The banhammer and you - a users guide to appealing an OPs decision
What is an OP?
An OP is a person who has been granted special privileges by the founder of the channel to moderate discussion. They can often be distinguished from other users by the '@' symbol that appears beside their name. These people are volunteers, and not paid employees. Their primary function is to ensure the continued stability and usefulness of the channel. They will also periodically engage in helping users with technical issues covered by the channel's policy.
An OP has the ability to perform some functions in the channel that regular users can not. This includes setting or removing mutes and bans when necessary.
Why We Ban
In channel ##php on Freenode, a user's privileges are revoked due to repeat violations of channel policy. Unless this violation is a major disruption, it is rare that OPs in ##php will just outright ban you without a warning of some kind. If you have received a warning, the easiest way to avoid a ban is to simply stop the offending behaviour. In 100% of all cases, this is guaranteed to work. Arguing the situation ad nauseam will likely not.
We don't want to ban you. We would much rather see you participate in the channel community whether you're a rank amateur in PHP, or a seasoned professional. We are open to people of all skill levels. However in certain cases when a user leaves us with no avenue for reasonable discussion, a ban or mute will be employed.
Why Does Rule X Exist in ##php?
Our mandate is simple when it comes to channel policies. To create a helpful and stable environment in which people can ask PHP language questions. There is a reason for every policy that is enacted, and we don't mind telling you why something is the way it is if you're unsure.
We do not create rules in order to tower over you, we create rules in order to maintain the channel's order. We also periodically discuss the merits of policies if and when they start to appear questionable.
Help! I've Been Banned But I Didn't Do Anything Wrong!
Things that make this process easier:
- Dates and times of when the incident occurred - we've generally got logs we can review
- Who was involved - any users or OPs who were involved
- Your hostmask at the time of the ban/mute if you're under a different host when contacting an OP
- A level head - angry people make helping hard
Most of the time you've been banned or muted due to a specific incident. However, we also understand that we're not perfect and sometimes mistakes happen. IRC moves fast some days, and on occasion a judgement may be accidentally made without considering the complete context of the situation. If you feel you've been unfairly banned or muted, you can always contact any one of the active channel OPs via private message.
If you do contact one of the OPs, the very best way to ensure that your case is heard and considered is to remain calm and mature. Opening a dialog with an OP by being hostile will almost always result in the OP feeling even more justified in their action. You don't have to kiss up or treat them like royalty, you just need to remember that there is a human being at the other end.
Often times if you contact the same OP who placed the ban or mute, the issue can be resolved fairly quickly and we can all go back to business as usual. However, sometimes an OP may want to confer with the person who placed the ban to get more information. If it winds up taking a little time, please be patient. The OP just wants to do what is in the best interests of the channel and the people in it.
Help! I've Been Banned and I Just Want To Make It Right!
We want to make it right too! Often times, a simple apology and an acknowledgement of what you did wrong is enough to solve the problem. If you're a repeat offender, an OP may impose a ban that spans a day or longer. The very best thing you can do, is just accept that you are banned, and come back when the ban is expired. Argument when it is clear that you are at fault will likely result in your position getting worse instead of better.
We're here to help you. We want to help you succeed with problems that are covered by the things the channel deals with. Many of us have been moderating years now because we love it when people leave the channel better than when they came in.