I regularly receive queries from people, especially after they receive their first infraction, so the aims of this post is to clarify the infraction system. Reasons for infractions Breaches of the site rules may incur infractions. Currently, the following categories exist for infractions: Inappropriate language - 2 points Off-topic posting - 2 points Flaming - 3 points Trolling / Meaningless post content - 3 points Posting violent, abusive or pornographic content - 4 points Spammed advertisements - 5 points Insulting another member - 5 points Some offences do not fit neatly into any of these categories, and in that case an infraction may be given based on a point value, with explanation. Expiration of infraction points If you are given an infraction, the given number of points is added to your profile, and can be viewed by clicking on your user name on any post. You are also automatically sent a PM with an explanation from the moderator who gave the infraction. If your PM box is full, you will not receive the PM, but you will still get the points. Infraction points for individual offences automatically expire after 10 days. Ban policy Any member who gains 20 infraction points in any 10 day period (i.e. has 20 or more unexpired infraction points) will be considered for a ban from sciforums. A member may also be immediately banned, regardless of infraction point total, for a very serious offence. All infraction points are expired when a member returns from a temporary ban. The general policy for bans is a first temporary ban will in most circumstances be for 3 days. Continued offences may result in further 3 day bans or they may, at the discretion of moderators or administrators, be for increasing amounts of time, the normal progression being 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, 1 month, permanent ban. Very serious offences and blatant trolling may attract an immediate long ban, possibly permanent. Complaints about infractions It has become increasing common in recent times for posters who receive infractions to immediately reply to the PM they automatically receive from the moderator who gave the infraction. In my experience, about 80% of these replies take one or more of the following forms: 1. The moderator is being biased by handing out an infraction. 2. The poster thinks he or she did not deserve the infraction. 3. The poster thinks that if he or she can find somebody else who might be worthy of an infraction, he or she should have his or her own infraction cancelled. 4. The poster complains that other people participating in the same thread where he or she received an infraction did not receive an infraction, and so life is unfair and the moderator is biased. 5. The poster claims that the moderator only gave the infraction because he or she has a personal grudge against the poster, and is just being "nasty". To save myself and the other moderators further time and effort, here are some common responses to the above complaints: 1. A good moderator should try to avoid bias as far as possible. Most of us try to do that as best we can most of the time. 2. Before making the complaint that you did not deserve the infraction, first take a look at your post that attracted the infraction, then take a look at what the infraction was given for (in terms of categories above). Finally, read the explanation provided by the moderator. Then, consider whether you actually broke the relevant rule or not. Don't just fire off an angry PM. 3. Two wrongs do not make a right. The fact that, in your opinion, somebody else could equally have been given an infraction does not mean you didn't deserve the one you were given. If you think somebody else deserves an infraction in addition to you, hit the "report" button on the relevant post and the moderators will decide. Don't send off a PM to the moderator who gave you your infraction, complaining that "Bonzo said something worse that I did, and he didn't get an infraction!" 4. See points 1 and 3. 5. If you actually believe a moderator has a personal grudge against you and that is actually true, you will achieve nothing by contacting that moderator. The appropriate course is to contact the administrator Plazma Inferno!, who has the power to remove moderators who abuse their positions. Legitimate queries Moderators will be happy to clarify things if you actually don't understand why you got an infraction, even with the PM explanation. So, send a PM if you you're confused, but try to avoid ones which consist of complaints like the ones above. Don't blow things out of proportion An infraction is essentially a warning that your behaviour on the forum is inappropriate. It is a wake up call to suggest that you lift your game. No single infraction will result in an immediate ban - you will need to do something quite serious to get one of those. And remember that infraction points expire after 10 days. So, I suggest that, instead of complaining when you get 2 points for using the word "c**t" in a post, say to yourself "Ok, so it's not acceptable here to use that language. Now that I know, I'll change my behaviour, and in 10 days those 2 points will be gone anyway. No harm done. Thankyou, Mr (or Ms) Moderator for giving me a chance rather than just banning me without warning." ------- Please post any questions regarding the infraction system below. Please do not use this thread as an alternative method of posting complaints of the form outlined above.