(Much of the following was copied from a recent administrator post on the Straight Dope Message Board. It reflects the policy we're trying to implement here, so to save some brain power, I thought I'd paraphrase it.)
We want to make the management and enforcement process more transparent to Cyburbia users. In the past, we have been hesitant to disclose information about a poster who is banned, out of respect for their privacy. Since a banned poster cannot respond to comments, we also felt it unfair to them to have much discourse on the subject.
For a long time we were such a little place that everybody knew everything about everyone and memories ran deep. We didn't keep a lot of records and we didn't have to keep track of stuff. This is certainly not the situation today.
We're fortunate to say that Cyburbians are usually not management problems. Users of the Cyburbia Forums, even our most mischevious, are overall far more mature than those at most other message boards. Most moderating actions involve small errors that are easily pointed out; the offense gets corrected, the lesson is learned, that's the end of it. We don't hold these little things against you, it's chalked up to whatever; newbie missteps, ignorance of posted rules, a heated argument or posting under the influence. Accidents happen; once they're cleaned up, we usually forget about it.
It is the larger pattern of behavior that gets our attention . When we ask a person to do something and they don't do it. When we ask a person NOT to do something and they do it. When a person, even a long-time member, continues in this pattern of behavior and ignores corrections or warnings, we look at that very closely.
We do keep records of major offenses and warnings. The more persistent the offender, the more attention gets paid. That's when we have to do something.
We don't want to ban users. However, there may be the rare situation where where
where a long-time member and beloved poster is temporarily or permanently banned. We regret when this happens, but the situation is usually so egregious that we have no other reasonable choice.
In most cases (spam, sockpuppets and hacking being the exceptions), it takes multiple offenses to get banned; a pattern of bad behavior. Banning is not always permanent; but in a few cases a user has been banned permanently.
In the past, partly out of respect for the privacy of the banned person and partly because most people knew what was going on, we did not publicize the reasons users were suspended or banned. It didn't happen often, and it shouldn't happen much in the future.
If a member with more than a few posts under their belt is banned, we think you should know; not to embarass or condemn that user -- they will be unable to respond to comments -- but to highlight behavior that can hurt this community, and to discuss our enforcement of the rules.
The majority of management decisions, especially bannings, are not single-person decisions and are reached through staff discussion and consensus. We don't hash over everything, but out of the everyday course of events sort of stuff, yes, we do discuss. We try not moderate by popularity contest, approval of political beliefs, tenure or post count, and we want you to let us know when you think we're being unfair or bias.