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Old ban appeals and ban appeal publicity

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Our current policy is, that all ban appeals are handled publicly and old ban appeals are stored at the closed ban appeals forum. Mainly this is done in the name of transparency, but there's concern about these being viewed to be "public shaming" and some players read them for entertainment.

We're going to discuss this during our next staff meeting, so we're looking for a wider community input for the discussion. The final decision if any changes are to be made will be done by the head admin team.

Things to consider for example:
- Overall transparency issues
- Do public ban appeals and separately public ban appeal storage serve and fulfill a purpose?
- Introduce the possibility to ask removal of old ban appeals and are there some cases where this would not be allowed (mainly because of the nature of the ban reason).

After the staff meeting and next head admin meeting we'll have an update where this is heading, if not already a decision to give out.
I want to point out, that this is not about the popularity of one opinion, but to be thought from the viewpoint of what's best for the overall health of the servers and make it user friendly and welcoming.

 

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i would suggest that there is definitely value in having them remain public, at least for a set amount of time (maybe 6-12mo, or the course of a rev+1) because not only of the transparency, but because of the proof provided in said appeals vs. any conflicting information (prevents a he said/she said scenario.)   - plus can serve as a proper warning for people who might be considering the same types of infractions (item dup, xray, etc.), or as a warning for players who might be considering collaborating with said offenders (that hopefully can prevent half of towns being rolled back.)

We already ban discussing said items on the server itself, but i really think it's important to keep that in a public light, but it absolutely has a shelf life that i think we need to look at determining.

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5 minutes ago, robr said:

because of the proof provided in said appeals vs. any conflicting information (prevents a he said/she said scenario.)

Thank you for your input robr!

Just clarifying at this time, that in a case where the appealing party publicly claims something said that's not true, the appeal can always be moved to public viewing to clear things up. In the case that we'd decide to take them out from under the public eye, there can always be the option to request it handled public from the start, if the person so wants.

Staff would be required to hold the same civil standards when handling appeals as when they're public of course.

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The people who are making fun of the ban appeals and shaming others are braking the prime directive of "don't be a dick"

The appeals should stay public. The last thing nerd.nu needs are secret tribunals. 

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29 minutes ago, cmdrtebok said:

The people who are making fun of the ban appeals and shaming others are braking the prime directive of "don't be a dick"

The appeals should stay public. The last thing nerd.nu needs are secret tribunals. 

Thank you for your input @cmdrtebok

Can you elaborate a bit more on the secrecy issues you think it would bring? Are you mainly worried about the players not getting fair treatment or something else? There would of course be the option of getting the public when the person asks.

What do you think about the old appeals remaining public even after years and as such never going away? We've had requests of getting theirs removed.

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Well when we started the servers the stated purpose was transparency. You can't be both transparent and hold server business in secret. Remember the admins and mods do not own the servers they are only running it trust for the players. Even if it is better in some cases it is against the fundamental philosophy we started with. This is related to why I would prefer mumble to discord. Further the ban appeals should basically only be a request and a yes or no. If you are finding that you need to type out long explanations to players don't bother. This was never supposed to be ammunition for drama just an acknowledgement of the rules and reintegration.

We did historically have issues with people being unfair in appeals. I really honestly can't pull out specifics from server drama from up to 7 years ago so please just believe me. 

In terms of the legacy data I don't see a problem with it being public in perpetuity. I have found it quite easy over 7 years to never be banned despite getting into a literal flamewar with you in particular once. So that is really on them.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, cmdrtebok said:

We did historically have issues with people being unfair in appeals. I really honestly can't pull out specifics from server drama from up to 7 years ago so please just believe me.

I'm aware that has been an issue at the early times of nerd. Mainly this is coming from the point of players having to do a ban appeal, which might not be that pleasant to them always, since their "dirty laundy" is out in the open for everyone. We acknowledge the history of the reasons of the public appeals and transparency is very much something that we want to keep. This is more about the servers being a welcoming place to players.

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Cmdrtebok has already gone into a lot of what I would have expected to type, but I'll add my thoughts here too regardless.

I'd prefer to see the continuation of ban appeals remaining public. If a particular appeal is weaponised as public shaming then that may point to the appeal itself being handled in a tone that probably shouldn't be used.

Edit: In terms of people who request for their appeals to be hidden from public view after they are handled. I feel that there may be some cases where this could be considered on request, exceptional circumstances, rather than a regular request for people to make.

Edited by Barlimore
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Hi all - 

To add on to what Barlimore and Cmdrtedok have already said so nicely...

Ban appeals should be public. That reflects the server's stated policy of transparency and fairness. And, as both Barli and Cmdr pointed out, appeals shouldn't be a spectacle. If the appeal process is followed as-is, there should be nothing embarrassing about it.

If there is really a "concern" that the content of historical ban appeals are embarrassing or in some way harmful if able to be viewed by the public, then the answer isn't to shove the posts under the rug like they never happened. What should be done is to either change how ban appeals are conducted (while leaving them public) and/or conselling staff members that are not handling ban appeals up to snuff. 

Lastly, to address those that may be viewing historical ban appeals for entertainment... If that's how somebody wants to spend their time, let them and forget about it. However, if they make a poor choice to harass the previously banned player, that's a violation of rule #1 and the harasser should quickly find themselves on that ban forum which they were so eager to read...

 

 

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Bans and ban appeals should absolutely remain public. Cheating affects all players in the community, and the system only works if the community can see that punishment is effective and proper. To that end, transparency facilitates a number of essential things:

  • Legitimacy in the anti-cheating system and its rules (i.e. that cheaters are actually being caught)
  • Deterrence (players should know and believe that cheating will result in punishment)
  • Staff due diligence in demonstrating cheating via documentation of the cheating (e.g., screenshots of block edits for X-ray bans, chat logs)
  • Fairness through proper and consistent punishment according to established and expected rules
  • Trust from the community by being able to see "criminal history" so they can make informed decisions when playing with others.

That last point I think is important -- being able to lookup a player's history of bans and their responses to them is essential to maintaining a collaborative and cohesive PvE environment. Players should be able to find out that a new potential town member was banned a month ago for cheating. Likewise, past cheaters should be able to expunge their records in most cases and not have to live on a registry indefinitely.

Without these things, trust among players in the community is eroded, individuals and towns collaborate less, and the PvE feel is damaged. Cheaters should feel some degree of shame for breaking rules and betraying the trust of the community, but also cheaters should not be publicly ridiculed -- especially considering that many here are not adults. Nonetheless, cheaters should have to bear some burden of demonstrating they are contrite/reformed whether they are age 9 or 90.

If it isn't already, public shaming of cheaters should be treated similarly to harassment.

 

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I would like to echo everything that has been said so far.  There is utility in having them in public, not just in gauging the character of banned players (among other considerations already mentioned by other players above), but also additionally serving as a check against unfairness for staff.  While I would disagree with the practice of reading appeals for entertainment, I respect the choice to do it, and so long as people in the community are not using appeals to shame players, I am not sure we should consider deriving entertainment from reading appeals to be illegal.

In that vein, I'd like to draw attention to a few points, most of which I feel are truisms but could maybe use some repeating:

  • Everyone makes mistakes.  There should be no shame in landing in the ban appeals forum.  (Denying the accusation without proof or with refuted proof may raise red flags for readers though - more on that below.)
  • Not everyone who is banned for a rule infraction is (IMO) out to intentionally ruin the experience for other players.  Trying to make them out to be that way when that is clearly not their driving goal is unproductive for the community.
  • How players deal with bans in their appeal will say as much about them, if not more, than what they did to get there.  Personally, I have more respect for players who are willing to admit they did something against the rules than for those who try to hide it.  
  • The ban appeal is a window to both the banned player and the banning moderator.  Public appeals provide the opportunity to observe the character of both.  One will say something about the player in question, and the other will say something about nerd.nu staff and how it operates.  

 

Edited by buzzie71
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7 hours ago, LoveAndDoubt said:

Bans and ban appeals should absolutely remain public. Cheating affects all players in the community, and the system only works if the community can see that punishment is effective and proper. To that end, transparency facilitates a number of essential things:

  • Legitimacy in the anti-cheating system and its rules (i.e. that cheaters are actually being caught)
  • Deterrence (players should know and believe that cheating will result in punishment)
  • Staff due diligence in demonstrating cheating via documentation of the cheating (e.g., screenshots of block edits for X-ray bans, chat logs)
  • Fairness through proper and consistent punishment according to established and expected rules
  • Trust from the community by being able to see "criminal history" so they can make informed decisions when playing with others.

Keep ban appeals public. I can't agree more with love&doubt's statements here.



 

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2 minutes ago, buzzie71 said:

I would like to echo everything that has been said so far.  There is utility in having them in public, not just in gauging the character of banned players (among other considerations already mentioned by other players above), but also additionally serving as a check against unfairness for staff.

This is my biggest concern, above all
Even staff make mistakes, let's not forget this.

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Thank you all for your input so far!

I'm hoping that also people who have gone through the ban appeal process would take the time and respond here and give their perspective to the issue.

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Slow day huh? Of all the issues this community has under the rainbow somehow something as trivial as this gets a post?  Anyways I'll say yeah why the hell would you hide ban appeals?  You listed no good points besides "some people get made fun of" if you really even count that as a legitimate reason.  Could we maybe focus on the nerfing of elytra? Just saying...

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20 hours ago, LoveAndDoubt said:

That last point I think is important -- being able to lookup a player's history of bans and their responses to them is essential to maintaining a collaborative and cohesive PvE environment. Players should be able to find out that a new potential town member was banned a month ago for cheating. Likewise, past cheaters should be able to expunge their records in most cases and not have to live on a registry indefinitely.

Your first two sentences here say that maintaining a history is important, while the last one says most people should be able to expunge their record at some point. I'm interested in what you (and others) think the balance between those two things should be. Should all offences be allowed to be expunged after a certain time? Should some stay on the record longer than others? Maybe some stay on forever?

7 minutes ago, CROCKODUCK said:

Slow day huh? Of all the issues this community has under the rainbow somehow something as trivial as this gets a post?  Anyways I'll say yeah why the hell would you hide ban appeals?  You listed no good points besides "some people get made fun of" if you really even count that as a legitimate reason.  Could we maybe focus on the nerfing of elytra? Just saying...

 

Just wanted to point out that Zomise is a head, and doesn't have any say over what happens to elytra on PvE. There is a forum thread about elytra balancing here, and a subreddit post here. Though in this reply Barlimore states that the feedback on elytra came too late (two days before rev launch) to enact a change immediately, but that they'll be keeping all the feedback they get in mind for the future.  The subreddit post is a bit old at this point, so if you want to continue discussion about elytra the forum post would probably be the best place to do that.

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23 minutes ago, CROCKODUCK said:

Slow day huh? Of all the issues this community has under the rainbow somehow something as trivial as this gets a post?  Anyways I'll say yeah why the hell would you hide ban appeals?  You listed no good points besides "some people get made fun of" if you really even count that as a legitimate reason.  Could we maybe focus on the nerfing of elytra? Just saying...

Thank you for your input! If you can elaborate a little bit more why you think it's important to keep them visible? The main point here is that is it fair to the people appealing? And is there a reason to keep trivial ban appeals visible years after they have happened, when they come up on searches with their username?

Unfortunately it seems a lot of people are focusing on the part of hidden ban appeals, and I'd plead everyone to take a moment to form proper responses for the other points too. Should people be allowed to request the removal (in practice we'd hide the old appeal) of their appeal? And if not, why not?

Lets keep this civil. There's lots of matters that are going on in Nerd, but we're capable of handling more than one at a time. What it comes to the elytra rebalancing, torteela already pointed you to the right direction.

If you have other issues, that you think are overlooked, I'm happy to listen them. Shoot me a PM or you can start another thread concerning them.

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Keep them visible. I've never once seen an instance of people being shamed for being banned. Keeping them public is more transparent for everyone, and it keeps staff actions in the open as they should be. 

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We forgot to add this to the staff meeting agenda for September, so the discussion can continue still until the next staff meeting.

Thank you all for your input so far!

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The feedback has been very unanimous for ban appeals to remain public and because there's no big issue about them staying that way, we won't be changing our policy redarding them (and as such doesn't require further discussion during a staff meeting).

This topic remains open to discuss to put a policy in place for when someone requests their old ban appeal to be hidden/removed.

Do note that any noteworthy offences we keep track of otherwise, so no important data will ever be lost this way.

 

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