We appreciate all the feedback from you all on this process. As stated by a few users, our moderation stance on this kind of behaviour hasn't really changed since before or after the rule change, we were just looking to formalise our process on this.
We have been listening to the feedback we've received across a multitude of sources. However, when we published this announcement and rule change to the userbase, we didn't quite expect to deal with such rule-breaks as quickly as we did, and thus this brought up a couple of flaws we had not thought of when handling such situations - this lead to us having to make some quick decisions on our processes whilst dealing with these situations. However, whether these rule-breaks had happened five minutes after the announcement, or five months after, it would have been a learning curve for us sooner or later.
We also picked up on an issue in our site banning system, where users who have their account disabled can't be made aware of why unless they check the public ban log, or we have contact details for them. In one of our rule-break instances, we did not have any method to contact a user as to why we disabled their account. Therefore, this is something we're rectifying internally, to ensure we are able to inform users when they do have their account disabled in the future why this has happened.
Clarifying our Definition on "Educating"
We stated in our announcement that "we will do our best as a moderation team to educate these users on why this kind of behaviour could be seen as harmful to others.". By this, when we warn users, we will reinforce Rule A3's Justification
. This does not mean we will try to change a user's beliefs, as we do not believe as moderation teams that is our job. However, we will do our best to explain the rules, and justify them.
With that, and updating our internal banning systems to ensure a user is notified when we disable their account and why, we believe this is a solid platform for us to move forward on with enforcing this rule. We completely acknowledge people's beliefs can change, and you can become a better person, so we believe it's important for users to be made aware why
what they did was wrong.
Our Process for Dealing With Rule A3 Offences
When a severe
violation of Rule A3 happens, we will be following the below process during our investigation. This process applies to both the site forums, and our Discord server. A "severe" violation is where a user is being deliberately hateful towards another marginalised group.
1. We will edit out/delete the offending content.
By removing the content, we are minimising the impact it makes. This way, as few users as possible are caused any upset by the content.
2. The offending user will have their posting privileges revoked until the investigation has reached an outcome.
We want to ensure that the offending user does not have the opportunity to add their content back, or say anything further that could cause upset.
3. We will explain to the offending user why what they did was wrong.
This is our "educating" part of the process. Instead of just stating to the user "this violates Rule A3", we will additionally explain why Rule A3 exists and how it prevents upset to minority groups on SMW Central. This explanation will not go any further than the Justification
part of the rule. This will either be issued by a site warning, or a DM on Discord - depending on which is the most suitable method of contact.
4. If a user understands what they did wrong, then we will not take any further action for this offence.
The user will be left with a warning on their record, and if they violate Rule A3 again in the future, this offence will be taken into consideration. If a user is adamant on their position, and such a position would bring a harmful environment to the community, their account will be disabled.
With all this in mind, we have made a tweak to Rule A3's Consequence
, where the action we take against a user is now more open for interpretation, based on the circumstance of the rule break. Additionally, it now mentions that while violations are being investigated, users may have their posting privileges revoked.
Originally posted by Rule A3 Consequence Revision
SMW Central has a zero tolerance stance on this kind of behaviour, and each instance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. While any potential instances are being investigated, the offending user(s) may have their posting privileges revoked until an outcome is reached.
This revision does not change anything for our moderation teams operationally, it just further clarifies our process.
Again, we thank you for your feedback on this, and we hope to continue to make SMW Central a more inclusive, friendly place!