Ah, the nice subject of banning...
Being banned means you are prevented from using the forum or participating in the forum. When you are banned, you can access the forum, but cannot use any of the features of a normal member. You cannot post. You cannot PM.
IF you are banned, DO NOT RE-REGISTER TO REGAIN ACCESS TO THE FORUM. This will extend your ban.
Bans can be temporary, or extended indefinitely (called "permabanned"). Usually (egregious rule violations excepted) the moderators work with rule violations and the poster in jeopardy of being banned, through Private Message, to resolve disputes and avoid banning. We on the moderation staff strive to be very fair, and at times overly lenient in attempting to avoid banning, but even so, a banning is sometimes unavoidable. Please understand, we do not use this punishment lightly.
There are a few things that can get you banned. They are pretty obvious - items that oppose the general rules of respect and civility on the Forum. These obvious things include but are not limited to:
- Posting obvious spam (quick and painless permaban)
- Personal attacks against other Forum members
- Calling other Forum members disrespectful names (namecalling)
- Repeated disrespectful or uncivil posting/behavior (especially if continued after requests by moderators to cease)
- Excessive use of profanity, especially attempts to circumvent the censor
- Continuation of behavior that violates the rules in this section, OR continuation of behavior that has been requested to cease by a moderator. Examples include (but not limited to):
- Solicitation of membership for other forums directly or indirectly
- Commercial posting when not a supporting vendor
- Disresepctful behavior toward, or challenging the authority of the moderators, supermoderators, administrators or owner of the Forum
- Continued annoyance (see below)
Yes, yes, I know. You see the last item and then cry "unfair!" "What kind of police state do we live in?!?!?" "What do you mean, I can be banned for something as subjective as 'being annoying'???? YOU'RE annoying...!!!"
The fact still remains that, on the Forum, YOU CAN BE BANNED SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE ANNOYING to TOO MANY OF THE OTHER MEMBERS/MODERATORS/SUPERMODERATORS/ADMINISTRATORS/OWNER. EVEN without specifically violating any Forum rules/guidelines.
The judgement of such an action is weighed among the moderation staff, and is never done "spur of the moment" or "just because moderator X doesn't like you". If it happens, it will be obvious to many exactly why.
Off Topic Banning
Many times people join and participate primarily in the Off Topic forums. Discussions in these forums are far-ranging, interesting, challenging, and at times can be controversial and heated. The same simple rules of "civil and respectful discussion" still apply. When there are repeated escalation in discussion (flame wars and such, namecalling, disrespectful and repeated posting of their point over and over) limited to controversial discussion topics, a specific "Off Topic" ban can be applied which does not prevent participation of a member from posting on the forum, except for the Off Topic forums.
A few last points:
-DO NOT CAMPAIGN OR CREATE A POLL OR OTHERWISE PUSH TO HAVE ANOTHER MEMBER BANNED. Doing so may, in fact, get YOU banned either in addition, or INSTEAD of your intended target member. See the last rule - doing something like this is really really REALLY annoying... If you have a problem, use the report a post system, or have a Private Message system conversation with a moderator, or SIMPLY IGNORE THE PERSON THAT IS ANNOYING YOU.
-DO NOT create a thread, or insert discussion (hijacking) a legitimate thread to discuss/defend someone who gets banned. The moderation staff's goal is to maintain civility on the Forum. The moderators/supermoderators/administrators are not hotheads. The user that was banned was banned for a legitimate reason. This is not a trial by jury. You have no need to be a character witness. Repeated attempts to campaign on behalf of a member you feel was unfairly banned may result in your own banning. When it happens, it is best to let it be. This also applies to the temporarily banned member that returns - do not start up a "welcome back" thread for the returnee. The reason this is not allowed is it invites further discussion that could easily escalate into a flame war or challenging the original decision for the ban (challenging the decisions of the moderation staff/admistration/site owner, see things that can get you banned above).
(PS - don't confuse this with the "welcome back" threads for members that leave the forum of their own accord - those threads are different and currently allowed)
-DO NOT continue to refer to or tease about being banned after the return of someone from being banned, whether you are the returnee or a friend of the returnee - especially within a thread with an already established discussion topic. This can invite thread hijacking and precipitate further discussion of the ban, which can lead to discussion/defense of the person, implication of innocence or further 'rubbing salt in the wound'. Occasional banter may be left alone in a thread, but do not be surprised if your post referring to a past ban, even if meant in jest, gets removed. It is just best to let the past be the past.
-DO NOT give access to your user ID, password access, or loan out the use of your membership (including Private Message system) to someone who has been banned, essentially allowing them to get around the ban. This could result in suspension of YOUR posting privs (i.e. banning) in addition to an extension of the banning of the individual that was attempting to bypass the ban.