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Domen v Bootstoots

Discussion in 'Infraction Review' started by Camikaze, Apr 25, 2015.

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  1. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Moderator Action: This appeal thread is in its original form, save for the removal of PM correspondence due to the lack of the poster's consent.


    This is an appeal of an infraction (see this internal infraction thread) given to Domen by Bootstoots of four permanent points (PPs), for abuse of the PM system (or 'abusive PMs'). At the time of the infraction Domen was serving a two week ban, having breached the 15PP threshold. This infraction resulted in Domen breaching the 21PP threshold, thereby triggering a permanent ban.

    Importantly, this appeal deals solely with whether the infraction was justified - Domen was well aware that as per policy for those on the permanent point program, every infraction received would be permanent points, and upon reaching 21PPs, he would be permanently banned. The permanent ban is for the accumulation of permanent points, the application of which is itself the result of an accumulation of long-standing rule-breaking behaviour, and not for this incident itself. A line was clearly drawn for him, and he happened to cross it with this infraction.

    The infraction PM and correspondence are as follows:
    Spoiler :
    <PMs redacted>


    So there were two PMs, one to Future PM and one to a number of other users. The first PM to Future PM was:
    The second PM sent to a number of other users was:
    We were made aware of these PMs via the report system, so we can be sure of their contents (and Domen does not contest this).

    As these were two separate PMs, they were regarded by Bootstoots as two separate incidents, thereby justifying the application of more than the standard 3PPs - in this case 4PPs, chosen presumably because it triggered the 21PP threshold, any additional points being superfluous. Bootstoots followed the correct procedure in issuing permanent points, soliciting multiple other opinions in the report thread before applying the infraction.

    Domen seems to partially accept that the PM to Future PM was deserving of an infraction, but appears to want some leniency because he thought deleting it from his outbox would prevent Future PM from reading it. But he thinks that the other PM is not worth an infraction, and in any case forms part of the same 'incident', and so he should not receive more than the standard 3PPs.

    So I guess the essential issues are:
    1. Whether each of the PMs are worth an infraction.
    2. Whether each of the PMs should be regarded as a separate 'incident' (or whether they are part of the same 'incident' of abusing the PM system).

    I've asked Domen whether he has any more correspondence to add, and Bootstoots whether he has any more reasoning to submit for consideration.
     
  2. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    My opinion is:
      • The PM to Future PM is clearly an abusive PM, and is not acceptable. The fact that Domen had second thoughts after he'd sent it doesn't help him out here - sending PMs is irrevocable.
      • I don't think the second PM is worth an infraction, however.

        Firstly, I don't think unsolicited PMs are necessarily spam in the general sense of the word. Posters carry on private discussions of topics all the time, and they're often started by an unsolicited PM. Domen might do this frequently and think it's perfectly fine (and indeed, only one of the recipients complained). If it's repetitive, then it would be problematic and would be spam in the general sense of the word, but a single unsolicited PM is by no means indicative of pestering or harassment. Even if it were becoming a problem, the appropriate way for a poster to deal with it would be to tell the poster not to contact them, and if it persisted then we should get involved. But we should really not be getting too involved, much less infracting, simply because someone has received a single PM that they didn't particularly want to receive.

        Secondly, we don't actually have a rule against spam in the general sense of the word. Rather, the forum rules give a particular definition of spam - "Spam is posting something that does not make a significant contribution to the discussion at hand". Of course we need to put the spirit of the rules first, but I don't think that really allows us to infract something as spam when it's impossible for it to fit the definition we've given. So what rule would the PM break? Maybe the general prohibition against harassment, but that would only really come into play if there were multiple PMs like this.
    1. I think the two PMs, if they were to both be rule-breaking, are really part of the same 'incident', that being abusing the PM system whilst on a particular ban. They'd be abusing it in different ways, but if the message is not to abuse the PM system, then that message really should be sent once before it's sent twice.

    As such, I'd only give an infraction for the PM to Future PM. This would be the standard PP infraction, so 3PP.
     
  3. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I just received a series of further PMs from Bootstoots that were sent in the hours between the appeal PM being sent to me and now:
    Spoiler :
     
  4. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Bootstoots has also submitted some further reasoning for consideration:
     
  5. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    I agree with this conclusion.

    Am a bit concerned that he tried to carry on conversations, unsolicited and while banned, of OT topics with a number of other members. Do we expect members to have to send a PM telling someone to stop sending them PM's, or use the ignore function? I would find it a bit irritating to be the recipient of multiple PM's concerning a conversation in a thread on the forum. However, I can understand how that isn't in the rules nor spelled out anywhere as etiquette.
     
  6. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I agree with Cami and Leif. I think that these two PMs do constitute separate incidents (contrary to Domen's claim), because they are different kinds of PMs to different people. I would be inclined to treat his second PM as a kind of spam, but I agree with Domen's argument that this would be a bit unfair because he has done this before and not been told off about it. In fact I've been a recipient of these "continuing the argument when banned" PMs myself before, and raised it in staff, but not actually done anything about it. So it would be unfair to infract him for it now. So I say - uphold the infraction on the PM to Future PM, and reverse the other. Also, tell Domen that these spam PMs aren't OK and will be infracted in future.
     
  7. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    Considering his lengthy infraction history I'm not inclined to cut him any slack. That PM to Future PM should itself be enough to trigger his PB considering where he is at and how many infractions for this he has already received. How many points we assign to each seems irrelevant and really missing the forest for the trees.
     
  8. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Domen wanted to add one more thing, which I think we can allow:
    <PMs redacted>

    I'm still awaiting his consent for the publication of PMs.

    It's probably true that in the end this won't make much of a difference - leaving him on 20PP is probably just prolonging the inevitable. But I feel it's important enough to get each individual infraction right, and to conduct the review on that basis.

    If we feel bringing him back from a permanent ban at this point is not worth it, I think the correct approach would be to still recognise that this infraction is not correct, but just maintain the ban regardless. I don't think that'd be a particularly good idea, though - we committed to a process whereby he's banned if he reaches 21PP, and if he's rightfully on 20PP, I don't think we should stray from that commitment.



    As far as I count the votes, we currently have 3 in favour of a reduction to 3PP, and 1 in favour of upholding the infraction.
     
  9. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    As for the first pm which is just purely abusive I think there is agreement on upholding that and 3 points is just fine for that.

    For the string of spam pms esentially trying to draw others into private discussion I am on the fence. For one I do emphatically disagree on the notion that its not spam - mass messaging other users in order to make a point away from public discussion is spam in my books even if directed at users that were active in threads is still spam especially given that its the same kind of spam that usually had the threads in question dead, derailed or closed. Now there is the point that we did not tell him off, I also received on of these messages at one point and simply ignored it - so essentially we are down to having an abuse of the pm system which has so far not been seen as sufficiently problematic as to warrant action by us. Still if others felt harrassed by it I believe it is unreasonable to expect them to tell the one doing the harrassing off - it should be common sense that any unsolicited mass messaging to semi random users mostly to somehow get a last word in an abbortive discussion is not acceptable. I do not agree that we need to spell out every single instance of unacceptable behavior in order to call a stop to it. As it stands the best course of action in a non-permanent points user would probably have been a warning to stop unsolicited mass messaging to other users - but for permanent points users I feel we are past the point were warnings are warranted for most anything so 1 point for that is reasonable even if we have in the past let it slip past - also if we had not that would still leave us at the same place - an infraction sometime in the past and one for the abusive pm leading to the permanent ban.

    In summary I vote uphold on 3 points for one abusive pm. I also lean towards upholding a 1+ points infraction for unsolicited mass messaging, although on that point I am wavering and can see arguments to reverse.
     
  10. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I've received two more sets of PMs from Domen.

    First he sent these three (increasingly shrill) PMs in response to me asking whether he'd consent to his PMs being included in the published thread:
    <PMs redacted>

    To which I replied:
    <PMs redacted>

    He also wanted to submit another argument:
    <PMs redacted>

    To which I replied:
    <PMs redacted>
     
  11. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    I actually can sort of see why he would not want the appeal to be public and I think we should actually think about this one - it is a change in mid-process as it were. Still I think someone has to be the first...

    As for the reasoning about no specific pm rules - those are easily dismissed by pointing out that general posting rules apply. And flaming as well as spamming are disallowed regardless of which method of communication is used.
     
  12. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    My reasoning for telling him that this thread will be published is simply that we announced the policy before he appealed. If he appealed before we announced the policy, then we probably wouldn't be publishing the thread (though see below). But when he launched his appeal, the new rules were announced and in effect. He may not have seen them, but they were the standing rules. I suppose we could offer him the opportunity to withdraw his appeals, but if he is going to launch an appeal, it must be conducted under the rules when he launches such an appeal. The right to appeal does not attach to the infraction itself, and only arises following a genuine effort to engage with the moderator in question, which did not conclude until after the rules were changed.

    I had contemplated this sort of problem arising at the end of the trial period, and so worded the policy as "publication will take place until the end of September 2015" to make clear that publication would not take place on October 1st, even if the infraction in question was in September. Thus, whether an appeal thread is published is determined by the appeal date, not the infraction date. By that logic, we're really concerned with the date the appeal is published, rather than the date the appeal is launched even, much less the date of the infraction.

    I also think there's a bit of a contradiction in launching an appeal, but thinking that the publication of it is akin to a show trial. You appeal because you think the infraction was wrong and the appeal will be successful. If you don't think that's going to occur, that kinda indicates the requisite belief isn't present, and you're just wasting our time with an appeal you don't think is going to be successful. I mean, it kinda seems implicit in Domen's complaint that he thinks he's in the wrong, and although he doesn't want this publicly displayed, he's willing to launch a last-ditch speculative appeal. Surely if he thinks he's in the right, he would have no problem with that being shown publicly. I suppose it could be said that although he thinks he's in the right, he doesn't have confidence in the appeal system and believes our presentation of the matter will be entirely self-serving and vilifying of him. But I'm fairly sure the likely result here removes that concern.

    I also think this is a pretty good example of an appeals thread, and it'd be a shame if it was withheld on a technicality.
     
  13. Lefty Scaevola

    Lefty Scaevola Moderatus Illuminatus Super Moderator

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    I concur with the dates being based on when the appeal was made rather than when the infraction occurred.

    I concur the consensus above to modify the infractions to one infraction of 3PP for the flaming PM.
     
  14. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Yes, it's the date of the appeal that matters, not the infraction, or for that matter the original post. This was a rule change governing appeals, not infractions.
     
  15. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Another PM from Domen regarding consent to publish PMs, to which I replied as follows:
    <PMs redacted>
     
  16. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I received a final decision from Domen, withholding his consent to the publication of PMs:
    <PMs redacted>

    I don't think there are any more opinions to be had, so I'll wrap this up later today.
     
  17. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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  18. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I sent this final PM:
     
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