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Probation group

Postby AeroMatter » Tue May 21, 2019 2:08 pm

So I floated this idea with the staff and nothing really came of it so I'll just mention it here for discussion since there wouldn't be any harm in doing so. The idea is a "probation" group. Basically how it would work is as an alternative to long term and perma bans. Users in this group would be able to log in and participate at some level in the community but with reduced permissions. This would include some combination of requiring post approval, disabled usage of polls, no participation in community events, disabling PMs, and so on. It would serve as a final warning and if rules are continued to be broken while in this probation group, then a long term/permaban would be placed depending on the circumstances. We use a muted role on the Discord which serves a similar purpose, but this would be more long term until warnings start to expire.

I think this would make bans, as rare as they are, more unnecessary and give users another chance to improve their posting. Currently we have staff talk to members approaching the point of being banned (unless it's an extreme case), we allow appeals after a bit of time has passed, but the system isn't perfect so other ideas would be welcome to reduce the need for bans and improve moderation.
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Re: Probation group

Postby ThePieSkyHigh » Tue May 21, 2019 2:29 pm

A final chance to stay with the community?
Sounds like a useful idea.
But admins will have to constantly approve things, right?
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Re: Probation group

Postby Rhosty » Tue May 21, 2019 2:30 pm

I think the probation group should be for people who are already banned but want to be unbanned. When a banned user submits a ban appeal form, they should be placed in this group as a test to see how well they behave. If they don't do so well, the staff can just leave them in the banned users group.

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Re: Probation group

Postby Cedur » Tue May 21, 2019 2:35 pm

For someone who's not already banned, any kind of snatched permission feels repressive already and ruins their experience on the site, besides the public shaming that you already may have when being in that group. I'm not sure if anyone would try to make an effort of escaping that group (rather than just leaving the site if it already came thus far)

It's good that ban appeals can be successful and that permanent bans are often more like indefinite bans as of now
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Re: Probation group

Postby ThePieSkyHigh » Tue May 21, 2019 2:42 pm

Eureka wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 2:30 pm
I think the probation group should be for people who are already banned but want to be unbanned. When a banned user submits a ban appeal form, they should be placed in this group as a test to see how well they behave. If they don't do so well, the staff can just leave them in the banned users group.
I agree with this, but again there should be admins who keep this system up.

Lets say you appeal but until an admin so happens to check the appeals, move you here, and constantly be watching behaviour takes a long time. Say maybe a week.

Also how long does a person have to be monitored? Does that depend on reason?
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Re: Probation group

Postby Rhosty » Tue May 21, 2019 3:58 pm

ThePieSkyHigh wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 2:42 pm
Eureka wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 2:30 pm
I think the probation group should be for people who are already banned but want to be unbanned. When a banned user submits a ban appeal form, they should be placed in this group as a test to see how well they behave. If they don't do so well, the staff can just leave them in the banned users group.
I agree with this, but again there should be admins who keep this system up.

Lets say you appeal but until an admin so happens to check the appeals, move you here, and constantly be watching behaviour takes a long time. Say maybe a week.
If this is the case, then we need more admins

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Re: Probation group

Postby Cedur » Tue May 21, 2019 4:05 pm

Wouldn't it suck if you had to wait several hours until your post is approved, while people keep making further replies?

So I generally disagree and I don't exactly see what's bad with the current state
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Re: Probation group

Postby Rhosty » Tue May 21, 2019 4:14 pm

Cedur wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:05 pm
Wouldn't it suck if you had to wait several hours until your post is approved, while people keep making further replies?
If the person was banned it would serve them right.

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Re: Probation group

Postby ThePieSkyHigh » Tue May 21, 2019 4:19 pm

Eureka wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:14 pm
Cedur wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:05 pm
Wouldn't it suck if you had to wait several hours until your post is approved, while people keep making further replies?
If the person was banned it would serve them right.
But hey, if admins want to do it they'll get more people to do the job. They could perhaps review all entry submissions and pick out more mods for this.

But yea, if that's not true it's useless
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Re: Probation group

Postby AeroMatter » Tue May 21, 2019 4:29 pm

Nothing about this was said to be public or needing to "escape." As I already said, bans are rare and so this wouldn't require new staff and depending on the system put in place it wouldn't require any additional staff intervention than would be needed to place a ban.
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Re: Probation group

Postby Radiance » Wed May 22, 2019 7:00 pm

I agree for all the permission reduced except for the post approval. The admins are not online 24/7 and having a person in the probation group wait for his or her post to be approved may interrupt discussions. I have no problem having a post approval if a person in the probation group makes a new thread, though.

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Re: Probation group

Postby Enjl » Wed May 22, 2019 7:10 pm

If people were removed from the community for causing trouble it's unreasonable to assume they immediately changed their ways. If all their posts are vetted it'll cause work for the mods that isn't guaranteed to actually improve the banned person's behaviour in the long term, once they're deemed "good enough to be lead back in". In situations where the presence of the now-banned person caused discomfort alone, it's even more complicated.

The reasonable implementation I can see is only allowing such a period to be used on a banned user that has been gone for a significant amount of time, in which they could've matured their behaviour. At that point though I don't see the point, cause you might aswell just let them back in and ban again if necessary.
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Re: Probation group

Postby AeroMatter » Wed May 22, 2019 8:27 pm

Post vetting is basically what the mods are supposed to do anyway. Post approval - and we do have approvals that have been very well managed so far - isn't the only option for that though. Anything that would signify a final warning before a very long ban and reasonably restricts access to the community as a punishment would make the group useful, and wouldn't require any unnecessary and/or additional work than is already done to moderate. Post approval can be set aside entirely and the restrictions could just be restricted access to participation in community events, polls, and a board warning upon entering the group. It'd be a formal "last chance" system after staff have already talked with the member, and it'd make more sense to do that before a ban rather than after a ban because appeals are reviewed based on the member's understanding of what they did and how they have changed or plan to change their behaviour. A probation period would send a signal that the member needs to change their behaviour based on what staff have already told them plus it's formal and would show up in forum logs in addition to their warning history. Mods don't have the ability to move people into groups so I wouldn't propose a task that's high maintenance if it'd going to be handled by two people btw. Depending on what people think seems fair, it could just be a few clicks and the rest takes care of itself.
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Re: Probation group

Postby ThePieSkyHigh » Wed May 22, 2019 10:17 pm

Now my mind is changed again by these wise words from this mod. (Or admin, which are you..?)

I mean, anybody who got in this group DID get banned, so you're already doing them the favor of bringing them back. If you don't get your post accepted right away, think of it like the times you could and try to improve.

But is this an extra step in ban time? (I mean, 6 month period before final ban has this included? Same for the rest?)
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Re: Probation group

Postby Enjl » Thu May 23, 2019 5:49 am

I wasn't gonna post here again but I'm too paranoid so I wanted to make this clear.

That wall of text didn't really change my position at all. Just saying this for the record before my silence is interpreted as now thinking this is actually useful.
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Re: Probation group

Postby Cedur » Thu May 23, 2019 6:22 am

So, this is not a usergroup which can be checked through member's profiles, just some clicks that take permissions away?

Anyway, I disapprove of all the penalties listed.

Post approval is the worst.
Disabling PMs is both depriving and inept. If other people don't know about someone's probation status, they'll PM them with a (maybe important) matter of their own, expecting a response which they don't know they can't cannot get, or immediately seeing the PM couldn't be sent, also blocking their matter.
Exclusion from polls and events is somewhat unrelated to common rulebreakings, so it feels arbitrary.

So basically it still feels like a ban from community status, while just being tolerated like a Typhoid Mary.

No matter if you get into this status after rulebreakings, or if you're given this as a chance to come back after a ban, this will not have any positive effects on the person and their experience on the site. Warnings alone are supposed to give people a signal to watch out.

If people forfeit their right for membership through infractions, they're off the board for a while or forever, that's how it's supposed to work in nature. If you want to be more merciful, apply tempbans rather than permabans, but isn't that wrong again if
a) someone abuses the board to the ground and only comes back to continue a feud (DarkMatt)
b) there is not any tiniest bit of positive expectation for change (Eri7).

If people are given a chance to come back, this chance should be awarded once they're expectedly ready to reintegrate into the community, in which case any penalties don't make sense. They're just destructive, so they're also not suited to make someone behave better / see if they behave better.
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Re: Probation group

Postby FireyPaperMario » Thu May 23, 2019 8:39 am

Yeah, I think the Probation group was a bad idea imo
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Re: Probation group

Postby AeroMatter » Thu May 23, 2019 9:28 am

Cedur wrote: So, this is not a usergroup which can be checked through member's profiles, just some clicks that take permissions away?
Yes. The only people that would know who is in the group are the staff, and the member when they're notified they've been placed in the group. There would not be any visible changes for people not in the group and not staff.
Cedur wrote:If people are given a chance to come back, this chance should be awarded once they're expectedly ready to reintegrate into the community, in which case any penalties don't make sense. They're just destructive, so they're also not suited to make someone behave better / see if they behave better.
That's the purpose of ban appeals and not what's being asked here. The entire purpose of the group is some amount of restriction and give a final chance to behave before a long ban is necessary.
Cedur wrote:If people forfeit their right for membership through infractions, they're off the board for a while or forever, that's how it's supposed to work in nature. If you want to be more merciful, apply tempbans rather than permabans
Tempbans and permabans don't really help in situations where a member deserves a last chance, and it just cuts off communication. A ban should be avoided until the problem is getting out of hand and a ban is the only thing that would help cut the problem off.

Since post approval seems to be highly unpopular forget I mentioned it as an option. A restriction being applied as a signal of a last chance is all that would be necessary for this group to be of use no matter how small the actual restriction is. Even something as light as only allowing PM communications to be between the group's members and staff while they're in the group or a final board warning when entering the group would still be enough.
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Re: Probation group

Postby Cedur » Thu May 23, 2019 10:16 am

So, if the staff wants to set a final warning signal in the sense of "next step is a ban", that's good, but I still don't get what's the need / use of restrictions?
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Re: Probation group

Postby AeroMatter » Thu May 23, 2019 12:29 pm

To be a punishment that's an alternative to a ban.
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