Important Policy Changes: Forums and Shoutbox Warnings

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Opalium, Jan 12, 2018.

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  1. Opalium

    Opalium Stay Awesome Banned VIP Silver

    Hello SGMers,

    Today we are introducing numerous changes to the way warnings work in the forums and Shoutbox, as part of our continuous efforts to combat toxic and unwanted behavior. Our new policy gives warnings more weight over how they were treated so far, and changes how they affect continuous bad behavior from users. The overall goal of these changes is to help us better deal with those who are looking to cause trouble, while still allowing some minimal "breathing space" to players and a chance to fix their ways.
    The changes take effect immediately, from the moment this thread is created.

    Warning Expiration
    The first change is to warning expiration, affecting all future warnings (current warnings will not be changed).
    Warning points given to users no longer have a fixed 1 month duration. Instead, their length will now be decided according to the total amount of warnings a user has, both active and inactive, including the new warning. The expiration date is extended by 1 month per warning on record.
    For example: a user has 4 warning points - 3 inactive and 1 active. The next warning issued to the user will therefore expire in 5 months - one month for each warning, including the new one being issued.

    Due to the major impact this will have on many users, we are excluding any warning given before 2017 from this policy. Those warnings will not count towards the overall sum of warnings a user has. Note, however, that they will still remain in the user's records - we are not clearing them out completely.

    Warnings for Shoutbox Offenses
    The next change is on how we handle shoutbox offenses. We are integrating the warnings system into our Shoutbox as well, to better track and enforce offenses and punishments.
    Breaking any of the Shoutbox rules (found HERE) will lead to a warning point added to the user's record, much like how normal forum offenses are handled. This will be done by one of the admins, and is up to their discretion. In addition to that, refusing or failing to follow an admin's instructions in Shoutbox is now also a warnable offense. Admins may still issue a verbal warning before proceeding to issue a formal warning, if they see fit - however this is not mandatory. This will be clarified as a rule in the rules page soon.
    Shoutbox warnings work exactly the same as forum warnings - they add to the user's active warning points, follow the above changes to warning lengths, and may lead to a ban if the user has enough active warning points.

    Bans for Active Warning Points
    The last change is a formalization of our protocol for dealing with active warning points. As before, two or more active warning points would lead to an automatic ban of the user, with the ban length changing according to the situation.
    To prevent the lack of clarity regarding this, we have decided on a formal protocol for dealing with said bans and their lengths, much like how we deal with bans on our servers.

    The new protocol is as following:

    1 Active Warning Point - Formal Warning
    2 Active Warning Points - 1 week ban
    3 Active Warning Points - 2 weeks ban
    4 Active Warning Points - 4 weeks ban
    5+ Active Warning Points - 2x the previous ban length

    Admin Discretion
    As always, admins and above are allowed to use their discretion in regard to all of the above. They can increase, decrease, skip or change the severity and length of those actions as they see fit. While generally avoided, this is still an option and will be used when necessary.

    Shoutbox Reports
    In addition to all of the above, we are reverting our Shoutbox reports/ban appeals forum back to appeals only. Instead of fulfilling its behavior of being the place to deal with truly foul behavior and serious issues, it is used as a public stage for petty fights, childish call-outs and cheap drama. This is not what we added this forum for, and seeing as it fails to fulfill its purpose, we are reverting things back to the old way.
    Shoutbox reports will now revert to being handled in private by our admins, as they were before. If you ever encounter a scenario that needs to be brought to our attention, you can start a private conversation with one of our admins and the reported parties. The admin will handle the situation as necessary or pass it up to the higher levels as required.
    To be clear: this change does not prevent you from reporting Shoutbox incidents. What we are tackling here is the use of reports for public shaming and fighting. This is not something we welcome in SGM, and this change is another step on towards solving this.

    These changes are the first in a series of actions we will be taking throughout 2018 to better equip ourselves against unwanted behavior and toxicity in our community. SGM is a community with the goal of providing all of its members a fun and relaxing experience, and this kind of behavior is only hindering this. The leadership and administration of SGM will continue to work towards purging this kind of behavior from our community, while still allowing its members to express themselves. There is a fine balance between the freedom of our users to speak their mind, and our task as staff to keep things in check. It is therefore our responsibility to stop those who wish to interfere with this balance, so that we can keep SGM as a place where everyone who wish to cooperate can feel at home and enjoy their time.

    Best regards,
    Opalium and the Administration
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