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.