Whenever a user has been moderated, that user has the option to dispute this moderation, giving him or her a one time chance to explain to the moderator staff why he or she feels it was not in violation of the TOU. The moderation goes into a dispute queue, at which point any moderator except for the one that dealt the moderation can review the dispute. If that moderator feels that the dispute is worthy, he may then forward the moderation to the original moderator along with a private note. Otherwise, the moderation will be upheld.
If the moderation is forwarded, the original moderator then has the option of upholding the moderation or overturning the moderation outright. This can be done with or without returning the message or topic to the boards. In addition to either of these actions, the moderator can leave a comment. If the moderator decides to uphold the moderation, the user still has a chance to get a second opinion from a lead moderator, and if that fails, a final decision from an administrator. This is known as an appeal.
A user may only have up to five disputes at a time on any one account, including upheld disputes. Once a user has used all five of his or her disputes, he or she can no longer dispute a moderation until one of his or her disputed moderations purges.
Although moderators once had the ability to relax moderations, this ability has since been taken away. This coincided with the ruling that punishments are based solely on the discretion of the moderator staff, and users could no longer dispute on the grounds that moderations were too harsh.
If a moderated message has been disputed and upheld, the user has the ability to appeal that moderation to a lead moderator. The user is allowed to restate their case why their moderation was without merit. The lead moderator can either overturn the moderation and return any karma lost or uphold it. A failed appeal to a lead moderator removes the ability to appeal any further moderations to a lead moderator until the appealed moderation purges. The user still has the option to accept the moderation at this point, but there is no further benefit to accepting other than ending the dispute process.
In the event that the moderation is appealed to and upheld by the Lead Moderator, the user has the option to appeal one last time to an administrator, who has final say on the matter. A failed appeal to an administrator removes the ability to dispute or appeal any moderation for ninety days.
Abusing the dispute system is punished severely. Random, unrelated text, ASCII art, or generally playing around with the dispute system may result in the user's dispute abilities being taken away for a year. In addition, the moderation will stay on the account for the entire length of time. Any abuse against the moderation staff via dispute form is grounds for banning.
Unacceptable Grounds for Disputing
Please note that the following reasons will never be accepted.
- Saying, "I didn't know it was a TOS Violation". Ignorance of the rules is no excuse, especially considering how prominently they're displayed.
- Complaining that the TOS is too strict. It was strict before you signed up, and you agreed to follow all rules when you signed up, not just the ones you find convenient.
- Saying, "I've seen other people get away with it." The actions of others do not dictate your own. The only concern here is your own violation, not those of others.
- Apologizing or admitting you broke the rules for whatever reason. It doesn't matter if you're sorry, or that someone drove you to it, or that you were having a bad day. That's not what this form is to be used for.
- Saying, "I didn't post that, it was my brother/cousin/dog/a hacker". You are responsible for controlling your own account. if( you re-use passwords on other sites or accidentally leave your account logged in on a public computer, you're just begging for trouble. Additionally, so many people have used that same excuse in the past when they clearly posted it themselves that it's hardly even believable.
- Abusive or non-sensical messages. Abuse of the dispute system in any form is grounds for a permanent loss of dispute abilities. Personal abuse towards a moderator is grounds for loss of this and any other accounts you have.
- Complaining the punishment was too harsh. Punishments are the sole discretion of the original moderator. Your only argument is that your message was not a TOS violation, not that you shouldn't have been notified/warned.
|Regular Moderations||No Action | Topic Lock | No Karma Loss | Notification | Warning | Suspension|
|Special Cases||Ban | Purgatory | Profile Wipe | Usermap Axe | Kill On Sight|
|Disputes||Dispute | Accept Moderation | Uphold | Relaxation | Overturn|
|Misc.|| Account Suicide | Generated Message | Mark | Marked Message Accuracy |