When someone violates our Code of Conduct or other policies, they receive a warning or censure in the form of a Notification.
All notifications include:
- The player receiving the notification
- Bystanding players who may have been involved or bore witness to the incident
- Social Department members involved in the incident and/or addressing it after the fact
- The category of the incident
- A description of the incident with details on what happened and what recommendations were made to prevent it in the future
- The result of the incident leading to the notification, such as advice given or a new contract established
Notifications come in three levels of increasing severity: green, yellow and red, and are sometimes referred to as "strikes" in our documentation.
A green notification is light and may not even be linked to negative conduct. Green notifications let the Social Department know things about a given player tied to their behavior in the past, good or bad, which may help guide future decisions.
Green notifications help us track minor incidents or course-corrections so that we can identify troubling patterns of both those violating policy and those targeted by breach of conduct. Green notifications can help us head off larger problems hidden by the relatively minor specific incidents that make them up, as well as helping us identify players who may be carefully towing the line of our conduct policy without crossing over it formally.
Any time a Social department member speaks to you specifically about conduct, you should receive a Green notification. This is nothing to worry about and is as much to track the Social department member's activities as yours. It also lets other Social department members know when you've been informed of certain policies or asked to make small adjustments in your behavior so that you don't get bombarded with similar advice.
Green notifications do not have a limit at which they spill over into the next category up, although the Social department may still use a series of Green notifications about the same type of conduct violation to require a social contract or otherwise take action to remedy a troubling trend of minor infractions.
Yellow notifications indicate a player has clearly violated a Social policy or otherwise done harm to another player on the site. Yellow notifications should require immediate corrections in future behavior to avoid the same sort of harm reoccurring. Yellow notifications may also take longer to review and finalize given the severity they carry.
A Yellow notification awarded to a player who already has two Yellow notifications also results in an automatic Red notification and the associated suspension. This Red notification replaces the oldest Yellow notification the player has, so that when they return from suspension they will still potentially have two Yellow notifications and be in danger of further suspensions if they receive another one before the old ones expire.
A Yellow notification must always be approved by at least two members of the Social department before being finalized.
Yellow notifications expire one year after the date they were awarded, even if they were awarded after the incident itself occurred. This includes time spent while a player is suspended.
A Red notification is for grievous infractions of our conduct policies, and results in a temporary ban based on how many Red notifications the player has received in a given timeframe.
The first Red notification results in a 30-day suspension to protect other players from further infractions and to allow the player time to consider their actions and behavior should they wish to return to the site as a respectful player. Red notifications may also result in a mandatory Social contract drawn up upon the player's return specifying additional behaviors above and beyond our conduct policy that they must adhere to to remain on the site.
Red notifications require approval from both Social Leads before becoming finalized. If the department is in Starvation Mode or one of the Social Leads is involved in the incident, the department's non-Lead members should vote and a majority serve as the deciding factor.
Each subsequent Red notification results in a suspension three times as long as the previous one:
- 30 days (1 month)
- 90 days (3 months)
- 270 days (9 months)
- 810 days (over 2 years)
Red notifications DO NOT expire.
Instant bans and Perma-bans
In our most extreme cases, we may encounter a player who does significant damage to the site and its players in ways our conduct and harassment policies have not yet adapted to address.
For these outliers, we allow the site Leads to collectively call for a vote to instantly ban the player in question for whatever period of time seems reasonable. This vote must be unanimous among the Leads to carry, and a detailed accounting of the decision must be posted publicly to the forums within 12 hours of the ban being triggered. Other players wishing to levy a Grievance due to the triggering of an instant ban should follow the procedures for doing so.
Perma-bans also live outside the standard notification structure. Notifications are designed to encourage players to correct their behavior, not to punish. We want those who do harm to learn from their mistakes and return to us as players who contribute to the site like everyone else.
However, in some cases, the safety of our site's other members takes precedence over giving the violating player space to learn and grow. In these extreme cases, the Leads can call for a vote to perma-ban, which otherwise follows the same stipulations as an instant ban. It requires a unanimous vote, and a detailed accounting of the decision and what led to it must be posted publicly on the site forums within 12 hours of triggering the ban. Grievances can be levied as normal if anyone on the site feels the Leads acted in bad faith in awarding a perma-ban.