A PSA on Reports, Bans, and Appeals

DrDeSync

3 weeks ago

A message from Jari, DayzUnderground Staff

Over the last several months we have received a lot of feedback from the community regarding player’s experiences on DUG. One of these pieces of feedback was specifically on how we go about bans and ban appeals. I figured (since I’m on the ban appeals team here) I would discuss our philosophy behind bans up until now and what changes we plan to make as a result of some of the feedback community members have given us.

The Basic Process for Reports and Appeals

The basic process for reports and appeals is this: a player sends in a ticket requesting staff to look into potential rule-breaking. We then have certain members of staff do the investigation of the report (check the logs, use COT in game, ask players questions, check streams/videos, etc.) and a decision is made to ban or not based on this investigation. The banned player will then send an appeal to our Ban Appeal team who will look over the investigation with a fresh set of eyes and talk with staff on reasoning behind bans and whatnot (note: the ban appeal team does NOT weigh in, investigate, or cast any votes to “ban” a player based on a report. We step aside for this so that we can look at appeals in the most unbiased way as possible). From there, a ban appeal is either accepted or denied.

I don’t think there is an exact time where the ban process went over a “major” change, but I think some of the older members here on staff and in the community would say we had a slight shift by the end of 2017. Around this time (when Teamspeak had a LOT of people in it and Discord wasn’t a thing here yet) we would have staff give verbal warnings and write up written warnings for most first time rule breakers. What our documentation and data has shown us (from the last 4 years or so since we began documenting it specifically) is:

  • A significant amount of players who received verbal and/or written warnings from staff would eventually break the rules again

AND

  • A significant amount of players who received lengthy temporary bans (whether they were warned beforehand or not) did not break the rules again.

We also tried implementing an “apology letter” format to make things more personal for the more serious offenders on DUG – where we thought that writing out an apology to the community as a whole would be a good way for people to reflect on their actions. What we found from this system was that:

  • Staff did not have a consistent strategy for who/what offenses deserved apology letters (at least it seemed to me, from the perspective of a staff member who didn’t do appeals)

But more importantly

  • A majority of players who wrote apology letters to the community as a whole would go on to break the rules again anyway.

Eventually (again, I don’t have an exact date for this, but I would say by 2019) we moved towards banning people for longer periods of time (some receiving warnings, some not) in the hopes that players would see rule breakers getting banned and would understand we were serious about upholding the rules in place. For the most part, we got the results we wanted in curbing bad behavior. But it also resulted in greater hurt feelings and drove players/groups away from DUG entirely. That’s not to say upholding our rules didn’t drive people away before we got more “strict” (it definitely still happened; and if you want examples of this, reach out to Staff sometime 🙂 ). But whether it was in tandem with the creation of Fleep/Discord and the hardcore server changes or whatever the supplemental reasons were, it seems to us that players and their groups/friends have gotten more vocally upset with how bans and appeals were being carried out. Whether rightly or wrongly, people have been upset about how we have handled their bans or their friend’s bans. I genuinely would defend the vast majority of bans and length times we have carried out here, but I also do want to say that we hear you and we are making changes.

These Changes Include

  • More verbal and/or written warnings to be sent to players in regards to behavior. Not all bans (hacking/VAC bans/glitching for example) will be treated the same as others but generally we will be trying for a set amount of time for various infractions
  • a set of guidelines for staff (that we have already written and approved to use) on proper ban lengths and what kinds of infractions deserve warnings vs bans. In this we hope for greater consistency of ban lengths. At the end of the day, there will still be wiggle room and some players may get shorter or longer ban lengths based on the situation but it will all be more consistent than before.
  • Additional members added to the ban appeals team to help process ban appeals quicker (average time the last few months has been about 5 days and we hope to reduce that).

 

To be clear, we will still be adamant about players sending tickets and we will still be rigorous about upholding rules on our server. Players will still be receiving bans, and some of them will still not be receiving warnings before they do. But we will be going about this process from a more thoughtful perspective in the hopes that players realize their wrongdoing; correct their behavior; and stick around DUG to continue to make this place great.