Currently there is a fairly standard procedure regarding suspensions on the network:
- Warning (or not depending on severity)
- 7 day suspension
- 30 day suspension
- 365 day suspension
After that we get into a territory with less standardized procedures because the occurrence is (I would think) pretty rare.
The nature of suspensions keeps them pretty secretive - if you aren't a mod on the site you won't know someone has been suspended unless you look at their profile. Regardless you won't know WHY, or for how long - just how long is left in the suspension period.
I don't think we have any feedback other than anecdotal, "This guy is back and causing trouble again" about recidivism for suspended users - how effective are suspensions at preventing future unwanted behavior?
With the network maturing and the number of sites growing, I think it makes sense for us as a network and to look inward at the most common disciplinary tool in the moderator's arsenal. We have decades of activity now (if you look at all sites) and I would guess thousands of suspensions.
Can we look at suspension data in the aggregate to see how effective our policies are, and adjust them accordingly?
This would need to be entirely anonymized, but linking users across sites would be helpful to know if a suspension one place leads to problems elsewhere.
Some ideas I have for analyses would be:
What are the stats on users that are re-suspended? How many times do they get re-suspended? For the same issue or a different issue?
What is the overall rate of recidivism as measured by repeated suspensions?
What is the overall rate of rehabilitation as measured by some combination of upvoted posts/helpful activity and no disciplinary action for a set period of time?
How many users just never come back after a suspension? Does the suspension period affect this?
Based on how long users stay out of trouble, or immediately get into trouble again, should suspension periods be adjusted?
I'm sure there are dozens or hundreds of other questions we could ask and answer here. It seems like it bears some scrutiny since this is the most disruptive thing the network does to users (besides banning/deleting) and to my knowledge we don't really know how people act afterwards as long as they aren't bringing attention to themselves.