the first ban didn't get the message across, and they are still causing problems. It is therefore the duty of the mod to make them no longer a problem.
Harsh? Hardly. It's absurdly easy to avoid getting banned when dealing with this type of moderation.
Step 1: Don't be a Douche
This is the golden rule to not getting caught in the wrath of a mod. If you are running around and giving people grief or trolling discussions or causing problems, then you should be expecting an encounter with a mod. If you keep things pleasant, then there is no problem. Mods don't like having to deal with problems, and they happen to be armed with a very powerful hammer capable of making their problems go away. Never give them a reason to use this. Ignorance is no excuse either, this is common sense. It is your responsibility to be familiar with the rules and to follow them. But, if you manage to mess that one up...
Step 2: Listen
If a mod tells you to knock it off. Knock it the hell off. It's really that simple. But if you should fail in this one...
Step 3: LISTEN
If you got a warning, heed it. It's not a difficult concept to grasp. You have done something that a mod felt was not proper. You need to stop doing that thing. Debating the matter is often pointless. Welcome to the Internet. If you get involved in anything you don't feel comfortable simply walking away from, then you have some serious issues. Just let it go and walk away from whatever situation caused you to get your warning, and there is no problem. If there is no problem, then you're not the concern of a mod anymore. But, if you can't walk away and continue causing problems...
Step 4: Don't do it again
Ok, you got banned. You don't think it's fair? Tough. Look at how many chances you had to avoid it progressing this far. You are to blame here. It annoys me greatly when I see people blaming a mod for their bans. When I see someone doing that, it tells me that they refuse to even acknowledge that they were causing problems, and that they have no intention to correct their mistakes and stop causing problems. But, hey some people do actually snap back into line when they are hit by the shock that yes, as a matter of fact, a mod team does mean what they say. If you do it again after your ban is listed, you don't deserve any mercy at that point.
How to discuss it
Ok, so you don't think you were treated fairly. You want to talk it over with a mod. There is a proper way to do this.
Do it in private
Making a public scene of the matter is a good way to get your case thrown in the "don't give a damn" file. In public, it's basically an attack against the mod or the mod team. It turns into a case of "troll and troll-buddies vs. mod team", and I've never seen it not devolve into personal attacks against the people volunteering their time to help maintain a site people use.
If you open with personal attacks and obscenities directed at the mother of a mod, you're basically confirming to the mod that you are incapable of being a productive member of the community, and that things would be better without your crazy butt.
You'd be amazed how far you can go with a civil, rational discussion. Don't outright challenge the decision, but rather discuss the matter. If you start off by accepting whatever the mod has dished out, you can have better luck talking about it. Offer what you intended to say or do, and how you feel it wasn't unacceptable. Ask for clarification on whatever rule you were caught breaking, as your interpretation of that rule clearly doesn't match that of the mod. Now you've taken steps to prove to the mod that maybe you just messed up. Sometimes people have bad days, and if you're genuinely trying to have a discussion to help you understand what you did wrong, maybe a little slack can be cut.
Don't do it again!
Keeping with the spirit of the above header, that should never work more than once. Obviously, if someone can get off easy with only their 5th final warning just by spitting out a phony apology and a faux promise to never cause problems again, then there is a problem with mods not doing their duty.
Never blame the Mod for your ban
Again, this is a personal attack against the mod. Nobody takes such things very well, and it will be seen as your unwillingness to take responsibility for your own actions. It's really simple. Take some responsibility for yourself, grow up, and become a better person.
I'm pleased to see a recent event that suggests the mod team is finally clamping down on the site. Everyone has 2 choices: Either they can play nicely, or they find some other playground to bully. I am worried I'll overuse the phrase "It's just that simple" here, but it really is. When a mod team is effective and active, and when they do their duty, the worst of the worst end up no longer a problem to those who can play nice with each other, and then everyone left can do what we came here to do: Have a good time.