Punishment Guidelines / Rule Elaborations / Punishment Appeals
As long as the Faithful Discord servers have existed, there have been one set of rules, with a description of what not to do, and nothing more. While this sounds pretty standard for most Discord servers at first, the problem was that the interpretation of these rules was entirely up the moderator who was online at the time.
This system resulted in a plethora of hasty decisions made on the spot that would oftentimes be regretted a few hours later when more people had communicated their thoughts and feelings. In addition, there was little to no transparency as to how decisions were made, resulting in the alienation of the community from the moderation staff. Users would seemingly get punished for no reason after just making a joke, and the moderation team wouldn't give any insight as to why.
However, this problem went far further than the moderation staff and rule interpretation itself. This was a systematic problem across the entirety of Faithful, leading to an endless dilemma. Moderation exists to keep the server a welcoming and civilized place, but if punishments go too far, moderation becomes meaningless and nobody wants to be on the server in fear of retribution over a simple joke. However, swing too far the other way and the Discord becomes a lawless mess where nobody takes the rules seriously and nobody can take action when necessary.
Transparency is one of our key factors, playing into the open sourced aspect of Faithful, and the community is Faithful's biggest asset. The more inviting the staff and the server can be, the better everything will end up as a result. Knowing the distinction between stern and unapprochable is essential to maintaining this — you may have noticed us ditching overly formal language in the past few months in favor of more human-readable content (e.g. the license update). Keeping all of this in mind has been central to our thought process that made us decide to start with the basics, and rewrite the rules completely.
This is one of many steps we are taking to show the normal user our thought process as to how, when, and why we punish users, by providing a comprehensive list of every point of every rule with punishments attached. We are also introducing a punishment appeal system so any hasty decisions made in the past can be revisited with our new ideology.
With all that out of the way, here's some basic definitions.
Definitions (in order of severity)
- Verbal Warning - A reminder from a moderator to avoid breaking and follow a particular rule. These have no repercussions if behavior improves.
- (Bot) Warning - A strike given by the bot when a rule is broken.
3 warnings = short mute for 5 days.
- Short Mute - The removal of a user’s ability to type/speak in channels for up to a week.
- Long Mute - The removal of a user’s ability to type/speak in channels for over to a week.
- Ban - The total removal of a user from the servers, generally reserved as a last resort.
- Report - Reporting the user to Discord for breaking their Terms of Service and a ban from the servers, reserved for the worst of the worst.
Escalating punishments means to progress down this list for each repeated offense.
Rule 1: Read & Follow Discord’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines
This includes misuse of client modifications (e.g. message loggers) and discussion or promotion of illegal activity.
- Breaking Discord's Terms of Service - https://discord.com/terms
- Report to Discord, the ToS is completely non-negotiable.
- Breaking Discord's Community Guidelines - https://discord.com/guidelines
- While dependent on context, usually harsh penalties such as a ban or even reporting are used.
- Misuse of client modifications includes using a deleted message against a user, leaking private information via channel names, etc.
- Report to Discord, it's against the ToS.
- Discussing or propagating illegal activity - Pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
- Tends to depend on the severity of illegal activity, pirating a movie and doxxing a user are two very different things and will be treated as such.
- In general, warn and escalate up to a ban or report if continued. Genuine dangers will lead to an immediate report.
Rule 2: Use Common Sense
This is the generic “don’t be an idiot” rule. Other prohibited actions include raiding or brigading other servers, using hate speech or slurs, jokes about tragedies or other sensitive topics, and spreading misinformation.
- Being rude or annoying - This is the generic “don’t be an asshole“ rule — just be polite to others and you'll be fine. This includes mocking or making fun of people, toxic/degrading "jokes", snarky comments that make fun of anybody in any way, or being unable to take feedback.
- This is one of the rules that highly depends on frequency.
- For the most part verbal warns are used, unless it's becoming a real problem with a particular user, in which case escalate punishments proportionally to frequency.
- Brigading other servers - This involves joining a server simply to cause havoc and destruction, oftentimes with multiple users or accounts involved. Not only is it annoying and destructive, but it makes us look bad in the process.
- Depends on the damage dealt, but in general harsher punishments are used.
- Using hate speech or slurs - This includes, but is not limited to, general derogatory names, racial slurs, fatphobia, slurs against disabilities or religion, homophobia, transphobia, and other slurs related to one’s identity.
- If it is used as hyperbole/not seriously, verbally warn the user that these terms are not allowed and delete the messages in question, for repeated offenses ban the user.
- If it is done to cause harm ban and report the user.
- Jokes about tragedies, suicides, or other sensitive topics - This includes both past and ongoing events.
- Will depend on context, but can range between a verbal warning and ban.
- Spreading misinformation is when a user intentionally makes up or mixes up information for the purposes of creating a reaction.
- If accidental, tell the user to edit/delete their original message as to not confuse others.
- If intentional, bot warn and scale up appropriately for repeat offenses.
Rule 3: Speak English
People and by extension moderators can’t know what you’re saying otherwise, as this is an English-speaking server. Please use a translator if you cannot fluently understand English.
- Speaking a non-English language in general - This would include not knowing English well or not knowing about this rule.
- There are no punishments, just a verbal warning as a reminder to use a translator.
- Intentionally speaking another language as a joke - When done in a joking context without the intent to exclude people from understanding (e.g. an inside joke).
- Verbal warn to stop, if continued escalate punishments as best seen fit.
- Speaking a different language in order to talk behind people’s backs in a rude or disrespectful way - Exactly the same as the previous point but this time with malicious intent.
- Short mute, and escalate if repeated.
Rule 4: Be Constructive and Polite
Give constructive criticism people can use to improve their work, not just say that something is ugly or bad. Swearing is allowed within reason, however don’t cross the line into harassment.
- Not giving constructive feedback on work - If you wouldn't want to hear it said towards your own creations, don't say it; simple as that.
- Verbal warn initially to let the user know what constitutes good feedback.
- If the user keeps being rude over other's creations, escalate as best seen fit.
- Minimodding - This means acting as a moderator without the authority to act as one. It is incredibly annoying for everyone involved, can lead to misinformation, and undermines the authority of the staff team. Use
e!modpingor directly ping an online moderator if rules are being broken.
- Verbal warn to stop and let a moderator take over, if continued short mute the user.
- Excessive swearing - While swearing is usually allowed, there is a line to not cross.
- Verbal warn the user that their language is a bit excessive, potentially give a short mute if continued.
Rule 5: Try to Not Annoy Others
This includes overly (reply) pinging, sending loud audio or seizure-inducing videos without a spoiler/disclaimer, and abusing nicknames, reactions, or spoilers. Don’t ask to ask, (e.g. I have a question), just ask your question directly to save everybody time.
- Overly pinging people - This includes abuse of reply pinging. Constantly spamming someone with notifications can be very annoying for said user, they really do not need to be pinged for every new message you send.
- Verbal warn the user, if constantly continued a bot warning.
- Sending loud audio/seizure inducing visuals without warning - A clear warning would include a spoiler or a clearly visible message below the message.
- Deletion of the image and a verbal warning stating to please give caution prior to posting.
- If done with malicious intent, give a bot warn. Repeated offenses may lead to long mutes or bans.
- Abuse of spoilers, reactions, or nicknames - These are privileges, not rights. Examples of this would include mocking each other with nicknames, using spoilers to make a word look like a slur, giving sarcastic reactions to a message you don't like, etc.
- Generally verbal warn for spoiler abuse or using a nickname as a joke.
- If reaction or nickname abuse is done to harm someone, a third party or a competitor, bot warn and remove the offending nickname.
- Not asking good questions - Don't just ask to ask, say your question directly to get an answer much faster. If you just say "I have a question", someone has to guess a lot of things to be able to reply to you; whereas if you said "Is it possible to upscale textures to resolutions that aren't powers of two?", people know instantly what answer you want and are able to get you help much faster.
Rule 6: Don’t Clutter Chats
While short tangents are fine, we have multiple chats for a reason, so please use them as intended. Spamming random things, including emojis and stickers, or starting a chat chain contributes nothing to a conversation and causes a mess.
- Going off-topic - Keep messages/topics to their respective channels, when in doubt use #off-topic. This also includes putting memes in #off-topic — when someone is having a discussion, flooding the channel with gifs and videos suddenly can be annoying for the users in question.
- Verbal warn everyone involved to move to #off-topic or #memes, if discussion persists use a bot warn.
- Using bot commands in the wrong channel - It generally causes a lot of clutter, if you want to use the bot excessively go to #bot-commands. If it's related to the discussion (e.g. magnifying a texture in #texture-discussion), that's perfectly fine.
- Verbal warn to move to #bot-commands, if spam persists use a bot warn.
- Spamming - Any meaningless garbage that contributes nothing to a discussion, including emoji/sticker spam, "copypastas", and chat chains. Not only does it bury actual messages, but are also a pain to clean up for the moderators.
- If intentionally done to cause havoc and to annoy others, long mute and potentially ban depending on severity and context. Messages will be purged.
- If part of a chat chain, meming, etc, verbal warn the users involved to not continue, and short mute if continued.
Rule 7: Avoid NSFW and NSFL Content
This includes, but is not limited to pornography, gore, overly gross content, etc. If you think it’s against the rules it probably will be, DM a moderator for approval if you’re very unsure.
- NSFW / NSFL content - This is literally a Minecraft art community, post that sort of thing elsewhere. Examples can be found directly above in the rule description, just use common sense and you'll be fine.
- Depending on severity, ranges from a verbal warn/message deletion to a ban and report.
- Slightly questionable content will be punished less than full on gore.
Rule 8: Stay Civil around Controversial Topics
While topics surrounding politics, religion, firearms, etc, aren’t entirely prohibited, don’t start arguments for the sake of it. When having productive discussions, ensure that it doesn’t become a fight and that a moderator is available.
- Starting an argument over a controversial topic - This would include posting "shock" content, or just generally sending inflammatory messages designed to cause harm.
- Give a bot warn and a short mute to the user who incited the argument.
- Discussion turning into an argument - It's entirely possible to have a productive discussion about a controversial topic, but discussions can devolve into an argument.
- Verbal warn all users involved to stop the argument, if it proceeds warn and short mute.
Rule 9: No Unsolicited Promoting or Advertising
Any sort of advertising that is not in context or clearly solicited is disallowed. Spamming or DM messaging advertisements will get you reported to Discord and banned from the servers.
- Advertising without context - Resource packs are allowed within reason, however don't overdo it.
- Delete the offending content and verbal warn the user not to do it again. Repeat offenses will lead to a mute and ban.
- Spamming/DM advertising - This also includes any sort of inappropriate advertising or scams.
- Instant ban and report to Discord.
Rule 10: Don’t Leak Private Information
What happens in private channels stays in those channels; keep any confidential information you may have private. Doxxing will get you reported to Discord and banned from the servers.
- Leaking private information - This applies to all users, not just staff. Always get permission before leaking informaton.
- Bot warn, for repeat offenses ban.
- Doxxing - Leaking personal information about anyone is unacceptable, no matter who it might be.
- Ban and report, it's against ToS.
Oftentimes, moderation action is required immediately and a debate over punishments isn’t possible, which can lead to sub-optimal decisions being made by staff. In addition, people can change for the better and having your past looming over you isn’t the best way to get a clean slate.
If you believe your punishment or ban was unwarranted, you can appeal after a grace period of self-reflecting over your actions using this form.
The “grace period” between punishment and appeal can last anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on how severe the rule violation was, and we will let you know how long a period is when a punishment is issued. Certain punishments will be non-negotiable without chance of appeal, but these instances will be generally rare in the case of unusual circumstances.
If you submit the form before the grace period is over, it will result in harsher punishments and no appeal opportunities.
Well, you made it to the end. If you somehow read all the rules, hopefully you now understand our thought process into enforcing our policies with our Discord servers. If you don’t, that’s fine too — let us know what we can change to improve clarity and readability on our main Discord Server. None of these rules are set in stone, and if a lot of people disagree with a policy it can always be altered.
As with many things, nothing can be applied completely, as there will always be gray areas. This is why these punishment guidelines tend to have ranges of punishment and nothing concrete within them, because there will always be exceptions to the rules and we can’t cover every possible edge case. After all, they’re just guidelines in the end.
Our golden rule of moderation: “If a post is not done with malicious intent and people don’t seem to care, don’t give permanent punishments.”