Author Topic: FAQ: You Just Got A Warning - Now What?  (Read 1165 times)

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Offline Beleth

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FAQ: You Just Got A Warning - Now What?
« on: August 06, 2012, 08:05:40 PM »
After receiving a warning, members often go through a process that closely resembles
the seven stages of grief.
This FAQ has been designed to answer the questions that often get PMed to us
after a warning is received.

Q1. Why did I get this warning?
A1. Read the text of the warning message you were sent. It probably looks a lot like this:
    Subject: You have received a warning


    You have received a warning for <offense>. <Offense> is <a description of the offense>, and it contravenes the forum rules. The post in question is <your post>. Please cease this disruptive activity and abide by the forum rules; otherwise, we will take further action.

    A copy of the forum rules can be found at,4.0.html.

    The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Moderation Team
You received the warning because of what you said in the post.  For your convenience, we have provided a link so you may review the post in question.

Sometimes we give out warnings which do not reference a specific post. The reason for the warning will be spelled out in the warning text you received.

Q2. I see the post, but what exactly in that post did I say to deserve this?
A2. Read the post out loud to yourself. See if you can determine what might be considered abusive or rule-breaking. Imagine reading it to your favorite grandmother, your significant other, or a firefighter. Think about what part of it they would disapprove of. That's the part you got the warning for.

Q3. But I said that in response to someone who was mean to me first! It's their fault that I posted that.
A3. You, and you alone, are responsible for the content of your posts here. Blaming someone else for your mistakes is ridiculous and childish. If another member is bickering with you or harassing you, report their post by using the Report To Moderator link in the bottom right corner of their post.

Q4. Who sent me this warning? It's from some faceless account!
A4. Yes, it is. That's how this forum software is designed. Warnings are sent on behalf of the entire team of moderators.

Q5. Why did I get a warning, but this other guy didn't?
A5. Don't assume they didn't.

Q6. Did you give the other guy a warning?
A6. That's none of your business. Individual warnings are not made public, and it's our policy to not discuss warnings with anyone but the person warned and the moderation team.  We only publicly announce sanctions at the higher (Suspended, Moderated, and Banned) levels.

Q7. I reported a post. How do I know that you've acted on it?
A7. Unfortunately, the forum software isn't designed to give responses to moderation reports, so the answer is: you don't.

Q8. I really want a response. Should I report this directly via a PM to a moderator?
A8. We review possible infractions of the rules in two ways: we come across them ourselves, or they get reported to us by members and we investigate those reports. The latter is an entirely different process from the PM system; it tracks things better and lets us discuss reports amongst ourselves. If you send a PM to just one of us, or even to all of us, we can't use that extra functionality. In short: we occasionally act on reports submitted through PM, but it makes our job tougher to do so.

Q9. This setup is really frustrating! It seems like it's designed to keep the process as mysterious and user-unfriendly as possible.
A9. A lot of it is designed by the forum developers to be anonymous and secret, it's true. This has both advantages and disadvantages. One of its main advantages is that it keeps the drama down. By keeping warnings private, other members aren't tempted to bait a member who is on the brink of getting suspended into breaking the rules one more time. By keeping the issuer of a warning anonymous, the member who received a warning is less likely to target a specific moderator for retaliation.
I expect to pass through this world but once;
any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now;
let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
-- Stephan Grellet