We intend that our site grows to become the go-to site for all Progressives around the world. We want to encourage all Progressives to find our site home, and for that, people need to feel comfortable, that they can speak their mind, they're not going to be attacked. On the other hand, sometimes people get a bit upset at something and act out, behave badly, then regret it later. Of course there are some have no intention of being nice. Another problem is that some people conflate someone attacking their idea with attacking them! We want people to "attack ideas" because it's through wrestling with ideas that we can come to understand the world better, devise new ways to solve problems and so forth. If you think someone is wrong, feel free to tell them, just don't attack them personally. And, likewise, don't get upset when someone attacks your ideas, and turn around and attack them personally - this is not OK...
To handle all these various circumstances, traditionally the solution was simply to permanently ban someone from a site. However, we think this is a bad idea because it can break friendships and destroy web sites. (Check out this article by one of our writers that talks about why banning is bad.) Besides, banning people for relatively minor infractions doesn't seem to us like a Progressive value, but if you don't do anything, bad behaviors continue. Therefore, we're going to be different! We have a time-out policy.
Instead of Banning
We have a Time-Out policy!
When someone violates our Terms of Service, they will most likely be caught at it and given a time-out period. Our "time-out" mechanism is implemented as a temporary ban - the person is banned and then un-banned. The duration of the time-out will varry with a number of factors, including the number of past bannings, the type and severity of the offense, the frequency of infractions, and so forth.
We will never ban anyone permanently for any reason.
Rather, the length of time-out will increase until
they either get the point and behave or move on.
We recognize that ours is a new kind of site, and getting used to our form of moderation will take some getting used to for participants. Other sites may let things slide until they issue a permanent ban - sometimes you may get a warning. In general, we grant a grace period, with or without a warning, and will wait to see if someone edits their own comment to remove offending material on their own. However in our view, we cannot "let it slide" because that ignores the damage of the offense and is merely rewarding bad behavior - it's also unfair to people who would like to respond to an offense in-kind but who behave properly. People who repeatedly abuse the grace period - saying offensive things then deleting it quickly - to try and avoid a time-out may not get a grace period and may get a time-out anyway!
We are automating this process so that moderators don't have to track all the factors that go into time-out duration, however we're not quite done with developing the software that implements this, so for the time being, time-outs will be, unfortunately, a little less precise than we intend.
If YOU get a time-out,
realize that it has nothing to do with your ideas
but rather that you in some way violated
our Terms of Service.
People who get a time-out will receive an email explaining why and citing the offense or offenses.
We presume everyone will learn to articulate themselves without calling people names or otherwise violating the terms of service but it may take some time as this is a new approach.
Also note that we are not now, but intend to make all time-outs public at least
during the period of time of the time-out. There will be a log for each offender,
publicly available, including the comment(s) for which they were banned, and
related data. We are presently
debating for how long such data will potentially be available. We do not think that "forever" is a progressive "value", but at the same time we believe there is value to the broader community to know something about with whom they are chatting.