Introduction

It is our goal when moderating the MaleSurvivor discussion board and chat rooms to find ways to balance the need to freely speak of the unspeakable we have experienced with the need to responsibly control ourselves so that those participating with us are not harmed. From time to time users may speak or behave in ways that cannot be allowed if we are to maintain a healthy environment for discussion and healing. With this policy we hope to give the users clearer guidelines as to where the boundary lines of acceptable behavior lie, and to expressly state what the consequences for repeated unacceptable behavior will be.

Decision Making Responsibility

The moderators are authorized to send notifications of unacceptable behavior and make suspension decisions. Moderators can suspend a user from posting in either the chat rooms, the discussion forums, or both as they see fit. While a moderator is authorized to take immediate individual action to suspend a user if there is clear evidence of significant policy violation, suspension decisions are almost always discussed amongst the moderators before any action is taken, and represent the shared view of the mod team.

The Web Oversight Committee (WOC) will not make suspension decisions, rather it will consider any appeals of suspension decisions.

Instant Permanent Bans

There are certain behaviors which we feel warrant immediate permanent banning from the site. Behavior that the mods and WOC are in agreement constitute a clear and immediate threat to the safety of site users, and/or safety/functionality of the website will result in an immediate permanent ban. Use of the site for commercial purposes and/or spamming will also result in a permanent ban.

MS Suspension Policy

As in real life, all behavior must be judged in the light of context of the moment, the impact on other people’s safety, and the prior conduct of the user in question. As such, this policy is not a list of actions that will always create the same result. Our intent is to describe what kinds of behavior can be considered unacceptable and what actions the mods and site administration can take in order to protect all site users.

Behavior which, in the judgement of the moderators is unacceptable will be determined to fall into one of two categories. MINOR and MAJOR infractions. Examples of and the consequences for both types are detailed below.

1. Minor Infractions - examples of which include: use of abusive language and/or repeated posting of disturbing and/or harmful language; unwillingness to hear or respond to legitimate requests from other users to alter one’s behavior; venting of emotions without regard to impact on others (e.g. failing to post “Trigger Warnings”, excessive use of ALL CAPS); individual users creating multiple accounts; inappropriate use of the site (e.g. unapproved calls for action/advocacy, pressuring other site users for information which they are unwilling to share)

2. Major Infractions - examples of which include: inappropriate use of MaleSurvivor facilities for sexual conversation or other sexual purposes including clear intent to hookup offsite either in cyberspace or in person for sexual liaison; abusive behavior (e.g. taunting, berating, bullying, or wishing for harm) towards a specific user or users; requesting inappropriate or unwanted off site contact; advocating for violence of any kind against a specific person(s); encouraging or advocating illegal behavior

Enforcement Structure

Minor Infractions


1st offense - Private message from the moderators to user with official notice given that user has committed a “Minor Infraction”, and notice that further infractions will lead to temporary suspension.
2nd offense - 30 Day Suspension with 3 month probationary period*
3rd offense - Permanent Ban**

(Note - Moderators can pm someone to let them know they have acted inappropriately in a less significant manner without it constituting an official “Minor Infraction” notice. Minor Infraction notifications will be clearly and expressly stated as such.)


Major Infractions

* 1st offense - Immediate 30 Suspension with 3 month probationary period*
* 2nd offense - Permanent Ban**

* 3 Month probationary period - When users are reinstated following a 30 day ban, they will be advised that any infractions (major or minor) within the 3 months following the reinstatement will result in a permanent ban.

** Permanent Ban - Users who have been permanently banned may, in certain circumstances, be allowed back on the site under the following conditions:

-- Banned user must make request for reinstatement in writing to the WOC
-- Request must be accompanied with following 2 items:

1. clear acknowledgment that the behavior in which led to ban was inappropriate
AND
2. a letter from the user’s therapist stating that user is currently in therapy and that the therapist agrees to be contacted by WOC or it’s designated agents to discuss the user’s renewed participation on the website.

(Note - these are minimum requirements, and fulfillment of these two items will not guarantee re-admission to the website)

Conclusion

Again, our intent with this policy is to try to balance the need to speak openly about difficult topics and powerful emotions with the need users have for MaleSurvivor to be a safe place. As clearly stated in the site guidelines:

Quote:
First and foremost, adults (age 18 and up) who use the MS website must realize that this is a place that wishes to promote healing and not chaos. It is not a substitute for therapy and should not be used as a place to vent unprocessed emotions without regard to the effect doing so would have on others.

In keeping with that spirit the moderators will remain vigilant and dedicated in their efforts to maintain the safety of the site for all users. This policy should not be viewed as a means to allow us to punish users. Rather our hope is that people will understand that our intention is to ensure the safety of all users here. Enacting a clearly defined suspension policy is in the best interests of all users as it makes explicit a policy which had been poorly defined in the past.