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Kisa the Cat

AVEN's Disciplinary System and How to Appeal

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Kisa the Cat

This is a thread to help members understand the warning system better.


Nudges

A nudge is a message from a moderator basically saying "hey be careful". It does show up in your disciplinary history in Admods (but not as a warning point) and can affect you in the future if you commit similar offenses. People who have a nudge are still able to run in elections.


First Warning

If you receive a warning without having any active warnings, it will last for three months. During this time you will be unable to run for any elected position. You will also have a warning point.


Second Warning

If you get a warning before your first warning expires, your second warning will last for six months and you will receive a second point. You will also be suspended from the site for two weeks.


Third Warning

If you receive a third warning before your first active warning expires you will be banned from the site.


T&S Warnings

If a person is warned in Tea & Sympathy, they will be unable to view that forum for a period of time.


Election suspensions

At times, the admods might suspend somebody from running for elected positions without giving the person an official warning if they suspect the person is a risk to AVEN security.

Other election relation discipline includes being unable to view announcements and the AVEN election forum during elections, not being able to PM during elections and not being able to vote in elections. These only happen when a person does something to disrupt an election.


Chat discipline

If an offense happens in chat, all of the above applies and chatbans may also occurs depending on the severity of the offense.

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Amcan

Hello everyone,

The admod team has reviewed the disciplinary guidelines involved between member suspensions and bans. It was felt that the current system was confusing and the team discussed a few options for simplifying the process. The conclusion to this discussion has been complete removal of the 6 month suspension option, as the option failed to hold up under review--with redundancy and complications of appeals being cited as factors hindering the speed and clarity of long-term disciplinary process.

It is for these reasons that the previous protocol will be re-instated, wherein any member accruing 3 active warnings in the allotted time period will be banned from the site. Aside from the removal of suspensions, current protocol will remain the same. Members will continue to be allowed to submit an appeal for their bans. An appeal can only be submitted after 6 months have passed from the date of the ban.

Any members that are currently in their 6 month probation period will not be affected by this change.

In summary: 3 active warnings accrued within an applicable amount of time will lead to a full site ban.
Bans can be appealed after 6 months. While the appeals process will remain intact, there is no guarantee that an appeal will be successful.

To learn more about the Terms of Service, or the disciplinary process and policies, click here. Thank you.

On behalf of the Admod Team,

Amcan

Administrator

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Naosuu

General Information
To appeal a warning or a ban you should either send your appeal to an Admod via PM or e-mail it to admods@asexuality.org. All appeals made in public (i.e. on the forum) will be graveyarded and consistent attempts could lead to disciplinary action
 
If you are warned for behavior in chat and wish to appeal it, you may request relevant chat logs and they will be provided to you.

Appeals for Banned Members
If you have been banned from AVEN, you may immediately appeal the third warning which led to the ban. This should be done in the same way as other warning appeals. If this appeal is denied, you may still appeal your ban after at least 6 months have passed. In this appeal, you should demonstrate that you: understand how your behavior led to your ban; have genuine intentions to change your behavior; have a plan on how to do so.


How to write an appeal
So you've been warned and you want to appeal... but you don't know where to start! Here are some things you should know and some tips on how to write a successful appeal.

Appeal Do-Nots
Appeal Do-Not #1: Do not justify your actions

  • UserA has been nagging me where ever I go, so I finally snapped and that's why I acted the way I did.
  • I've been really stressed out lately and I haven't been taking my meds.
  • UserA started it.
  • I was intoxicated and didn't know what I was doing.
  • I have [mental illness] and that's why I come across the way I do.

Why these don't work: This is the most common appeal Admods receive and, 100% of the time, the ones that are denied immediately. Members using this approach will always feel justified in their actions. However, the Admod Team always assume that everyone has agency. What this means is, no matter the circumstances, every member is responsible for their own actions; whether that means using the ignore feature, ignoring the user outright, being responsible for your own health or knowing when you shouldn't be on AVEN. You are in control of your actions and how you react to the situation. Instead of reporting the problem to the Admod team, attempting to handle the situation by breaking AVEN's ToS only gets you in trouble.

Appeal Do-Not #2: Do not talk about fairness

  • I'm being singled out!
  • [Admod] has it in for me, this isn't fair!!

Why these don't work: Discipline is private, therefore a member cannot know if another member is being reviewed, being disciplined or has been disciplined in the past. Admods are the only ones who will know this information. The Admod Team will always look into reports no matter who makes them and, using AVEN's Terms of Service, will decide whether the report deserves any action. The majority of reports are made by the general membership, not the Admod team.

Appeal Do-Not #3: Do not talk about freedom of speech

  • This infringes on my freedom of expression.

Why this doesn't work: AVEN is a privately owned site, therefore it also decides what kind of content is or isn't allowed on the forum.

Appeal Do-Not #4: Do not claim ignorance

  • I didn't know.

Why this doesn't work: By signing up to AVEN, you have read and agreed to abide by AVEN's Terms of Service. Whether or not you read the ToS, however, does not exempt you from the rules.

Do-Not #5: Do not intimidate, threaten or antagonize

  • Threatening the Admod Team
  • If you don't lift my warn I will XYZ.
  • You guys are set on making me the bad guy, so I know none of you will let me lift my warn but...

Why these don't work: Being threatening or giving such ultimatums will not lift the warning/ban/suspension. In addition to this, antagonizing the very people who are deciding whether they should lift your warning/suspension will not help your case.

Appeal Do-Not #6: Do not talk about intentions

  • I didn't mean it that way.
  • I didn't mean to XYZ.

Why these don't work: It can be very hard for the Admod Team to discern a member's intent. We can only judge things against the ToS using the member's actions, posts and/or chat logs. Whether or not it was your intent to insult someone, be offensive or otherwise does not excuse the fact that you did it or you were.


Appeal Dos!
Appeal Do #1: Do focus on the infraction
Why this works: Since discipline always assumes the user has agency, you have to focus on what you actually did.

Appeal Do #2: Do cast reasonable doubt on the grounds of the discipline
Why this works: The best way for an appeal to pass is if the warning was based on weak evidence, interpretation or even citing an inappropriate clause of the ToS. Some warnings might be issued based on circumstantial evidence, misinterpreting the situation or sometimes even jumping the gun.
Case studies

  • CASE 1: Two chatters are fooling around, making a lot of inside jokes in main chat. UserA, whom is unfamiliar with their relationship, is unsure if they're actually arguing or joking and reports them. Admods probably won't know either so may issue a warning or a nudge. Appealing based on the fact that both of you were just joking around and were not antagonizing each other can overturn the chatban/warning.
  • CASE 2: UserA writes a post responding to UserB's post, however actually meant to address the general idea of that post and not UserB himself. Appealing based on this ambiguity can overturn the warning.

Appeal Do #3: Do be cordial
Why this works: Politeness is always appreciated and will help make your appeal be better received.


Writing tips

  • Take a deep breath. You're probably upset and confused and, if you start writing, you're more likely to write a do-not appeal.
  • Your appeal doesn't have to be very long. An appeal that is 1500 words doesn't have a better chance than an appeal that is 500 words. Admods look very closely at appeals, so don't feel you need to write a 1000 word paper. Quality over quantity.

Warnings can be hard to overturn, especially if they are based on strong evidence. Following these guidelines won't mean you'll get rid of your warning, but hopefully this will help you write a stronger appeal that will make us reconsider.


My appeal didn't go through... what else can I do?
Since members can only appeal once per warning, this decision is final. You can, however, ask questions about why your appeal was rejected or more clarifications about your warning. Bear in mind that any questions/clarifications won't overturn the decision about your appeal.

Try to take this as a learning moment. Warnings are issued not as a form of punishment but as a corrective measure. Warnings, suspensions and chat bans all expire after a certain amount of time so try not to fret. 

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