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Discipline
Policy

Most people are cooperative and well behaved most of the time, or want to be, at least. Having clear cut Goals and Rules sets a model for us to follow. However, there must be consequences for those who fail, or refuse, to understand and live by them.

Penalties

On nearly every moderated mailing list of which I'm aware, it is standard practice to punish violations of list rules with:

Warnings
Suspension
Removal

Sometimes a list owner can be persuaded to allow a Removed person to return on the condition that they behave themselves. Failure at that point may result in...

Exile

Experience suggests that these practices are effective provided they are consistently and persistently applied.

Warnings

I will issue Warnings, usually in private, when I see behavior that is in violation of list rules and needs to be corrected.

Please don't confuse Warnings with the suggestions, hints, reminders, or other gentle influences I may send your way. I do a fair amount of that as a normal part of running the list, so don't feel crushed if I send you a benign private note.

In other words, you will know if you have been Warned!

Another necessary definition is how long before a Warning expires? I admit that this will be subjective. "In recent memory" is a pretty good guide. I don't expect to need to Warn anyone more than a couple of times in a year. I don't expect to Warn anyone more than a couple of times "in recent memory" before issuing a Suspension or worse.

Suspension and Removal

I will Suspend or Remove a member if they ignore one or more Warnings and commit additional violations. My choice of action will depend on my judgment of the seriousness of the offense and the person's intentions. No member's "value to the list" will excuse them for repeated or serious violations of the rules.

Suspensions will be for a length of time I choose, from a few days to a week or more, again based on my judgment of the situation. Removal will be permanent unless the person can convince me that they understand the issue and are willing to change their behavior. Don't expect to be Removed more than once, ever.

Fixing Problems

Lastly, remember that I do not pre-screen messages to the list. To do so would be more work than I am willing to do and would slow the list to a crawl, no matter how diligent I and the necessary team of co-moderators would be.

Therefore, I normally deal with problems after they happen, frequently in private communications off list. Do not believe that I have permitted something just because I've not made a public announcement about it. Don't jump in and add to a problem because you think I'm not watching or that I might even approve of what's going on. That's not usually the case.

Notify me in private e-mail if you see something you believe I should act upon: mdevour@eskimo.com. I'm always willing to hear your feedback.

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