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The Guide to Appeals

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:12 pm
by zoraster
The Guide to Appeals

I’ve intended to write a guide on appeals for some time now. As the admin largely in charge of evaluating appeals, I see a lot of them. And generally speaking they fail to do a good job selling the appeal. Contrary to what people may believe, I want to see appeals if you feel something is wrong. Even if not granted, they help me evaluate the direction we are going.

There are two basic types of appeals: appeals because you believe there is a moderator ERROR and appeals because while the punishment was appropriate, you want to rejoin the site. Generally the latter is for long-term bans.

Moderator Error

Moderator error is for instances where you believe what you did should not be punished. This can happen for three reasons, listed here from most to least likely to be granted:

  1. There was an error of understanding. Some context may have been missed that made whatever is being punished not wrongful. Mods are humans and are not omniscient. They may not have all the facts, and while they’ll generally try to find them, they may miss something. If there is an error on this basis, I will gladly reverse or reduce our decision.
  2. There is an error of application. This can either be because you believe the punishment was unfairly long or because you believe you shouldn’t be punished at all -- though I would highly recommend you decide which of these tactics you want to take and not take both. The potential error here is that the application of our policy was flawed. This is really the only time that comparisons to other people punishments (or lack thereof) is relevant, but keep in mind you likely don’t have context for other people’s punishments.
  3. There is an error of policy. This is where you think that the policy set by the mods is flawed.

When you believe there has been a moderator error, your first step should be to talk to the moderator or moderators in question first. This isn’t to get them to reverse their decision, but rather to make sure you understand the punishment you’ve received.

The next is to really think about your appeal and write it in an organized, approachable way. If I get a long stream of consciousness, I am likely to treat it as a way for you to vent rather than an actual appeal. Brief, to the point appeals that concisely lay out why you think there’s been an error will be far more effective.

Last, make sure any appeal that you submit describes what happened and why you were banned. I’ll review what I have on my end too, but a quick summary will help me place it in context quicker, which means I can get back to you quicker.


These are for those situations where a person is banned for a longer period of time (often indefinitely) and wants to rejoin the site.

Usually, the burden is on the mods to consider why a person should be banned. But here, the question is instead “why should we unban this user.” The burden has shifted, and it becomes the banned users duty to convince me. I don’t need a reason to say no.

So the approach should be to make me believe that you (a) understand why you were banned with specificity (generalization such as "I know I was bad" doesn't work) and (b) are unlikely to be a problem in the future. An effective appeal on this grounds is one that genuinely reflects and discusses on your past actions, an honest admission that you were wrong to do it, and why I should believe that you won’t do it or anything like it again. Don’t speak in vague terms when discussing your past actions. An appeal that simply states “I know what I did was wrong and I won’t do it again” will not cut it.

Any attempt to play the victim or describe why the ban was wrong will result in being rejected.

Some Information On How Our Team Operates

I value transparency of process quite a bit. Because it can be helpful in understand not only why we make the decisions we do but in who makes them, here’s how our process typically works:

1. Someone reports a post.
2. The relevant controlling mods (e.g. listmods for mafia, discussion for speakeasy) start a thread with the reported person’s name on it. If there’s already a thread, then a new post is made with the report.
3. The relevant mods discuss the matter and come to a decision on how to address it. The most common action is no action, the next is a warning, the next is a ban. Usually, but not always, someone will have received a warning for something before a ban is handed out. It doesn’t necessary have to be the same thing warned of, though.
3a. It’s worth pointing out that other mods as well as the admins can comment during this process, but the decision rests with the relevant mods. As an admin, I try not to comment on reports because it helps for me to approach something new when I receive an appeal, but occasionally I offer my thoughts. I don’t know everything that’s going on in all reports, though.
4. If there is a warning, it’s usually sent via PM. If there’s a ban, it’s posted in the ban thread.
5. The report is closed.

Note: I sometimes get involved at step 2 for bans that are for a very long time, involve a site-wide ban and/or involve off-site behavior. If I post a ban, you may appeal to mith.

Your punishment is not automatically appealed
Just want to add a final note: I don’t consider appeals that aren’t appealed to me directly. If you simply write a GD mod or a listmod, you have not appealed your punishment. If your friend writes in to say that you shouldn’t have been banned, you have not appealed your punishment. If you simply start a thread in public about how your punishment was unfair, you definitely have not appealed. Only appeals received via PM will be considered.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:22 pm
by Psyche

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:17 pm
by zoraster
I think I probably favor the articulate and equanimous. This post just makes that explicit.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:25 pm
by ConnorJC
Do we have a sticky or something with helpful threads like these?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:28 pm
by zakk

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:26 am
by Pine

These eloquent individuals are unlikely to get banned in the first place.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:20 pm
by ironstove
Can a mod sticky this thread and/or link it to the ban thread's OP when they get a chance? I don't want this to get buried. I had no clue it existed prior to someone linking it to me.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:58 pm
by zoraster
The rules do link to it

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:12 am
by Nancy Drew 39
I sent in an appeal over my completely unjustified temp ban from the tf thread and the tf still hasn’t reversed that ban and in fact, is continuing it for another 10 days and counting, from the date the wrongful, inaccurate and unfair ban was supposed to officially have ended.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:22 am
by Psyche
2017 me was all right