This is going to be long but I encourage you to trudge through. It's very important we get as much consensus as possible.
Alright, so this has been a problem for basically years but it's becoming a rather noticeable issue as of late. Our rules and guidelines have a couple problems with how vague they can be/how they're policed. I've decided to speak up now as I have a lot of clear examples I can give for my case. I will be using instances on SNN chat to make my point, but I will not give names.
Probably the most noticeable rule that is not followed is the our Sexual content and profane topics guideline. Here's what the SNN chat policy says about it: "Keep the chat appropriate. Deliberately avoid discussing sexual or profane topics." And yet, as of late, I've noticed people have been able to get away with discussing these topics without any real policing being done. Sometimes these get quite graphic, even if they are jokes. Little things and small innuendos can slip by without much issue, but it's as if the sexual content guidelines is an extension of the language policy right now. It's not. And this is causing a dissonance between those who police this policy (which are scarce few at the moment) and those who do not. And it's something we need to work on. There's other potential holes in other rules but I think it's up to us to work those out, make the rules more streamlined, specific, and air tight. Rules are rules, so why treat it like it's subjective?
Ok, so we elaborate more on the rules, seems pretty, now what? Now we decide as a community how to uphold these rules. One other pressing issue with the rules as of late is how they're being policed. You see, we don't have clear set punishments for each crime, rather the administrators and moderators use their intuition on what should constitute what. This little thing is what is known as "Administrator and Moderator discretion." And it doesn't work. Not as well as it should. I'm now going to tell two different stories that happened as of late, again forgoing names.
Two or three days ago a user came on chat roleplaying and (in a bizarre and kinda questionable way) insulting other users. I told him to stop but he kept in character. I issued a kick as such. When he returned he persisted and showed no signs of wanting to actually join the discussion, so I infinite banned him. One of the administrators on at the time suggested that was a bit harsh and two days would do. Now, this administrator is a veteran, and one I have pretty good respect for as an administrator. I told him go ahead, but by the time he got to the user's page the user was globally banned. He wasn't wrong that the punishment was too severe per se, but it's clear there's not any truly set length for these bans and warning, nor no clear way to go about it.
So in short, some rules are either too vague at the moment or not being policed, and this needs to change. And we need to reach a consensus on how to handle violations of our rules and make things more definite in the field of banishment time and other things, to streamline the job for Admins and Moderators. Thank you all for reading.