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  • FK Ban Guidelines Rework

    ThePointForward By ThePointForward, in Community News, , 1 comment, 7,341 views
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    Our fellow members,

    FK has changed a lot over the past years. Mergers, changes in player numbers, and diversification of the community.
    People and attitudes have changed too. Members have come and gone, and the way we approach not just our playstyle in Arma, but what our community offers as a whole has changed.
    That is to say that much time has passed, and some perspectives can only be achieved with time. Recent events in the community and behind the scenes have given the staff team cause to reflect on how we manage bans in FK. In particular, long term and permanent bans.
    We hope that this post will help to explain the changes and the reasoning for them.

    Why change it?
    It was decided that the current system is very rigid when it comes to permanent bans. For a time, this system worked, as we were a young community with a young player base. Until now this hasn’t really been questioned. But as time goes on, people mature.  A person who was banned several years ago could well be a vastly different person to who they are today, and we wanted to amend the ban guidelines to reflect this growth and maturity.

    As a result, we are amending the FK Ban Guidelines to fit our legacy procedures into new categories, add new categories where appropriate, and formalise some ad-hoc processes that were previously in use.

    Why Now?
    As mentioned, much time has passed, during which many permanently banned members of the community have appealed, some successfully and some not, but as time has carried on it has become more evident that in some cases, we need to be able to exercise more flexibility and discretion, which our current ban guidelines don’t allow much scope for.

    So, what’s changing…?

     

    Ban Categories

    Activity specific temporary ban
    As the name suggests, the ban would only cover specific activity within the community.
    This could involve bans from playing ArmA, posting in the Discord (or specific channels within it), forum restrictions, etc.

    For example, if a member was found to deliberately take prohibited gear in an Arma mission, they may be banned from Arma for a given amount of time but will still be free to use the Teamspeak for other games.
    Similarly if someone posts inappropriate content in Discord, they will get muted or channel locked for an amount of time in Discord, but still able to use Teamspeak, play Arma etc.

    Community-wide temporary ban
    This ban will effectively replace the conventional temporary ban currently in use with FK.
    For more serious infractions, for example, toxic behavior/bullying another community member a community-wide temporary ban would be issued. This would block the community member from utilising any FK platform for the duration of the ban.

    Additionally, if a member accumulates 3 Warning Points where at least one is a time limited Warning Point, the member will be automatically issued a community-wide ban for the duration of the shortest time limited Warning Point.

    For example:
    A member who has two permanent Warning Points is given one temporary Warning Point with a 4-month duration. In this this member is automatically banned for 4 months, until the temporary Warning Point expires.
    Similarly a member with 1 permanent Warning point, 1 temporary Warning Point with 8-month duration remaining is assessed an additional temporary warning point with a 6-month duration. This member is then automatically banned for 6 months, until the shortest Warning Point expires.

    Finally, this type of ban would be usable for underage members, with a ban expiry coinciding with the member’s 16th birthday.

    Indefinite Ban
    An indefinite ban is given for significant infractions where a member needs to be removed from the community on a long-term basis, or for repeat infractions where the member has accrued three indefinite warning points, and as the name suggests lasts for an indefinite amount of time, with a minimum period. These bans can be appealed, either through a dispute, or the new Clemency system (more on that below), after the minimum ban period has been served.

    Permanent ban
    Reserved for most severe infractions or worst repeat offenders, this ban is final without possibility of clemency. It may still be disputed, subject to staff approval as well as the conditions outlined later in this document.
    The worst of the worst offenses may result in an immediate permanent ban being given with absolutely no appeal. This will apply to those cases where the community or any of its members have been threatened, be that physically, financially, etc., or in cases where a law could reasonably be deemed to have been broken, particularly to the detriment of the community or its members. The FK staff team reserves sole and outright discretion on these matters.


    For instance (but not limited to):

    • Threats to FK
      • Examples: “hacking”, DDoS, etc.
    • Threats to members
      • Examples: doxing, blackmailing, physical violence etc.
    • Racism, sexism, or similar bigotry
    • Troll/Spam accounts
    • Serious harassment

     

    Warning Point Categories

    Time-limited Warning Point
    Or as they’re also known, temporary Warning Points. Time limited Warning Points will expire after a certain amount of time, determined by staff.
    They are intended to be used primarily alongside small to medium level infractions.

    Indefinite Warning Point
    These are largely replacing permanent Warning Points as we currently know them. Indefinite Warning Points will not expire on their own, but members can ask for clemency on an indefinite Warning Point a set time after the issuing of the Warning Point.
    These are envisioned to be generally used for significant infractions.

    Permanent Warning Point
    Similar to a permanent ban, a permanent warning point is given for major infractions that may not warrant an immediate permanent ban in and of itself. Clemency is not possible for a permanent warning point, but a dispute can be made, again subject to the conditions laid out in the Appealing Bans and Warning Points section.

     

    Appealing Bans and Warning Points

    Dispute
    This is the current system in use and is staying largely as-is.
    Disputes (informally known as appeals) against issued bans and Warning Points are to be made specifically to dispute facts of a ban/warning point(s) or punishments outside of the guidelines. Disputes can be raised against a ban/warning point at any time (given the staff team has allowed a dispute) but will only be considered if new evidence or further context that was not available at the time of the ban being issued is available, or the member can demonstrate that rules or guidelines were not properly applied in their ban, as well as other extenuating circumstances.

    Clemency
    Clemency is the big new concept coming out of this new framework.
    Members can ask for clemency on a ban or Warning Point after a certain amount of time has passed. This “cooling-off” period will be either one third of the duration of the ban or Warning Point, or in case of indefinite bans and Warning Points, it will be decided by staff at the time of the sanction. This will be based on the updates to our guidelines, as well as the factors surrounding the infractions, and will be provided to the member as part of the given sanction. No request for clemency will be considered before this minimum period has expired.

    As an example, a member is given an indefinite Warning Point, with a 6-month cooling-off period:

    • This Warning Point will remain in place for 6 months minimum.
    • It will not expire on its own.
    • After the 6 months has elapsed, the member will be allowed to request clemency on that point.
    • If the member appeals for clemency before this 6-month period, the request will be immediately disregarded.

    As part of considerations for clemency on Warning Points, the staff team will take a number of factors into account. For one, the member must have been active during their cooling-off period. This prevents a member from “gaming the system” by getting unbanned and then disappearing until those points can be removed. This also provides the staff team with proper insight into that user’s behaviour following their return to make our decision for whether clemency can be granted easier.

    Clemency will also apply to indefinite bans. The member must demonstrate growth and development, and/or show that they will not repeat the offense and strive to do better if clemency is granted.

    To that end, in most, if not all cases where a ban is overturned on clemency, the member will be issued with 1 temporary Warning Point, and another indefinite Warning Point with a new clemency period. The same criteria applies to clemency on this Warning Point as for other indefinite Warning Points. E.g. activity and behaviour.

    The idea behind this is to allow for a “probationary” period following clemency being granted on a ban, and to provide a pathway towards earning a “fresh start”, subject to good behaviour.

     

    Legacy Permanent Bans and Warning Points

    With this change, a big question is what happens to a member who has previously been permanently banned with no appeal? Or if a member has a permanent warning point against them given before the new system? For these “Legacy” bans and Warning Points, we encourage you to inquire with the staff team as to whether it can be converted to an Indefinite equivalent, which, again, would give you the opportunity to request clemency on it as per the above requirements. These reviews will be done on a case-by-case basis, on request, and at the sole discretion of the FK Staff Team.
    We ask that any member who requests a review of a permanent ban/warning point be patient while the staff team performs its review, as we expect to experience a significant volume of requests as this framework goes live.

     

    Goals and Conclusion

    We hope you will agree that this new framework allows for a greater degree of flexibility and transparency in how the FK Staff Team addresses warning and bans to its members. This was the main goal of this new approach, after all. With this new method of managing infractions, members are given a pathway back to a “clean sheet” in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, and the staff team is given much more scope and discretion to make this possible. We also hope that this greater discretion will allow for more fairness in how we give out bans and warnings, and also how we reach resolutions on them.

     

    Regards

    FK Gaming Staff Team

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    Hi everybody,
    I'll abuse my staff powers to take the first comment before even publishing this article.
    The reason is simple: I'd like to offer some extra thoughts from myself as it was me who wrote the initial proposal of this system.

    This has been coming for a while now. I first wanted to make changes like these probably about 2 years ago. I took up the CM mantle in October of 2019 and since then we have had multitude of people who were previously permanently banned come asking for a second chance. The conversation was always very similar regardless of the composition of the staff team at the time and often ended in making an exception. Which was by definition less exceptional every time we did it.
    As such I figured out that it should stop being an "exception" and simply get some rules and transparency. And I believe this system does exactly that with the new indefinite ban definition. Plus the explicitly permanent bans now outline where we draw the line between people we think can get a second chance and those who don't need to bother coming back.

    Similarly, the need for finer granularity for moderation tools has been clear to me for a while. It used to be a warning or ban for some time from the entire FK. And usually when it came to smaller infractions that meant even several warnings were issued followed by a larger ban for multiple infractions at once.
    With this new system it may be easier to get punished but smaller infractions will not have very long lasting repercussions unless you decide to do a lot of them to warrant a tougher punishment.
    Fly too close to the sun on Discord? Yes, you may get banned from it for a day or two, but you can still play with your FK friends some Arma or other games on Teamspeak.

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