We are working to make sure we cover all topics of questions you asked last week. Below are our responses to any questions you asked surrounding TOS/Guideline clarifications. As you may notice, not all questions are included in this thread. We will be posting more threads throughout the week regarding admin responsibilities, moderator responsibilities and new warning procedures. In each, we will take any more questions you might have after reading our answers.
Can users be instantly banned without receiving any warnings and in what cases does this happen?
Members will only be banned if they’re issued five warnings. The only exception to this rule is if the poster is clearly a vendor or spammer.
Have we changed the “5 warnings and you’re out” process?
No, this is still the same process that has been in place for almost two years.
If we see that a user has gotten into a heated situation on the boards, and then immediately changes their sig gif to reflect this which contains material in violation of the TOS and while posting consistently negative messages, we can reasonably determine that these actions are in direct response to that situation. The content of the gif must be a violation of the TOS in order to warrant a warning.
I am a regular poster on 3 boards. What happens if I change my sig gif based on a thread, post on a board I’m not usually on, and someone in this board who doesn’t know the context of this gif takes offense to it and reports it?
This is a good question. We see this occurring in two situations, when someone sees this as a direct attack and the second is if a random member notices your gif, and takes offense to it. In that case, we will handle it as we would any reported post. Many signatures get reported, mostly because members do not see a line of separation between the post and signature and members in these cases believe the gif is directed at them. As Admins, we have to look at the context of the reported post itself. We do our best to understand the context - if possible. As we stated above we try to read the entire thread to understand context. We also often PM the poster to communicate that there is concern over the post. If we believe necessary, we will issue a warning. The poster can then dialogue with us about the warning so we can clear up the issue.
@FiancB @hellosweetie1015 @Cookie
Pusher Not clear on why some posts are violations while others are not, though they appear to be the same. (Why is one very similar gif removed while another is not, and why is profanity allowed but profane photos and videos are not?)
This is a fair question. We do our best to understand the context of any post or gif. We have to weigh any reported posts/sigs and PMs and emails sent directly to us which happens often. But, we support your freedom to express yourselves. However, when the gif is clearly in violation of our TOS we will warn the user or remove the sig. The decision depends on context. Here are some examples that are often very clear to us:
- Use of profanity towards a specific individual, group of people (such as a religious group, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc) or The Knot
- Use of another member’s personal information, including their pictures
- Encourages criminal conduct
What is the time frame given between issuing a final warning and banning a user?
Our usual procedure was to try to wait about fifteen to twenty minutes. In extreme cases if the activity continued after the final warning, we might ban. However, we have heard your complaints about this. The time frame between warnings and specifically the final warning and any ban that could levied is something we are willing to discuss and change. We would like to take this conversation to a new thread so we can discuss the future procedures. We will be expanding on this later this week.
Warnings are received through PMs. When you receive a PM that isn’t a warning, you see the same thing in your notifications, in which there’s part of the body of text from the PM, it’s against the TOS to screenshot that as well since it contains text from the PM and warnings aren’t exceptions to this. You can post a screenshot of your notifications as these are not displayed as PMs.
If I change the gif in my signature to a gif that I found in a blowup thread that resulted in many users getting warnings, will I get warned for using that gif?
These situations are rare. If there’s a thread where members are posting FU gifs directly at another member, The Knot or group of individuals, and you change your signature to that gif, then it is possible that you would also receive a warning. Again, we try to understand the context of the use of the gif. Moving forward, if an extreme case like this takes place we can certainly post to the thread letting everyone know that reuse of this gif will incur a warning.
What does the TOS mean by “contributing to a negative environment?”
As you know, we have a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying on the boards. Contributing to a negative environment includes acting maliciously towards other members, The Knot or the community as a whole, consistently bashing and calling out members, and following a member or group of members across the boards and replying to their posts negatively.
Why was Ashley banned after receiving only one warning? Is it because she insulted/”questioned absolute authority” of the admins?
Absolutely not. Ashley received all five warnings.
Based on our definition of “trolling,” how was the situation in which mods were posting polar bear gifs in a thread not considered trolling? This seemed like an abuse of power by mods, and the mods seemed to be ganging up on members, regardless of the non-threatening content of the images. Why was this behavior overlooked?
This behavior wasn’t overlooked. We saw the behavior of posting polar bear gifs to diffuse the thread as being very similar to puppy gifs, kitten gifs. A similar situation was when members posted hydrogen peroxide and crab gifs. We did not warn for any of those instances so therefore we did not warn for the polar bears.
Can we agree that everyone who posts something racist- whether or not they use an actual slur- should receive a warning? And everyone who posts “f*ck you” gifs should receive a warning? If not, this should be clear in the TOS.
This is something we take seriously. We view any use of profanity that is used directly, such as “F*ck You,” is worthy of a warning. We also do not condone racism and see this as harassing in nature. When we see uses that we don’t clearly understand the intent but other members take offense, we either contact the poster or warn them. If you see something we haven’t addressed please contact us so we can discuss why you believe it’s an offensive comment, so we can better understand the report.
What is the warning appeal process? Is there a time limit to appeal a warning? To do so, do I PM the mod/admin who issues the warning? Do I have the chance to defend myself? Who judges my appeal (the admins or mods)? In the event that the 2 admins disagree, who has the final say?
I would suggest PMing myself or Holly if you would like to appeal. Members can appeal a warning directly to us that they felt was unjust, We look at it and the situation. If the admins disagree, we will consult another member from our community team, to get an unbiased opinion.We have reversed warnings in the past.
Who created the current TOS? Will we have the opportunity to input on future TOS, or just TK’s employees? Will mods have input? Will it be a discussion in Community or a poll?
Our legal department created the TOS and is standard to most websites. We would like to include the community’s input on updated guidelines we want to publish in order to give some clarity to the more gray areas in the TOS for the community in particular. This is an active project we are working on.
Why was I warned for middle-finger gifs I posted in the TOS PSA thread if admins claim we haven’t warned for “off-topic gifs” in the past?
This warning was issued since you stated you were posting “as many gifs as I can before my inevitable banning.” This behavior is meant to negatively provoke other members as well as those who issue warnings. Also, the gifs included “F*ck you” directed at the community as a whole and direct attacks are against our TOS. Overall, this behavior creates a negative environment for the community.