Good morning everyone,
As I referenced in my previous announcement, we've got some major community changes slowly being implemented. I've got two topics on the list today: Ban policy & Racism. I'm going to talk about our change in our stance on racism first, because it will lead into the next portion regarding bans.
For those of you that have been around for awhile, you saw how hardcore our 'No Racism' rule was. People were instantly-banned in some scenarios, or banned heavily oftentimes. In an effort to try and see if there would be some comfortable breathing room by relaxing on that rule, we changed it up to allow racism - but give admins the discretion on how far is too far. The intent was basically to allow light joking, banter, etc. We knew that there would be a few people who took it too far (like with anything), but after letting it play out for awhile, we're ready to change it up a bit again - mainly because it caused confusion among members and admins alike on how far is too far. While the old mentality was too far in one direction, our rule as it stands today is a bit too far in the opposite direction: so we're trying to find the spot in the middle.
Effective immediately, we're changing the stance on conduct normally deemed as 'Racism' in SG. Admins and higher, there will be additional threads listed in the admin sections to reemphasize this. Moving forward:
Forums - Not allowed in any capacity, meaning no slang, jokes, etc. Music and whatnot in the appropriate section(s) is fine.
Discord - Not allowed in any capacity. In an effort to partner with Discord, we are not allowing any and all racist slang, jokes, pictures, etc. However, if you're in a private channel among friends and no one reports anything, did it actually happen? I'm going to leave it at that.
Servers - To be straight up with you guys, I had a hard time wording this. I can explain the point we're trying to get at all day and night, but someone will always loophole around whatever we post. We stole this from another community's rules because, honestly, they worded it better than what I could think of. Blatant or extreme racism is NOT allowed. Small jokes are fine. Use of the N-word with the hard 'R' is strictly prohibited. To be frank, the hard 'r' was a huge issue, and that's what we're trying to solve. We all like to mess around and tell jokes, but that in particular is not what we stand for or what we encourage people to do. If this continues to be an issue, we will reevaluate our stance and discuss as needed. We have also done away with the 'Bannable Words' list. We all know what should and should not be on that list, so there isn't a need for us to publicly display that.
In addition to this, the ban length and general punishments for 'Racism' are going to be lessened, which leads into the next topic: change in ban policy.
This is going to be two-part, covering ban policy in general & ban lengths. As it stands now, here are the basic admin rules regarding ban lengths and whatnot:
Moving forward, this is what it shall be:
You're going to notice a few changes here and there. Mainly, some time lengths got swapped around, we added a 'case-by-case' section, and also incorporate bans that are less than 12 hours. The point of this is not only the aforementioned, but also to restructure the actual '3 strikes, you're out' process we have here. From now on, we're going to handle bans a bit differently as a whole, including leading up to an eventual perm. So, let's dive into it:
Time-out bans / Cool-down bans: Any ban length that is less than 12 hours. These bans will not count against somebody's 'record', and are meant to sort of serve as a period of time for a player to chill out for a bit. Sometimes 5 minutes works, and sometimes a bit longer is needed to get the point across. The equivalent to this is how sometimes we will issue a warning to an admin prior to issuing an official strike. These will typically be (but not limited to) handed out on a real-time basis in the servers. There will be situations where someone will be issued multiple cool-down bans without the admin knowing, and at that point just make an increase request. This is not saying that someone can't get multiple cool-down bans, but that it really shouldn't be continuously used if the point is not getting across.
Ban #1 & Ban #2: 12 hours to 7 days. These should fall typically closer to lower-end of the spectrum, with the first offense being inside of the windows listed in the table above, and the second just being somewhere @ 7 days or less, depending on severity.
Ban #3: 2 weeks to one month. If it is the same offense committed three times, this should be one month. If it's different crap, fall somewhere along the two week line.
Ban #4: Three months, regardless of same or different offenses.
Ban #5: 6 months, and we will stop saying 'permed' in these instances, instead simply saying 6 months. Someone who is actually 'permed' will be decided upon by the Board (with the possibility of extending this decision to the IA's) and listed in a Do Not Unban list in the higherup section. These will be a bit more uncommon.
Extreme offenses, such as doxxing, DoS threats, harassment, sexual harassment, death threats, etc., will be handled on a case-by-case basis. While there are definitely times where these will be permanent, there are also situations that have arisen where we issue something shy of a permanent ban; it's completely dependent on the situation.
Additionally, 'alting' on a server after being banned will issue a kick to the player instead of a perm. The point of this is because we may not know if someone is intentionally going to the extent of alting, or is just genuinely confused about why they can't connect to the server. Someone going to the lengths of resetting their IP, changing connection locations, using a VPN, etc., will probably be deemed as intentionally alting and will be bumped up to the next step in the banning process, meaning if they were on ban #3, they will now go to ban #4 for intentionally alting. This will be deemed by the board and / or IA's.
Ignoring admins has been moved as well to bans that are less than 12 hours - ie, cooldown bans. While there is merit in the frustration that can occur behind somebody not complying with what you are asking them or telling them as an admin, 'ignoring admins' is a gigantic, catch-all loophole that can be used to circumvent one of the appropriate ban reasons listed above. Instead of taking this away entirely (because of the aforementioned merit), we are just reducing the length of time in which people can be banned for it. If it happens multiple times, it will be addressed - but the point is that people shouldn't be being banned for days on end for 'ignoring admins'. If there isn't a legitimate reason outside of this to ban someone, you should check with an IA, a BD, or just another admin on the legitimacy of the ban itself.
The Board fully retains the right to change this process, apply it in a different aspect, or make exceptions when deemed absolutely necessary. While this policy is meant to cover 99% of ban situations, there are going to be people and offenses that will be handled differently due to whatever the unique nature of offense is that may come up. It's a huge change, but ultimately we are hoping to have a tad bit better player-retention by allowing a bit longer of a punishment before going straight to the perms.
What this means for players currently permed on a three-strike process (or other): We will need to reevaluate the situation, but they did commit the offenses while the old policy was in place. This will be a case-by-case basis, but anyone may feel free to appeal their ban, regardless of when your appeal date was given (unless you were told not to appeal at all because it is simply 'no'). We will evaluate how they fall into this lineup, but we are not going to go out of our way to unban people who do not appeal.
Please let us know if you have any questions.