The main motivation for this is an explanation request received from a user after being contacted from a mod. Since the explanation for the user, which is the core of what is written below, can be useful for the whole community, it's better put here than in an individual message.

I think a refresher on the penalty box is due.

As you probably know, SE expects its users to follow the code of conduct and the "be nice" policy. Together with these two there are also other rules on what can be done with accounts and earned privileges.

When those rules and guidelines are not followed, sanctions are issued.

What are these sanctions?

Generally$^1$ speaking, there is an escalation:

  • for the first violation, the user receives a warning
  • for the second violation, the user receives 1 week suspension
  • for the third violation, the user receives a 1 month suspension
  • for the fourth violation, the user receives a 1 year suspension

Therefore it can happen that for the same violation two users receive different sanctions, due to their different history. It's not a matter of unfair or preferential treatment.

What does the suspension entail?

The suspended account cannot ask, answer, comment, vote and its reputation is set back to 1 for the entire duration of the suspension. The suspension is meant as a time for the user to reflect and improve.

Can a user circumvent a given sanction?

If a user is suspended, creating or using an alternative account to keep accessing the community as if nothing had happened goes exactly in the opposite direction. Accounts created to circumvent system or community imposed sanctions are deleted. Creating an alternate account to go around an earned sanction just tells that you don't care about the rules of the community.

We hold no grudges, but please show with your actions that you deserve participation in the community.

It should go without saying, but also answering a moderator message with a less than civil tone, swearing and insulting is very unlikely to do any good to your cause.

$^1$ Some steps in the escalation can be skipped if the violation is severe enough.

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    $\begingroup$ Sensible. What are these "latest episodes" you're referring to? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 22 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas, I cannot disclose further details $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 22 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps best not to mention them at all then? Without such details, the "refresher" doesn't make any sense. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 22 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas, I don't get your point. I am trying to address the behavior, not the specific person behind that behavior. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 22 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ Right. I don't have any examples of the behaviours, so don't really understand why this is suddenly an issue. Frankly, I've never even heard of the "penalty box" so am not even sure what it's function is. In looking at the link, I get it has something to do with rule violations. But in honesty, I haven't seen any sufficiently egregious behaviour here that would even necessitate. Hence my question: what were these "latest episodes" that prompted you to issue this educational PSA / dire warning of punishment? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 22 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas "Frankly, I've never even heard of the "penalty box"" so, a good time for a refresher, then. "I haven't seen any sufficiently egregious behaviour here that would even necessitate" well, you haven't because it's been handled by moderators, I suspect. "Hence my question: what were these "latest episodes" that prompted you to issue this educational PSA / dire warning of punishment?" why does it matter? Somebody broke the rules, the situation has been handled. Delving more than that seems just like looking for drama. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 22 at 19:29
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw The problem is that a situation that necessitates a moderator to step in rarely benefits a "public trial". That's why we have moderators. Whatever happened doesn't concern me. I doubt it concerns you or anybody else except the people involved. As the post clarifies, you'd be notified before you get any more serious sanctions. Anybody who takes an issue with moderator actions can escalate the matter to SE. I don't see it as a community matter. Making the details public is just going to stir up gossip and likely unnecessary and incorrect interpretations. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 22 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ @VLAZ -- I wasn't asking for drama or a public trial. It's my opinion that we have the right to know by what yardstick our moderators are operating. It's all well and good to say "there are various traffic violations happening in this city; here is a generic and uninformational reminder; we have revoked the driving licenses of the miscreants; you have been warned" but what have we been warned of, really? Nothing. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 22 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @VLAZ I didn't know there was an issue at all either until I saw this post. L.Dutch implies there was a serious episode, but I was unaware anything had happened. It would be nice to have a cliff notes version of what happened with the names scrubbed so we know what is and is not appropriate on this site. Wasn't Worldbuilding SE complaining about a similar lack of transparency when the SE Overlords tried to step in about the torture tag? $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Jan 23 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ @user2352714, the rules and guidelines are there, they are not hidden. What stays hidden is the brooming and scooping that the moderators do behind the scenes to keep the seats clean and the travel enjoyable. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 24 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas This post seems to be setting the yardstick... When you use a ruler, you don't ask what other items it's measured before, you just use it. $\endgroup$ – Jason_c_o Jan 24 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica -- No one is complaining that the rules are hidden. What needs to be not hidden is just that, the "brooming and scooping" as you put it. Transparency. No liked it when they booted Monica, and considering your user name, you didn't either! We don't need to know names, but we do have the right to know what it is you're doing behind the scenes. Most especially when you make a big enough deal about it to post a PSA! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 24 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw what are you talking about? $\endgroup$ – Jason_c_o Jan 25 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas Nobody liked it when they went to the press about Monica, either. No names were named (until they were), and yet. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Jan 26 at 16:37

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